Anne Bishop understands the concept of a fantasy trilogy so well. Thank you for not disappointing me with the second-book syndrome so many trilogies suffer from these days. Where Written in Red was mainly character based and focused on world-building and introducing us to the Courtyard’s inhabitants and their interaction with Meg, Murder of Crows is clearly more plot-driven, action-filled and focused on the rising tension between humans and earth natives. Bishop takes a step further from Lakeside territory introducing us to other Courtyards, Cities and characters around Thaesia. One thing that might irritate some readers is the resulting, almost fragmented storytelling: You will get a lot more POVs from Burke, Monty, The Controller, Jean and some other, new characters. On the one hand it gives you a wider perspective on a political level and increases the mystery elements, on the other I felt like there could have been more of Simon and Meg. Also, I kind of missed Sam and the Elementals who have almost no onscreen-time.
The romance (again) is not the main focus of the book, which is understandable if you count in the “childlike innocence” Meg still has to grow-out of. It’s hard to explain and not to spoil. There are inclinations, moments, and recurring thoughts on both parts but it goes very slowly. It’s a long, stony way for both: Meg for the first time in her life is free to decide what she wants, but she has to find out who she is first. There is a lot of uncertainty and the only thing she is sure of is that she likes Simon, that everything romantic or sexual makes her uncomfortable at least at the moment. There are also some obstacles for Simon: He is the leader of the Lakeside Courtyard and even if he is more progressive than other earth natives, he still feels uncomfortable about getting too human. Meg has changed a lot in how the “Others” perceive and act towards humans, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are not human, or that humans to the “Others” are still meat with skills.
What I love most about Murder of Crows was again the hilarious undertones.
“No,” Meg replied tightly. “It’s not a cut, so there aren’t any vision or prophecies with this kind of blood.”
Simon cocked his head. “There are different kinds of blood?”
Vlad, who was standing closer to her, looked at her face and took a step back. Simon whished he hadn’t put on the jeans so he could grow a tail and tuck it over his make bits.
“I’m a girl!” she shouted. “It happens!”
Simon glanced at Vlad, who looked equally puzzled.
“You’re both so quick to think it’s “this time of month” whenever a girl isn’t all sweet and sunny, but it doesn’t occur to you, when it really is that time of the month.
“Human females. They’re kind of crazay during this time, aren’t they?
“If you choose to believe the stories written by make writers,” Vlad replied.
They heard a bang and thump from the kitchen, followed by Meg yelling at something. Simon sighed. “That many males can’t be wrong.”
The only really sad thing? I have to wait again for the next book now.