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…
Maybe it’s just me but I feel like this series just keeps getting better and better. Things have progressed in a rapid fashion since they started ramping up from book three and our characters find themselves battling for survival here. Hold on to your seats–things are about to get apocalyptic.
Here we find the courtyard and those humans who are friends at a bit of a crossroads. The survival of the human race may well depend on how the local terra indigene make their decisions regarding the local human population. When all is said and done, even the local population’s survival isn’t guaranteed and our friends here start to prepare for the worst. As everyone begins their doomsday prep–gathering supplies, preparing for alternative means of communication and transportation for when things change, deciding who to let in on pertinent information, etc–Meg continues to work on her own project, creating a way for the blood prophets to communicate their prophecies without having to make cuts in their skin. This has proven quite a frustrating challenge for her as the urge to cut is quite fierce and there’s a certain addiction to the euphoria it produces in her. These urges sometimes overwhelm her and she cuts despite the great danger that comes with it and the possibility that it will cut her life shorter. I really did enjoy Meg’s progress here. She’s starting to make some connections and seeing how things could work out for her from what she’s used to. She continues to (slowly) come out of her shell and accept more changes in her life even though this is also difficult for her. It feels like such a slow journey even though, in reality, only several months have passed by since the beginning of the story back in book one.
Speaking of how time flies, wow. Things really have progressed at a fast pace since the start of things. There is a lot of build up and even though the progression feels natural it’s crazy to think that all this has happened over such a short period of time. Things seemed fine until suddenly they weren’t. Was Meg’s running away the catalyst for everything that’s come to pass? Perhaps! But it feels like underneath that event things had been building up between the humans and the terra indigene for quite some time and things were bound to come to a head sooner rather than later.
Reading this book I constantly had to check the publication date because the things happening in this series, especially the last book and this one, feel so eerily in line with the current political climate. There’s especially an attitude of displaying whose side you’re on and declaring that if you’re not with one side you’re against them and then attacking accordingly. Lots of showing of force and shunning and very much an us and them thing going on. Although there are things I do find problematic with the series despite loving these books (such as the apparent erasure of Native Americans, just to name one major thing I find fault with) there are a lot of interesting sociopolitical things brought up. I could easily see the HFL movement as Brexit or MAGA or many other movements from human history. There’s also a moment in this book where Simon says something about all humans being the enemy and one of the humans pipes up with ‘well not all humans’ and while Simon agreed that of course not all humans his point stood. This reminded me so much about current rhetoric and the discussions around such things that it hit a little too close to home for me at times. Anywho.
Politics aside (because I really don’t want this review to be consumed by that) I had a lot of fun with this book. Things DO get apocalyptic here. There’s the question of who and what to save, what are the things worth saving and who should have that decision? The idea of wiping out mankind because we’re shitty and flawed is something that has been wrestled with since, well, biblical times at least? I find myself jokingly saying ‘Giant Meteror 2020!’ a lot these days myself. But again, who gets to decide these things. Sometimes this idea of the Elders of the Others way of dealing with with humans makes me very uncomfortable because it’s a way that humans have dealt with groups of humans in the past. Genocide is not a good answer here. Ooops. I guess I didn’t leave the politics aside much, did I?
Getting back to why I found this fun is because while I did wrestle with some of the things presented here, I also just LOVE a good apocalypse. I admit that I used to watch Doomsday Preppers because there’s a certain fun in watching people prepare for when shit hits the fan. I don’t know what it is, but maybe its the stockpiling and organizing since those are things that interest me personally haha. When things do go down there isn’t so much of a battle as there is a slaughter and then another slaughter in retaliation. And while things have gotten Very Bad indeed, I have a feeling it may just be the start of things, we’ll have to wait and see what book five brings us. I will hope for sunshine and flowers and rainbows but I doubt we’ll get that (at least at the start).
One last thing! Meg and Simon. Slowest slow burn of all time? Like….at this point, four books in, I get excited when they hold hands haha. I’m hoping that things finally shake out in book five but I guess we’ll see. 😉
Overall, I really loved this book and continue to love this series even though I obviously have a lot of THOUGHTS on it. I never expected such a fun urban fantasy series with werewolves and vampires to make me think so much, but there you have it. 4.5/5 stars.