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.
My thoughts on the book:
I saw Written in Red in the library and thought it looked intriguing and unique, so I, of course, thought I'd like it. However, I was not expecting this to be one of the best books I've ever read. Written in Red is a one-of-a-kind concept with rich characterization and in-depth world-building. Bishop pulls off the multi-character POV expertly. The plot is action-packed, dark, humorous, and full of suspense. The book is fast-paced, but nothing is rushed. I was hooked from the first sentence and was sad when the novel ended. I did not want to leave the world and characters that Bishop created. I haven't enjoyed a book this much since I picked up Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, which is my favorite book EVER.
Meg is one of the most complex and beautifully written characters I've ever encountered. She has this innocence about her that makes her vulnerable, but she's not weak. Her kindness, compassion, and willingness to sacrifice herself for others make her incredibly strong. She is tormented by what she is, but she is not bitter. I really loved watching her learn about actually LIVING in the world instead of seeing pictures of it. Simon is swoon-worthy, tough, but he has a heart of gold somewhere underneath all the claws and fangs. He evolved quite a bit over the course of the novel, and I hope he turns into a love interest. Henry is a big teddy bear. Sam's situation broke my heart, but he's also strong, and I can't wait to see him grow even more. The police officers are refreshing in that they do what they can for the greater good instead of for political motivation. Even the bad guys had depth, which is something you don't see very often. Every single character in this novel, even the most minute secondary character, is well-developed and has a personality. I grew incredibly attached to all of them, and I can't wait to see what Bishop has in store for them next.
There were several things that stood out to me while reading this novel. The first was that there is no romance what-so-ever. Yes, there is an implied sex scene or two with the bad guys, but the leading lady does not have a romantic interest... yet. I think she will have one, but the relationships develop slowly and organically. Nothing is rushed, and there is no instant, undeniable attraction between any of the characters. I actually found that refreshing. I wasn't sure that I'd enjoy a book like that, but I really love the building of friendships and exploring the dynamic of the relationships between the Others and the humans. Bishop shunned all of the "normal" conventions and formulas of Urban Fantasy and created her own rules, and it worked exceptionally well.
Another thing that stood out to me was that Bishop gave almost every character a unique voice and allowed the reader to see each character's point-of-view. Normally that would drive me insane and I would hate it. Generally I hate multi-POV novels and try to avoid them, but she made it work. I do not have a single complaint about how she handled anything. I actually enjoyed getting to know each and every character personally, although I am aware that if it had been any other author writing this that the act of getting to know these characters could have been incredibly tedious. I'm not sure how she did it, but Bishop's characters are simply captivating, and I wanted to know more about each of them.
The world-building was top-notch. Namid was enough like the planet we live on that it made sense to me, but different enough that I was able to achieve a willing suspension of disbelief. Bishop also plays with notions of colonialism and what would happen when the colonizer becomes the colonized. I found it hard to have much sympathy for the humans, even though I am human, because of how they attempted to colonize the terra indigene's land.
Speaking of the terra indigene, Bishop really outdid herself with these creatures. The shifters had more animalistic qualities than human qualities, and I really loved that about them. They were brutal and efficient, but they cared about those who showed them kindness. Also, each type of shifter adopted traits of the animal it shifted into. I know this is attempted in other novels, but these shifters really and truly embodied their animals. I don't even know how much research into animal behavior had to be done in order for Bishop to accomplish this, but she did a fantastic job.
I could go on forever about how much I loved this book, but I think I'll end my review here so that you can go and pick up your own copy and learn about this amazingly unique and wonderful world that Bishop has created. If you like any kind of Fantasy at all (Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, YA Fantasy, High Fantasy, whatever), you must try this book. You won't be sorry.