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There are times that, as a reader, you feel as though an author is exploring a topic for which they do not have a definitive point of view. When that happens, the characters often feel either over-the-top, or not quite resolved. That was the case for me with Jimmy. He was too much. He didn't really fit into Officer Montgomery's family. It was as though Bishop had to go and watch a lot of police procedural dramas to figure out what dysfunction looked like in a black family, but she watched shows written by people who had done the exact same thing. This type of second- and third-level removed characterization takes you so far away from genuine evil, that you lose the very real pain and shame such a character could and should produce in the family members. Twila had too much stoicism. Monty was too naive. The whole thing was very bad police drama. Ah well, such happens all the time with ethnic characters. If you're comfortable with such characters, you accept them. If you're not, if you want a more well-rounded character, you stop reading and start wondering about the author's intentions, and/or cultural perceptions.
That's what Jimmy was for me. I got tired of his plot line - his bad kids, his drug addict wife, who was also a hooker . . . the lack of redeeming qualities, despite his sainted mother's effort at raising him right. Bishop piled on every stereotype, and provided no real motivation for his selfishness, other than hinting at jealousy. Yet, in another of her series, her incubus character is really a good guy, though he preys on others' weaknesses? Okay.
Beyond the Jimmy story line, there are some moments of the story that shine, though it's not as good as I expected. I don't know if my opinion is the result of Bishop's turn toward schlock-style characterization, or if it's really just kind of lackluster because there's not enough focus on Meg and Simon's relationship. They are, after all, the heart, the charm, and the beauty of this story. Their love, despite their disparate backgrounds, is why the series is so successful, in my opinion. Readers certainly don't need a counter attitude that shows Bishop only believes in love overcoming differences if those differences don't show on the surface. In the end, Jimmy was just Asia Crane in male form,shaped with racist overtones.
Whatever the case, there's no doubt that any librarian who recommends this book to a person of color will get an appraising look when it's returned.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
This was my favorite urban fantasy series in recent years--until this book. I had grown to love Meg and Simon and the rest of the cast, and I relistened to the entire series in anticipation of the final book.
What a disappointment. It read like a filler book, rather than the last book in a beloved series. Many of the prior interesting side stories were totally abandoned (what happened to the other Cassandra sangue? The new communities they were building?). The Cyrus plot was uninteresting, unnecessarily crude, and vaguely racist. There was very little of the Meg and Simon relationship. I had to struggle to even finish the book. Sad.
17 of 19 people found this review helpful
In this story we continue shortly after the end of book 4 with the world recovering from the Others' crushing of the Humans First and Last movement.
The action is back at the Lakeside Courtyard and the book has a similar feel to the first book in this series, and I liked it for that.
Its not as dramatic as some of the books just following the plans of our villain and the impact on the Courtyards residents. In this case the baddie is Lt Montgomery's brother "Jimmy". I found his character almost too evil to be believable,and to show how bad he is he always speaks with plenty of swear words, in particular the "F" word in his sentences, but I still found it a hard book to put down.
I understand this is the last in the series that Anne Bishop plans to write. If so its a real shame. I've loved all the major characters in these books Meg and Simon, Tess, Henry, Jester,Vlad - the "pack" of girls and the police "pack", and although this story comes to a tidy ending I don't see any reason why there cant be more.
One final mention to Alexandra Harris. In the first book I wasn't too sure about her to begin with but now I cant imagine the series being narrated by anyone else and she doesnt disappoint again.
The whole series is one of the rare ones where I have listened to all the books twice (except this one so far) and I can imagine coming back again for 3rds in a year or so.
Anne Bishop concludes the series in a way fraught with twists and turns. As the end of a series you can never truly know how it will end. I admittedly listened to a couple of the last chapters at 1.25x time because I wanted to know what happened (never been known for my patience). Hope to see more from the world of the Others in the future!