My review of Written in Red, which was the first book of the series. The second, Murder of Crows, I read last year but I don't think ever reviewed. Mostly to this day--and especially after Vision in Silver, I'm ambivalent, though not Mercedes Lackey hostile.

The review of Written in Red had a short character and country directory if you need a refresher.

This may not be organized well, but I have feelings.



Vision in Silver is the third book in the Others series, and I ran into a problem with book two that carried into book three: I don't like the Others. Like, at all.

A lot of my liking for the first book was the fabulous worldbuilding and possibilities. Book two and three had lots of worldbuilding, too, and slowly but surely I went from interested and sympathetic to the Others to kind of sympathizing with the Humans First movement. This is where Anne Bishop failed and didn't have to; she wanted to make the Others super-magical and super-awesome and super-better than humans and the true and fair rulers of the world but also super-oppressed by the mean humans. That they also eat.

Just note: you cannot rule the world, have all the power, all the advantages, magic, make humans pay for water, have rationing on food, and eat humans for dinner and with a straight face claim humans shouldn't be hostile and shocked--SHOCKED I SAY--that they kind of want to wipe your asses off the face of the earth. And then decide humans should be extinct. Because environmentalism and infanticide and they won't deliver pizza to you.

(They won't delivery pizza to you--or want to make deliveries to you--because you threaten to eat them and say casually there's no guarantee they'll survive the delivery. This isn't prejudice; this is not wanting to fucking die, what's wrong with you?)

All the major oceans have an elemental who can drown everyone in the world literally as do the Great Lakes, just throwing that out here on how the others really fucking control everything but like, one area of the world where humans rule (small area) and they can kill all of them easily.

I'm more annoyed than anything, since Bishop tells a good story and I'm invested in the point of view characters, but Bishop has this huge disconnect on how much humans don't want to be eaten and not starve to death, much less have relatively nice lives and that those things aren't wrong or entitled. She keeps losing me when not being eaten, not starving to death, and (horror) want a standard of living above subsistence is seen to be like, a luxury and a vague textual disapproval of humans wanting those things because they should be totally okay with being food, starving, or not having homes.

I'm trying to think of more to say, but I'm just super-annoyed because the concept is cool and the world she's building is breathtaking and there's so much food for thought on how this came about. Book Two ended with a whole bunch of cassandra sangue being freed from all the facilities holding them captive and taken to locations unknown by the Others (who are totally offended anyone would think they'd kill those girls or eat them because children which is a lot like someone super-offended when they're thought to eat veal despite the fact they are at that moment chowing down on a hamburger. Sorry, so you'll wait a few years for it to get to hamburger age, my mistake).

Book Three, on the other hand, was more Other-human bonding, which was nice--like I said, her pov characters I like and found mixed-species family works for me-but then we got to something that vaguely bothered me in Book One and Bishop sort of almsot fixed it but kind of late.

Book one, it was very obvious that not only do the Others oppress the fuck out of humans, they don't even do the minimum playing favorites with humans who are nice to them ("I may not eat you right now": no that's not an inducement, sunshine). Monty saved an Other Wolfgard child from rape and murder by a pedophile and got asskicked by humans to the boondocks and lost his girlfriend and custody of his kid; Others didn't much really care.

(Like I said, these books are weird and book two didn't help with this. There's literally no reason whatsofuckingever to be friends with (or even show basic levels of compassion for) the Others and it's actively dangerous to even try because you're in danger of death--or being eaten--from both sides (assuming Humans First don't eat people, and I'm not willing to say they don't at this point).)

So Book Three--fucking finally--the all powerful Others make an effort to protect the humans who help them and actually like them from other humans trying to kill/evict/fire them from their jobs for being pro-Other.

We also find out the poor sad Others didn't do well in school because no one taught them how to take notes (deliberately, to oppress them) therefore putting them at a disadvantage in literally one place in alllll the world. Yeah, that worked to get my sympathy but also I couldn't work out why they didn't--like every other human born--kind of pick that up by observation or when your teacher tells the class to get out a piece of paper and take notes (i don' think the teacher secretly whispered it to everyone else in the class but the Other child, and didn't he notice them taking out paper and a pencil at some point and do as they do?). There's a lot about this, like how to use forks and eat food a certain way (honey on bread or people mock you?) and math and table manners and again, it's a cool idea that the Others were legit persecuted (in a way that literally has no meaning when you can control the fucking weather to kill everyone for funtimes) but her examples were things you could learn with a single viewing of The Breakfast Club or prime time TV, and Sparkletown does make TV and movies.

Basically--and I try here--there is no legit reason for the Others to get their feelings hurt by their fucking prey that they eat, like on-screen more than once. I'm sympathetic in the individual very much--mostly--but as a group, no.

Then there's the fucking Simple People (Amish?) and the Intuits (Wait for it: people with super special intuition aka situational clairvoyance aka cassandra sangue light), humans who are totally with the earth or are magic, and the Others sort of probably don't eat because reasons (I'm not clear on this). We met some in Book Two, where they live in harmony with the Others because they're enlightened or don't want much or live close the earth or something, and it was the first time the Others seem to maybe understand vaguely the idea that if you want people not to hate and try to murder you, you like, reciprocate that idea.

I hate them like a lot.

In the individual, they're cool and I like them, but as a group they're smug as fuck-all (we get along with the Others, see how well we ask permission for everything and never cross any lines and suck up like a lot? And they mostly only treat us like third class citizens: SCORE).

In less general, more character related news:

Meg and Simon are no closer to banging even though Book Two totally had an ending all like "is gonna happen" and no.

Also, all the rescued cassandra sangue start suffering from what appears to be sensory overload, which Book One sort of implied with Meg but suddenly and abruptly in Book Three took off to cassandra sangue committing suicide from the equivalent of environmental TMI and Meg's for no reason (after months out and about) upgraded to not being able to function sometimes instead of a quirk. So that was fairly jarring as hell, and the thing is, Bishop fell down by making Meg suddenly suffer from it, too. I would have actually bought "because Meg is super-special" as a reason it didn't happen to her as strongly, but no, so there went continuity.

Merri Lee is dating Officer Debany (Merri Lee is awewsome).

Officer Kowalski and Ruthie got evicted from their apartment because they are nice to the Others (Wolflover is the slur, yeah), and Ruthie lost her job for the same reason. She's a teacher--I think--and definitely is being hired eventually by Simon and the Others to be a real teacher for the Others so they learn how to take notes and use forks. Which glad Ruthie got a job, yeah, but I still don't get why the Others missed this on TV. They watch movies and TV; Meg and Simon have a goddamn date night thing going on with Sam doing just that. So--no idea.

Monty's daughter comes to Lakeside after the murder of her mother, and then makes the mistake of acting like a child, which upsets Meg and therefore all the Others don't like a small child because...she acted like a small child.

I have no idea what the fuck Bishop was doing here or why; the Others got five hundred thousand percent less sympathetic bullying a little girl--she's like between five and seven or something, we're talking kindergarten or first grade at best--whose mom was just fucking murdered (and she saw all bloody in the bathroom no less and who while dying told her daughter to take the train while pretending she was fine) and had to cross the country on a train all alone. Seriously, wtf? Why? What was the point? That's villain behavior, much like the Others eating people, so hey, consistency at least.

The end of the book, the Others who live in the wilderness (Super Others? Scary Others who the regular Others fear? They Who Walk Between the Fucking Rows? They're even more powerful and scary than the Others, so you know, poor things who aren't even around humans to be oppressed by them) have called--on the telephone, because Bishop does have a sense of humor--to give the verdict on whether humans are all to be made extinct because reasons (oppressed Others?). No extinction, but I think decimation or culling is on the table, because I needed another reason to think Humans First maybe had the right idea, thanks.

Final Notes

These are a fun read, don't get me wrong, but she's really not doing a great job on making the reader care about the Others other than in the individual (and sometimes not even then). So the entire rising Humans First hate group gaining steam isn't nearly as big a deal as it should be, or something you're supposed to root against. It's like trying to use A Tale of Two Cities as model for how the French Revolution was tragic for all the poor aristocrats because of the mean peasants instead of as an individual story. After three books, she's dug in on the idea the Others are victims (IDEK) and need to strike back now before they're...inconvenienced? A little?
blueraccoon: (Default)

2015-04-07 01:01 am (UTC)
You are preaching to the choir, here. I really like Meg, mostly, kind of, and I like Tess, but the idea that the humans want more than subsistence living and don't want to be eaten seems foreign to Bishop. Like they should just be grateful they're not eaten and shut up and do whatever the Others tell them, which...hello, humanity? Have you met it?

I don't know if I want to keep reading because it's frustrating as fuck and I come out of the book and go "But they're all idiots". Bishop also seems to be communicating the idea that the "best" humans are the ones who meekly accept that the Others rule everything and always will. And...no. I don't buy that. Humans are going to find a way to fuck this shit up, somehow. The Others have to have a weak spot somewhere--although given some of Bishop's writing I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't--but if there is one, the humans will find it and attack.

I like the multi-species household, mostly, but I was just incredibly frustrated with this book and with the overall attitude toward the Others. If a species of people told me "not eating me" was a benefit, I'd be scared and resentful and learn very quickly to hate them and everything they stood for. That the Others don't get this about humans makes no sense.
jamethiel: A kingfisher perches on a Bare branch (Default)

2015-04-07 01:14 am (UTC)
I mean, I get that humans essentially invaded and trashed the environment, blah blah, and are trying to aggressively expand but I'm still stuck on the CLOISTERED SPECIES WHO ARE A MINORITY AND GET ET part of it.

Like, sometimes the reason people demand equal rights is because they don't actually have any? And they'd like not to get eaten? Just as a starting point?

(Also, I know that I'm getting id-fic with Bishop's stuff, but holy fuck was this triggering for cutting.)
dimestore_romeo: (Default)

2015-04-07 06:26 am (UTC)
I just finished the third book recently and I was so frustrated at the entire series for this! Some serious "you are a credit to you race" horribleness and I ended up hating most of our heroes because of how gross and entitles they were. The fact that all of the antagonists were painted entirely unsympathetically didn't help.

Argh! The Others are not oppressed! They treat humans like garbage! They don't give a shit about human inventions even though they use them for everything! The fact that they make zero effort to learn about, understand, or have the least modicum of respect for them drove me nuts.

So basically I spent my entire time reading waiting for The Others to realise how awful they were, or to meet sympathetic interesting humans, but never did.
torch: legs of a pinup girl, red high heels (Default)

2015-04-07 06:27 am (UTC)
I haven't read these books, and I'm less and less tempted to do so... Your description of shiny super race with speshul powers vs ordinary boring people who don't like or trust them just reminds me of the way I thought the black jewels books could have used a little social revolution, and nobody ate anybody there. Much.
brownbetty: (Default)

2015-04-07 09:04 pm (UTC)
The question that obsesses me is "what book does Bishop think she's writing?"
brownbetty: (Default)

2015-04-08 07:58 pm (UTC)
Follow up question: how much does her editor drink?
majoline: picture of Majoline, mother of Bon Mucho in Loco Roco 2 (Default)

2015-04-08 04:33 am (UTC)
Oh wow, something about the introduction to Book 1 kinda bored me, and honestly, at that point I wanted more in the Black Jewels universe, so I didn't bother to read them.

(But talk about be careful what you wish for! I finally acquired the rest of the short stories and damn. DAMN You were right, that ending was. Yeah.)
majoline: picture of Majoline, mother of Bon Mucho in Loco Roco 2 (Default)

2015-05-07 08:10 am (UTC)
You know what? I've really thought about this and reread my books, and I agree: the Blood's matriarchy is totally post-patriarchy. You totally filled in a lot of the wonkiness I felt about the whole 'origins of the blood' and such.

I really do love Surreal, I just wish that those hadn't have been short stories! Like, I get that Bishop wanted to move on, but everything was in a weird emotional tone to me.
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