Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

marked-in-flesh“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…”

Okay, so this is one of those series where I try to review the books and end up just Muppet-flailing all over the place because I love it so much.  So, please bear with me while I try to write something coherent.

My first love in this book is the characters.  I feel like Meg, Simon, Tess, Vlad, Henry, and all the other residents of the Lakeside Courtyard are friends, and the book is like a long letter from them catching me up on what they’ve been doing since I last heard from them.  The interactions among them feel very genuine, and it reminds me of something said by someone overhearing my co-workers and I bantering: “You sound like family.”  The people in this book are the same way–you can hear the depth of their relationships and the time spent together in what they say to each other, as well as in what they don’t say.  I adore Meg and Simon’s friendship, and while I know there are those out there rooting for them to start a romantic relationship, I hope they stay just friends, because it’s so sweet to read about.

My next love is for the world-building.  Once again, Bishop has expanded her readers’ view of her world, not only by going across the ocean for some scenes, but also by giving us a glimpse at the older, more powerful creatures that live in the wild places of our country.  They’ve only been hinted at in earlier books, but now… well, you don’t get a really good look at them, but they do step out of the forests and take an active role in the story, and you will get to see the aftermath.

My third love in this novel is the politics that have been slowly built up through the entire series thus far.  Knowing that human nature is to take as much as we can, the situations that play out through this book are all too believable.  I was wincing reading what the humans in this world do in the name of “humans first”, not because it was far-fetched, but because it was so plausible.  That being said, there are some long-running aspects of this storyline that come to their natural conclusion here, and I defy you not to do a fist-pump when they do.

This series remains one of my all-time favorites.  Ever since Meg and Simon and the other Courtyard residents first appeared in book form and helped to get me through a rough period in my life, they’ve occupied a place of honor on my shelves.  Marked in Flesh wraps up some parts of Meg’s tale but leaves plenty of room for more adventures.  I, for one, can’t wait.

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

(Description nicked from Goodreads.)

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