This is not the book that inspired the movie with the detective. It is, in fact, a purely fantasy novel, with some supernatural mixed in. This book is basically about a girl named Meg who ran away from the Compound (at the risk of spoiling the book, I must leave what the Compound is out of the summary, since it really does give away a part of the book. I will, however say, that Meg describes it at one point as a cage). She finds herself in the Lakeside Courtyard, an area run by the terra indigene (or the supernatural creatures that basically rule the world), and becomes the Courtyard’s Liaison (the intermediary for the humans and the terra indigene).
It, of course, gets more complicated than that, and at some point in the book, I got confused as to which was the main plot line. But in the end, all the paths lead to the same road, and it all ties together to make sense.
I really liked this book. At first, I was a little dubious, especially when I found Meg ridiculously annoying, and Simon (her boss, and the leader of the Courtyard) was a bit obnoxious. I thought, This is so see-through. Isn’t there anything original anymore? But curiosity won out, and I kept reading. And I was surprised to find that, at around page 300, it was midnight, and I’d been reading it all night long. I hadn’t even realized that I’d not only finished page 101, but that more than one hour had passed reading it. And, by then end of that day, Meg didn’t seem so annoying. She grew on me, and by about halfway through the book, I cared whether she lived or died. And it wasn’t just with Meg, but with everyone in the Courtyard. The only few people I liked throughout the book were Henry, Vlad, and Tess. Everyone else grew on me, though, and I ended up liking all of them, enough to read the second book. Except Asia Crane. I never liked her, and wasn’t meant to like her. Bishop did a very good job of creating her character: at first, I didn’t care whether Simon or Vlad, or any of the Others ate her or not. As I continued reading, I did care: I really wanted them to eat her. I absolutely hated Asia Crane. And the Controller. But that one makes a little more sense (if you read the book).
I liked how similar their world was to ours. Despite it being set in a different Universe, I could still understand everything. Like the fact that the Sanguinati were Vampires (I mean, sanguine does mean blood-red), or they way the weeks/months worked. And there were things that were almost exactly the same as how things work on Earth; obviously we humans are not ruled by Vampires, Werewolves/other shifters, or Harvesters, but the humans in the book acted the exact same way that humans in our universe work: they were caring, stupid or smart (depending on the person), stubborn, and forgetful. And fragile. Very very fragile. But then again, there were supernatural beings that were twice and sometimes three times as strong as them. So I should say they’re fragile in comparison. Aside from the similarities, it was also very easy to understand what was happening and all the details of the Universe they’re living in. I never once got confused as to what was going on or who was doing what. It helped that each character was an individual, and could not be mistaken for someone else. They also show up multiple times, so you never think, Who is this again? It’s an immediate acknowledgement of the character; you don’t have to wonder, you just remember. I was also never confused as to what kind of creature each character was; they all take on traits of their supernatural counterpart. Like the Sanguinati can turn into smoke; even when they’re in solid form, they still have this feel to them like they’re transparent, or walking on air; they’re very graceful. Even when they’re talking and not moving, they seem calm and lethal, but still airy. Whereas the Crows are chatty, and slightly dimwitted but still caring, and obsessed with random objects which they consider valuable.
I also liked the fact that most of my questions are being answered (keep in mind that I’m on the second book). I’m not left hanging. And the ending to the first book was satisfying, and I was perfectly fine with it ending the way it did, especially since it led the way for the second book.
I would not recommend this for anyone who does not like fantasy or supernatural novels. Or anyone looking strictly for a romance. This first book is not, I repeat not a romance. I also do not recommend this book for anyone under the age of 13. There is a lot of adult material in this book, and in the next book. I also will not recommend this to anyone who cannot deal with gore, since there is a lot of violence.