This was a very good book. I re-read it twice already.
In this universe, humans live in settlements and cities that are always on sufferance of the others. The Others are all of the natural creatures of power, from werewolves and vampires to the elementals and the seasons incarnate. In the town of Lakeside, The Others have decided to be more integrated than in most places, which is leading to both understanding and conflict. The major conflict comes from the fact that The Others who even deign to notice humans regard them as prey, not exotic bedfellows. The Others are predators, through and through, and have no plans to change that attitude.
The story opens with a runaway human woman, Meg, sheltering from a storm at The Others' enclave by Lakeside. Why she is running away is obvious, but her experiences prior to freedom are only slowly unfolded during the book. Understanding and empathy come organically across the characters, as she learns about them and they learn to like her. There is, naturally, some personal internal conflict for those Others who find themselves regarding Meg as a friend rather than inconveniently talkative prey.
The story was told from multiple points of view, and every character had his/her/its motivation. From the three main human police officers to young werewolf who won't shift to The Other running the enclave coffee shop, everyone brought baggage and meaning to the story. A lot of it felt unnecessary in and of itself, but the story that was built was all the richer for each little added aspect.
If I didn't see her name on the cover, I would not have believed it. After the Dark Jewels series and my floundering through Sebastian, I never thought Bishop could write a series without angst-filled sexual content. I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of anything more than normal relationship/friendship tensions.
I picked it up on recommendation from my sister. I recommend it to all the urban fantasy fans out there, including Ambyr.
Books read in 2013