Review: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop (The Others #5)Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Roc on March 7, 2017

Source: Publisher

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My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shapeshifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves…

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The fifth book in Anne Bishop’s wholly original series The Others, ETCHED IN BONE delivers on all the promise of the series: a dark yet hopeful story, the finale beautifully ties all the disparate threads of the series together. Many seemingly unconnected – or even forgotten – threads come together and are resolved, and while their conclusion was hardly neat (more like gory), it was certainly satisfying.

Throughout the series, readers have seen how the Others, shifters and other creatures who can appear human, have gradually opened up their community of Lakeside to include human beings. The two groups have alternately meshed and clashed, all thanks to one woman who belongs to neither group. As a cassandra sangue, Meg is able to speak prophecies and see into the future when she cuts her skin, visions that have helped her friends avoid disaster time and time again. But cassandra sangue can only survive so many cuts on their skin, so Meg must discover a new way to speak prophecy whilst battling her addition to cutting.

Seeing Meg experiment with different ways of looking into the future has been really interesting and rewarding: it’s given Meg the confidence to both stand on her own and accept help, and stick up for herself when she feels her friends are coddling her. It’s been a long, slow journey, and while the work certainly isn’t done, Meg has really come into her own and become more autonomous in ETCHED IN BONE.

As always, the development of interpersonal relationships between the characters was beautifully done. Anne Bishop has a remarkable talent for writing huge ensemble casts and making each character come to life, even when we never read from their perspective. The various miscommunications between the humans and Others and the resulting confusion is at times dangerous for all involved, but it can also be funny; the series is infused with a sly sense of humour that helps break up the tension and lightens up the admittedly quite dark world these characters are living in. While there are some pretty major differences between Others and humans, the beauty of ETCHED IN BONE is seeing fan favourites Simon, Vlad, and Tess realize that it’s the similarities between the two groups that really matter in the end.

There’s not much I can say about the plot of this one without spoiling anything, so I’ll just say this: the big bad in this story was truly repulsive and I loathed him more than any other villains I’ve come across in recent memory. Watching Others and humans – especially Meg and Simon – work against him was made all the more satisfying because of how much I despised him. Then again, basically any time Meg and Simon were on page together I was squealing. Their friendship and its ripple effect among the Others and human groups alike has literally shaped the future of humans across the entire continent of Thaisia (North America). If that isn’t the stuff of an epic slow burn romance, then I don’t know what is! Needless to say, I loved every second of their interaction.

If you think you’d like complex world building, a distinctly rural-feeling breed of urban fantasy, and compelling characters, then you’ll love ETCHED IN BONE. So hurry up and get caught up on this series already, because I need to flail about my OTP!

Have you read The Others? What is your favourite urban fantasy series? Let me know in the comments!

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  • I have loved this series so far and can’t wait to go on with it. I have book #4 in my TBR pile and need to read it soon. My plan is to wait for the paperback version of #5, but I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to do so.

    Happy Reading!

    • I think people who loved the first four books will definitely be pleased with this one! Hopefully you can grab a copy at your library if you feel like you can’t wait for the paperback release. Thanks, Sabrina!

      • Waiting for the library to get the book is unfortunately hopeless, we only have a few English books in our German libraries. So I either have to wait for the paperback or instead buy the hardcover

  • You are soooo excited! I love it when my fave authors tie up everything in the most perfect way possible and I walk around thinking: all is right with the (fictional) world.

    • Hahaha, I sure am! This was everything I wanted from the finale of this series (or at least of this story arc), and that’s definitely not always the case. It left me with a happy, satisfied feeling inside. 🙂

  • Jolien @ The Fictional Reader

    I’m reading this right now, and I can’t believe it’s about to be over! Or at least, partly. Every time Simon & Meg have been on the page so far, I’ve caught myself smiling. I can’t wait to see how the story goes!

    • OMG I know! I’m super happy to hear about the spin-off series though, so at least we don’t have to leave this world. Maybe we’ll even see a bit of Meg & Simon through other characters eyes…that’d be awesome! They are SO CUTE.

  • The Others is yet another series that I haven’t read yet. I
    plan to binge listen to it, since the audiobooks were highly recommended to me
    by several friends. It’s not an easy task to write a review on a finale without
    spoilers and you’ve done it wonderfully.

    • Oooooh, I feel like these would be amazing to binge-listen to! Hopefully they live up to the hype for you, I’ve loved the series overall. Thanks so much, Ksenia! 🙂

  • So sad it is over, sigh

  • Currently reading this one, Danya and I’m in LOVE. I’m so sad that the series is ending but also really happy it’s ending on such a high note. I just love these characters so much. I have to agree with you on the villain. I want someone to eat him already. I’m seriously loving the humans and Others dynamics here. That scene with Skippy and Twyla??? Melted my heart! And of course, I’m the same way as you any time Simon & Meg are in a scene together. I’m really excited to finish it! 🙂

    • Ahhhh I can’t wait to read your review for this one, Nick! Personally I think this one delivers everything I wanted from the series finale, and I couldn’t have been happier. GAH THE VILLAIN! Okay, I might need you to DM me when you’re done so we can rage about him because honestly…the worst. Twyla is the hero we need and deserve, I swear. Any time one of the kids says “Miss Twyla” I smile from ear to ear. Meg and Simon forever! <3

  • I haven’t started this series, I’m sorry to say, but I’m so glad it continues to impress you:-) I was just commenting on another blog that I have a tough time keeping up with series, there is just too much out there.

    • Series are definitely the bane of my existence right now! Once you’re behind by more than a couple books, it can be almost impossible to catch up on top of all the other books to be read.

  • I haven’t read this series at all, but I’ve been living vicariously through your posts on it! I’m glad to see that the series finished strong. It always sucks when a series drags on longer than it should have, especially since that often leads to fan debates about what they consider the true end to be.

    • I’m trying to think of when I first started reading this series…god, was that three years ago?! Either way, thanks for sticking around. 😂 The series is definitely ending on a high note in my opinion, but I’m super stoked to hear that apparently there’s going to be a spin-off series set in the same world but following different characters. I can’t wait!

  • MaddalenaSpaceandSorcery

    This series sounds fascinating, and the detail that most intrigued in your review (that I did not dare read too carefully, to avoid spoilers) was the mention of the author’s skill in managing a good number of characters while giving each of them the space to shine and grow. This speaks of great talent to me…
    Thanks for sharing!

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, Maddalena! Anne Bishop is certainly quite talented, I need to read more of her stuff soon. Anyone who can manage a cast of more than a dozen characters (!!!) seemingly with ease is one that I will follow to any sub-genre of SF/F. 🙂

  • How have I not read this series yet? I’ve seen it around and just mentally added to my TBR but this review is making me question why I haven’t done a late night buy of the whole series on the sly in the hope I’ll forget I bought and thus won’t feel guilty about it. I love a villain you can full on hate because sometimes you need that black and white of good and bad so that has me wanting to read anyway but a flaily OTP as well? I need these books. At least it’s not a long series.

    • I really haven’t the faintest clue how you’ve managed to hold out for so long, Becky! Maybe it’s just your unique stubbornness, LOL. Overall I think this series is one of my favourites from recent years, largely because of the characters and the world building. The world is *so* dark sometimes (including the villain this time around), so having really cute and sweet character moments is a must to break things up, I think.

      Get reading, girl! I can’t wait to hear your take on my OTP!!!

  • Reading this review, I feel like I’m so picky and hard to please! 😀

    I mean, this was a great book…but as a series ender? I was actually a bit disappointed. I feel like we got the big guns in the last book with the Elders and the way the FTL storyline resolved itself. The “big bad” in this one felt like small fry in comparison. I guess I liked the “all’s well that ends well” vibe I got with Simon, Meg and Lakeside Courtyard though 🙂

    • Hahaha, oh no!

      I guess we have a different view of the series arc overall, because for me the fourth book was the climax of the whole Humans First and Last vs. the Others conflict, and this book deals with the fallout of that. It wouldn’t have felt right to me to end things without addressing all the harm it caused, and I think addressing both in one book is a big ask. I do know what you mean though! Hopefully you’ll enjoy the spin-off series more. 🙂

  • Wow. I had no idea this series has stretched to five books. Kudos for Bishop. If nothing else I like the covers.

    • Right? AND she’s been contracted to write a spin-off series as well. Clearly UF still sells for some people, and Bishop’s definitely got the talent and originality to pull it off!

  • Greg Hill

    I’ve heard The Others series is great. Haven’t read ’em yet but I may have to. I like the sound of the relationships and how well done they are, and the prophecy/ cutting thing sounds interesting and unique. Humor done right can also lighten up an otherwise dark tale very nicely!

    Great review Danya!

    • Knowing your love of UF Greg, I agree — you may have to read this series. 😉 It’s really different from a lot of other UF series because the protagonist is the least kick-ass person you could possibly think of, but it totally works. The world building is seriously great, too!

  • Yesss glad you loved it! Omg five stars! I will have to check it out! Books with great world building are really the best, don’t you agree? Great review!

    • I know, it was so good! Actually, this was my first read of 2017 so I really started the year off right! 😀 World building and great characters are what make or break a book for me, and since both are solid here it’s no wonder I love this series. Thanks, Prabhleen!

  • I DEFINITELY WANT TO READ THIS SERIES. I love that you have loved this and while this series was already on my TBR it’s now been ratcheted up a notch after this review! Thank you!!

    P.S. I’m reading Island of Exiles and I am LOVING it. I’m not too far in but I really am enjoying it and that was a pick up from your review too! 🙂

    • Yay! Read it, Di! Read like the wind! Hahaha. You’re very welcome! I’ve loved the entire series and haven’t given any of the books less than 4 stars, which is rare for a longer series.

      AHHHH! EVERYBODY DANCE! 🎉 I’m so excited that you’re loving it, Island of Exiles is definitely still one of my top reads of the year.

  • I’ve only heard the first book in this series but I really liked it and definitely want to continue the series!

    • Oooh I’m really curious to hear your thoughts on the rest of the series, Nereyda! I know people are pretty divided on book 2 (I loved it though) so hopefully that one works for you.

  • Lynn Williams

    This is definitely another series that I would like to get into – I chose the Toby Daye series but once I’ve caught up with that one (now up to No.9) I think I’ll give this one a go.
    Lynn 😀

    • Totally understandable — how’re you supposed to catch up on two longer UF series at the same time?! Hahaha. Sounds like a binge read of The Others is imminent, I’m excited to hear your take on it Lynn!