Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop
|Book Name:||Marked in Flesh|
|Formatt:||Hardcover / Audiobook / Ebook|
|Release Date:||March 8, 2016 (US) March 10, 2016 (UK)|
If you are familiar with the Black Jewels trilogy by the same author, you know Bishop’s talent for great character-driven plots and excellent worldbuilding. Her latest series, The Others, is even better. I can honestly say that this is one of the best in urban fantasy today.
Marked in Flesh is the fourth book in the series and it is a game changer. Don’t expect much further character development, because the build-up of what is inevitably coming to pass is the theme here. However, the talent that is Bishop’s writing will not leave you wanting. The suspense is phenomenal. And for a 400+ page book, there is not a single thread of fluff. That is what amazes me each time I pick up a book in this series. Simple yet extremely effective storytelling. I am hooked on each and every word. Yet, it manages to question human nature through the lens of child-like curiosity. Making you reconsider the things you need versus the things you want. Life and death tend to distill things down, I suppose.
The Human First and Last Movement has been preparing for a war against the terra indigene, and it has finally arrived. The unseen Elders, Namid’s claws and teeth, have come out of the wild country and are intent on sifting through and purging the land of the human infestation. Simon, leader of the Wolfgard and the Lakeside Courtyard, must answer the question: how much human do you need to keep? Lakeside is the most progressive in terms of human and terra indigene relations, but even they are not safe from the wrath that is to come. When the latest stunt from the HFL finally declares open war, the waves of cleansing come pouring out and things get ugly in a flash.
Like I mentioned earlier, the anticipation building up to the final act is incredible. I knew what had to happen, but through it all, I kept thinking, sh*t, sh*t, sh*t, we are all gonna die. Notice I said we. I really felt like I was personally invested. That alone speaks to Bishop’s talent. And even on the brink of Armageddon, Bishop is still introducing new characters. Surprisingly, this did not bother me like it usually would. Instead, they felt like smaller pieces of the puzzle that made the picture that much clearer.
We don’t see a lot of Simon and Meg’s relationship moving forward until the very end. A lot of characters are in play, and their interactions are very limited in this book. So, if you’re hoping for more of the romance to blossom, it will need to wait until the next installment. What we do see is more of the cassandra sangue learning to live a life outside of the compound. Meg the Trailblazer is tasked with finding a way for them to allow their prophecies to be heard without the need to cut. Every cut is one scar closer to their deaths. Amidst the growing turmoil, a possibility shows itself, and hope flickers in the face of an uncertain future.
An emerging player in all of this is the Sanguinati. I can’t help but wonder if the balance of power among the terra indigene themselves will be shifting once the dust settles. But the Elders that have come forth are terrifying. Myths have taken form and walk the land. They care not for the progress and contributions of humans. When humanity shows its ugly side, the Elders give them a taste of their own medicine and then some. Their message, “We Lrned From Yu,” still gives me the chills. Should have obeyed the Golden Rule, people.
Marked in Flesh was an amazing reading experience. I can’t imagine what can possibly come next in the final book of the series. But that is the beauty of following such a talented writer. It’s bound to surprise and impress.
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.