This was the fifth (and final?) book in the Others series, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. There were some nice developments — mostly about what it means to be a family, which I liked.
But. But. But.
Things that didn’t bother me in the previous books — constant repetition of non-important details and sexism, mostly — really, really, really bugged the hell out of me this time.
This book had at least four separate discussions about cottage cheese. I nearly couldn’t take it.
But what was slightly interesting this time, is that Anne Bishop actually talked about the elephant in the room. She had the characters discuss why they are so obsessed with the mundane details of day-to-day life — because your day-to-day life doesn’t stop when there’s a crisis, and its hard to balance between the two. I get that. Really. I just don’t need to read anymore entries into who was buying a pizza and who made lasagna and who had meatloaf sandwiches for dinner.
As for the sexism, it was crazy worse in this book. MEN do this. WOMEN do this. MEN eat the food. WOMEN prepare the food. MEN eat meat. WOMEN eat cottage cheese. MEN are rational. WOMEN are exploding fluffballs.
There was also a totally offensive scene with LITTLE KIDS that was more or less a sexual assault and absolutely disgusted me.
It nearly ruined the entire series for me.
This book took nearly 200 pages to get even remotely interesting. And the interesting part — to me, anyways — probably wasn’t the part that Bishop intended. I’m pretty sure she wanted us to be all-in on the eventual crash and burn of Monty’s ne’er-do-well brother, That Cyrus.
She created this horrible (seriously, file him and his AWFUL family under stock villain characters) antagonist. He was crude and vulgar and disgusting in every single way. But he didn’t interest me really. Not until the last 50 pages.
What interested me were three things (and these really aren’t spoilers).
- Miss Twyla (Monty’s mother) chose the wolf pack as her family instead of choosing any of her own flesh and blood. She chose to be the grandmother to Sam and Skippy, and she loved them like she loved her own grandchildren.
- Skippy fascinated me this time. His fierce need to be included in pack activities almost (not quite) brought tears to my eyes.
- Captain Burke was really the focal point of the human characters in this book, as opposed to Monty. I really liked some of the things he had to say and some of the things he did to prove himself a worthy human.
We learned a lot about what kind of man Captain Burke was, and how he didn’t necessarily think that an “other” tearing apart a human was any worse than what humans do to each other on a daily basis. He had a nice (well, not nice, but important) monologue toward the end, really symbolizing the entire human/other relationship, saying:
When you’re a cop serving in a small human village within the wild country, sometimes you make hard choices that you wouldn’t — couldn’t — make in a human-controlled city. And you look the truth in the face when its fangs are bared and its fur is smeared with the blood of the prey you had gone out to talk to that morning. But you’d taken a walk beyond the village lights the night before, and you were mulling things over out loud about how to handle a difficult situation, about the nice woman who had a broken arm again, how her mate beat her but she was too frightened to say anything against him so there was nothing you could do, and that was a shame because she really was a nice woman who had shown a couple of terra indigene females how to mend clothes, which is what started the argument that ended with her arm being broken, along with a couple of fingers to keep her from doing any mending for a while. And when you go to talk to the man the next morning and discover he isn’t home, you follow the game trail behind his house and you come upon a savaged, partially eaten body and you look the truth in the face — not the truth that has fangs and fur but the hard truth about yourself, that you’re just as dangerous as the beings the rest of the people fear but you can’t afford to be as honest about it. You can’t tell those people that you’ll make deals with what they fear in order to keep them safe from the monsters who look just like them.
Here’s a few spoilers, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The Elders who have been hiding out in the courtyard and have taken an interest in Meg, conduct a social experiment. They demand that Cyrus be allowed to live there and keep doing shady and illegal things without consequence. They want to see how it effects the rest of the humans. But when Cyrus abducts Meg, thinking her prophecy will be his meal ticket, all hell breaks loose. Of course, Meg is rescued, but not without damage. Cyrus was cruel and vulgar. He cut her many times and almost raped her. He was disgusting. The crows eat his eyes in the end.
Also, Meg and Simon decide to be mates. But they do not actually mate, for those of you who may have been waiting for that sort of thing. But they kiss, and its all good.
In the end, I’m glad I read this series. I liked most of it, but this last one was really a grind for me.
4 stars for the series. 3 for this one.