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The Others #5
Description⎮Reviewed Sep. 2016
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Length: 15h 21m
Publisher: Penguin Audio⎮2016
5★ Audiobook⎮ Wow. I’m in shock right now. Not because of the ending, which wasn’t shocking at all, but because I shouldn’t be reviewing this yet. I could have sworn I was only halfway through Marked In Flesh. Seriously. I thought I had a whole other half to go and then Wham! Out of nowhere I hear “This is Alexander Harris. We hope you have enjoyed…” and I just sat there stunned. It’s like being woken up too soon and having to face the real world again when you were having a really great dream.
Needless to say, those 15 hours absolutely zoomed by. I listened to this in increments, but not exactly by choice. Every time I started listening, it seems like something else came up to pull me away from it. We’re like starcrossed lovers, this audiobook and I. The world tried to keep us apart but we kept finding our way back to each other and then… It all ended before I was ready to let go. Tragic.
For as long as I’ve been listening to this series, I keep trying to come up with an adequate comparison to another series I heard. Time and time again, I come up empty handed. I honestly can’t think of anything else that reminds me of The Others. It’s that unique. That’s what keeps me coming back to it. Marked In Flesh cemented The Others’ place among my favorite series. I say this in my review of every installment, but Anne Bishop’s world-building is phenomenal. I have a clear mental picture of every location in the story and I rarely get them confused. It’s A+.
But the best, I mean the very best, thing about Marked In Flesh was the romance development. By “romance development” I mean that Bishop actually let the romance develop at a natural pace. Nothing is forced, because one of the parties has a history of being sexually, physically and psychologically abused. I don’t want to give anything away, but I love the way that part of the story is developing.
Even though this is a paranormal series with some nonhuman characters living in an alternate universe, the conflict serving as the foundation for the plot really resonates with me. At first, it sort of seems to turn everything on its head because the humans are largely the antagonists. But if you look deeper, I think there is a very profound message in this series and especially in this installment. The conflict that has been building in the first four installments comes to a head in Marked In Flesh. It’s exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. I say terrifying because certain elements of the conflict mirror today’s divisive society. I’m not going to get political in a review about a book that isn’t even based in our reality, but if you’ve read this, or if you’re planning on reading it, I hope you’ll look at Marked In Flesh from a semi-realistic perspective because I’m fairly certain that’s how Bishop intended it. She’s a clever one.
Narration review: I seem to appreciate Alexandra Harris’ narration abilities more with each installment in The Others series. In Marked In Flesh, her range of character distinction was really on display. Character distinction has made its way to the top of my list for essential narration abilities. I don’t know why it took me five installments to realize this, but Harris gives each species a unique and distinct accent. I can’t emphasize enough how immensely helpful that is, especially when trying to discern whether a wolf or a coyote is “speaking”. She also distinguishes accents for those from different locations within the fictional universe. I hadn’t thought about this until recently, but the story moves locales quite a lot. I credit Harris with being the reason I never really noticed all of the geographic jumping around. Her accent distinctions make the transitions appear seamless. I’m along for the ride and the ride is a very smooth one. ♣︎