This review features a book that is the second in The Others series, and may have minor spoilers for those who have not read Written in Red. My review of the first book can be found here.
Second books in a series are very 'hit-and-miss' with me. I open with this statement because at the start of reading this book, I was ready to pre-deem this a four star or above read. I was ready to be transported back to the Courtyard in the middle of a brewing war, full of action scenes and tension. Predetermining the ratings of books I've read has never been my strong suit.
With Urban Fantasy, I admit I've become a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I want my heroes and heroines put in the thick of danger, surviving only by their will to live and hopefully getting bloodied along the way (I realize I'm a bit bloodthirsty-sounding there). In this book, there is a lack of fear on my behalf for the characters. Usually I have to peek three paragraphs ahead and make sure, "He/She shuddered his last breath", is not in the text. With this book, I wasn't on edge. I wasn't afraid. Unfortunately, the suspense I was expecting wasn't there.
The Plot: (As Seen on Goodreads)
'After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.
'The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murders of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside's shape-shifting leader—wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or of a future threat.
'As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.'
Even though I wasn't afraid, the series has clearly taken a darker turn. Some of the things mentioned in the book made me more than a little nauseous, even though they weren't graphically depicted. I love when an author knows how much would be too much for the reader to handle, and Anne Bishop clearly has expertise in that area, because just when things got unpleasant the scene would end. And yes, in this case, I approve of cut-away-from-the-scene, because otherwise I would have needed a garbage can beside me as I read.
There were plenty of lighter scenes in this book, but not as many laugh-out-loud-in-the-middle-of-a-silent-waiting-room moments as Written in Red provided. Nonetheless, it was funny, just not as funny as I predicted. Meg is still adjusting to life in general and the terra indigene continue to adapt to humans they are no longer allowed to dispose of easily, which almost always results in situations that bring a grin to my face
The most egregious flaw of all, though, is in the Wolf puppy department. I can count the Wolf puppy scenes on one hand! One hand! And there were also no cutesy pawprints on the cover. Egregious, indeed.
Murder of Crows is
clearly lacking in the Wolf puppy department not as exciting for me as the first book was. Ultimately, my high as heaven expectations may have contributed to the disappointment I felt in this book, but there was also a lack of my fear for the characters' fates. Although it would probably be a four star read had I not read Written in Red and been completely taken with it, I really expected more of a series that started out so beautifully for me. Murder of Crows is a great read, but not nearly the one I expected it to be.
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars for a slightly disappointing second book.
Content: Ages 18+ for an escalation in violence, sexual content (including rape), and an increase in reader nausea picturing things going on.
Page Count: 369 pages