Early Release Group Review: Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

group-reviewsmarked in fleshMarked in Flesh by Anne Bishop
Series: The Others #4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: March 8, 2016
ARC Provided by Penguin Publishing Group

For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate—both within themselves and within their community…

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…

Our Rating: 4 stars (B+)

Wendy: This is one of those series where I am constantly awaiting a sequel.  It’s not secret that I really love the unique way this story is written.  As we discussed in the previous books, I love how the humans are the prey, even moreso than in other Urban Fantasy shifter series.

Angie: Yes, the humans are at the mercy of the others, and it’s not a matter of perception. The Others make that clear. I do love that. I also like that the Others that we do see, for all of their ferocity, are the go-betweens for the Elders. These humans have no idea what they’re up against.

D.G.: If I had to make up a sub-title for this book, it would be “When the Planet Strikes Back!”

Wendy: This installment probably took me the longest to read, of all of The Other books.  It wasn’t that I thought it was bad, so much as maybe I think story was spread too thin?

D.G.: Definitely. Too many new people, too much administrative stuff i.e. organizing, packing up supplies, moving people around, etc. I kept hoping for the good parts to start and they never materialized.

Angie: There was way too much going on, but it wasn’t necessarily brimming with excitement. I really feel like the introduction of new communities took away from my favorite part of the story – like Simon and Meg. 

Wendy: Angie, you’re so right.  Other than the meshing of the humanness with the animal traits of the animals, which I love, my favorite aspect of the series is the growing relationship between Simon and Meg.  I just worry that with all the new perspectives I’m going to get less and less of that.

D.G.: Agree. Meg’s role was too small in this book. I felt she was pretty much stuck in the same spot as the last book. Her relationship with Simon didn’t seem to have moved on much (until the end at least) and she didn’t make that much progress with her “trailblazing”.

Angie: I agree. And I’m not going to lie, I really want Meg to come in season soon. LOL

Wendy: For sure!  

I’m also not sure about the addition of Hope.  I understand that with Hope comes the concept that perhaps the prophets don’t have to cut to speak prophesy, I’m just not sure I can get invested in Hope.

Angie: We’re on the same page all the way around. I didn’t care for Hope’s character much in the previous book, either. I feel like some of the cassandra sangue characters could have been combined into one. That way we could’ve gotten what we needed to shape the plot and more page time for Meg and Simon.

D.G.: I guess I’m in the minority because I like Hope’s character, specially because she showed Meg a different path. Without Hope, I don’t know that Meg would have figured out a different way for the cassandra sangue – she seemed to be too much into the cutting.

Wendy: I will say that, despite not being sure of her character, what I do love is that Jackson considers her his pup.

Angie: That was adorable! Especially from one of those gruff wolves. And speaking of gruff wolves, I do love Simon’s thoughts about Meg. I love that his sweetness towards her is number one, exclusive to Meg, and two, that it’s instinct.

Wendy: And that it’s reciprocated right back.  Simon is Meg’s priority, too.  They have such a refreshing relationship.

D.G.: What were your thoughts for the book overall? I knew this was were the plot was going, but when it came, it wasn’t very exciting. I have to say though that I’m looking forward to see how the Others and humans move on from this. The “Here Be Monsters” warning gave me a chill!

Wendy: Despite any tiny issues I had with this book, which were really just grumbles from someone who misses more one on one time between the characters, I still loved the story that’s being told.  I had no complaints about the individual characters, and I still give it 4 stars.  I’m fully committed to this series.

Angie: I am, too! I understand the wait for these books; the story is very detailed and the plot very specific. I like that the author takes her time. But it doesn’t negate the fact that it’s excruciating! 

Series Reading Order:
1. Written in Red
2. Murder of Crows
3. Vision in Silver

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