No one creates realms like New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop. Now in a thrilling new fantasy series, enter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities—vampires and shape-shifters among them—who rule the Earth and whose prey are humans. As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.
Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.
“Vlad hated doing the paperwork as much as he did when a human employee quit, which was why they'd both made a promise not to eat quitters just to avoid the paperwork. As Tess had pointed out, eating the staff was bad for morale and made it so much harder to find new employees.”
For some reason when reading the first half of this one as a Kindle sample, I couldn't get into it. Maybe it was mood, maybe it was insanity. Either way, I tried again and loved it - finally saw what so many Urban Fantasy fans were gushing about.
As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse.
She escapes her controller and the compound she had been held, daring to find safety at a paranormally- ran town that needs to hire humans but doesn't like them. The world-building in this one is dark, detailed and unusual. Humans are the lesser species and mostly despised and misunderstood, or at least some of them are. Lakeside is blended with a varied bunch of supernaturals - aggressive but awesome Simon; a traumatized young wolf who can't shift form, Sam; a funny but vicious vampire family (funny because of how much they misunderstand); the element Winter, a little girl who holds the harshest control of all, and several others. The Crowguard grows on you.
“Is it that time of the month?” Vlad asked.
Some feeling blew through her. It might have been embarrassment, but she suspected it was closer to rage. “What?”
He studied her. “Is that not an appropriate question to ask?”
“Odd. In many novels I’ve read, human males often ask that question when a female is acting…” Puzzlement as he continued to study her face. “Although, now that I consider it, they usually don’t make that observation to the female herself.”
As Meg settles in she has to worry about kidnappers and intruders, fitting in without being killed, people finding out her secret and value, resisting cutting herself to death outside the compound, and getting out of trouble when she accidentally breaks 'societal' rules like putting Sam on a leash.
It does have its amusing moments and these work to make the series charming, but trust me it's a dark ride. The paranormals see all humans as meat. They don't shy away from killing and show little sympathy. It's definitely an "other" mentality where humankind doesn't have respect by the others, who ultimately control everything.
Meg as a protagonist is enjoyable. I like how the crows are particularly protective of her at first, and her way of bonding with the ponies. The ending finale is a tightly paced and tense one, showing how much she has grown in the hearts and minds of those Others in the village. It's not particularly suspenseful as a whole but the book is intriguing, easy to read, hard to put down. I did grow bored with some of the sideline stories with the cops, who play a large part in the story as well to add in that normal human element, but this can be overlooked.
“Whether you’re beaten or pampered, fed the best foods or starved, kept in filth or kept clean, a cage is still a cage."