Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

Okay, so I've been wanting to review this week for almost two weeks now, but words having been forthcoming... and they still aren't ^_^; So please bear with me as I try my hardest to make sense! LOL.

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
published by New American Library (ROC) in March 2014
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 murder 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 if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or 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.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Others, Book #2

The Story: I find the blurb of Murder of Crows to be a bit too focused on Meg while so much is happening, so I'm going to attempt a better summary. Not sure how successful I'll be, but in any case, I know Hilcia was pretty spot on, so if you are curious, you can check out her review :)

Murder of Crows pretty much picks up where Written in Red has left off. Meg has recovered and is back in the Lakeside Courtyard. She is still figuring out life outside of the compound as well as the full full extent of her ability. In addition, there's her deepening friendship with Simon Wolfgard, the leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, which seems to leave the two of them confused.

Meanwhile, in the rest of Thaisia, relations between humans and terra indigene are escalating while tension is mounting. Repercussions are being felt even in the Lakeside Courtyard. Across the continent, all blood prophets are seeing the same prophecy to all their requests: fire, destruction, floods, deaths... The terra indigene are growing impatient with the humans, especially after violent outbreaks aimed at them and the Humans First and Last (HFL) organization spreading their propaganda. When it is discovered that the violent outbreaks were spurred by two new drugs - "gone over wolf" and "feel good" - the terra indigene are willing to destroy its source... but it turns out to be Namid's wondrous and terrible creation, the cassandra sangue... What will they do?

My Opinion: As you probably all know by now, I loooved Written in Red :) It was my favorite read of 2013 and needless to say, I was really looking forward to Murder of Crows. Lucky for me, it showed up on my doorstep early... and you can imagine what happened next :P

My first impression of Murder of Crows is that it wasn't as good as Written in Red :( Mainly because I felt the book lacked a focal point. There were many POVs, many subplots and basically, some of them were unnecessary. Others felt incomplete because they were set-up elements for the next book. In other words, there were just a bit too much going on and pulling in different directions. This is Ms Bishop's writing style and it usually works well because her main storyline is solid and the rest is just complementing that storyline. For example, in Written in Red, the book was about Meg escaping and settling in the Lakeside Courtyard. However, in Murder of Crows, I don't know what was the main storyline...  was it Meg or what was happening between the terra indigene and the humans? I wish I could say it was Meg, but it didn't feel that way because Meg didn't feel like the main character to me. Yes, she was central to the story... but not really for the character itself, but more for the prophecies which got the rest of the book moving along. In truth, I felt like there was almost no development to her character, no growth :( And I guess that's why I didn't enjoy Murder of Crows as much. It also feels like Ms Bishop is missing an over-arching... or if she has one, it's a bit too subtle and has gone straight over my head.

The rest of the book was pretty good and well-written. As Ms Bishop demonstrated with the Black Jewels series, she is quite the master at writing about the interactions of two battling populations vying for power and the darkness and the blood it generates... and she does it again in Murder of Crows. It's quite frightening how dark the storyline is getting without you realizing it, because in your head, these are just words, are fictional events... but in reality, they could or have happened ^_^; I'm looking forward to see how this part will be resolved... if it can be.

One of the best elements of Murder of Crows was Meg and Simon's relationship. Ms Bishop did a great job at developing it as it had just the right pace and the right feelings on both characters' parts. We're definitively heading towards a romance and it's interesting to watch Meg and Simon muddled through it :) Once again, I enjoyed the different characters and interactions introduced and the humor Ms Bishop has injected into the story to counterbalance the darkness :)

My Grade: B. Overall, Murder of Crows was a very solid book. I just feel it would have been better if it focused a bit more on Meg ^_^; In any case, I'm still looking forward to the next book, Vision in Silver :)