Review: Murder of Crows (The Others #2) by Anne Bishop – Hell to the YES!!

Review: Murder of Crows (The Others #2) by Anne Bishop – Hell to the YES!!

17563080Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Action, Fantasy
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publishing House: Roc
Number of Pages: 448
Source: Amazon AU
Check out on GOODREADS
Pre-Order on AMAZON [US, UK, AU (available now)] | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY

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

First of all, before I begin my review, let me just thank all the gods and higher deities out there for the fact that I am still alive to see this day. I’ve waited all year for this book to come out, and while it was a long one that pushed my endurance to the limits, I waited with much eagerness and patience, and I was rewarded accordingly with one hell of a sequel.

M-may I get some tissues, please?

Now that that’s over with…

OH HELL TO THE YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!!!!


It’s no secret that I hold Written in Red close to my heart. I was introduced to the series when I saw Wendy Darling’s review. Convinced that I was in for a ride, I got myself the book not too long after, but what I didn’t expect was for me to love – no, ADORE – it so much. If you know me, I’m not usually into Paranormal or Urban Fantasy. I mean I read books from these genres, but I pick very selectively and only if the premise is interesting enough to reel me away from my post-apocalyptic and fantasy reads. Written in Red did and blew my socks out of the water and held me in its grasp and I didn’t even care. It’s that kind of book you’d do anything for. Let me kiss your toes, do your dishes, or wash your dirty laundry. Just please give me my The Others fix.

As for Murder of Crows? It was everything I wanted and more and it only intensified my adoration of the series and the characters I’ve grown to love. In this installment, the problem that started in Jerzy, the one where humans and Others alike were slaughtered, continues to escalate and has spread to other regions. Crows are being drugged and viciously killed here and there, protests against The Others continue endlessly, and tension between the two parties keeps on rising. Meg is still being hunted, and the Controller sent another one on her way… and things are about to get reaaally ugly.

Here are the things I loved about this book:

Relationship Dynamics Between the Characters

This is effortlessly the best part of Murder of Crows and the series as a whole. I love the relationships between the characters. Even though there are so many of them in this book – Wolves, Crows, Hawks, Coyotes, Vampires, Elementals, Bears, Ponies, Harvesters and many others, all of them dangerous and a force to reckon with – they still felt very personal, like they’re my close friends or something. Usually when there are so many of them, you start only connecting and feeling for a few, especially those with more exposure, but in this particular book, even though certain characters had lesser moments their presences could still be largely felt. I think what makes them stand out so much is how they treat and interact with each other.

Example, the dynamics between Meg and the Others… Because of her kindness and her innocent naivety, she softened the hearts of many of the creatures the rest of her brethren deemed highly dangerous. Not many of them received such gentle treatment from the other side of the coin, so it confused them and they eventually accepted her as their own. It was fun seeing them learn from each other and protect one another in their own ways. Another is between the Others and the policemen (Monty, Burke, Debany, Kowalski, Lorenzo etc.). Aside from Meg, Simon and his friends didn’t have any reason to trust other humans, but because they police has shown how willing they were to ease the tension and keep the peace, we see the walls that were erected so tightly for centuries slowly crumbling down, to the point that Simon et al would sometimes show their vulnerability without hesitation. Knowing well how these two parties have been at each other’s throats since the start of time, this was absolutely fascinating to read, and I’m thirsty for more because I want to see how the development between the two will continue to grow.

PLUS, SIMON AND MEG. Even though romance is hardly the central point of this book (which works well because it’s the “we are all family” vibe that is), the continuous development of these two made me giggle like a schoolgirl. I just love how Simon remains to be confused of his feelings for Meg. He knows they’re pretty much different – he a Wolf, she a Human/Blood Prophet – but he can’t help the human feelings he keeps on getting whenever something concerns her. He placed boundaries (“she’s a friend”) and yet he himself can’t find the courage to follow through them. I found all of this extremely adorable and endearing! If you loved their dynamic in the first book, expect to love it even more in this installment.

“The Terra Indigene shift without thinking about it,” Merri Lee said. “At least that’s the impression I’ve had – shifting from one form to the other is no more significant to them than us changing from work clothes to casual, comfy clothes. So maybe it didn’t even register with Simon that he had shifted except that he felt cold. You did say he’s been sleeping with you since you got home from the hospital.”

“Yes, but as a wolf-shaped Wolf,” Meg said. “A furry Wolf is warm and cuddly. A people-shaped Wolf is… a man.”


Awesomeness Personified

I know it’s pretty shallow, but it was kind of thanks to Twilight and the PNR books that followed its footsteps that I became wary of the genre. I hated how it romanticized these creatures that were meant to be dangerous and to be feared, so I was extremely happy when I found out Written in Red went back to the roots and made the very same paranormal creatures be what they were supposed to be – feral, brutal, merciless, and have moral compasses of their own that are beyond human comprehension.

It was therefore really refreshing to finally see a vampire being feared and being able to kill in a bloody fashion (pun intended); of wolves howling battlecries and ripping your stomach open with one swipe of its paw; of elementals and its disaster-named ponies (Whirlpool, Cyclone, Thunder, Fog etc) wrecking havoc and destroying everything in sight… we’ve seen a bit of their power in the first book, but you see them once more here and you’ll be surprised how brutal they can really get if they really put their minds to it. Even though the chaos were far and few between, you can really feel the insanity of their strengths and capabilities as well as the stupidity of the humans who dared go against them.

Tension. Tension Everywhere.

This book is filled with a lot of tension, especially between the humans and the Others. As we all know, the continent of Thaisia has always been the property of Namid’s creatures, and they’ve only “rented” it to people in exchange for goods and services. However, as the the human population grew, so did their want to expand and get more resources, which is kinda hard to do considering they’re only borrowing (at a price) in the first place. But since it has possibly been milleniums since their ancestors made their treaty, they’ve forgotten this pact and unrest blossomed resulting to an animosity between the two that would sometimes erupt in violence.

To be honest, I kind of loved the uneasiness in the air. I hated the unfairness being given by the humans to the Others in the Couryard, such as refusing to deliver goods to them and saying they’re out of stock whenever a paranormal creature would want to buy human merchandises. Because of this, I couldn’t help siding with the Others in their plight. Every time I’d see a human overstepping his boundaries, I’d mentally make a snide comment saying, “Dude, are you forgetting your lives are pretty much borrowed right now? You’re on their turf, you dimwit! They can turn you inside out before you can even blink!” And every time they’re reminded of their place, I can’t help but punch the air in victory. Yes, humans, I’m sorry but I’m kinda going to have to side with them. You were being douchebags.

Overall…

ABSOLUTELY LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! This was an exciting second book and my only complaint was that I wish it were longer (448 pages only?! This needs another 1000!!). It’s kind of a big number to think about it, but frack, man, I was flying through the pages and the next thing I knew I was at the end already. That’s a sign of a great book right there, folks – when you can’t be bothered to be distracted because you’re that engrossed. I loved everything about this book and I am eager to read more. The world-building is awesome, the characters are adorable, the dynamics are refreshing… is there anything else you could possibly ask for?

Actually, there is.

WHEN IS THE NEXT BOOK COMING OUT?!?!?!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Overall: 4.9
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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

Comments

  1. Okay, I am not going to read this review yet because I have mine waiting to be done, BUT BUT BUT. I saw your rating and excited gifs and am so happy that you loved this one, too! Wasn’t it amazing? I loved both the story and the way the relationship is developing. I will check out your full review on GoodReads once I’ve gotten off my butt and written mine.

    (It’s hard, though. In addition to being busy, with 4 of us sometimes scheduling is tough too, hah.)
    Wendy Darling recently posted…The Golden Compass: Discussion + March Book AnnouncementMy Profile

    • I look forward to your review, Wendy! It was YOUR review in the first place that convinced me to try out Written in Red :”>

      • *preens*

        There was SO much tension in this book–you are totally right! And the characters were all amazing–I loved learning about all the different shifters, too. I kind of hope we spend more time with the others, although I love all the wolf stuff so much. It might actually be kind of interesting if she does spinoffs with other kinds of animals. Like Tess should have her own series, and maybe those smoke creatures. :D
        Wendy Darling recently posted…Murder of Crows: reviewMy Profile

  2. Okay, OKAY! I will check this out and read it, too. I am not really into this genre (this is more of my co-blogger Kate’s alley), but your review convinced me!
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Book Review 133 : The Blue Sword by Robin McKinleyMy Profile

  3. Damn! I’ve read Bishop’s Black Jewel series and liked it, so I’m definitely curious about this one. It sounds amazing!
    Christy recently posted…Nil by Lynne MatsonMy Profile

  4. Faye..i skimmed your review because I am 70% done with the audio version of Written in Red and OMG…HELL to the YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Romancing the Duke by Tessa DareMy Profile

  5. Hah I love it when a book comes around and blows your socks off! But even more so when it’s the second book in a series, this rarely happens with me these days, so I’m pretty stoked for you! I too have been pretty burned by the paranormal genre, that I’m really selective in the paranormal books that I do decide to pick up, but now after recommendations from both you and Wendy for this series, I know for sure that I won’t be making a mistake in giving this book a go. The world and characters sound absolutely amazing! Wonderful review Faye!
    Jasprit recently posted…Cover Reveal: Caged in Winter by Brighton WalshMy Profile

  6. WOW! What an amazing rave review, I had no idea this book was THAT awesome! I need to pick this up now, you’ve convinced me Faye. It sounds wonderful and Bears, and Ponies? That sounds interesting. Lovely review!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Happy Birthday Fire Country: Giveaway, free eBook & Interview with SienaMy Profile

  7. Aww yay that you liked this one! I SO agree, authors very often romanticize dangerous and unattractive creatures like vampires and werewolves. I’m so happy that this one stays true to real-life situations of how scary they’d probably be. Great review!
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Going Vintage by Lindsay LeavittMy Profile

  8. Wow, the enthusiasm you have for this series is contagious! Now I really want to start reading book 1. Love all those gifs.

    Fabulous review! <33
    Melanie (YA Midnight Reads) recently posted…Review: Wicked Little Secrets by Kara TaylorMy Profile

  9. Now I need this series in my life! Right now!!! It sounds so good. I have heard amazing things about the first book but it seems to me that this one really delivered. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I’ll try to read it asap. Great review :)
    Tanja recently posted…ARC Review: Til Death by Kate EvangelistaMy Profile

    • Awesomesauce! You have no idea how happy that makes me feel. Written in Red is so good that it’s the one I reread whenever I find myself in.. what Jessica calls a “book funk” haha. Or partial-book funk-ish.

  10. I’m currently reading this one and absolutely LOVING it for all the reasons you mentioned – the relationship dynamic between Simon and Meg, the tension between The Others and the humans, and especially the true nature of these supernatural beings being revealed. I’m savoring the reading experience and am thrilled you loved this one too. Fantastic review! :)
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…ARC Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. JensenMy Profile

  11. I still haven’t read this series. Though the first one is on my Kobo, I believe it has been moved up on my TBR list because of this review (: Really if the first book was as good as you made the sequel seem, I’m all for it. The fact you flew through this pretty long book and wanted more? That definitely demonstrates how invested and captivated you were by the writing. Fantastic review Faye! (:
    Larissa recently posted…Review: Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah MlynowskiMy Profile

    • Thanks, Larissa! There’s a reason why there are so many 5 star reviews on GR :P I hope you get to it soon because I can’t wait for you to experience the magic yourself!

  12. Haha, you’re fangirling all over this one! It does sound pretty amazing. I’m glad you loved it so much! I’d never heard of this series before (it doesn’t really sound like my thing, either), but I believe I might have to read this ;)
    Celine recently posted…Midnight Madness Newsletter (41)My Profile

    • Is it that obvious?! Haha! I /tried/ to be objective as much as possible with sprinkles of happiness here and there… haha. You MUST read this Celine.

      Faye <— not a fan of PNR but absolutely hold this series in high regard

  13. Hahaha I love your use of gifs for this. The series sounds amazing – adding it to my TBR ASAP. Thanks for introducing this to me :)
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Book Review: Spirit (Elementals #3) by Brigid KemmererMy Profile

  14. Okay, so that does it. I have the paperback for Written in Red ordered, and I will definitely be re-reading it. Oh, and you were right–reading an old favorite totally kick my book funk’s a** :)
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: The Undead Pool by Kim HarrisonMy Profile

  15. This series sounds epic! Will check this out now after reading your review and the fact that you ADORE both books must mean that its really special! I would have to agree, I hate how fully romanticized vampires, warewolves and other paranormal beings nowadays. I especially hated it when vampires started to sparkle. You should’ve seen my face when I got to the part lol.
    Amir recently posted…Review: Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny ReidMy Profile

  16. WOW. This one sounds so good. Your review makes me want to pick up the first book and I’ve never even heard of this series until now xD The pacing sounds fantastic, especially if you are flying through the pages and it’s a somewhat larger book. Glad you liked it so much :)
    Alise recently posted…Review: Rose Under Fire by Ellizabeth WeinMy Profile

    • It is really good, Alise! I’m glad my review is pushing you to do that. I’m certain you’ll love it as well! It’s not for YA but it reads very easily and I could relate to many of the things here. Hope you like it!

  17. I was just reminded how much, and why I liked the first book. Frankly, the past year I’d been feeling kind of meh about the book whenever I saw it popping up, couldn’t exactly remember why I loved it, but you just reminded me- the elementals wheeeeee! the vampires wheee!!! and the world building whoo-hooo!

    It’s the Australian copy, right? Those guys get EVERYTHING early, It’s just not fair; I have personal grudge against the authors of Australia because let’s face it- almost all of them are brilliant- and yet it’s so hard to get their books if you don’t have the good luck of being born on the tiny continent. Is Anne Bishop Australian, I wonder?
    Stuti recently posted…Donners of the DeadMy Profile

  18. So perhaps I’ve been living under a rock or something? That’s the only way to explain how I have never even heard of the first book in this series even though you (and presumably many others) clearly think it’s pretty great. Perhaps it’s because I, like you, have kind of put blinders on when it comes to pnr because it was so overdone in my eyes and I was tired of reading Twilight read-alikes. I am clearly missing out! Must add to my tbr now. Thanks for setting me straight, Faye :) LOVE the fangirl-y review!!
    Aylee recently posted…Top Ten Popular Authors I’ve Never ReadMy Profile

    • Thanks, Aylee! I hope you get to this one because it’s really, really good. It’s rare for me to truly give a novel such high praise! Let me know when you’ve gotten a copy of this!

  19. I completely agree with your review! The tension, the humor, the relationship dynamics – they make this book so unique and special! I really enjoyed the mystery plot-line in it as well, much more so than Written in Red. Cannot wait for the third book to release!

  20. laila BC
    Twitter:
    says:

    OH MAY GAAAHHHHDDDD! I happen to love the first book Written In Red! I didn’t know the sequel came out already! Thank you so much for this review. I can’t believe I didn’t put it in my list of book release to watch out for this year. I already have 12 books lined up for this month to read. I am going to try my best to insert this one within this month O.O oh my this is insane reading for me! lol!
    And yeah i can’t help but resent the attitude of those humans towards The Others! they will not hesitate to protect their own! Kickass!

  21. laila BC
    Twitter:
    says:

    So i’m back coz i have finished the sequel about days ago…and it was more than i could hope for. You are so right about the tensions…i began to hate my fellow humans(in the book hehe)…it’s sad just how ugly humans can be for all our so called “civilized” ways. But Simon and Meg were pure ADORABLENESS!!! (is that even a word?) don’t care but they are just so naively confused about their feelings towards each other it’s too damn sweet.

    “Meg want a hug? It’s a friend thing to do when someone is leaving.”

    AAAAAWWWW!!! I wanna give them a hug…eerrr if Simon is in people shaped form that is.

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