- Title: Written in Red
- Author: Anne Bishop
- Series: Others #1
- Genre: Fantasy, UF
- Format: eBook
- Source: Own Copy
- Reviewed by: Soo
- Rating: 4 out of 5
Description: No one creates realms like New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop. Now in a thrilling new fantasy series, enter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities—vampires and shape-shifters among them—who rule the Earth and whose prey are humans.
As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.
Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.
Review: Anne Bishop is on my favorite authors to read. She was one of the handful of new authors I really loved “discovering” several years ago. When I found out that she had a new book out, I was pretty excited to see what it’s about. For the past few months, I’ve been following a frequently updated short list of books to read. It’s the best way to juggle the different books I’ve decided to read for various reasons. Sometimes I have to kick the list to the curb and just do what I want. That’s exactly what I did when I picked up Written in Red and it was TOTALLY worth it!
I really enjoy Anne Bishop’s writing style. Her ideas take something I’m familiar with and gives it an edge, perspective and tweak that makes it her own. She creates rich worlds with equal attention to detail for both light and dark elements. I always love the core characters that make up her stories. They are a believable mix of the subtle layers that makes up a person who they are. Now, I have a whole new world and cast to cheer, boo and discover. It’s great!
I read the book in one day. It wrapped me up in story arms and shook off the bad temper I had romping to snarl out. At first, I was a little reserved in what to think about the story but that quickly changed as events tumbled along and swept me up along the currents of the story. There were countless moments where I wanted to post a quote from the book on my favorite book discussion group but I didn’t because I realized it would be hard to quote the book without giving background info or spoilers. It’s all about context.
Close your eyes. Take even breathes in and out. Clear your mind of everything. Imagine an alternate Earth world called Namid. There’s the same climate, continents, passing of the seasons and time ticking away but it’s not our world. It just seems like it. For one thing, Namid is alive with what we would call supernatural. Filled with fictional beings and things that only exist in our stories and imaginations. In this world, the natives of the alternate America are the terra indigene and when humans set foot on the land with the intention to “take” what they have found. Well, they were eaten. The terra indigene tasted a new kind of meat, absorbed this new information and remembered. Eventually, adventurous humans with open minds came to the new land and established trading with terra indigene. They were given land to live on and the humans began to live amongst those they call the Others.
Time passed, the human population grew in leaps and bounds. The Others allowed the humans to integrate further in their lands and an uneasy bond of cohabitation formed. The Others maintained control of the land and water sources. The humans develop inventions, electricity and other goods that intrigue terra indigene. Though they live side by side, the years haven’t made it easier for the humans to understand the Others or for the terra indigene to see humans as much more than meat. It’s hard to see humans as something more when they smell like prey. In order to foster good will, terra indigene made small communities called Courtyards that have integrated stores that allow humans to buy terra indigene goods. It also the place where products purchased by the Others are delivered. A human Liaison works as the postmaster of incoming and outgoing deliveries. They’re the mini-ambassadors between the species. At least, that’s how it’s suppose to be.
H. L. D. N. A.
What does that mean? It’s rather simple: Human Law Does Not Apply.
Anyone with half a brain knows that the Others follow their own rules. Know that humans are considered weak prey and those who do not follow the rules are eaten. The Lakeside Courtyard has an opening for Liaison. On a wild winter night, Meg Corbyn stumbles into Howling Good Reads to apply for the job. It can’t be worse than freezing to death. She might be safe at the Courtyard. After all, it’s not the Others that are searching for Meg. It’s humans. But here, Human Law Does Not Apply. She just needs to stop shaking long enough to ask for the job. Piercing amber eyes rake over Meg before Simon Wolfgard tells her to go to the cafe that’s attached to the bookstore to talk about the job. The sign by the door states:
PAY FOR BOOKS BEFORE ENTERING A LITTLE BITE OR WE’LL TAKE A BITE OUT OF YOU.
On the other side of the connecting door is another sign:
SURE, YOU CAN TAKE THAT MUG. WE’LL JUST KEEP YOUR HAND IN EXCHANGE.
The words didn’t really register but Meg didn’t think the signs were a joke. They’re a warning.
Simon’s not sure why the human is lying about her name but that was the only lie he could sense in her words. She doesn’t seem dangerous but he still feels ill at ease around her. It doesn’t matter. She needs a job and he needs a Liaison or deliveries will stop coming to the Courtyard. The shivering monkey is a puzzle and he’s going to keep her around until he figures it out.
In a haze of quick questions and orders, Meg lands her first job, fed, shown to her own apartment, ordered to clean up, given clean clothes and falling asleep in her new bed from exhaustion and the knowledge that Death will find her at the Courtyard. This is the place from the prophecy. He’s the one she’s seen. This is the place she’s dreamed about and this is the place she’ll die but for now she’s safe.
No one at the Courtyard is exactly what they seem to be. If you stop measuring the Others by human standards, it’ll be much easier to take in and understand. It’s a good thing Meg is like a blank canvas ready to be drawn upon. She may be in her mid-twenties but she has the experience of a young child. Everything is new and familiar. Knowing the concept isn’t the same as knowing how to apply the idea. Meg doesn’t know what a person is suppose to be like. She only has her own experience to measure by. To her, everything is new. Everything is bright, colorful, bizarre and wonderful to experience for the first time. To her careful gaze, the whole world is dangerous and different but she’s game to find out what the world is really like.
A host of mismatched characters are just waiting to be discovered in the book. Tess with her wild hair that changes colors and style with her quick temper moods. Just stay away from her when her hair changes to black. Gentle Henry that creates amazing things out of wood with his hands. The rascal ponies who are more than cute beasts that help to deliver the mail. A beautiful woman that skates alone in a fluttering white dress in the midst of winter. Teasing Jester that loves to share his font of wisdom and quick to laugh with the knowledge he didn’t. Lush Asia that dreams of being a star of her own TV show. Honorable Officer Monty that just wants to keep the peace. The talkative Crows that watch everything and talk about everyone. A scared little wolf pup that finds shelter in a cage.
Dive into a new world, get to know the people that call Lakeside home, see if Simon manages to figure Meg out and be ready to roll with the many feelings you’ll feel as you come along for a zany ride.
Is it terrible that I laugh every time Simon talks about the humans as monkeys? I know, I know. I’m a terrible person! Hah! If anyone feels like Asia deserves a few kicks in her ample rear, I’m in.
I really loved reading this story and I can’t wait for the next one! This book is definitely one of my favorite books of the year. I think a large part of the reason why I love the story so much is due to the fact that I was able to experience the story as it happened and learned a lot by characters interacting with one another. I didn’t feel like story was told at me. It’s great to be able to sink into a story and have it happen around me. Thanks, Anne, for a wonderful story to lose myself in for a while.
4.5 Stars for Written in Red