Tue
Mar 8 2016 1:30pm

First Look: Anne Bishop’s Marked in Flesh (March 8, 2016)

Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

Anne Bishop
Marked in Flesh (The Others #4)
Roc / March 8, 2016 / $27.00 print, $13.99 digital

The escalating war between the Others and the HFL (Humans First and Last) comes to a head when a series of violent acts against the Others and their human compatriots results in tragedy. The Lakeside Courtyard has pulled in all the humans who have become important allies and prepares for what is coming next-the Elders. The Elders are a group of ancient Others who rule the wild country and seas. They have already warned the Others that the increasing human intrusion on their lands will not be tolerated.

The terra indigene shifters like the Wolves and Bears, the Hawks and Crows, referred to these forms as the Elders, a benevolent sounding word for the beings were Namid’s teeth and claws.

Meg Corbyn, a blood prophet who escaped her prison and found sanctuary with the Others of the Lakeside Courtyard, is still struggling with her need to cut. She is now known as the Trailblazer after she was able to help rescue the other blood prophets who had been living under the guise of the “benevolent ownership” of various caretakers, who exploited their gift for profit. She and her human friends have been looking for ways for the girls to predict without cutting, as each cut leads them closer to death. Using various other mediums, Meg and a few other blood prophets are discovering other means that are instinctive to them individually but the journey is not without its pitfalls.

More than a cut, he thought uneasily as he rolled up the part of the sheet that had blood on it. She’d been drawing with her own blood...because she needed that color.

The narrative takes an interesting turn as Bishop includes letters, emails, and phone calls to help bring in various other points of views. This is far different from the first three books that were mainly told in the third person present. Other settlements are dealing with the inclusion of the blood prophets and their human allies; showing subtle changes in the relationship dynamics as some of the Others are beginning to stop seeing the humans as prey and more as allies. The feeling of Others becoming “too human” is still a prevalent thought that affects everyone involved in this tentative alliance.  Three main settlements are flashed upon throughout the story, each one having a prophet of sorts whose ties to one another are developing on a more sophisticated level that could bode well for their survival.

Could these girls, these blood prophets, make connections that linked places because of their own connections to other people? Meg and Hope and known each other in the compound where they had been caged and cut so that wealthy humans could know about the future. Meg was still struggling with her own addiction to cutting, but she was the Trailblazer for the rest of the cassandra sangue, and she might have the answers. 

Simon (leader of the Lakeside Courtyard) and Meg’s slow developing romance continues to flow unobstructed underneath the main story line but remains a strong presence as Bishop uses it to highlight the drastic changes occurring in the Lakeside Courtyard and the world. Their burgeoning friendship is one the Others are watching with concern. One wrong move could spell disaster for the tentative bond the Others have formed with humans. The attraction is there on both sides but Simon is unsure how to proceed as love is not an emotion he is familiar with and Meg doesn’t quite recognize her feelings for Simon. She has no real experience in this area and her experiences so far with men have been less than stellar. Their relationship continues to evolve slowly from friendship to something deeper with small but important steps that help to guide them through this new and terrifying territory.

He wished he could shift to wolf and give her hand a couple of licks. He always felt better after giving her hand a lick. Couldn’t do that when he looked human. Could he?

As the Others and their human allies rise up to fight for dominance against the radical HFL and their followers, a dark entity sits on the sidelines-watching and waiting in judgment. Can the Others defeat their enemy on their own terms, or will a far deadlier force step in and end them all?

“On the old maps, you used to put the words, ‘Here Be Monsters.’” Her finger traced a wet curve from the strait that provided entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. She looked at Burke and O’Sullivan, and the punch of that look made Monty feel weak, even though it wasn’t directed at him.

”You should put those words on maps again.”

***

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Tori Benson, Smexybooks and at Twitter.

 

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3 comments
Kareni
1. Kareni
I'm definitely eager to read this! Thanks for the review.
Suzanne R
2. Suzanne R
I love this series. But be aware you NEED to read the books in order. They are not stand-alones as each book builds on the foundations laid in the prior books. The reader is much richer for that development. I highly recommend this series. If you like Nalini Singh and Ilona Andrews, you will love this series.
allyson55
3. allyson55
I love this series and I've just finished Marked In Flesh. Great read and I can't wait for the next book. There will be a next book ... right? ... Right?
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