Next Tuesday, 3 March, is publication day for Anne Bishop’s Vision in Silver, the third book in her urban fantasy series set in the world of the Others. I can’t tell you how much I love this series, or how excited I am to read this book. There are a few authors that I auto-buy, but I’ve been watching and waiting for this particular story for a whole year, ever since I read the first two books in the series, Written in Red and Murder of Crows. I’ll be trying to make my treat last. I read on Anne Bishop’s website that there will be two more books in the series, and at the current pace that means I’ll get my hands on the final one in spring 2017. Sigh.
I’m not the only one making Good Book Noise. Vision in Silver already has 386 ratings on Goodreads from readers who were lucky enough to get an ARC. Check out what they had to say here – but take your squee mop, because there’s a lot of emoting going on.
I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly why I like these books so much. My attempt at an explanation below includes some gentle spoilers, so if that’s a problem for you, stop now and just read the books already 🙂 .
The series is set on an alternate earth where humans are not the dominant species. We exist courtesy of the Others or Terra Indigene, an umbrella term for various shape-shifters, vampires and other powerful supernatural beings who are stewards of the earth’s resources. To them, humans are at best a kind of clever meat, and if we ignore their rules or violate the terms on which they have permitted us to occupy parts of their land, the consequences for mankind could be disastrous. The heroine is a human, Meg, who is a cassandra sangue or Blood Prophet. She’s been imprisoned all her life because when her skin is cut she sees true visions which her owner uses for his considerable political and financial gain. She escapes and finds sanctuary at the Lakeside Courtyard, a business district owned by a community of the Others, one of the few places where humans and the Others interact. While Meg’s Controller hunts high and low for her, she attempts to make a normal, independent life for herself, and just by doing so she changes everything.
The writing isn’t flashy. The story builds subtly at a pace that could best be described as leisurely. The plotting is not manipulative – the reader is always in possession of good information and there are no cliff-hangers or big reveals or ka-pow dazzling tricks. The books are simply, quietly excellent.
I love the community. The big, scary story is always there, looming darkly, but much of the joy is in the everyday interactions between the various inhabitants of the Courtyard. There are Wolves, Bears, Crows, Vampires, and all kinds of powerful earth natives, and there’s a lot of push and pull in their relationships with one another, with their handful of human employees and with the human police force, even before Meg’s presence causes all kinds of confusion. After Meg’s arrival, the Terra Indigene have a reason to try to understand humans, and watching both sides trying to make sense of the other’s behavior is hilarious and moving, with the added bonus that the occupants of the Courtyard see, hear and smell everything. There are no secrets. Everyone knows everyone’s business and everyone gets involved. Jenny Crusie taught us at McDaniel that the first rule of successful fiction is ‘Make Me Care.’ The wonderful thing about these books is that I care about all the characters. I care about their lives and I’m deeply involved in their small interactions with each other even as I’m worrying about the big, bad stuff.
The books are urban fantasy, not romance, but there are romantic elements. The love story between Meg and Simon, the Wolf who’s her boss and the leader of the Courtyard, is developing slowly and beautifully and that pace fits perfectly with the flow of the books. I do not feel it is being strung out to keep me engaged. Meg has so much to learn. She’s gradually figuring out how to be her own person, and while she’s clearly falling head over heels in love with Simon (and he with her), she has to learn to understand her emotions and deal with them before she can be a life partner for anyone. Simon is poleaxed by his feelings for Meg, and watching him trying to figure out what the hell is happening to him (and seeing all the other characters watch the drama unfold) is pure pleasure.
Having described all the above, I hope it goes without saying that the world-building is magnificent. Everything works, from the largest detail to the smallest.
So, fingers crossed for Tuesday. Don’t call, don’t email. I’ll be reading.
Do you like the sound of Anne Bishop’s novels of the Others? What appeals to you or puts you off?
Do you feel big love for any particular author? Please say who and why. I’m always in the market for recommendations. Thanks!