Tuesday, July 16, 2013

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Title: Written in Red
Author: Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Series: The Others, book #1
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Source: purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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.

If I hadn't seen so many other bloggers loving on this book, I probably would have passed it up, simply for
the fact that I've been avoiding stories containing werewolves and the like.  But the whole blood prophet thing should have been an indication to me that this paranormal story was anything but a typical werewolf story.

First, let me get this out of the way:  if you're looking for a paranormal romance, this is probably not the book for you. There is the possibility of a romance, a very slow-burning kind of love story, but it is in its infancy in this first installment, and so it's not likely to satisfy any craving you might have for a hot werewolf love-fest.  This is an adult book, however, and there is mention of adult activities, though not graphically or in any detail, really.

But, if you are looking for an imaginative world, mirroring ours in some ways but completely different in the ways that matter most, and full of fascinating creatures, you should definitely give Written in Red a try.  It's slow-going at first, with the author expanding on our world to include the terra indigene, the shape-shifting creatures who almost serve as overlords to their human counterparts.  Make no mistake, though the creatures of the Courtyard live among humans, they are still dangerous monsters whose first instinct is most definitely not protecting the humans.

Though the story mainly focuses on Meg and her interactions with the terra indigene and garnering acceptance among them, it's told in third person omniscient, providing further details of how the various Others live and coexist.  And they do coexist, which I find highly entertaining:  vampires and werewolves and werebears and element-wielding horses, all living together...for the most part.  I loved the characterizations given to each species of Other, from the gruff man-bear to the crows that liked shiny things, as humans and as the birds themselves.  And it was fun seeing Meg interact with each group.

When Meg comes to the Courtyard, she is a young woman, but she has the social ineptitude of a child because of how, or rather where, she has grown up.  Seeing how she was brought up and for what purposes brings new insight into why the Others are much more willing to trust her than other humans and vice versa. The relationship between Meg and the Others is tentative at first, but as she proves to be a hard-worker and shows that her kindness is genuine, the Others warm up to her, even the unflappable Grandfather Erebus. Once your under his protection, you're golden.  And so it is with Meg, who even won the heart of young wolf pup Sam.  That relationship was the one to melt my heart because the two have suffered so much at the hands of other humans, and despite their hesitance and fears, they bonded...something no one saw coming. Well, except maybe Meg...but she is a blood prophet, after all.

At first, I thought the narration of this novel was going to hinder my enjoyment, as it appeared that the narrator was going to use a gruff voice for every male character.  But as it turned out, that was intentional on the parts of the werewolf Simon and the werebear because their manners were, well, gruff.  Ms. Harris delivered a perfect Meg and even Tess's brusque manner grew on me.  If it hadn't been for such a great performance on the narrator's part, I might have had to keep reminding myself that the terra indigene were monsters and not the humans they appeared to be most of the time.

Written in Red ends on a great note, one that left me grinning.  There's no cliffhanger, but there's still so much of Meg and the Others' story to tell.  And knowing that the Controller will stop at nothing to get back his property means the action should spike ten-fold in the next installment.  The sequel Murder of Crows is due out in March 2014.

Rating:  photo 4-1.png  1/2

About the author:

Anne Bishop lives in upstate New York where she enjoys gardening, music, and writing dark, romantic stories. She is the author of fourteen novels, including the award-winning Black Jewels Trilogy. Her most recent novel, Twilight’s Dawn, made the New York Times bestsellers list. She is currently working on a new series, which is an urban dark fantasy with a bit of a twist.

Find Anne:

Website | FacebookGoodreads


  1. Yes!! Focus on world building, not romance :D You just confirmed that I have to read this, Jen ^^ The world sounds very well-developed and different from your usual PNR/UF. I'm also glad you mentioned the POV thing. I sometimes have problems with third person but from the way you describe it I think I'll be fine :)
    Very thorough review!

  2. I LOVED this one and I'm very eager for book 2 now. Meg and Sam's relationship was one of my favorite parts of this story as well. The world building is AMAZING and I have high hopes that this very slow burn hint of a romance is going to turn into a very HOT fire. It is my favorite kind of all. Clearly Simon is into Meg though she doesn't realize it at all. Will be very interesting to see how THAT develops.

  3. I can't wait to read this one. Looks so good! Great review...I'm even more excited now :-)

    My Friends Are Fiction

  4. I've been curious about this book. Sounds like the Audiobook is worth listening to. Great review.

  5. I didn't realize this book wasn't YA. I'm not huge into werewolves but I do find the concept interesting. I guess I just haven't had a chance to really explore paranormal books like I'd like to. I may wait and see how this series plays out. :)

  6. I've been avoiding books like this myself, but Karen at For What It's Worth loved this, and that's a good sign. The world-building sounds so imaginative, and just saying "werebears" makes me smile. You've really upped my interest in Written in Red. Great review, Jen!

  7. Okay, you've convinced me. I was going to pass it up as well, but now I'm definitely intrigued and love the thought of the author expanding ideas and our world. I love world-building and different kind of creatures. Werebears....yep, I'm reading it!


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