3.5 of 5 Goodreads stars. This was a hard book for me to get into. In this series humans are not important and initially there is a lot of world-building (and not much else) going on. In this story, the world is run by Others, and the humans are actually a source of food.
Meg Corbyn is human, but she’s also a blood prophet or a cassandra sangue. Meg’s kind are kept captive by controllers, and they are raised in an environment where they only learn by watching training videos or images. They are not allowed contact with the outside world. Their skin is very valuable, and customers pay to use their prophesizing abilities. When a cassandra sangue is cut, they see visions or prophesies.
The Others in the story are shifters (wolves, bears, hawks, owls, crows, coyotes, etc.), vampires and other dangerous beings. These beings are highly intelligent and although they can look and act civilized, they are not human and do not understand human behavior. The larger settlements are run by the Others. Simon Wolfgard is a wolf shifter and the leader of the Lakeside District. He owns and runs a bookstore among other things.
There is also a human police presence, determined to keep relations between humans and the Others cordial. The police in the story are for the most part good guys although there is corruption within the human government, too. There is history between the species, and when the humans overstep, the Others are swift to mete out justice. Entire populations and cities are wiped out in a flash. There are many areas where human law does not apply, and humans are not allowed to go.
In our story, Meg has managed to escape from her controller, and she is on the run. She ends up in the Lakeside District where she sees a job posting in the window of the bookstore for a Human Liaison. The Liaison receives and sorts the mail, taking deliveries from humans and making sure packages are delivered to Others. Against his better judgment, Simon hires her. He senses that Meg is different somehow and “not prey”.
I had many starts and stops with this book. I wanted to like it, but I kept putting it aside. It starts slowly. I wanted more of a romance, and there is only a slight warming between Meg and Simon. He doesn’t trust her at the beginning, and he is wise not to trust most humans. Meg is childlike and innocent, though, and she gradually wins over all the Others she comes into contact with. No one seems to hate Meg, and they all want to protect her once they get to know her. That seemed a little unrealistic.
I found the animal shifters for the most part charming and sometimes amusing. For such dangerous beings, should they have been more awe-inspiring or frightening? They weren’t. I especially liked the ponies and the crows. I also liked the Sanguinati (the vampires).
I stayed up late to finish the book because all the action takes place at the end. The bad guys were easily overcome, and each of the Others has a hand in defeating them/saving Meg. I have started the second book in the series, and I do recommend this one. Just don’t let the slow start put you off.