I read Written in Blood a while back, pretty much as soon as it released and loved it so much that I decided to hold off reading the rest of the series till all the books had been released. Having read The Black Jewels trilogy, I knew I had made the smart decision considering just how intense Bishop‘s books tend to get. The idea of waiting for a whole year for the next book sounded painful. Anyway, I finally started reading Murder of Crows and I loved it so much, possibly even more than Written in Blood.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to start reading the next instalment. With The Others series, Bishop has created such a rich and complex world. The continent of Thaisia, Namid, the Others, the humans and so on. The characters were exceptionally well written and they are part of what made this book so enjoyable.
Bishop has a nasty habit of telling the readers what the bad guys are planning to do, not just in the form of prophecies but also via chapters which are from the antagonists’ POV. These are nothing short of maddening are the chief cause of nerves for the readers. Knowing what the bad guy is planning and also knowing that the protagonists aren’t aware is its own brand of torture.
Bishop also manages to interweave the heavy and tense portions with bits that are downright hilarious. I noticed this is the Black Jewels Trilogy. But she does it exceedingly well. The moments of levity don’t undermine the heavy and intense portions, but serve as a respite from all of that. A welcome one. And it also never feels jarring which is a testament of how well written these books are.
Between the Humans and the Others, I definitely prefer the Others. First there are so many types of Others, from the Gards who can shift, the Sanguinati, more commonly known as Vampires, the Elementals, the fierce forces of nature and elements (also among my favourite characters) and then there are some whose names have gotten lost through the ages. But Bishop gives each of them their own quirks depending on what they are.
I love the relationship between Simon and Meg and I love the way it’s developing. Their constant push and pull is engaging without getting repetitive or monotonous. They are also constantly growing and that presents its own set of challenges, which need to addressed from time to time. I also love the way the Courtyard adopted Meg and now treat her as one of their own. Chief among them, apart from Simon are Henry, Vlad, Erebus, Tess and the Elementals, especially Winter. They are protective of her, even telling off Simon when he’s not thinking straight.
I love that the big bad predator, the one everyone is petrified of is Tess, a woman and she is fierce. All the Elementals at the Lakeside Courtyard are also notably female. Bishop also doesn’t ‘de’power‘ her female characters in favour of making the male characters appear more powerful. She also writes female characters so well, always giving them dimensions, making them strong and powerful but not without vulnerabilities.
We also saw more of the other human pack, especially Merri Lee. I have a feeling that she may play a bigger role with regard to Meg’s prophecies. Her approach was better and she was more perceptive. I’d also like to see more of Nyx, we haven’t seen too much of her yet and I hope that changes with the next book. I am also curious how Jean will come into play in the upcoming books but I am convinced that she will play a significant role
Anyway, I’m off to read the next book, I’ve stayed away as long as I could..