Written in Red
Author: Anne Bishop
Title: Written in Red
Series: The Others
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Rating: Five Petals
On the Author's Website:
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.
A word of warning before I delve into my review. This book is dark fantasy and Bishop is known for characters and magical powers that revel in blood. It can be graphic at times. This book in particular has scenes of cutting, descriptive character death, and specific mentions of rape. I don't want to trigger someone by recommending a book that may hurt them, so if you know you have any issues with those sort of things, please tread carefully.
I'm not entirely certain where to start my review. The whole book was excellent and each wonderful part deserves a mention. I should probably start with the world Bishop created. It's a modern one with cars and other technology, but it is not the world as we know it. Before humans came into existence, the Others were the sole inhabitants of the land. Creatures of power who can control anything from the ocean to the air, and animals that can change shape, are only a small part of the Others. The world and society evolved to modern times with the Others at the top of the food chain and in control of the world, while the humans are only renting land from them to farm and build houses and cities.
I think the best part of the book is the characterizations. The Others are not human, at all, and Bishop doesn't try to humanize them. For example, a wolf Other is a wolf first and his human form an adaptation the wolf created in order to have opposable thumbs. Humans are just another type of prey to the Others, something that is never sugar-coated.
The Cassandra Sangue is another wonderful bit of characterization. As a blood prophet, Meg can see visions of the future whenever her skin is cut. Humans have turned this into a money making scheme, but Meg is able to escape. She's human, but the Others' don't see her as prey, so she is able to hide with them. Her humanity often clashes with the Others otherness and the dynamic that exists between Meg and all the various different Others is perfectly composed.
I could keep going with this review endlessly as there are so many other wonderful things that I enjoyed reading in this book. I don't want to ramble on forever, though, so I'll end my review by stating that if you enjoy fantasy (and don't have any issues with the dark and often bloody content) you'll really enjoy this book.
I loved this book and I highly recommend it, although I do have to warn that it is dark fantasy and therefore bloody. The world Bishop created and her amazingly detailed characterizations made me have to give the story high marks. I will be reading and reviewing the rest of the series in the future.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.