Also by this author: Marked In Flesh, Etched in Bone
Series: The Others
Also in this series: Marked In Flesh
Published by Penguin Group USA, Roc on March 3rd 2015
Genres: Alternative History, Contemporary, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction
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The New York Times bestselling author of The Black Jewels Trilogy transports readers to a world of magic and political unrest—where the only chance at peace requires a deadly price… The Others freed the cassandra sangue to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him. Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict. For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…
Have you ever read a book, and the world the author created was so mesmerizing that you wish you could visit? A few books have sparked my imagination like no other, and made me wish I could visit the world’s the authors’s C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowlings, JRR Tolkien and Ann Bishop have created. Bishop’s world in ‘The Others’ Series is enthralling, unique as it is riveting in it’s uniqueness; but also easy for the reader to understand, so that the story flows naturally; despite the foreign land the reader is thrust into. Bishop’s writing is brilliant and her urban fantasy world building is imaginative and fascinates me. Her world construct is multifaceted and the characters that inhabit the world are prismatic, with so many layers and nuances. It is easy to set down with one of her ‘Others’ books and get lost in time and space. As I swore I would only read one more chapter, and found myself hours later still lost in Vision in Silver. (Yes I have recommended it to readers and in the middle of the night they have texted me saying they are still awake reading Bishop)
Her third book in the series is Vision in Silver, and the plot picks up right where book two A Murder of Crows leaves off. War is on the horizon. The question that is up in the air is can the inhabitants of the Lakeside Courtyard change the tide that is coming. The fate of the humans of Thasia could very well depend on how the Lakeside Courtyard, handles it’s community. For those of you who haven’t read the prior books below is a simple primer.
Easiest way to explain the world that Bishop has created is to use points that the readers are familiar with in our collective history. So Thasia is the land of Bishop’s world, humans crossed the Atlantik to a new world, they had already spread out in Cel-Romano (kinda Europe) and had learned that earth natives (indigenes inhabitants) pretty much owned the world and the humans were the ‘new kids’ on the block. Upon arrival in Thasia humans were eventually allowed to stay, after some humans unfortunately became snacks to the earth natives. The earth natives let them stay and lease land and human settlements grew. The earth natives who deal with humans are called terra indigene; they can take on human shape; but they are not human. It is made clear in these books that they have never been human, they can wear the skin of a human; but they will always be earth natives. They are at heart animals, wolves, bears, crows, owls, etc. But even these are not their original shapes as they have learned to adapt, to what is around them. So humans aren’t the dominate predator in the world. Makes for a very interesting novel and series.
The world of the ‘Others’ is represented by the Courtyard in Lakeside, in the Eastern part of Thasia. I won’t tell the reader where this is, because the fun of these books is the world building, and spoiling would be wrong. Meg Corbyn is still struggling to learn how to live, as a blood prophet, outside of the confines of the institutionalized prison where she was raised. She is no longer the only blood prophet in the outside world. Meg and the other blood prophets struggle in the world that is too loud, too busy and with too much stimulation; which only make the girls want to cut. Their struggles are not easy to read, and what humans have done to these girls was horrendous. How the ‘Others’ who are seen by many as animals react is what makes the divide between humans and ‘others’ so stark. As an other would never ever hurt or not care for their young; their very future. The events in this book are at sometimes hard to read, as mans inhumanity of man is great; and seeing humans through the ‘Others’ eyes is frightening. As I read the book, I got a sense of those characters that really do see the ‘Others’ as uniqued and valued and those humans who are just giving lip service to what the ‘Others’ want. The ‘Others’ aren’t used to people talking out both sides of their mouths, or stabbing someone in the back. It is not the nature of the ‘Others’ to speak falsely. They are straight forward being. The humans of Thasia, who want more and more, without the ‘Others’ interference are making themselves known.
No one can write a story like Ms. Bishop or encompass a reader’s imagination in such a uniquely structured world. The depth in the characters relationships with each other is powerful, as every character in and about the courtyard is fleshed out and complete, no characters background story is lacking. Meg one of the main, is experiencing more stressors in this book, which makes her want to cut to escape. She is going to have to learn to live in the bigger world or she will end up making one cut too many. It demonstrated that Meg was not that far removed from the other cassandra sangue ‘blood prophets’, that she was still struggling. Simon Wolfgard is coming to terms with what Meg means to him and the other inhabitants in the courtyard. Meg’s influence on the Lakeside Courtyard residence and some of the humans who work there has been profound. The ‘Others’ and Simon in particular, are struggling with their instincts versus human social mores; when interacting with humans, and in Simon’s case be with Meg? Simon even wonders if he can become human enough for Meg? As these are creatures that have adapted throughout time, it isn’t a jump for their next adaptation to be to human. Can what is happening in the Lakeside Courtyard, influence the rest of Thasia. Yes, war is coming; and the Lakeside Courtyard and Meg Corbyn along with Simon Wolfgard are at ground zero.
This book and series is phenomenal and is worth crowing about.
I was kindly gifted a copy of Anne Bishop’s book Written in Red by a dear friend. She knows my taste in Paranormal novels and she highly recommended her books. Take a gander at the brilliant review above where she provided high praise for Anne Bishop’s work.
This review will be for A Vision in Silver, but it can also be substituted as a review for A Written in Red and Murder of Crows.
I won’t provide too much detail, as spoilers do tend to spoil the pleasure of reading it for oneself, at least it does for me.
With that introduction, let me go right ahead by stating that Anne Bishop is an incredibly talented writer whose world building capabilities in the urban fantasy genre far surpassed my own expectations.
For the paranormal fan, we sometimes become overly saturated with shifters and vampire stories. If one is not careful (and picky), chances are you run into the same storyline, with the same hunky and dreamy vampire ready to hypnotize you into submission; or that crazy shifter wolf who wants to dominate, forever shredding his clothes in the ultimate display of leadership whilst perfectly displaying a set of perfectly sculpted abdominal obliques.
But Anne Bishop offers a more realistic version to her characters. They are creatures who inhabited this world not seeking kinship with the likes of humans. They were satisfied with the status quo. We left them alone and they left us alone. Until of course, we moved into their territory. This is an alternate world, an urban fantasy that offers a strong resemblance to our own world, but yet not. I found that even the small things, such as naming the days of the week different from our own, made this book stand out. The creatures, also called terra indigine, within Lakeside Courtyard, are different from their brethren. They are constantly locked in an internal battle with themselves and the humans. They are curious to learn more about them, to live among them, to understand them. To become different then their ancestors in an attempt at coexisting.
The spark of this story is Meg, a prophet who escapes from her people who have imprisoned her and others like her kind. Young women who have a decreased life expectancy due to the self inflicted wounds they make on their bodies to “prophesize” the future. Prophesies that were used for financial gain. Confined in minimal surroundings, these girls would never see beyond the walls of their prison. Images and pictures of the outside world were their only windows to what lay beyond their encampment. But Meg was able to escape, and under the protection of the terra indigene of the Lakeside courtyard she resides in peace with both humans and non-humans. Meg has saved their people in the past, and in this third book, she is called to save her own kind.
There is a very sweet underlying romance that slowly builds between Meg and Simon the Wolf, leader of the terra indigene at Lakeside Courtyard. It builds at a snail’s pace, but builds nonetheless. He is wolf, and the ways of humans are confusing. Why do they hold hands? Why is he angry when Meg shows attention to others? Why does he slip and call her “My Meg” when she should be “Our Meg” or “The Meg?” But he tries to understand, because he cares deeply for her. In this manner, Anne Bishop nails it. The Terra indigene only needed to understand territory and trade when it came to humans. It was not necessary to know humans, their customs, likes and dislikes. And the way she writes her characters are true to this realization. For them, humans are still considered meat. You cross the terra indigene and you become the special meat for the week at the butcher shop. But now they are having to look at humans in a whole different light. They are building this relationship with not just Meg but with many more humans, in order to exist together; because no one wants the alternative, of what may happen if they don’t.
The only odd thing I found with this third book was the timeline of events. The cassandra sangue had such difficulty being introduced to society. I mean, they really had issues. But with the first book, Meg seemed to survive with all the new visual stimulation. Meg did not display any odd quirks in the first book, yet she does in the third book. But I suppose this is what happens when you read the series consecutively. You notice little things like that. This does not, however, take away from the rating at all, just merely an observation.
Anne Bishop is master story teller with exceptional world building talent. This 5 star series should not be missed by those that love urban paranormal fantasy. I anxiously await the next book in this series! I’m not one that needs a romance in a book, but with this one, I’m really hoping we get a make out session or two with Simon and Meg in the next book. I wonder if that is too much to ask for.
NOTE: Yes the copy I reviewed was provided by the publisher, but the book was also purchased directly from Amazon on release day.