Legalities first: I read an Advanced Reading Copy in exchange for an honest review.
I have heard rumors this is to be the last book of this series. It could be. But then, it might not be. We shall just have to wait. Sometimes rumors are false. I truly hope this one falls into the 'false' category.
The human uprising is over—and life goes on in Lakeside, with a few changes. Lakeside was relatively unscathed, thanks in no small part to Meg Corbyn and Simon Wolfgard and the understanding they have brought between Others and Humans. Until a human brings his wife and two children to Lakeside, expecting a hand-out (no free lunch in Lakeside), and his cop brother to protect him. No one wants him to remain in Lakeside except the two Elders (aka: The Teeth and Claws of Namid) who have taken residence in the Courtyard and refuse to have him sent away. The Elders want to understand why he is the way he is. To them, it is important to understand him, and to the humans it is extremely important. The Elders are not yet through winnowing humans. They may decide to kill them all.
Meg, the resident Cassandra Sangue (blood prophet), has a positive impact on both her human pack and the Others with whom she lives and works, and on the two resident Elders who learn manners in order to get cookies. She knows danger exists, is coming to the Courtyard, to Lakeside, and to herself. When it manifests, Simon Wolfgard, the leader of the Courtyard finally faces his thoughts and feelings about Meg, and vice versa. Can a wolf and a human find true love and happiness? Read the book and find out!
If you have not yet read the other books in this series, I strongly suggest you do so before reading this one. You don't have to, but I think if you start at the beginning, it will make smoother reading. You will have the opportunity to meet and get to know the characters without having to try to figure out the backstory. I suggest you buy all the books, check into a hotel with decent room service, and hunker down for a good read. You'll thank me when you have done so.
Anne Bishop has created a marvelous alternate world. She has populated it with great and wondrous Others, who are the dominants. Humans are the upstarts, and at best, tolerated. They do provide certain goods the Others can't make. And upon occasion, they also provide a meal. Silly humans, they decided they should be the dominant race, and agitated for an uprising, which was short, bloody, and painful. This series is great fun to read with our modern mind-set and imagining what it would be like to live in such a world. Can you imagine a large area of your town set aside for Shifters—wolves, crows, vampires, etc., not to mention various Elementals? Can you imagine what it would be like to cut yourself and reveal prophecy? Cutting is the only thing to bring you relief, but too many cuts and you'll die. Can you imagine having no ownership of your body, your blood, but being forced to prophecy to the highest bidder? You will by the time you've finished this series.
Warning: Bishop writes page burners, do not start her books—any of them—unless you have the time to sit and read. The dishes can wait. The laundry can wait. The Others, not so much. (Check into that hotel. Trust me.)