I really enjoyed this book — for a lot of reasons. I can’t recall the last UF book that portrayed monsters as, well, monsters. The Others in this world Anne Bishop has created aren’t sexy. Or emo. Or anything like human. They see humans as monkeys… as meat. They eat them. And they make no apologies about it. There is a woman that comes into their world, though, that makes them see all humans are not created equal. Some may be worthy of their protection and friendship.
Meg is a cassandra sangue, a blood prophet. Women of her kind spend their entire lives imprisoned and bled for prophecy. But she uses her gifts to escape. She seeks refuge in the Courtyard, the land of the Others, and takes a job as their human liason. The Courtyard leader, Simon, senses something different about her. His wolf senses categorize her as “not-prey,” though he doesn’t understand why. It isn’t until after Meg has wound her way into the affections of those who live in the community, that her true nature is exposed. Then, they must all band together to protect her from the humans who want to get her back under their thumbs.
The only very small criticism I have about the book is that Meg is a little too-good-to-be-true. The book does acknowledge, though, that her emotional innocence is part of her heritage. And she is just so damn likeable!
Simon is the male lead, but I wouldn’t call him the hero in the traditional sense. You can clearly see a bond forming between him and Meg, true, but this isn’t a romance. (Maybe later? I would like that!) It’s all about the way this woman plants the seeds of change in the Courtyard community with her goodness. Her simple kindness and positive approach manages to break down the prejudice the Others feel toward humanity. As the story unfolds, we see the characters among the Others become richer and more developed through their interactions with her. Yet they don’t lose their edge. We never forget they are vastly powerful or that they are killers. Simply put, she becomes theirs.
The secondary characters are plentiful and add so much to the story. By the time the book was done, I felt like I knew the beings who inhabit the Courtyard. I cheered for them. I rallied for their defeat of the humans who turned out to be an entirely different breed of monster.
The tone is dark and intense. There’s plenty of tension and action. I was 100% invested, and when it was over, I was so disappointed that there was no more to read. I’m really looking forward to taking the next step on this journey!
*ARC Provided by Roc
Written in Redby Anne BishopRelease Date: March 5, 2013Publisher: Roc