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Etched in Bone
The Others #5
Anne Bishop

March 7, 2017/ ISBN 9780451474490

Reviewed by Jan Fields


In the world of The Others, humans must live in a world filled with powerful predators including shapeshifters, vampires, and things too horrible for the human mind to conceive. The struggle to mesh such very different creatures into thriving communities is delicate work, and in the last book in the series, it's work that ended in bloody catastrophe. And yet, this is also a world of staunch friendships and loyalty and love. This newest book in the series focuses on those friendships and loyalty. And it explores the meaning of family and the duty that comes from being part of a family. Lieutenant Montgomery's unscrupulous brother comes to Lakeside Courtyard, one of the strongest communities in this world. The immediate reaction is to expel this bad influence, but the Elders intervene. They want to watch this bad human. They want to understand what happens when a bad human mixes in with the herd. These lessons won't come without pain and blood. While the last book in the series was nearly world-wide in scope, this is a much more intimate book. It sticks with the Lakeside Courtyard and deepens characterization and relationships within even as it tests them. I found myself loving Montgomery's mother, a tough old woman with a lot of wisdom. Some of her interactions were especially touching and revealing. I was also impressed with the "bad guy" here, who felt very real and completely detestable. It was interesting to see how his kind of corrosive manipulation affected everyone within his sphere, and that also felt very believable and real. The stakes are more personal in this book, but all the more potentially devastating. I found the story engaging, page-turning, and satisfying, all at once. On the long list of fans of this series, I'm definitely adding my name.

Reviewed 2017