Review: Murder of Crows – Anne Bishop

17563080book purchased by me

Summary:

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.

Review:

I hadn’t actually had plans to finish this book today when I posted my Stacking the Shelves post, but here we are.

After such a stunning first book, it was going to be almost impossible for Murder of Crows to live up to Written in Red. And it kind of was in a way. The thing that I absolutely loved about the first book – the slow reveal of The Others and the life in the Courtyard – that’s all been done. This book is decidedly more plot-focused. One can even argue that as much as Meg is on the cover, and as much as Meg helps drive the plot forward, that this isn’t really her story anymore: it’s Simon’s and by extension, it’s truly a story of The Others this time as, with Meg’s help, they combat a rather nasty (and it is actually gross once you know the details behind the drugs) plot against the terre indigene as a whole.

Thankfully, the plot is stronger than Asia’s was last book and we do get some resolution on The Controller front – I really couldn’t imagine sitting through another book of him looking for Meg to recapture. The plot is still the weakest part of the book, because for all that it’s there it kind of feels like there just isn’t much there there. It worked before because we were exploring the world and getting to know all these people. Here it’s a bit more obvious and characters that were so fascinating last time – like Winter and Spring and the like – get very brief appearances. It’s not necessarily slow, but it is shallow and at some point that’s going to become a problem.

So I’m torn. I enjoyed reading it and I still love the scenes between Meg and the Others, but as the story takes over, it becomes more and more apparent at how this isn’t Bishop’s strong suit. A wonderful world and characters will get you a very long way with me, but at some point the story itself has to pull its weight. It really didn’t in the first book and only kind of did in this one. Vision in Silver comes out March 2015. Let’s hope that it’s put some meat on its bones before then.

Back in the day I read the first several books in the The Black Jewel series before she lost me. Like this series, that series grabbed me with a super-strong opening, but lost me over time as the story failed to hold my attention. I really hope the same doesn’t happen here, especially since it looks like this series will at be at least five books. Open-ended series are always risky propositions, I hope she proves me wrong and that there is enough depth to keep it running for that long.

Verdict: Buy It

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