I will say that I timed this perfectly. Book five is coming out in a little over a month, and I’m all caught up. Honestly, I wish the last book was out right now, because the last fifty pages or so of this one made me intensely curious about how this series is going to end. Which is good news! Because throughout the first half of this one, I was going to three-star it and hope for the best for book five.
What charmed me so much about the first book, Written in Red, was how immersive it was to this new world and its characters. We were in Meg’s head as she got to know Simon and Sam and Tess and Vlad and Henry, etc. But as the books have been widening in scope, other POV characters have found their way into the narrative, and the focus has shifted away from Meg and to the world at large. I get why she did this. The scope of what happens at the end here, with SPOILERS The Elders choosing to wipe out all but a few human settlements protected or befriended by The Others END SPOILERS, is a really big deal, and changes the world these books take place in forever.
Anne Bishop, at least in this series, has a tendency anyway to write logistically and methodically. Characters are always talking about what they’ve done, what they need to do, how they did it, how they are going to do it, etc. That didn’t bother me for the first three books, which were more focused on the Lakeside characters, but here where there was so many new characters and locations, my attention was forced to spread out, that logistical focus just made it harder for me to connect emotionally to what was going on. Luckily by the end, the events going on were so massive my attention and emotions were forced to become involved. But I really hope it’s back to focusing on Meg and Simon and the other Lakeside characters in the next one, because that’s what I really love.
I will say, I appreciate very much the way that this series portrays the conflict between the humans and The Others. For as fantastic as the players are, their reactions all seem very real, and a little bit too relevant, frankly. I’m not naïve enough to think we’re going to get a simple happy ending to the conflict between the two groups, but I hope we get at least a hint of one, a way for the two groups to respect each other going forward. Oh, and also Meg and Simon need to get together already. That part is very important. I think taking it super slow was the right choice for Meg’s character SPOILERS especially since it’s all but confirmed near the end of this book that Meg was sexually assaulted, perhaps multiple times, when she was living in the compound, and that’s why Simon being a wolf and not a “man” is so comforting to her END SPOILERS. But I’m ready for it to happen already. It’s time.
[3.5 stars, rounding up because the second half was back on track]