Etched in Bone
by Anne Bishop
After each painful wait for consecutive installments, we sadly come to the end of this perennial favorite. We’ve come to know everything about this world; the valuable and vulnerable blood prophets, The Others who reign all that is natural and supernatural; the humans who hate them, and the humans who are smart to enough to know what it will cost to make enemies of them.
Anne Bishop has always been a household name in the annals of the Fantasy genre. But it’s only through The Others that she broke through mainstream Urban Fantasy. I, for one, would’ve never known about her books had I not read Written in Red years ago, and that’s all thanks to the prodding of my reader friends. It’s always tough to say goodbye to a well-loved series. Especially if it had become an annual event religiously marked on your calendar.
*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***
So after five books of waiting for the Meg/Simon thing to happen, I’m a little disappointed with what we’ve gotten. I don’t know much about how Ms. Bishop handles romances in her books, but I’m not a fan of the spic and span cleanliness of the bedroom antics (or lack thereof) here. To some extent, I understood. I get that Meg is virtually a child when it comes to matters of the heart. I also understand that Simon wouldn’t know the first thing about having a relationship with a human. However, I wish we saw more of their struggle to figure shit out. But, I digress. Perhaps I’m focusing on the wrong thing here. Perhaps this is paranormal first among everything else. Even before romance. I can at least agree that Anne Bishop gave me something even better than everything I’ve come to expect from this genre. Something worthwhile. The world itself is a gift. And the characters, equally amazing.
But besides the fact that the romance left me unsatisfied, I also felt like the antagonist in this final book was anti-climactic. Don’t get me wrong, the bad guy featured here was thoroughly convincing. He was one without scruples, conscience, and basic human decency. However, I firmly believed that it would’ve served the series better if the HFL were defeated here instead of in the fourth book. In all honesty, I felt like this was nothing but an addendum or a means to unnecessarily extend a series. Because the bad guy here seemed to have come from nowhere. Throughout the series, I thought he was only a hazard to his family and would not pose a grave danger to Meg, least of all The Others. So to see him play a major role in the series-ender was on the wrong side of unexpected surprise. After all, how could the ever powerful Others be defeated by a selfish, insipid idiot who took advantage of his family’s
terror-induce d generosity? The HFL at least had a movement and had the support of the minority of the human population.
Despite those two misgivings, The Others will remain one of my favorite Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series. Each installment provided mystery and suspense; dark humor and fantastical elements; action and heart-warming moments. There was never a dull moment all thanks to the even pacing, interesting cast of characters, and plot lines that never fail to incite curiosity and anticipation.
If you were to ask me a question in which fictional world I’d choose to live, I’d readily pick this one. Where the supernatural beings have the power to rid Earth of evil humans in one fell swoop. Where the balance of power greatly rests on the beings that know more about what’s good for the environment than the big corporations. Because now more than ever, we could use some lessons about greed, power-hungry politicians, gluttony, and excess.