Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Etched in Bone (The Others, #5)The war is over, what’s left to write about?
Time to bring the story back to the personal: Meg & Simon, are they going to kiss again or not?

Incidentally, Policeman Montgomery has a criminal brother, that would be petty crime and not global war, and Jimmy is coming to town. Jimmy is Not Nice [tm] and does all the traditional Not Nice[tm] things and even has all the Not Nice [tm] thoughts, which we are privy to, and which are actually pretty amusing. (For real. Make a Psychopath Slimewad bingo card for Jimmy before you start the book, and see how fast you win!)

In happier news, Grr Bear continues to be the guardian of all that is good in the world. Not a bad deal for a wooden-head teddy bear. Also, Skippy the Wolf gets ice cream and some character growth! Go Skippy!

Monty warns Simon Wolfgard that Jimmy will make a mess of various things if he is allowed to stay, but is allowed to stay for an interesting reason: The Elders, red of tooth and claw, want to know how a mixed wolf-vampire-human community reacts to a bad human. Humans are not dumb, and quite a few people figure out that Simon is allowing this bad guest to stay just because he has to, not because he wants to. Really, everyone in the Courtyard wants Jimmy out of there, five minutes after meeting him – or sooner.

It’s amazing what a mess one sleazy sneak can make. Very educational indeed.
Jimmy’s wife is mostly worthless, his son is learning from him, his daughter is figuring out that other families are safer than her own.

Not a very happy situation.
Pretty funny, in a gory sort of way, when Jimmy recruits some local criminals to steal from the butcher shop.
A lot less funny when Jimmy kidnaps Meg, but both the kidnapping and escape are foreshadowed with a blunt hammer. It takes a lot of tension out of the book. On the other hand, Jimmy being pond slime means that Meg’s fears of men don’t exactly take a swan dive into a volcano. But being captured? She played play-prey with a pack of wolves! she knows how to run, fast! I AM NOT PROPERTY ANYMORE. I AM NOT PREY ANYMORE. GO MEG.

If you absolutely must know, go read the last page of the book first. Come on, you know you want to. (view spoiler)

Meanwhile, Eliot Wolfgard needs a secretary, since his last one isn’t showing up for work anymore. Monty’s Mom Twyla is giving the place a thorough cleaning, and does a little bit of filing, but suggests another woman her own age to be the office Admin. She’s just not up to it, herself. Why not? On the other hand, Twyla is very good at being the Stern But Loving Mom Figure for various youngsters in the Courtyard. Simon even remarks that having older females is good for the pack.

So. Why is an older black woman automatically slotted in as the cleaning lady/Mammy of the Courtyard? If North America by any other name never had a South full of plantations, black women were never slaves & child-minders. Why should this prejudice sneak its way in to the story? I actually find this cultural attitude a lot more disturbing than Jimmy’s “everyone owes me” attitude.

There is still a clear divide between what males can do & what females can do, or are expected to do. This is highlighted by ONE person who bucks the system to be a police-woman, and has to go to Othersville to do it, because humans don’t want a pushy woman shooting her official gun at men. There is also ONE “exploding fluff-ball” (lovely name for woman who are not doormats) who wants to go west and round up horses and cattle, not keep house. Go cowgirl(s)!

We also meet Jake Crowguard again, so I guess ‘like shiny sparkly things’ can go back to being a crow thing, not a female thing.

If you can overlook the built in heavy-handed stereotypes, this was a fun series.
I’m curious to see what Anne Bishop will right about next.

View all my reviews

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