Etched in Bone marks the fifth installment of Anne Bishop's novels of the Others and picks up right where Marked in Flesh left off... and I like where it goes for the most part.
The book seemed to focus more on the inter-species politics than the first four... and by that I mean actual attempts at politic and civil resolutions (instead of just eating the offenders). We have the humans who want to work with the Others to ensure their own survival, the Others who have come to care for their human pack (and some of the technologies they've never bothered to master on their own), the humans who court extinction, and the Others who are only just starting to pay attention to the events going on in the world at large.
One thing I can say for Bishop is that she knows how to write characters that you love to hate, especially manipulative, self-important, abusive men. There are times when civilization does not suit the Others, especially when they are seeking to understand malicious humans in their midst. You'll be happy when the inevitable hammer comes down on the villain of this story.
Meg and the Elders led to a bit of amusement, a semi-common occurrence considering she look like 'meat' to the Others but does not smell like prey. My continued appreciation and unease with how cutting is handled continues, though there is considerably less self-harm here than in previous novels. Instead we get more focus on her attempts to divert the impulse and developing new strategies. And if you've been waiting for Meg and Simon's relationship to start actually becoming more than friends, you'll see some development, but in their own particular ways.
Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Roc (Penguin RandomHouse) in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.