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 murder 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 if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or 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.
You can read an excerpt here.
You know when reading is just effortless? A time-slip, when you blink and come back only when the back cover is closed? That, to me, is the good stuff (something that’s been proving more and more elusive for me of late), and to my delight, this book was just that.
Ah, there’s so much about this series to love: the world, with its terrifying and yet adorable non-humans; the dangerous stew of resentment, prejudice and fear at play between the humans and terra indigene, which constantly teeters on the verge of becoming deadly; the terrifying unknown that is Meg’s abilities, and the threat they pose to her life and sanity; and more than anything else, the wonderful characters of the Lakeside courtyard. From the grumpy ponies who can destroy entire cities in a blink to everyone’s favorite coffee-shop owner with the Medusa-like hair, the one who terrifies even the other big scary monsters, these characters are just a delight – each with a personality all their own; each wonderfully distinct – and I had so, so much fun watching them play and fight, care, and drive each other crazy. Seriously, I just love these people, and I will happily spend however many books in their company as Bishop is willing to write.
As for the plotting, tensions in Thaisia are very much on the rise, with aggression ratcheting up on both sides of the divide, and war seeming inevitable – and of course Meg, Simon, and the rest are caught right in the middle. And while these books are really not plot-driven, per se, as character and relationships always trump action – I’d call the pacing deliberate, or even a bit slow – I did still really like all the goings on, and never once came out of the story. And actually this book quietly touches on some really interesting things, such as the price of ignorance and intolerance, how hatred can be used to manipulate people into dying for someone else’s gain, and even the heartbreaking evil of simple greed. I also loved the wonderful contradiction, paradox almost, of Meg being both the catalyst for so much of the violence – the fact the Others now control a blood prophet is the very threat that spurs dangerous men into action – yet also the best hope for defusing the endless conflict before it can spiral into utter devastation for humankind. And so, while this book is definitely not frenetic, fast-paced, or action-packed, it still has a lot going on, and delivers immersive, fascinating storytelling – and I could not look away.
But I do have to say this – much as I enjoyed reading this book, I did actually find myself missing Meg a bit, because in some ways this book is more ABOUT Meg, rather than BEING Meg’s story. So where the first book was centered on Meg’s personal, emotional journey, as she encounters the real world for the first time and learns to navigate it, this book focuses less on Meg herself and more on the ripple effects of her presence in the courtyard, both for Lakeside and the larger world. And fascinating as that was, to watch the dominoes fall and the consequences spread – and we do get to see more of the world at large, and further understand just how unique and important the Lakeside courtyard has become, for both species – it also was just a lot more page time spent away from Meg, outside of her head. And I missed her.
Still, all in all I have to say this book was a pleasure to read – and it even progressed the slow burn, adorably clumsy romance between Meg and Simon a bit, to my delight. Really, I do just love this series, and I can’t wait to read more.
Byrt Grade: A
As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…
I found Murder of Crows to be just as engaging as its predecessor…The subtle mix between Meg finding her life amongst the Others and the broiling tensions waiting to explode on the outside keeps me coming back for more. I can’t wait to see where the series goes next!
Murder of Crows should come with a warning: “Don’t open this book until you have time read the entire thing”.