Review: Etched in Bone

Etched in Bone Must read fabulous latest tale in the Other series. Spellbinding, magical and I wish it would never end. #bookreview 
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a must read spellbinding series. Etched in Bone is the fifth in the series. Whilst it can be read as a standalone it is so much better read in the order written. This tale kicks off after the Elders have made their displeasure known to the humans. I loved this book so much that I have already re-read it about ten times. Each time, I find more nuances I appreciate and wish to bookmark for re-reading.

Meg, the blood prophet is doing her best to learn how to see prophecies without having to cut herself. With the cards she's received, it could be that she no longer needs to slice. Instead the cards help her see the immediate future. This allows her to warn the Lakeside Courtyard and their allies of impending danger. All Meg needs is a little peace and quiet to experiment. Unfortunately for her and the Courtyard, there is still much unrest and a lot of rebuilding to do.

Storylines with rebuilding and starting over are a favourite of mine. It could be, because I yearn for the opportunity to be in at ground zero to start rebuilding. It is something that excites and motivates me. Ms. Bishop does a wonderful job of showing how animals in human skin try to rebuild a better world than the one destroyed. There are still many human behaviours they do not understand. One of them is sexism. Human females are prevented from certain jobs because of their gender. The residents in the Courtyard do not understand this concept and their puzzlement is fascinating to watch. Ms. Bishop writes in several social issues in her books. I find that in this series, it is more powerful because she removes it one step away through using the different Others. In some senses, the Others are like children before they are taught hatred, racism and all the other negative categorizations. And this is why I enjoy this series so much. It shows a possible way of life where we can be less judgmental and work together. This is not to say the Others are perfect. There are a couple who display behaviours which are not conducive to the whole group. The respected leaders of each group immediately nip this in the bud. It is an utopian type of society interaction which makes me want to be in this world.

From a world building perspective, it continues to grow and impress. For some, it may seem a little dark. For those who were raised on the original Grimm Fairy Tales, this story is so good. There are consequences for actions and they may end in death. I find this to be so attractive. It is an object lesson which many do not understand nor care. It is clear the majority of humans in this world also struggle with this concept. Their "special snowflake" entitlement and constant demands for free handouts are anathema to the Others and especially the Elders. It is interesting to note, Ms. Bishop writes it in a way that it is not a lecture. Instead, she presents the Others and Elders's confusion because human behaviour does not make logical sense.

This story is more than just rebuilding. It does contain a little bit of love interest as Meg and Simon move at a snail pace towards their sensual kisses. Honestly, the romance in this story is not needed but it does add a sweet adorable element. For me, it is an allegory for interracial relationships. Simon's fear of losing too much of himself to become human for Meg is a struggle I have sometimes, when relating to my non-Chinese husband. There are parts of my culture and traditions that do not make sense to those outside of the culture. Just as it is hard for Simon to explain how some things work as a Wolfguard. And if he becomes too human, does this mean he will no longer be Wolf? Just as my assimilation into a non-Chinese culture could be deemed as becoming less Chinese. Will I still be accepted by the Chinese? Some will not accept my integration and no longer see me as Chinese. Same for Simon, if he loses too much of his Wolf, he is afraid that he can no longer be The Wolfguard. In addition, Meg's attraction to him is because he is Wolf. Simon's dilemma hits close to home for me and pulls me further into this world.

Lastly, Ms. Bishop always adds a bit of humour at the best times. During the tense times, she injects unlikely humour which makes me bust out chuckling. One notable scene which makes me laugh is the demand for "more cukkes". This demand from an Other is unacceptable to Meg. Her response to the demand is hilarious, as is the startlement of the Others at her response. These little light touches brings a fun into this rather dark tale. This paranormal fantasy is highly recommended to all readers.

*provided by NetGalley

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