This is book three in The Others series, which is one of my absolute favourite paranormal fantasy series at the moment. While you are given enough information to start with this one, you’ll get the most enjoyment if you start at the beginning, with the excellent Written in Red. There will also be minor spoilers for the earlier books in the series here, so if you don’t like that sort of thing, skip the review until you’re caught up.
In a world where humans are in a minority, and frequently considered legitimate prey by the supernatural races who control the land, tensions are mounting. Many of the cassandra sangue, the female blood prophets who see visions when their skin is cut, have been rescued and the Others have placed “the sweet blood” as they call them, under their protection. Most of the women and girls have lived their entire lives in monitored captivity, however, and a lot of them can’t handle their new-found freedom, causing mental breakdowns or even suicides. It falls to Meg Corbyn, the woman who first managed to escape and has been making a life for herself with the Others of the Lakeside Courtyard to provide guidance. Aided by her human friends, she attempts to write down what she’s learned is important for her to feel safe and comfortable.
The Humans First and Last movement is growing, and it’s becoming clear that a lot of the humans who are on friendly terms with the shapeshifters and other creatures in Lakeside are experiencing discrimination and prejudice. “Wolf lovers” might find themselves losing their jobs or even homes. Simon Wolfgard and the other prominent Others in the Courtyard have to consider what to do to aid these humans who have so important to their Meg and shown themselves to be useful and friendly, not just prey. The news reports speak of food shortages all over Thaisia (think North America), which none of the Others can understand, and the strained relationship between humans and Others is getting worse in many places on the continent. Possible insight into the cause of the food shortages comes with the arrival of Officer Montgomery’s daughter, alone on a train, with a blood-stained teddy bear, containing a small fortune in gem stones. Her mother, Montgomery’s ex, was dating one of the most outspoken HFL spokesmen, and it’s clear something has triggered her sending their daughter unaccompanied across the country to her father.
I don’t know how many books Anne Bishop is planning in this series, but she’s fleshing out the world building and the tense political situation with every book. More on my blog.