I just finished Etched in Bone and I don’t even know where to start! It was funny, heartbreakingly sad and infuriating. It is every bit as good as the previous books and a very satisfying end to the series. I’m sad that the series is over but I’m happy about how well written the end was.
As with the previous books, Bishop presented various POVs including the protagonists as well the chief antagonist, Cyrus. The other notable additions were the two Elders who came to Lakeside to observe the Courtyard and their interaction with the humans.
With the decimation of the human cities and the thinning of the herd in the Marked in Flesh, the humans are more sombre and most of them are more careful around the Others but there are others like Cyrus who are just troublemakers and so drunk on their sense of entitlement that they just refuse to see that the world has changed and they are living on borrowed time and the slightest infringement could mean the destruction of an entire city.
The pace in Etched in Bone felt faster without affecting the flow of the narrative. The threat was also apparent as soon as Cyrus Montgomery stepped onto the page. Unlike the other books in the series, there was only one antagonist here, Cyrus, unless you count his no-good son, Clarence. The first three acts of the book were a good balance of tense and lighter moments though the lighter moments were fewer here. The tone was also more serious like everything was coming to a head. The last act was positively frenetic in terms of pace. There was so much happening and there was a real sense of frustration and rage.
The world-building remains an amazing aspect of this series. In a series about the Others and humans where the former are very different from humans and are the apex predator, the readers’ sympathies always lie with them and never with the humans. The readers may come to like certain humans but remain wary of the human species. Bishop creates a very deep dislike for the humans. This is a theme I noticed even in the Black Jewels Trilogy. The humans were sly, untrustworthy, greedy and always wanting more than their fair share. I hated the humans in this series. Except those who worked with the Courtyard.
The Others are easily the more entertaining characters. With each progressing book, we get a deeper insight into their world and the rules that govern it, the different kinds of predators who roam the Courtyard and the Wild Country.
I absolutely loathed Cyrus Montgomery. Bishop writes the antagonists exceedingly well and Cyrus was no different. He was sly, greedy and just a very vile character and his mere presence was so disruptive that it created clashes in the human pack almost as soon as he arrived. At then end, I felt that he may have gotten off light, he didn’t suffer nearly as much as I wanted him too.
I have so many favourites in this series! I love Meg, the human who isn’t prey, the catalyst, the pebble in the pond. I love that she was never helpless, even when she had just escaped the Compound, she had a spine and she refused to take shit from anyone, even Simon. Even when she has no weapons, she is resourceful.
I love Simon. He is the leader of the Courtyard, in any other book, he would be the quintessential alpha male, but Simon is so much more than that. He is considerate of Meg. He treats her care and sees her as an individual when those of her own species see her as nothing more than property. He’s changed from the first book, losing some of the more feral aspects of his personality.
His relationship with Meg is one of the best parts of the entire series. Their interaction was often hilarious but there was a gradual shift in their dynamic. It is one of the best slow-burn romances I have ever come across and the end made it absolutely worth it. It was so unabashedly sweet, that’s all I’ll say about it.
Sam continues to be an absolute sweetheart and where do I even begin about Skippy. He broke my heart in a particular scene. It was heartbreaking and one can’t help but feel protective of him.
I loved Merri Lee and Nadine. These two women are powerhouses and they don’t take shit from anyone. While the Others might scare them, they don’t back down. Twyla Montgomery was amazing and the only women capable of making Simon feel like misbehaving pup. We didn’t see much of Theral or Ruthie this time, they were present but definitely in the background. I love Burke with his fiercely friendly smile and his absolute intolerance of bullshit. Kowalski was amazing as well, he’s stepped up in a big way since the first book, actually taking up some of Monty’s slack. Monty, I’ve found has actually slipped.
Among the others, I love Tess and Henry. Henry always struck me a fiercely protective of Meg even when Simon didn’t completely trust her. He had a calm and soothing presence that was soothing to the reader as well. Tess was an all-around bad-ass and not someone to mess with. She was one of the first to understand what Meg was and how to handle her when she made a cut. She gradually came to regard some of the other women of Meg’s pack as people she would protect. I also loved her team-up with Nyx and I would love a spin-off with just the two of them, being bad-asses. I also love Nyx and Grandfather Erebus.
I love the Elementals especially Winter. Sadly, she’s been asleep since it’s been spring and summer for a while. But I loved the concept of the Elementals and just how amazingly powerful they were.
I loved Jenni Crowgard, the Crowgard are a strange combination of childlike and vicious. Jenni appears to be their leader at the Lakeside Courtyard.
The Others series by Anne Bishop is an amazingly well-written series. The world-building is superb and has great characters. It is a world that you won’t want to leave. It has the perfect balance of laugh-out-loud moments interspersed with serious drama. The Series as a whole is one of the most consistent series I’ve ever read, I loved every single book!