The Others is an Urban Fantasy series by Anne Bishop, with five books int the main series and an additional two books in the same universe as of May 2020. The Terra Indigene who rule the continent of Thaisia have an extremely uneasy truce with the humans who crossed the ocean to settle there. Simon Wolfgarde is running the Lakeside Courtyard as an experiment to see if, by opening their businesses to humans, they can improve relationships. The arrival of Meg Corbyn has the potential to destroy everything, but Simon and the other residents of the Courtyard eventually come to the conclusion that Meg is theirs to protect.
The first book, Written in Red, is primarily focused on the Lakeside Courtyard and the upheaval that occurs when The Others accept Meg Corbyn, a mysterious woman on the run from an unknown organization, into their home. Murder of Crows expands the story by introducing the Humans First and Last movement, who are actively killing the Crowgard were-crows to prevent the Others from keeping an eye on their plans, and Vision in Silver shows the tragedies that will inevitably lead to all-out war between Human and Other.
This book series provides examples of:
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Crowgard naturally. Blood Prophets tend to be easily overwhelmed by disruptions to their routine due to the manner in which they are raised, which can also lead to inability to concentrate or react quickly when overwhelmed by new things. While Crowgard love shinies, many Blood Prophets finds it distressing.
- Black-and-Gray Morality: Who's the bad guy — the non-humans willing to murder humans for even the smallest offense, or the humans who refuse to follow the laws laid down by the Others when they settled on their continent? The answer are the groups who are sending all resources and food overseas, forcing shortages and trying to get humanity to rise up against the "original inhabitants."
- Blood Magic: The Cassandra Sangue. They can see the future when they're cut deep enough to bleed.
- Cast from Lifespan: Supposedly, the Cassandra Sangue only have a certain number cuts before they die. Cutting themselves allows them to speak prophecy, but at a cost.
- Category Traitor: Dubbed "Wolf lovers" by the HFL. Lieutenant Montgomery is seen as one because he killed a human to save a Wolfgard child.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Two characters quickly stand out:
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Basically what the controllers do to Jean and any Cassandra Sangue that they have no more use for.
- Elemental Embodiment: The series introduces a number of elementals, from weather patterns (in the form of ponies) to the Atlantic Ocean herself.
- Fantastic Racism: Going both ways, humans against Others and Other against humans. Much of the story is dedicated to the main characters overcoming it for mutual survival.
- Fantasy World Map: There are maps in the books which have notes underneath them reading, "This map was created by a geographically challenged author. All distances are whimsical and subject to change without notice."
- Gilded Cage: Supposedly, the Cassandra Sangue live in luxury at the compounds. In reality, they're bady abused. Imprisoned, have their bodies sold, and are tortured if they don't obey.
- Gorgeous Gorgon: Tess is a monster known as a Harvester. There's one other who's known to inhabit a Courtyard. Although they kill with their gaze, they don't turn people to stone. That would be too easy. They're the monsters who the other monsters are terrified of. It might be because her method of feeding leaves the victim weakened from just a look, followed by the distinct sensation that it's raining inside your skull. The bodies are disturbing for those who've stumbled upon the victim of a Harvester.
- Here There Be Dragons: In the fourth book the embodiment of the Atlantik gets involved. She fondly reminisces of the time period when map-makers labeled her domain with the script "Here be Monsters", and then adds that they should resume labeling the maps as such before laying down the rules by which humanity must abide by if they expect to have any ocean-going vessels survive passage through her domain.
- Living McGuffin: Meg and the Cassandra Sangue. Many people are willing to kill for their prophesies, and the Others fight to protect them.
- Mysterious Waif: Meg, a small and weak young woman with strange mystical powers, appears on the Courtyard's doorstep and kicks off the story.
- Nice Guy: Lieutenant Montgomery is this, having saved a Wolfgard child from a serial killer/pederast. The rest of the city didn't think so, as the child reacted to being freed by killing and eating his former captor once the Lieutenant's back was turned. The lieutenant was upset to discover that the suspect had been eaten, but stood by his rescuing the child.
- Our Monsters Are Different: For starters, none of the Others are human in any way. They started out as nightmares which took on the appearance of predators, and then added the appearance of humans when they discovered we were the best predator other than them.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Terra Indigene vampires have none of the weaknesses common in other vampire books. One of the few ways they're vulnerable is when they turn into mist (to feed, travel, or observe), where a glass jar can be used to hold part of their bodies.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: If an animal is a predator or a scavenger, there's a group of Others that have taken their shape. The Courtyard has a large number of Crowgard and Hawkgard; there's also Jester, the were-coyote, and Henry, the were-bear.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Most Wolfgard stay in wolf form as much as possible. The leaders of Lakeside's Courtyard have to spend a great deal of time in human form, either to communicate with humans or to use human tools, but it's obvious to everyone that they're wolves first and foremost — especially because of their amber eyes.
- Papa Wolf: Simon Wolfgard feels this way about his nephew Sam. Lieutenant Montgomery is protective of his daughter Lizzy.
- Protectorate: Simon and his Courtyard will do anything to protect Meg, and the police will help them. Pity the poor fool who goes after her.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Captain Burke fills this role for Lieutenant Montgomery, taking him under his wing when Montgomery is transferred to Lakeside city, and putting him in charge of a special detachment to liaise with the Other in light of . Lieutenant Montgomery himself fills this role with his new subordinates, generally respecting the experience and knowledge of the cops who've been working at the precinct since before his transfer to Lakeside.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Montgomery's assignment to Lakeside as a result of the Category Traitor incident is partly this, and partly the hope that it was a sign that he's well-suited to negotiating with terra indigene.
- Self-Harm: Cutting to produce a prophesy is euphoric and addicting to the Cassandra Sangue. Most die young from being overzealous in their cutting and bleeding to death.
- The Ingenue: Cassandra Sangue are called "Sweet Blood" by the Sanguinati because they retain childlike innocence throughout their lifetimes.