Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

Few books have made me wait with more anticipation than the latest release in The Others. That anticipation is funny for me, too, because I am not an urban fantasy person and the description of the series seemed so silly – werewolves? Vampires? Really?!? And yet this series is so distinct and so beautifully character driven that it just works so well. And where book 3 was a bit inconsistent and tended to focus more on the humans, book 4 is all action as the Terra Indigene wreak unholy vengeance upon the humans.

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Story: Blood prophets Meg, Hope, and Jean are having similar visions despite living in various parts of Thaisia. It all foretells the deaths of many wolfguards – and then terrible violence afterward. For Meg and Simon soon realize that the HFL are escalating their attacks and setting the humans on a terrible path toward destruction.

The book focuses nearly entirely on the Courtyards and TI this time – with special emphasis on the Vampires. Nix, Vlad, and several others become critical in not only stopping the violence but also mitigating the effects afterwards. They are among my favorite characters and I enjoyed greatly their sections.

We also follow Hope – a cassandra sangue in a different area and who is raised by a different wolfguard. Her area will especially become a hotbed of HFL violence and that area will be hard hit before the Terra Indigene forcefully react.

With the previous books, I had been surprised at how ineffective the TI had been with dealing with the human ‘menace’. In this book, we finally get to see the truth wrath and power of the Elders as well as the elementals – and it’s about time! Of course, with that scale of violence, there are some very poignant deaths this time around. This is one book where we finally get the promise of true global destruction fully realized.

I listened to the Audible version and I still wish we had a different narrator. She has a distinct pronunciation style that is distracting since it makes all characters sound the same (e.g., she pronounces food like fyoood). But really, that’s my only frustration with this wonderful series – one of my favorites ever.

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