[714]: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

An action-packed ending featuring an unpredictable enemy.


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-induced 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.

  • This is a series I still have to read! One day I will get there, I’ve heard good things!
    Although, it looks like you were a little disappointed with the final book…

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    I definitely think the slow-burn romance paid off, but not quite enough. I’d have loved to see more, especially since this is an Adult UF series. Still, I’m glad you enjoyed the series as a whole and I am so excited to see where the spin-off takes us!

  • Wow, I didn’t know this was the last of the series! This book actually does sound a bit anticlimactic, what with the lack of romance-y bits and the villain being meh. (I’m gonna be straight up, I usually only read Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy for the romance haha!) However, I’m also really glad that you enjoyed this series overall! I read the first two books and while the world IS really captivating, with seriously dark tones and yet funny times, I got busy and had to stop. Now when I try to pick it back up, I’m a bit confused because so many things are going on! The messages of greed/gluttony/etc in this series is also a big thumbs-up. Great review!

    – Aila @ Happy Indulgence

  • I’ve heard so many fantastic things about this series! I’m so glad it ends well. I’ll have to get my act together and read it someday. It’s been a long time since I read an adult urban fantasy

  • Great review. I love this series so much. I agree with you about the romance. After five books of buildup, I was expecting a little bit more. I wasn’t a huge fan of the villain here either. Because of the defeat of HFL in the previous book this one didn’t feel like the end of a series for me. It was just another book. I still loved it. I’m still excited about the next book in this world. Such a fun series. Again, great review.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

  • Lovely review Joy 😀 YAY for liking this final book. <3 But oh, I'm so sorry you were a bit disappointed by the romance 🙁 I would be too. Aw. But yay for good characters and good world at least 🙂 Curious about these books.

  • If I chose to live in this world, it would only be if I could be an Other. lol. I actually love the way the romance was handled and that it’s not as important in the way we’re used to.

  • Jazmen Greene

    I skimmed your review, because I haven’t read the series but the little I’ve seen doesn’t sound very promising. I hate a terrible conclusion. I’m going to borrow this one rather than buy it.

  • sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books

    I had to skip the spoilers section but I did see you had some misgivings. I really want to read this series. It’ll be a nice one to binge read at once. 🙂

  • The lack of romance is part of what’s been holding me back from this series, to be honest. I love romance, especially in anything paranormal/urban fantasy. Glad it was a good book overall though!

  • I kind of liked the fact that this book didn’t spend too much time on romance. This book was actually one of my favorites in the series and I was so happy to see the bad guy get what he had coming. Skippy really found a place in my heart in this book. Great review!

  • Sorry this book didn’t quite live up to your standards! I have so many friends who are obsessed with this series. I need to give it a try.

  • I’m ok with the “wholesome” romance, Patricia Briggs helped prep me for that. But I too am disappointed with how the Simon-Meg love team (so pinoy!) wrapped up. It’s ok if you want to be clean but at least show me how that pairing is going to work.

  • I was a bit surprised by how little we got of Simon and Meg too—I was okay with nothing hot and heavy, but I wished we’d seen a little more romance between them. I did think it worked with the way Bishop has developed these characters, though, so I was ultimately fine with it. I agree about the villain in this one too—I was a bit disappointed because I felt like the stakes actually got lower in this final book instead of higher somehow. Still, I love this series so much that I forgive Bishop for a slightly lackluster finish—especially since there are more books to come set in this world.

  • Hmm… it sounds like you didn’t love this last book quite as much as you wanted to because of the romance and it being a bit anti-climatic in the end. But I am glad you could love this series as a whole. I am so looking forward to whenever I get to read it 😀

  • Karen

    Yessssss. I wish the conflict was reversed and this was book 4 and the other was book 5. Or honestly not at all. A douchey brother when there are REAL dangers out there? Not my favorite.

    I was disappointed in the romance as well. I never expected a hot and heavy sex scene but awkward exploration maybe? The way it was resolved could have happened in any of the books really.

    But despite all that I LOVE the world and I’m going to just be happy we got to live in it for a while.

    For What It’s Worth

  • I SOOOO need to read this series! I’ve heard such amazing things. So glad you enjoyed this one.

  • kindlemom1

    I do wish there would have been a bit more there as well but like you said, I do think this was more about The Others and humans and the paranormal aspect than it ever was about the romance.

  • I loved this series so much! Luckily there was three books out when I started it so I didn’t have to wait as long in the beginning. I wasn’t really ecstatic about the romance, but at the same time you kinda know that it will work out. At least I thought so. Maybe there will be a sequel someday as someone hinted in something I read awhile back. Of course that is probably wishful thinking on my part. One day I want to do a re-read or re-listen. I’m going to miss this world!

  • The bad guy was just, srsl! After the epic drama in that last book. Sigh oh well, I still really liked it, but it felt like the previous book should have been the last one

  • I wish we would’ve got more from Simon and Meg’s romance as well, and that’s one of the big reasons I’m sad the series is ending. They needed an epilogue. Still, the plot was pretty riveting. Great review, Joy!