THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shapeshifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves...
After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness...
As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.
With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave...
- ISBN10 0451474503
- ISBN13 9780451474506
- Publish Date 6 February 2018 (first published 9 March 2017)
- Publish Status Active
- Publish Country US
- Publisher Penguin Putnam Inc
- Imprint ROC (imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc)
- Format Paperback (US Mass Market)
- Pages 528
- Language English
- URL https://penguinrandomhouse.com/books/isbn/9780451474506
The Humans First and Last Movement has been destroyed along with a good portion of the human population. Humans forgot that they existed and thrived in Thaisai at the benevolence of the terre indigene who owned and leased the lands to them so they could create their towns and cities. Now the entire continent will wait to see when, and even if, Intuits, terre indigene and remaining humans can start again.
The Elders killed off a significant portion of the troublesome humans who declared they didn’t have enough and who tried to kill the terre indigene. But while they might have killed off many of the members of the Humans First and Last Movement, the Elders (Namid’s teeth and claws) have no idea that there is such a things as good and bad humans. To them, all humans were behaving badly. Since the decency of the human being destroyed wasn’t a factor in the Elders choices, there are still plenty of humans looking to profit off of others and who think they deserve more.
While most of the Elders have gone back into the corners of the wild country, a few have stayed behind to watch and observe the wolf and the howling-not-wolf (Simon and Meg) and the rest of the Lakeside Courtyard which now includes a human pack. They are still watching and waiting to see if leaving even some humans alive was the right decision.
One of the humans looking to profit off of others is Lt Montgomery’s own brother, Cyrus. Monty wants his brother gone before he creates a problem that could cause the Elders to finish what they started. But the Elders want to observe this “bad human” closely so that they can make a determination in the future of which humans are better to simply eat and be done with it. Everyone in the Courtyard and in the Police Department knows that Cyrus is a bomb just waiting to explode and destroy everything they have been working so hard again but with the Elders demanding a front row seat for the fireworks, they can’t do anything but watch and wait and hope. But while they are waiting and hoping, Cyrus is plotting and everyone is going to be sorry.
It is not just Lakeside and the Courtyard that are recovering from the recent purge. Many of the human-run towns in the midwest have been decimated and one of them in Bennett. They need new workers and trained professions. They also need to make sure there is a mix of the terre indigne, Intuits, Simple Life and humans and they want Simon’s help weeding out the candidates to fill the needed positions. This will set us up for Wild Country which releases in March 2019, where we will go to Bennett and see how things go with the candidates that we meet at the Job Fair.
I love the world building in this series and I very much like the twist of shifters who are animals who turn into humans (it is a very important difference).
I do have some issues with the cutting of the blood prophets and also some concerns that anything sexual in this series is references to rape, abuse and sexual assault. I understand that kissing isn’t a wolf-thing but in the first book, Simon address the fact that some humans like to come to the Courtyard to get wild and have sex with terre indigene. Even Simon did this, and wonders if it would be different if the human was Meg. This was the only book in the entire series actually addresses the fact that the feelings that Simon and Meg feel are strong than just a simple bond of friendship, but that if things changed from friends to more between Simon and Meg and it did not work out, their break up could have devastating repercussions throughout the Courtyard and the Town of Lakeside and maybe even Thaisai as a whole. In this series, Meg is uncomfortable with naked Simon when he changes from wolf to human because his nakedness (not really any of the others) makes her uncomfortable and she keeps him at arms length whenever tensions build between them. Yet in a moment after Meg experiences the haze and euphoria following a prophecy (which is basically an orgasm), a bad human sexually assaults her and was going to rape her but stops when he is almost discovered. So Simon and Meg exploring their growing bond sexually is a no-no and bad for the series but Meg almost being raped is a plot point?
The pros in this series outweigh the cons but I have had moments when I want to give the author a hug and ask if there is anything she wants to talk about.
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I put off reading this book for far too long, and if I’m being honest that was partially because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the characters I’ve grown very fond of, such as Meg and Simon, as well as Tess and Henry and all of the others. I know if I give it a chance I’ll end up liking the new characters just as much, but saying goodbye is still very difficult (I’m sure more readers sympathize with that).
Warnings first: There’s a decent amount of talk (and implication) about certain (human) females being pimped out by the abusive men in their lives. It’s pretty uncomfortable at times, especially when a younger boy starts imitating this behavior (very disturbing). There’s also a scene where sexual assault does occur; it’s done from the perpetrator’s perspective, and you can clearly see his thoughts because of it, and thus know he wanted to do more. It’s disturbing and may upset some people, so please be warned.
So you probably remember everything that happened in the last novel (and if not you should probably stop reading this review?). A lot of the events previously were on a global scale, while Etched in Bone is on a slightly smaller scale. The Terra Indigene are looking towards Lakeside to answer a very important question: How much human do we want to keep?
That question can be interpreted in many different ways, and the construal is partially dependent on who is the one considering it. It could mean how many humans they’re going to allow to live (I’d certainly understand the temptation to sort out and remove all HFL members). Or it could mean what sort of humans will be allowed to remain (minor differences in description, but it could be the difference between allowing just the Intuits to stay or the Intuits and select humans). Or they could be referring to human technology, customs, and products. More likely the question is meant to encompass all of these concerns.
The real problem is having this sort of question resting on your shoulders. Can you imagine being any member of the Lakeside Courtyard, knowing your actions could decide the fate of thousands? That goes double for Meg and Simon (the elders of the Terra Indigene seem particularly fond of her, so this may either save or damn the human race).
Because everything and everyone is so focused on Lakeside right now, all of the problems seem so much smaller, especially following a global event like the one that occurred in Marked in Flesh. Which explains some of the complaints I’ve seen from unhappy readers. All of the problems that occur in this novel revolve solely around the residents of Lakeside Courtyard and their family. That means the pool from which to pull an antagonist from is somewhat limited.
I’ll confess I didn’t really like the villain of this story (and trust me, you’ll know who I’m referring to the minute he’s introduced, there’s no subtlety about him or his behavior). I’m not sure if Anne Bishop did too good of a job making him nasty, or if it was something else (perhaps the idea that this man is representing the human race?) but I just really did not enjoy any scene that included him.
While I didn’t like the antagonist himself, I did appreciate the reason behind his staying in the Courtyard. I can understand the logic of the elders here, and even though it was obvious they didn’t understand his type of human enough to understand the dangers (they believe that since he couldn’t hurt them he wasn’t a threat, which is incorrect considering those they care for can be hurt by this man). Naturally their underestimation of this man led to the whole ploy biting them in their behinds, but I can honestly see this sort of situation happening.
I know some people were upset with the conclusion as far as Meg and Simon’s romance is concerned (don’t worry, I’m going to be vague here for the sake of those that haven’t read it), but I personally was pleased with it. The focus has always been more on the emotional side of things, especially when one considers the trauma Meg has gone through. This makes what happen feel the most realistic to me. I also felt that it showed Simon’s true feelings for Meg, and vice versa. Plus, I’ll just say it, it was cute.
I’m still a little anxious about the idea of getting used to a whole new set of characters in Lake Silence. Hopefully there will be a crossover or two, to help with the transition. Either way, I think I’ll be diving into it sooner rather than later. Now that I’m caught up in this series I would like to stay that way.
For more reviews, check out Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks
Anne Bishop has found a diehard fan in me. Throughout this series, Bishop’s authorial skills have consistently blown my mind. On few occasions have I been so utterly consumed and immersed in a fictional world as I was in that of The Others. Bishop left no detail untouched. She created such a consuming fictitious climate that I became wrapped up in the politics of Lakeside and beyond, finding startling parallels between Bishop’s world and my own.
In specific regards to Etched in Bone, the story arc felt very similar to previous installments, albeit with a different villain. But I definitely can’t accuse Bishop’s writing of being formulaic. Her world is far too intricate for that accusation to stick. At any given point, Bishop could have taken the story in a number of directions and the reader would have never been sure of what to expect. I’ve noticed that Bishop is fond of “red herrings” which often start to lead the reader down one path before quickly making a dramatic turn. I was hardly ever able to guess where the story was truly headed.
The vividness of Anne Bishop’s writing does not only extend to world development, but also to character development. In Etched in Bone, Bishop introduced a new antagonist and one for whom I had an immediate loathing. Cyrus Montgomery was mentioned in Marked In Flesh and I already knew I would dislike him, but I had no idea how much. No other antagonist in recent memory has produced such strong negative reactions in me. There were a handful of times when I actually had to momentarily stop listening to the story in order to bring my heart rate down after becoming so angry at Cyrus Montgomery. To be able to produce such a physiological reaction in a reader is a testament to Bishop’s abilities as a storyteller.
As you can tell, I’m totally in love with this series. It’s a sociological experiment in the form of urban fantasy literature. However, that does not mean it’s for everyone. There is material throughout the series that would definitely be rightfully disturbing to a number of folks. Parts of it were upsetting to me and I don’t consider myself to have very many reading sensitivities. Self-harm is a key theme in The Others. It also occasionally features several types of abuse and I especially don’t recommend it to anyone sensitive to reading about sexual abuse. I strongly suggest knowing what are you are/aren’t comfortable reading before giving The Others a try.
Narration review: When I first started this series, I was a bit put off by Alexandra Harris’ style of narration. Since then, I have come to regard her as one of the top characterization specialists I’ve ever heard. Her ability to provide vocal distinction between characters is the number one reason I recommend the audio version of The Others over the traditional book format. Harris puts on a one-woman play in the minds of listeners. ♣︎
We see and hear a lot about the state of Thaisia after Namid’s claws, and teeth handled the uprising. Most of the land has been reclaimed leaving humans in smaller areas. There are food and gas shortages that even effect the Lakeside community. Ration cards have been distributed, and the Others are working hard to restore order. The Simple Life people are doing well as are most of the Intuits. We learn about progress being made, and even the Lakeside community aids the cause by interviewing humans for jobs on farms and cities being run similar to Lakeside. I loved all these little tidbits of information.
It was wonderful spending time within the Lakeside community. The interactions between the characters and the way Simon and the others handle situations as they arise kept me fully engaged. We learn more about the cassandra sangue and are rewarded with some answers. We learn what happens when one of their cuts is reopened. Meg is learning to use other methods, but does share some prophecy and finds herself in danger. One of my favorite parts of the story is a meal shared with the others and humans living within the Lakeside community. Montgomery's Mom is a force to reckoned with and made me smile. For those eager to see what develops between Meg and Simon, we are rewarded and I felt Bishop handled it beautifully.
While I was saddened to see our time at Lakeside come to a close, I was excited to learn that stories in this world will continue. LAKE SILENCE, the sixth book in the Others series will take us to the Jumble located on the shore of Lake Silence. Vicki and the town’s residents are facing a series of vicious murders in their community. I cannot wait to travel there!
If you haven't started this series, consider grabbing your earbuds. Alexandra Harris does a spectacular job of narrating. I love her pacing, tone and the unique voices she creates for each character.
ETCHED IN BONE was delightful from beginning to end and was the perfecting ending for the Lakeside community. I hope we still hear about these characters. Perhaps one of the Crows will be a penpal to a human in the Jumble community.
Audio provided by publisher This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer
This is one of my favorite series. I love the really dark aspects of the others in this series. If you’re not familiar with this series, the others are supernatural creatures that are less human than most of what you read in UF/PNR. These are animals that have mimicked humans, but really have no use for them. The think of humans a “monkeys”. That is until Meg Corbyn stumbled into their courtyard in the first book. Everything else, as they say, is history.
So, in the previous book, Namid’s teeth and claws put a stop to the Humans First and Last movement. The Lakeside Courtyard is trying to get things back into a sense of normalcy. More of the human and police packs have moved into the courtyard. Meg is working to tell prophecy with her cards instead of cutting.
The Elders are trying to decide which humans they should keep and which should be killed off to prevent another attack. When Monty’s con-artist brother shows up, the Elders make Simon let him stay so that they could study him. Simon tries to talk them out of it, but they don’t understand how a single human could cause more chaos than all the terra indigene, elementals and elders could handle.
Ending a series is a tough thing. I’ve read some really great books that end a series. I’ve also read some that left me disappointed and it taints the entire series. While this book was amazing, it didn’t really feel like an ending to a series to me. I felt like there could me more to this series. I don’t want to give the impression that I didn’t enjoy this book, I did, a LOT. It just didn’t feel like a series finale to me. It didn’t have the that wrap up, that I’m used to. Maybe I’ll feel better about the ending of this series after I read the first spinoff book and see where Ms. Bishop takes this world. You can bet that I will be all over her next book.
I’ve been listening to this series since book one. I’ve always enjoyed Alexandra Harris’s narration. I think she is the perfect voice for Meg. I also like her voices of all the other characters too. I think she does a great job with elementals and Elders. Growly, Simon. I don’t know that it could’ve been done better. I’ve not listened to her read any other books besides this series, but I would definitely grab anything with her as the narrator.
**I like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I'm so sad this is the last book. I've heard there will be another book in the same world, but not centered around the Courtyard we've come to know and love.
There is a lot of emotion in this book. Everything from funny moments (Meg treating an Elder as a naughty puppy), to emotional abuse. There is definitely a case of "some people shouldn't be allowed to have kids" in the book.
The police play a large role in this book, as do the Elders, and of course Meg and Simon. There is more relationship building on all sides, and we come full circle as Meg once again follows prophecy visions.
You would think that by book 5, there wouldn't be much left to world-build with, but there are still a few surprises in store. All the characters have felt so real in every single book, and this final one is no exception. There were a few twists I didn't see coming, as well as ones that I did (and have hoped for, for ages now!) This is definitely a series I will be re-reading for years to come.
If you haven't read this series yet, you are really missing out!
This review was originally posted on Fantasy of the Silver Dragon