📚 Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

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Description⎮Reviewed Mar. 2017

Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Length: 16h 21m
Publisher: Penguin Audio⎮2017

4.5★ Audiobook⎮ I should hire heralds to sing this: The Others will go down in history as one of my favorite urban fantasy series ever. That realization was made a couple of books before Etched in Bone, but this was a satisfying and resolute ending to an impeccably written series.

Anne Bishop has found a diehard fan in me. Throughout this series, Bishop’s authorial skills have consistently blown my mind. On few occasions have I been so utterly consumed and immersed in a fictional world as I was in that of The Others.  Bishop left no detail untouched. She created such a consuming fictitious climate that I became wrapped up in the politics of Lakeside and beyond, finding startling parallels between Bishop’s world and my own.

In specific regards to Etched in Bone, the story arc felt very similar to previous installments, albeit with a different villain. But I definitely can’t accuse Bishop’s writing of being formulaic. Her world is far too intricate for that accusation to stick. At any given point, Bishop could have taken the story in a number of directions and the reader would have never been sure of what to expect. I’ve noticed that Bishop is fond of “red herrings” which often start to lead the reader down one path before quickly making a dramatic turn. I was hardly ever able to guess where the story was truly headed.

The vividness of Anne Bishop’s writing does not only extend to world development, but also to character development. In Etched in Bone,  Bishop introduced a new antagonist and one for whom I had an immediate loathing. Cyrus Montgomery was mentioned in Marked In Flesh and I already knew I would dislike him, but I had no idea how much. No other antagonist in recent memory has produced such strong negative reactions in me. There were a handful of times when I actually had to momentarily stop listening to the story in order to bring my heart rate down after becoming so angry at Cyrus Montgomery. To be able to produce such a physiological reaction in a reader is a testament to Bishop’s abilities as a storyteller.

As you can tell, I’m totally in love with this series. It’s a sociological experiment in the form of urban fantasy literature. However, that does not mean it’s for everyone. There is material throughout the series that would definitely be rightfully disturbing to a number of folks. Parts of it were upsetting to me and I don’t consider myself to have very many reading sensitivities. Self-harm is a key theme in The Others. It also occasionally features several types of abuse and I especially don’t recommend it to anyone sensitive to reading about sexual abuse. I strongly suggest knowing what are you are/aren’t comfortable reading before giving The Others a try.

Narration review: When I first started this series, I was a bit put off by Alexandra Harris’ style of narration. Since then, I have come to regard her as one of the top characterization specialists I’ve ever heard. Her ability to provide vocal distinction between characters is the number one reason I recommend the audio version of The Others  over the traditional book format. Harris puts on a one-woman play in the minds of listeners. ♣︎

$ Available at Audiobooks.comAudible/Amazon, and The Book Depository (hardback)

 

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