Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

The Others, #4


For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate—both within themselves and within their community...

Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically.

But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs…

“He didn't understand why everyone fussed about taking clean clothes out of a drawer. Underclothes smelled a lot more interesting after the female wore them.”

The first book blew me out of the water as an incredible ride I didn't want to get off of. Unfortunately the ride has faltered as the series continued, even if it stays addictive and hard to put down. The three stars for this one means it's good, but not great, and that's the same reasons as the last book - too much time spend in other's heads and other packs. I don't care about anyone other than the Lakeside folks, but we don't get as much time or character development with them as I'd hoped. I was getting tired of the plot for the human movement a little too, but I'm happy to say a lot of that is finally resolved in this book.

The story is fine but the shifting of too many point of views made the pacing stumble. Thankfully skimming isn't something I'm afraid to do when its needed. There's a fun progression at the end concerning a certain relationship, and I can't complain about anything that's in the actual town and the actual characters I enjoy. As with the other books, this dark series packs a humorous punch, so we do get some cute moments to lighten the mood.

The world-building is complex, strongly conceived, and unique - but I dare so the author went a little too big in the scope for this one? To start with one small town and their lives and then start spiraling out to cover more and more people is tricky to do and handle well. Sure, the new characters are interesting and may be fine in their own right, but we didn't necessarily need to be in their heads so much or see their stories first hand. It almost felt like an anthology of different stories in different towns in one book.

While there is a fun promising spark for the two mains, there is little character progression in the main character lives - internally or with each other. It felt like they were kind of pushed to the side for the sake of the larger picture, which isn't what interested me as much as the Lakeside community. I'm more interested in how all this affects the group I like, not the world with new players.

   Book Quotes:

“And when one kind of animal overruns an area to the point where many kinds of animal begin to starve, it’s up to the predators to thin out the herds before there’s nothing left for anyone. That’s a simple truth whether you’re talking about deer or humans.”

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