Pros: Tension between Others and humans definitely going up a notch
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Meg Corbyn has found a place among the terra indigene (the ‘Others’) of Lakeside. She acts as their day-to-day liaison to the human world, ordering things they need, accepting mail and package deliveries, and making sure everything that arrives gets to where it’s supposed to be. She’s also a cassandra sangue, a blood prophet. By concentrating on something and cutting her skin, she can share visions of the future. Those visions, however, are confusing and difficult to interpret. Most blood prophets are held in compounds where they can be cared for, a so-called ‘benevolent ownership.’ It isn’t hard to figure out how much this ownership can be abused by ambitious and power-hungry people.
You don’t have to be a blood prophet to see that bad things are about to happen. After the Others nearly destroyed the human portion of Lakeside, relationships between the Others and humans are at an all-time low. Humans are harassing any of their own people who work for or with the Others. Others are being drugged and killed. Violence is escalating. The humans don’t seem to realize that if the Others get angry enough, they’ll simply destroy the whole town–or even go to war against all humanity. That’s why Burke and Monty, two local police, are doing their damndest to not just keep up good relations with the Others, but help to avoid an all-out slaughter of humans.
Anne Bishop’s Murder of Crows is book two in her series, “The Others”. Book one bowled me over with its clever world-building, deft characterization, and constant edge-of-my-seat tension, so I had to dive straight into Murder of Crows. It didn’t overwhelm me as much as Written in Red did, but that’s just a matter of degrees. The characters are still growing and changing in interesting ways. We get to learn a great deal more about blood prophets and where they come from. We also find out about humans the Others call ‘Intuits’–they have a form of intuition that warns them of dangers, and the Others seem to trust them at least a little more than they do other humans. We also see more of the Lakeside police force and some related people.
The book starts out with a rather brilliant summation of what happened in Written in Red, making it easy for someone to pick up the thread even if it’s been a while since they read book one. It might even be enough for someone to jump in at book two, although I couldn’t judge for sure.
Some of the questions I had left over from the previous book get answered, such as where the factories are to produce the technological items that exist despite the Others restricting humans to small areas of land. Humans are chafing ever more at that restriction, and are starting to break long-standing agreements between the two sides. The humans see it as taking what should be theirs, while the terra indigene see that humans can no longer be trusted to abide by their agreements.
The tension and pacing aren’t quite as wire-taut as in the previous book, but it’s still fantastic. It’s only noticeable because the previous book was so completely edge-of-your-seat.
I enjoy this series so much that halfway through Murder of Crows I ordered the next book. It’s hard to find a better recommendation than that!