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.
This series is continuing to bring its ‘A’ game and I couldn’t be more pleased. We get some slow character growth, are introduced to some new characters, expand the world-building, and resolve one plot-line while introducing a new one. I’m very much enjoying the way this series is laid out so far.
Not much time has passed at all since the events at the end of the first book–Meg is still recovering and everyone in the Lakeside Courtyard and beyond are dealing with the aftermath. Meanwhile there is still a Big Bad out there looking for Meg and a movement causing unrest and spreading hatred for The Others like wildfire is taking hold in the human communities. There’s a lot going on but everything revolves around the characters. Simon, the Wolf in charge of the Lakeside Courtyard, continues to be a favorite of mine as he grapples with his confusing feelings towards Meg. He’s a leader and a protector of those he feels responsible for–before Meg this was never humans and he’s feeling things he doesn’t understand. He is also afraid of becoming ‘too human’ and what that would mean with his relationships to his own community. These are big things for him to wrestle with that he has no prior experience with so of course there’s lots of anxiety involved as well. For Meg, she’s still adjusting to life in the outside world as it’s only been about two months since she arrived in Lakeside and a lot has happened in that time. She’s also dealing with her addiction to cutting and what it means for her as a cassandra sangue and how she may be able to utilize this power for good–even if it means she might be cutting her life shorter.
I loved the way this story expanded the universe as well. We get to visit and learn about a nearby community that is quite different from things in the ‘big city’ of Lakeside. We learn more about where the cassandra sangue may have originated from and about the different ways communities live and work with the terra indigene. We also meet some other terra indigene from different communities and realize that not all Courtyards are run quite the way that the Lakeside Courtyard is run and that Lakeside may be the most progressive of its kind–but of course anything that is progressive may expected to get some push back and I wonder if that will come up later in the series as I think the groundwork has begun to be laid out for it here. Of course we also got to learn a little bit about the rest of the world as the older communities across the ocean are brought up and there seem to be some significant things happening over there. Of course this is all in the background as our characters have more immediate and pressing concerns. All of this expanded world-building is for the plot and for laying things out for future books and I can’t wait to learn even more about the world and see how it affects the story going forward.
I was happy we were introduced to some new characters here as well, and that some of the older characters got more time to shine (like Meri Lee). Of course this mean that some other characters that were favorites from the first book took a back seat this time but that’s pretty usual in UF stories with large casts of characters. I love that we spent more time with the Lakeside PD as well, we got to see that there are more ‘good guys’ than just Office Monty and his partner out there. Of the new characters, well I am really intrigued by that new Crowgard guy from out of town but of course I think I have a thing for crows lately anyway. 🙂
If there was one negative for me, and this is very much a personal taste thing, I wish there wasn’t sexual assault in this. I feel like Anne Bishop always has some kind of sexual trauma in her books and really is that necessary on top of the other horrible shit happening? Like ‘oh, just to remind you how horrible this is, here’s some sexual assault to top it off’. Also weird sex stuff in general with Anne Bishop’s work which I won’t go into because despite all that I’m still a fan. But I did have to get that out of my system, phew!
Overall, I thought this was a great follow up to book one and it moves the story right along giving us new obstacles as we resolve old ones and letting the characters grow. I’m looking forward to book three! 4.5/5 stars.