Series: The Others #1
Published by Voyager on March 1, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
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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.
Written in Red is not a paranormal book where the creature falls in love with a heroine. Instead, it convincingly portrays the creatures of the night as actual monsters who want to eat people, which was completely refreshing. Written in an immersive world where these creatures and humans live together under a strict agreement, I loved every detail within this story.
Although the concept behind the world isn’t terribly sophisticated, it’s sheer simplicity was effective. The Others or terra indigene were the first inhabitants for Earth and are the ruling class. They have evolved into different forms and over time, have learnt to cohabitate with humans under strictly monitored areas called the Courtyards. From werewolves, to vampires, to weather sprites and crows, Written in Red contains an array of paranormal creatures. I really enjoyed how they each integrated into human society.
Anne Bishop elegantly weaves the intricate details of the world of terra indigene and how they live and interact with the humans into the story. From the shops within the Courtyard, to how they wear human forms to appear less threatening, to serving “special meat” at the butcher and terra indigene horror novels, the author really fleshes out every detail of the world and brings it to life.
Most of the terra indigene didn’t want to love humans; they wanted to eat them. Why did humans have such a hard time understanding that?
Meg is one of the most unique protagonists I’ve come across. She’s on the run from some hidden captors and there’s an air of mystery about her as she becomes the Human Liaison. Meg has this innocence about her where she hasn’t properly been conditioned about the danger of the Others, so she quickly charms them with her compassion and bravery. I adored the beautiful friendship she built with Sam the werepup, and loved how she baited the werewolves with dog cookies. She does have a special snowflake status though, being a cassandra sangue or blood prophet who can see visions.
The side characters are all fascinating, even Asia Crane, the wannabe actress and special investigator who tries to coerce Simon into sleeping with her. Simon Wolfgard was definitely my favourite, as he growls and scares the humans yet he has this niggling self doubt about whether he’s crossing the line. There wasn’t exactly a romance here, but definitely glimmers of something evolving in the next book.
And Meg. Making deliveries, making friends, making a life among them in such a short time. Meg. One of Namid’s creations, both terrible and wondrous.
While there really wasn’t a strong plot line, Written in Red is a book that I savoured. I enjoyed the slow paced environment, the character driven plot and the different elements of the story. Anne Bishop expertly weaves mystery, action, paranormal and comedy together and brings us an intricately crafted book in the paranormal genre. I absolutely loved it, and think paranormal or adult urban fantasy lovers will too.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5