A few months ago, I was delighted to stumble upon Written in Red, the first in “the others” series from Anne Bishop. Written in Red was the story of a world where creatures like vampires and werewolves are real, living in cities with humans, but barely tolerating them. Their world is a world where humans are seen as little more than meat. That is, until Meg, a blood prophet on the run from her captors, finds herself suddenly wrapped up in their lives and under their protection. In particular, the protection of Simon, a werewolf who is the leader of their area of Lakeville. Written in Red ended after a huge battle to save Meg — the others and the earth’s elements had banded together to protect Meg from the men hired to bring her back “home” — to the blood prophet factory where she would predict the future for men who were willing to pay.
A Murder of Crows starts off almost immediately afterwards. The crazy snow storms brought on by Winter have tapered off, and life in Lakeside is starting to get back to normal.
Until, in nearby towns, someone starts killing crows. Not only are they murdering members of the crowgard, whoever is behind these attacks is also killing regular crows, as well as any humans that get in their path.
And there have been other attacks across the country — and they can all be traced back to two new drugs: one that makes it’s victims docile (a feel-good drug), and one that makes them violent attackers (gone-over wolf). Someone is distributing these drugs and trying to destroy the others. Simon and his friends at the Lakeside Courtyard seem to think that the drugs are created using the blood of the Cassandra Sangue — the blood prophets, like Meg and her friends. Research done by Meg, the others, and their friends in the Lakeside police department, points to a man simply known as the Controller being responsible for the extraction of the drugs from the girls, as well as for the distribution of the product and the plans to create chaos and violence.
Meg starts to have terrible, violent visions about the future of Lakeside, and of the country in general. Growing human political and social movements, like the despicable Humans First and Last group, are upsetting the balance between the others and the humans that has taken hundreds of years to set straight.
Meanwhile, Meg and Simon spend the book dancing around their feelings for each other. Although it would be wrong for a member of the wolfgard — the leader of the pack, no less — to have feelings for a human, it looks like that just might be inevitable.
I’m not going to lie. This book made me feel the feelings. It made me laugh, and it made me cry more than once. I hope Anne Bishop writes a bunch more of these, and soon.
And yes, I totally get the criticisms that I’ve seen from other Cannonballers. Some of the descriptions of Meg’s banal, day-to-day activities can be a bit much. But I get where that’s coming from — Meg has experienced a huge trauma in coming to Lakeside. I think these basic chores and schedules make her feel a bit more human and give her something that she’s able to control on her own.
But I sure didn’t miss the descriptions of how she had to take off her boots and wipe the wet floor with a towel every single time she came in to a new building in Written in Red. Every. Single. Time.