Thursday, March 24, 2016

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

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 murders 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 whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or of 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.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

"But he [Monty] suspected the thing most of them would share when they returned to their home territories was the story of the exploding fluffballs who used nothing but a teakettle and broom to save a Wolf from an evil human."

After a few good days of procrastinating writing this review, I’ve finally decided to sit my ass down and do it!

 The thing is… I don’t know what to say?? I know, it’s not exactly common to see a book reviewer not knowing what to say about a book, but that’s me! Sometimes I go into weird review-writing-blocks and I have absolutely no ideas or words to share my thoughts on a story. Combine that with my hardship in writing about books I really like and you’ve got yourself a very traumatized reviewer who may or may not start to panic when she sees all the posts she has to make.

Nevertheless, I figured it was about damn time I started to write this, and better to have a crappy review like my usual sort than have none at all!

 I wasn’t sure when I was going to pick up the second book. I had it, but I always like to give myself some time between reading a book and the next of a series. It just helps me set my thoughts properly, and after a few weeks or even months, I have a clearer perspective. However, I was tempted, and I told myself “oh, I just read a few sentences and see how it starts!” next thing I know, I’m on the thirty percent mark with no idea on how time flew by so fast so, kudos to the book for being so engrossing.

 Murder of Crows picks up roughly where Written in Red left us, with Meg safe though still being hunted by her Controller, and with the drugs Gone Over Wolf and Feel Good still causing hardships all through Thaisia. Now Simon Wolfgard is sure that both drugs are coming from Cassandra Sangue, and when Meg has a prophetic dream of Crows being murdered, it’s clear that someone is preparing a systematic attack on the Others.

 I liked how smoothly things carried to this second book, the characters were the same though you could still see how they have developed from the first book. Meg is still sweet and caring, but not at all helpless and lost. She carries herself with a confidence she didn’t have before and it was nice to see her interact not only with the Others in the Compound but also with her sort of “human pack”. If there is something that I love about Meg is how fiercely she cares and defends her friends but without going to the point of becoming a martyr. Her friendship with Mary Lee was more explored now, and I liked it.

 The pace was similar to the first book; not much happens but you can see it’s all building up to something that will explode at the end. I was ok with that, especially when it was clear that the author could write scenes of the Others doing normal things like watching moves or cooking and I was still glued to the pages in anticipation of what was to come. However, I couldn’t enjoy Murder of Crows as much as I could have, and I think that was because it spends a good deal talking about the drugs or Cassandra Sangue without really touching the subject, and that leaves the rest of the characters including Meg and Simon, to have shallow chapters where not much is going on. It was as if the book tried to do a lot at once and ended up a bit empty.

 Another issue I have, and that it has been bugging me since book one, is how one-dimensional the villains are. We’ve got the Controller, who puts a girl alive through a mean-grinder to produce a killing drug; you have all the owners of Cassandra Sangue using and raping girls without a hint of remorse or care. It was as if the author wanted them to be as evil as possible but without giving them depth. I didn’t like how sexual assault was used as a way to show how horrible the girls were treated, but not as something to be discussed about; we never see the subject being approached properly, it was simply “they were raped” and that was it, it was an afterthought that, apparently, wasn’t important enough to be expanded. I disagree, and I kept hoping the author would bring it up, make something good out of it, but rape was simply used as a plot device.

 The rest of the characters were alright, I loved how we could finally see more on Jean! Meg’s friend, and the Intuits were interesting too. The chapters from Vlad’s perspective showed a lot of growth too, through him you could see how much the Other’s perception of humans have changed thanks to Meg and the opportunity of getting to know them better. But, as I said before, there was a lack of depth in the main character’s chapters as well as VIRTUALLY NO SAM! Unacceptable.

 Overall, Murder of Crows was a compelling sequel to Written in Red, although it tries to reach too many subjects at once and ends up rather shallow.

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