Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop
Penguin/Roc: March 8, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Free from publisher
I’d go there again!
As I’ve read this series, I’ve enjoyed each book to a different degree. The first one drew me in, the second and third one let me down a little. And as you’ve figured out by now, I liked this one quite a lot.
Marked in Flesh brings the conflict between humans and Others to a disastrous climax. The fight between the bad humans and the Others turns into war in this book.
As war nears, the good humans do what they can to prepare. Meg, the Trailblazer, begins to engineer a different way for the girls to have visions, one that does not involve self-harm. As they learn, they begin to see prophecies about the losses to come. The communities that host the cassandra sangue learn how to help them, and the girls grow closer to the humans and Others that have offered them shelter and life. A few towns and villages with connections to Meg’s courtyard strengthen their ties, developing a web of Others sympathizers in the human parts of Thaisia.
With each book, Meg gains in confidence and ability. Meg and Simon inch a little bit closer. The Courtyard’s Others, but especially Simon, become more human and likable. A good thing, in my opinion, because it’s difficult to support a relationship between a human and an non-human, particularly if that non-human sees people as food. A proper dangerous hero needs to be a little bit dangerous, but not completely.*
The evolution of the Courtyard’s Others is made possible by the emergence of another, bigger kind of “monster” – the teeth and claws of Thaisia. It is these mysterious, hidden, powerful terra indigene who will take up the fight against the land-grabbing humans. The Courtyard Others become the intermediaries between the terra indigene and the humans, ones who want to live together with the Others. The two sides go to war, and Simon has to decide how much human to keep.
The main disappointment for me remains the plot’s mimicry of the plot of Bishop’s Black Jewels series, which I read as a young adult. Honestly, it’s not a big disappointment, because the plot is enjoyable. I have enjoyed each installment in the series more than the last, and since some conflicts remain unresolved, I look forward to the fifth being even better.
This will most likely appeal to fans of fantasy that gives the warm fuzzies, draws clear lines between Good and Evil, and makes sure that Good wins. Also, if you’ve enjoyed the prequels, you’ll definitely want to check this one out, too.
*For more on romantic heroes, enjoy Ilona Andrews’ take on alphaholes.
Touch the Dark is about an Oracle, aptly named Cassandra, who has been tangled up in a dark underworld with vampires since childhood. On the run, she encounters even more trouble, and ends up becoming a key player in the world of vampires, witches, warlocks, and fairies. Readers of Marked in Flesh may enjoy the prophecies and heroine with potential who becomes involved with a male much darker and dangerous than she is.
Silver follows Andrew, a werewolf enforcer who is tracking a strange, lone werewolf – who ends up being not at all what she seems. She’s been tortured, and she and Andrew work together to fight the menace who hurt her and poses a threat to all weres in North America. The America of this setting is more like our own America, and the story less paranormal romance and more urban fantasy. Readers looking for another good werewolf story may want to check this one out.