Series: The Others #1
Published by New American Library (3.5.2013)
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 433 pages
As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.
Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.
Wow. WOW. Book twin Octavia has been telling me forever that I need to read this because it was amazing. She was so right! I was blown away by Bishop’s world. On the surface, it seems like it’s UF. But it’s SO much more than that! It’s hard to really categorize it, honestly. It’s more of High Fantasy than UF because while it’s similar to our world, it isn’t. It’s a made up world. But it doesn’t have a High Fantasy feel. It’s also dystopian! The Others have full control of the world. I think that’s what made it so interesting; it’s a conglomeration of multiple genres, but instead of being messy it’s interesting. I’ve never read anything like it! And that was one of the reasons this was a 5 star book for me: It’s so fresh and unique and easily stands out among the sea of other books. Anne’s take on everything was very intriguing!
Another reason I love it so much: The characterization was EPIC!! It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book with such amazing characters. They had depth and felt completely real. Anne really took the time to flesh out each and every one of her characters. I loved them! Grandfather Erebus! Jenni Crowgard! Henry Beargard! The Elementals! The ponies!! Simon! Sam! TESS!!! Ahhhh, so many character feels in this book! I wanted to crawl into the pages and live there, just so I could have these people in my life!
When you meet Meg, you’re struck by how naive and child-like she is. (But it’s the way she was raised, so it’s not a bad thing.) She doesn’t really know the ways of the world, and trusts too much in people because she doesn’t know betrayal. Despite that, she’s a very kind, warm-hearted person; she does nice things for others just because she can. She’s also fiercely loyal. I think her unwavering kindness was what made her the one human to finally break through the Others’ icy defenses. Simon was a complete ass in the beginning. He’s unapologetic about being a scary, man-eating werewolf, he’s intimidating, he’s domineering. Overall unpleasant. I loved seeing his cold facade slowly melt as he got to know Meg.
I loved the Crows and their “Shiny” nonsense! It cracked me up! Jenni was hilarious. And it was always “the” before a noun. The Shiny. The Meg. The Jenni. Sam was adorable, and I loved the development between he and Meg. The Elementals were badass, especially Winter! I loooved the idea of the Ponies. Very cool. And that brings me to Tess – my favorite! She was so freaking badass!!! Her hair changed color based on her mood, how awesome is that?! I loved the parts where it started turning black because you just knew all hell was about to break loose. View Spoiler »Speculation time – what is Tess? When I was reading, the conclusion I immediately came to was Gorgon. Her hair coils like it has a life of its own, and to look upon her in her true form means death. But then they said in ancient times she was called “harvester of life” – so maybe reaper, instead? I did some Google searching and couldn’t find anything in myth about it, and there were some forums where people speculated that she was a reaper. Then I found this question on the Anne Bishop’s Courtyard Facebook page that a reader posted where the response stated that she “isn’t based on any
particular myth or earthly creature. The inability to define her is one of the things I find so chilling about her.” (I don’t know if it’s Anne’s official page or not, but I assume it’s a legit response.) I still say she’s a Gorgon. « Hide Spoiler
I hated Asia Crane. HATED. She was such a freaking bitch (actually, I have a better word for her, if you know what I mean…and I don’t use that term lightly)! The way she thought of Meg – that she was a “no-looks feeb” – made me want to strangle her in Meg’s defense. I wanted her to die so badly! Every scene she was in made me despise her more. View Spoiler »And she almost killed all of the ponies to further her own career! I’m so glad that Tess pretty much raped her mind. Go Tess! « Hide Spoiler
The Blood Prophet thing was awesome! I found the take on vampires to be very interesting as well. They take blood through pores instead of drinking via fangs! So cool!! And Grandfather Erebus was awesome. Something about the paranormal creatures in this world is that they are scary, not sexy. They are not romanticized. It’s made very clear that they would gladly rip your hand off just because you annoyed them. I think the fact that they’re so scary to the general public is what made their turnaround regarding Meg so profound. I loved how they went from calling her “the Meg” to calling her “our Meg.” Every time they said that I got warm fuzzies! SHE’S THEIR MEG. SQUEE. It’s adorable!!
Oh, and the best part of this book? There’s NO romance!! It was SO refreshing!
I was pleasantly surprised by how fun this book was to read. The Others’ lack of knowledge about human etiquette made for some funny times. The banter also cracked me up! There were so many times I found myself grinning like an idiot or laughing out loud while reading this book.
Despite the little snippets of the more sinister plot line with Asia’s horrible agenda, there honestly wasn’t much happening. But it never gets boring. A lot of the book is Meg settling into her new life and getting to know the Others. (And melting their hearts!) There’s heavy emphasis on the characterization instead of the plot. Which is not a bad thing at all, because even without a strong plot line, Bishop’s writing is interesting enough (and the characters are amazing enough) that you can’t stop reading!
Do I recommend this series? HELL YES, I DO. Even if you don’t read adult books, you should read this. It’s not like a usual adult book – Meg is 26, but because of her naivety, she seems more like a teenager. There are a few mentions of sex (on Asia’s part – sleeping with someone to further her career was not above her, of course), but there aren’t any actual sex scenes. So it’s pretty PG except for some violence.
Writing style: 4.5/5