Saturday, 21 March 2015

Visions And Secrets

I love world-building in novels. It's something that totally immerses you in the story and is a source of endless creativity. No wonder then that Anne Bishop's The Others series is one of my favorite urban fantasies. Vision in Silver is the third novel, and an absolute welcome back to a complex world with intriguing characters, mystery, and a deep mythology. Minor spoilers to follow.

Another beautiful cover in the series.

The Others freed the cassandra sangue to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep…

There are a few storylines in this novel, including a massive stolen fortune with a dangerous secret behind it. The main point of the story, however, surrounds Meg as she continues to adapt and struggle against her addiction. Like the novels before it, Vision in Silver doesn't move at the breakneck pace of many urban fantasy novels. Yet it doesn't need to. The dramatic action carries the story just as well as any action scene, and it remains apparent that The Others are capable of immense damage if they put their minds– and claws– to it.

One of the strongest elements these novels have going for them is that they continue to deepen the mythology behind each species. The cassandra sangue, for example, remain as mystifying as ever. Of all the species of The Others, I find them to be the most interesting. They've lived their whole lives under submission and control, carefully regulated so they would have no idea how to adapt to the real world. Being frightened by it forces them to turn to their addiction to cutting and seeing visions, which ultimately shortens their life span. They are a complicated collection of girls if there ever was one, and the highlights of this truly well written story were simply reading through their trials and how they overcame them. Or didn't.

The characters carry as much weight as they have in previous novels, Meg Corbyn and Simon Wolfgard being the strongest by far. Meg is a great female lead. Watching her try to adapt to her new life, reason out her actions, and overcome her struggles creates dimensions to her that are uncommon for most female leads in the genre. Do I like constantly ass-kicking female characters? You better believe I do. But it's also a nice change of pace to read about someone who's mental strength grows more than her physical strength. Meg is a standout character, one you can't help but root for.

Similarly, it was fun to watch Simon Wolfgard grow. He's still not anyone I would want to cross on a bad day, but watching him bend for the humans in his Courtyard out of respect for Meg, even going so far as to protect them in a brutal fight against a faction of human fanatics, was rich and fulfilling. There's a unique feeling that fills you when you read about Simon, almost like you were in the Courtyard itself when he was making decisions. Like some of the humans, I would be hesitant to call him a friend, but I know to respect him, and partially fear him. Simon is an excellent character that radiates control and danger, and I truly look forward to reading more about him inn future novels.

I recommend Vision in Silver, and The Others novels in general, to all lovers of urban fantasy. The characters are fascinating, the story is compound, and the world-building is absolutely irresistible. If you haven't checked it out, do so. The Courtyard will not let you leave disappointed.


No comments:

Post a Comment