I’m so sorry for not having this review up last week as intended. It’s just been a little bit hectic, even though I’m technically on vacation.
Oh, and for those wondering where my reviews of the earlier books in this series are…. I read them before I started posting reviews on this site. So yeah, they’re not here. If you want to know what I thought of previous books in this series, hit me up in the comments.
Marked in Flesh (The Others #4) by Anne Bishop
Synopsis from GoodReads:For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate—both within themselves and within their community…
Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.
But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs…
WARNING: THIS REVIEW IS NOT SPOILER-FREE FOR THE SERIES AS A WHOLE. IT IS NOT EVEN SPOILER-FREE FOR THE BOOK IN QUESTION. APOLOGIES.
I started reading The Others when the series first came out because I tend to love Anne Bishop’s work. It’s not perfect, but whose work is? And, as usual with Bishop, I loved the world and the characters and I eagerly devoured the successive books as they came out.
But Marked in Flesh felt like a bit of a let down. It retreads a lot of the plot threads from the previous books and I didn’t feel that it added a lot to the overarching series plot. They’re still dealing with Humans First (who, seriously, no lie, have to be too dumb to live at this point), the Others are still trying to decide what to do about humans, and the Lakeside Courtyard is still balancing on edge between the Others and the ‘human pack’.
We do see more of the Intuits (humans who are ‘psychics’ in that they get feelings about things or people or places) and more of the Intuits and Others interacting, which is great, but to me this book felt like a filler, a way to move past the Humans First plot without truly addressing the underlying issue: how much human is too much/too little/just right?
However, I like the way the subplots are progressing: Meg’s Trailblazer status and her search for an answer that doesn’t involve cutting; the relationships between Lakeside, Ferryman’s Landing, and Prairie Gold; the relationships between the Others and the Intuits; Meg and Simon’s relationship. There were also definitely moments that hit me in a very visceral manner.
But I’m worried that some of the more interesting characters – Tess and Henry in particular – are getting pushed to the side as more and more new characters take center stage. That’s not a complaint – I enjoyed the people of Prairie Gold and I adore Grace – but it is a concern.
Further, I’m a bit at a loss about what’s going on with Lizzie Borden (Lieutenant Monty’s daughter, for those who don’t remember). Anyone who recognizes that name knows that there’s a whole host of interesting plots that could have been done with her, especially in regards to what happened to her mother and step-father (was he actually her step-father or just her mother’s live-in lover? I don’t recall), so I’m wondering if either there’s something the other characters are missing or if Bishop simply missed an excellent opportunity.
In conclusion, 3.5 stars. Not the best in this series, but I did still enjoy it.