This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.
This turned out to be my favorite book in the series. It is a really great series so that is saying a lot. It took me almost a week to read this book. Not because it was slow but because I was extremely busy with work. Anytime I had a free moment, I had this book in my hands and I enjoyed everything I read. There were some moments that really stayed with me and one scene was so touching that I had to stop reading so that I could share what was happening with my family. It was a really nice conclusion to the story revolving around this group of characters.
Some of the earlier books in the series spent quite a bit of time away from the Courtyard. This book stays with Meg, Simon, and the other characters living within the Courtyard which I actually liked a whole lot better. This book has a big focus on the humans that have become a part of the community, including Jimmy and his family who are new additions. The Others and the humans are working well together and things are looking really promising except that Jimmy and his family are not making life easy.
Jimmy is Lt. Montgomery's brother. Montgomery actually has his entire family at the Courtyard including his mother, daughter, sister, and her daughters. He didn't invite his brother who has been a trouble maker and criminal for years. Jimmy finds out where they are and shows up and starts causing trouble the moment he arrives. It was really easy to hate Jimmy and his wife was no better.
It has been really nice to see this group of characters grow and their relationships develop over the course of the series. Simon and Meg become closer with each book and some of the humans are also becoming very attached. Montgomery's mother, Twyla, was amazing in this book. She says what needs to be said and is firm but extremely caring. There is a scene with Skippy that really moved me and Twyla's reaction to everything made it even more. This is a series that really does need to be read in order since each book builds upon the previous one.
I would highly recommend this series to fans of urban fiction. I am looking forward to future books in this series even though they are supposed to be about a different group of characters. I have my fingers crossed that we will get a least a glimpse of these characters again.
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group - Roc via NetGalley.
I liked this book a lot. One of my favorites in the series. I liked that it was really focused on the characters in the courtyard. Skippy earned a special place in my heart in this story.
Etched in Bone marks the fifth installment of Anne Bishop's novels of the Others and picks up right where Marked in Flesh left off... and I like where it goes for the most part.
The book seemed to focus more on the inter-species politics than the first four... and by that I mean actual attempts at politic and civil resolutions (instead of just eating the offenders). We have the humans who want to work with the Others to ensure their own survival, the Others who have come to care for their human pack (and some of the technologies they've never bothered to master on their own), the humans who court extinction, and the Others who are only just starting to pay attention to the events going on in the world at large.
One thing I can say for Bishop is that she knows how to write characters that you love to hate, especially manipulative, self-important, abusive men. There are times when civilization does not suit the Others, especially when they are seeking to understand malicious humans in their midst. You'll be happy when the inevitable hammer comes down on the villain of this story.
Meg and the Elders led to a bit of amusement, a semi-common occurrence considering she look like 'meat' to the Others but does not smell like prey. My continued appreciation and unease with how cutting is handled continues, though there is considerably less self-harm here than in previous novels. Instead we get more focus on her attempts to divert the impulse and developing new strategies. And if you've been waiting for Meg and Simon's relationship to start actually becoming more than friends, you'll see some development, but in their own particular ways.
Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Roc (Penguin RandomHouse) in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.
Every book in this series have been marathon reads for me, and Etched in Bone was no exception. I picked it up yesterday morning and pretty much did absolutely nothing else until I read the last page about midnight last night (although I did stop, in the name of marital harmony, to shovel some dinner down; luckily, there was a footy game on last night, so the shovelling went largely unnoticed).
I have loved every moment of this series; been sucked into this world so thoroughly that interruptions leave me hazy about reality and I have been as attached to these characters as much as, or more, than any others. Possibly more than real people I know.
But... this one; this final book concerning Meg and Simon, was not as great as the first 4. Because this book deviated from the rules the author created for The Others. In any of the other books, Jimmy would have been a stain on the sidewalk before chapter 3. I get what she was trying to do here, I get what she wanted to explore, but it was not done as gracefully, and the effect felt forced; its execution more heavy handed. In short, Jimmy got on my nerves; I stopped being horrified and started getting irritated and mumbling 'why isn't this man dead yet???'.
Still, I'd recommend this to anyone who likes urban fantasy and/or parables. Because this whole series is one giant parable about the human race: our capacity for grace, our capacity for vice, and our wholesale destruction of everything in our path as long as we remain unchecked. As horrifying as The Others are, I can't look around at what's going on today and not sort of wish our Earth had Naimid's teeth and claws to protect her.
I'm attached so thoroughly to these characters in the Courtyard, I'm not sure I'll read the next book; which is apparently in the same universe but with a different setting and characters. I want more Tess! But I'll definitely be re-reading these.
Etched in Bone is the fifth and final book in the utterly amazing, wholly original The Others series by Anne Bishop. The story picks up just after the conclusion of powerful events of the previous book, and is the culmination of everything learned since Meg arrived in the Lakeside Courtyard way back in the first book.
Etched in Bone deals with the limited transportation and food shortages created when the Elders culled many humans and took back human-controlled towns. The new living situation brings out a different kind of human "predator,” and the Elders must determine how much human they want to keep in the world. Having two Elders observe the Lakeside Courtyard places Simon in a precarious situation; he must allow a dangerous human (Officer Montgomery’s shady brother, Jimmy) to stay in near the Courtyard so the Elders can figure out what makes him a bad type of human (and therefore they will be able to destroy those humans that are a threat). Simon, along with the other Terra Indigine and some of the more astute humans like Burke and Monty, recognize that the fate of all humankind depends on what happens in Lakeside. This sets up a number of situations that endanger the lives and wellbeing of many of the Lakeside Courtyard residents, weaving a sense of urgency around the moments of everyday living.
Like all the previous books in the series, readers (listeners) are privy to an unpleasant series of events that unfold over the course of Etched in Bone and witness how the Terra Indigine react. Although is it evident where the story is headed, it's still gripping. This time around, I liked how well the Others and humans worked together, but I also like that the Lakeside residents are now able to recognize a human predator. The introduction of Monty’s mother, Twyla, adds a missing human/pack grandmother component. She is able to understand the ways of the the Others and put her own way of handling a situation into their framework. Her presence is calming, knowing that she is able to handle the craziness with a firm but caring hand.
Additionally, Etched in Bone progresses the unique relationship between Simon and Meg. By now, it is evident to all, expect Simon and Meg, that the pair are in love. Because love between a human and Other hasn’t existed before, and due to Meg’s abusive history, the couple’s dilemmas are different than expected. I absolutely love that Simon gets advice on how to navigate his relationship with Meg through "kissy books!”
After messing with the speed over the course of the series, the narration works best for me at 1.25x speed, and I will freely admit that I am now a huge fan of Ms. Harris’s performance in the series. I've grown to love every voice Ms. Harris performs, each as familiar as the characters themselves. The narrator continues to keep the joy and nativity of Meg, and the gruff predator of Simon. She nails the creep factor of mooch Jimmy, the whine of Jimmy's wife, and the confidence of Burke and Kowalski.
Etched in Bone is another wonderful story in The Others series. The characters have grown so much, and I adore all the Courtyard residents. I've come to think of them as friends and have such an interest in seeing them succeed. I loved just listening to the day-to-day details and life of the Lakeside Courtyard, along with the new experiences for Meg, the Others, the Elders, and everyone in the mixed community. The author ended the series with many (if not all) of the outstanding details wrapped up, yet not completely finalized. After finishing Etched in Bone, I am hopeful for the future of the people/creatures of this interesting world (and really want more!).
My Rating: A-
Review copy provided by Penguin Random House Audio