Meg Corbyn, a blood prophet, has finally found a place to belong — among the ferocious shapeshifters called the Others. They love and protect Meg from the man who still hunts her. Meg’s prophetic abilities seem to be getting stronger and she is able to foresee violent interactions between the humans and the Others. Meanwhile Monty, a cop, is trying to defuse tensions before war breaks out.
I didn’t much like Written in Red, the first book in Anne Bishop’s THE OTHERS series. As I explained in my review, Meg is one of the dullest people I’ve ever read about. The only thing that makes her interesting is her addiction to cutting herself, but this is so unpleasant that, rather than making me feel sympathetic for Meg, I just feel revolted. I also didn’t believe in Bishop’s world.
However, I picked up the sequel, Murder of Crows, anyway. That’s because there was finally some action at the end of Written in Red, I did care about Monty, and — here’s the clincher — the publisher of the audiobooks sent me a review copy.
Unfortunately, I liked Murder of Crows even less than Written in Red. Meg continues to be a pathetic heroine who is guarded, babied and pampered by the Others. (She is the only human they don’t think of as prey because of her “sweet blood”). I am tired of her weakness and her naiveté. (Just look at the covers for the two books. Doesn’t she look pathetic?) I’m tired of following Meg around while she delivers mail, eats dinner, does her other repetitive mundane tasks, and cuts herself.
While Meg hasn’t changed at all, Simon has become a completely different character. In Written in Red he was portrayed as an uber alpha male who everyone feared and obeyed. He was bossy and controlling. Now he’s still snarling and growling, but in some ways he’s become just as silly and naïve as Meg has. Now he’s a puppy instead of a wolf. He refers to Meg as his “squeaky toy.”
For example, for protection and comfort Meg has been sleeping with Simon in his cuddly wolf form. At the beginning of Murder of Crows, Meg has woken up next to Simon’s human form (he wanted to be able to talk to her, which he can’t in wolf form). She freaks out because he’s a naked man, but she’s so confused about why sleeping with Simon as a man is different from sleeping with him as a wolf. Likewise Simon, a man who, we learned in the first book, has had sex with adventurous human women, is confused about why Meg thinks sleeping with him as a naked man instead of a furry wolf makes a difference. He complains to many of the other characters about this, asking for their opinions. Then when Meg starts menstruating, he can smell her blood and he gets even more confused, like he’s never been around human women before (he has female human employees). Then he goes around telling everyone that Meg’s in season. Much of the drama (so much drama!) comes from this sort of silliness. Seriously, are they both so naïve? I found their relationship icky and weird. It was like a woman having an affair with her puppy. Not sexy at all.
I continue to have problems believing in Bishop’s world and the relationship between humans and others. Just like Meg and Simon, both the humans and the Others seem impractical and immature in how they deal with each other. There seems to be nobody rational in charge — nobody who makes smart executive decisions about how their own group will respond to the other. Nobody who will try to negotiate peace between the Others (who view humans as “meat”) and the humans who lash out in frustration. It’s chaos and anarchy and it doesn’t work for either group. It’s hard to sympathize or root for anyone. The only character I can respect is Monty the policeman who’s kind of stuck in the middle.
I’m sorry to say that there was nothing I liked about Murder of Crows, but again I want to mention that other readers LOVE it (see rating at Amazon and Goodreads). So, don’t let me stop you from giving it a try. The audio version is fine. The dumb-sounding voice that Alexandra Harris uses for Meg, and the angsty growling voice she uses for Simon, are slightly annoying but probably just what is intended by the author. Harris’ tempo and prosody are not as natural as they could be, but it’s not too distracting. I noticed that she pronounces BOW (an acronym for Box on Wheels) as “bow” instead of “b. o. w.“ this time. That’s fine, but the change threw me out of the story for a few seconds every time the word was used.
I’m not going to read any more in this series. I feel like I wasted my time.