I enjoyed “Written In Red” because it was new and fresh, it focused closely on “Our Meg” and her discovery of a world beyond the compound that she’d been kept in, her personal growth and the drama of the plot. It remains one of my favourite fantasy books.
“Murder of Crows” -which could have been subtitled “the humans strike back”- was less intense but provided a much deeper and broader view of this world and put Meg’s background in context. It was an extension of “Written In Red” and helped me see the humans as much more monstrous than the Werewolves and Vampires who provide the public face of The Others.
“Vision In Silver” continues to give a wider view of the world: its inhabitants, its politics, and the strange and strained truce between humans and The Others, but I felt that, in becoming broader, it had lost some of its intensity. I wanted more focus on Meg. I wanted the characters and their relationships to deepen in the same way that the world view does. Although I found out a lot about the characters, more and more of them seemed like plot devices rather than people.
Compared to many Fantasy books I’ve read, “Vision In Silver” is a high quality novel that is satisfying to read, it just didn’t deliver as much as I’d hoped.
There are some very strong scenes in the book: an attack at a market place, the decision of rescued Cassandra Sangue to live when those around her see death as their only way out of an unbearable situation, humans and The Others gardening together, at peace but still very alien to one another. I particularly enjoyed the story of the Cassandra Sangue who finds an alternative to the cutting that shortens their lives: it was told with compassion and empathy without being simply mushy. The story of the little girl and her mother, which forms the central plotline, was also well delivered.
Yet… I felt a little distant from this book. The balance of ideas to emotions tipped a little the wrong way. I felt it was like a sponge that hadn’t quite risen – still tasty and edible but disappointing.