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Audiobook Review: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

Audiobook Review: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Series: The Others #2
Published by Penguin Audio
Published on: March 4, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves
Length: 14hrs & 13 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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Return to New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop’s “phenomenal” (Urban Fantasy Investigations) world of the Others—where supernatural entities and humans struggle to co-exist, and one woman has begun to change all the rules…

After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murder of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader—wonders if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now, the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

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Normally I’m not one to turn all fan girl in my reviews. In fact, I pride myself on writing cohesive, thorough feedback with actual words instead of squeals of delight and captioned screencaps. But in this case, I could use all of the above and more, and still not manage to do this series justice. It’s that good. Anne Bishop’s world-building is without parallel; she explores sensitive issues with tact and fineness, and makes you see them in an entirely different light. THE OTHERS’ universe manages to be dark, scary and magical all at the same time—I wouldn’t want to live there, but it sure makes for an absorbing listen! I finished MURDER OF CROWS in record time, and now I find myself unable to start my next listen because all I want to do is go back to the beginning and do it all over again!

I’m surprised by how much I like Meg because she’s not your typical Urban Fantasy heroine; sure she has her fair share of strengths, but she doesn’t mow down bad guys and physically, she’s incredibly vulnerable. I gained a whole new appreciation for her fragility in this installment. Cassandra sangue aren’t known for their longevity, and when every cut has the potential to be her last, it makes each bump and scrape feel life-threatening. I loved watching the dynamics between Corbyn and Wolfgard evolve, and this novel helped give a whole new meaning to “mixed signals.” The romance between them continues to be minimal, but I’m really enjoying just exploring the mere possibility of more.

I expected the world-building to slow down a bit in book 2, so imagine my delight when Bishop introduces even more awesomeness into her already overflowing universe. In the earlier chapters, I had some concerns about the HFL (Humans First and Last) movement having encountered similar plot lines in the past, but the author does such a fabulous job of putting her own spin on it that you never get a sense of déjà vu. Intuits, Skippy and a “snake charmer” type character were interesting additions to this series’ already all-star cast of supernaturals, and I enjoyed delving deeper into Meg’s prophecies too. Despite the story’s somber tone, there continues to be a darkly humorous side to Anne Bishop’s writing; from the terra indigene movies, to people shaped wolf cookies, to wielding a tea kettle & broom as weapons.

Alexandra Harris threw me through a bit of a loop with her change in narration. In WRITTEN IN RED, it was box on wheels or B-O-W and cassandra sangue, but in this installment those terms became BOW and cassandra sang—not major differences, but still noticeable. She reads at a slower pace than I’m accustomed to, although I think her style is well-suited to Bishop’s writing. It really adds a palatable element of danger to the story line, and helps keep listeners invested in the plot. The innocence of Meg Corbyn’s character really comes through in her narration and her wolf sound effects aren’t too shabby either!

Anne Bishop has quite possibly just ruined the next five books on my to-be-read pile because there’s nothing that can conceivably live up to MURDER OF CROWS. This novel is without equal, and the series itself remains unmatched—it’s quite simply, the best audiobook of 2014. 5++ ∞ stars.

The Others Series

My Review

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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  1. Great review. I’m still trying to figure out how to write mine. A large part of me just wants to put “Drop what you are doing and read this series.” and leave it at that. Nothing I write will do it justice.

    I wish Sam was in this book a little more, I really love him. The way he overcame his fears in book one and is now such a happy puppy just shows the resilience of youth.

    The narration changes drove me nuts throughout the entire book. I hope that she sticks with this just so we have consistency going forward, even if I like the previous version better. I do love the wolf howls.

    • I know that feeling well. You know those graphics I use at the top of my reviews? Yeah… I wanted to use practically all of ’em in this review. LOL

      I missed Sam too, although I was happy to see him finally living in the Wolfgard compound, and yes, I preferred the first book’s narration slightly more too.

  2. I have heard quite a few good things about this series, I am definitely curious about it and your review has me wanting to pick it up now and see what all the fuss is about. 😉

    • I didn’t decide to read Written in Red until the end of last year, but boy am I ever glad I did. All of the glowing reviews don’t lie; this series is made of awesome!

  3. I wanted to love book 1 too much so even if it was good I felt a but letdown, I should never want too much

    • It sucks when a book doesn’t live up to your expectations. 🙁

  4. Excellent review!! I’ll be linking to this one too. Anne Bishop is just amazing, the only bad thing about all this is that we have to wait a year to see where she takes us next. I miss Sam too :(. I love the dynamics between the characters too. I think Alexandra Harris interpretation of Meg’s character has a lot to do in how much we liker her. I think she nailed her personality. Meg comes so alive in her narration with the perfect mix of innocence, vulnerability and toughness.

    One more year 🙁

    • The long wait is brutal! It kinda makes me wish I’d discovered this series later, so that I’d be able to read 5 installments back-to-back.

  5. I’m so excited for this! I got my hardcover and am anxiously awaiting the weekend lol

  6. I read this book and loved it, but after reading Loupe’s review and now yours, I think I have to listen to this series.

    • I could have gotten an advanced copy, but decided to wait for the audio version instead because it’s just so darned good! Definitely worth a listen.

  7. Carmel! Why haven’t I read this series yet? WHY? I don’t think I’ve read a single negative word about it since Written in Red released last year, and I really need to make time for it. My mother in law read it for the blog and LOVED it, I should have known then it would be a book for me since she and I tend to be on the same page. Glad the amazing world-building continues in this second installment, and I just can’t wait to meet this crazy awesome cast of characters:)

    • Don’t worry! I was late reading Written in Red too, but once you start, you won’t be able to stop. Bump it up to the top of your to-read list ASAP!

  8. Ooh 5 stars huh? Well I guess I need to get this series on my list too 🙂 Great review!

  9. Everyone is mad gushing about this series, I HAVE to read it!!!

    • Yes, yes you do. I’m going to bug you on Twitter until you give in. :p

  10. Fabulous review! Written in Red was one of my favorite books in 2013 and I am so happy to hear the sequel is equally fantastic. Can’t WAIT to read it! It’s the next book on my TBR list 🙂

    • Written in Red was one of my top reads on 2013 too, and it looks like that’s going to repeat this year with book 2.

  11. Ohhh I’ve heard such good things about Written in Red and you’re review just sealed the deal. Just picked up Book 1 🙂

    • Hahaha You’re so easy Traci! You buy like every book I recommend. It’s kinda flattering really. 😀

  12. I totally skimmed through your review 😛
    I just got my copy of the first book and I don’t want to spoil anything for myself but I am really really glad you loved the follow up. I don’t think I’ve heard a single negative thing about this series but I am not even scared about the hype because I am pretty sure I’ll love it.

    • It’s not hype when it’s well-deserved praise. I hope you enjoy this series as much as I have! I’m completely addicted to Anne Bishop’s writing now, so much so, that I’m even reading her hardcore Fantasy books.

  13. Maybe the author corrected her on pronunciation this time around? Who knows. I’m so glad you loved this too. I love the additional worldbuilding and the island oooo so exciting to see the cassandra sangue roots, etc. I like the very low key build up of romance and like you that she isn’t the typical UF heroine. I read one review recently on Written and Red who hated it and called Meg a Mary Sue, which I can see in a way if they are really wanting to throw around stereotypes but I don’t think of her as a Mary Sue. Meg has a coil of strength and fight in her that I don’t think is there in a “mary sue”.

    *chants* MORE MORE MORE

    • I think Cassandra herself is actually in The Black Jewels series; I just finishing Daughter of the Blood last week. It’s WAY different than The Others, but I’ve finding some of the connections interesting.

      YES! More please!

      • Oh cool I’ll have to read that series someday soon then! I do so love traditional fantasy.

  14. I almost got a paperback copy of Written in Red yesterday but I decided to go the audio book route because of your review!

    • Oooh, nice! The narrator takes a bit of getting used to; I didn’t like her at first, but now I’m hooked. Hope you enjoy them! But, be forewarned, once you start you won’t be able to stop!

  15. I love this series and must give you kudos for getting me to read it!! I love it so much, I think I’m going to have to buy the hardcovers. I very rarely do that anymore. I’ve not listened to either book just read them on my eReader but now….OMG, a whole year to wait!! I’ll re-read them a few times before then.
    You’re right though, I’ve not wanted to start another book and that really sucks because as my kids say, “If Mom doesn’t read, she’ll die”. LOL

    • Glad to hear that I’m not the only one who’s suffering from The Others withdrawals. LOL

  16. I am reading nothing but astounding reviews on this series. I just started the audiobook of the first one the other day, and I haven’t gotten far. I needed a good solid listen after finishing King’s 11-22-63 and I am expecting this to deliver. I am so excited to hear that the series continues to excel, no second book syndrome!

    • I hope these audiobooks do the trick for you. I seriously just want to listen to them again and again, so that pretty much says it all!

  17. you know what? I had it!! yes I had it today! I was so jealous and I finally have it! Ok I’m a little too excited I know. But I’m so happy maibly after all these wonderful reviews I’m starting it right now.

    • Thanks for the comment Melliane, but seriously, shouldn’t you be reading? 😉

  18. Yay! I’m SO glad the series is living up to your expectations. I’m nearly finished with Written in Red, and as soon as I do, I’m all over this one. So Anne Bishop is what it takes to bring out your fangirly-ness, huh? A little fangirl-ing never hurt anyone 😉

    • She doesn’t come out very often, but this series has turned me into an Anne Bishop stalker. LOL I don’t think I’ve had an obsession this bad since Gin Blanco.

  19. Ugh! I already read Murder of Crows so I agree with you and want nothing more than to SQUEE with you because this was really, really, REALLY an awesome book and a welcome addition to The Others series. I just can’t help but fall in love with Bishop’s world and characters all over again (and come on, Simon and Meg! Just get on with it already! You know you want to!) I especially loved the relationship dynamics of the characters. There’s just something so endearing in how they treat each other and how they welcomed Meg into their family. I seriously can’t wait for the third book, and you’re making me want to listen to the audio (I only read it). I guess it won’t be too bad considering I’ll be meeting Meg and Simon and the rest all over again <3

    Faye @ The Social Potato

    • In a way, I’m kind of glad that the romance is progressing at such a slow pace. A fellow blogger compared their relationship to cat/mouse, and I thought it was a good analogy. You don’t jump into bed with a predator without thinking long and hard about it beforehand!

  20. Oooh You are so excited in your review, you even have me excited and I haven’t even heard of this series until lately (seeing it around the blogosphere)! Murder of crows sounds awesome and I hope to check it out sometime, hopefully on audio 🙂

    Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

    • Well, that\s a good thing! It means that my review did its job. 🙂 I hope you’ll give the audiobooks a try.

  21. Hells Yes Carmel, I loved this and agree she fleshed out the world more. Now we wait for the next one…I have already started re-listening to Written in Red. I am going to listen to a chapter a night and work my way through both again.

    • I like your idea of listening to a chapter each day! I look forward to reading your review, and comparing notes.

  22. I keep hearing such great things about this book. I need to start it soon. Lovely review. 🙂

    • Thanks! I hope you find time to squeeze in these books sooner rather than later, otherwise you’ll regret having delayed so long. 😀

  23. YAY! This book was so awesome, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I totally agree, I was keeping my expectations in check for this too, but I was so pleased by how we got more world-building and more characterization and more relationship development in this one. Cannot wait for book 3!

    Enjoyed your review. I read the book, but I especially liked your comments about your audio experience, too.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    • Audios are great for re-reads too, so if you plan on checking these books out again before the next one is released, it’s a good way to go. 🙂

  24. “Anne Bishop has quite possibly just ruined the next five books on my to-be-read pile” LMAO! So true! After reading this book it’s hard to imagine reading something else. GREAT review!