Series: The Others #1
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc on March 5, 2015
Reviewed by: Abigail
References to sex
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.
Reminiscent of Charles de Lint and Patricia Briggs, WRITTEN IN RED is urban fantasy the way it should be written. There is nowhere near enough space here to describe everything that I loved about this book, so I'll just touch on a few. From the moment Meg stumbled into the Others land, half frozen, and sighed with relief at the H.L.D.N.A sign (Human Law Does Not Apply), I was intrigued. When the terra indigene (shifters, vampires, and elementals) she met spoke quite candidly about how they regularly ate humans for infractions as minor as trespassing or failing to leave a store the second it closed, I was hooked. That same sense of wonder and delight only increased as I learned about Meg and the cassandra sangue (blood prophets) who were treated like property by their Controllers.
As a protagonist, I've never encountered a character quite like Meg. Kept locked up and educated only in ways that would help her describe her prophecies, she's only ever seen pictures and small videos of life, never experienced them for herself, until she escapes and discovers a different kind of danger with the Others. And yet, unlike most humans, she's not paralyzed with fear and hatred by the terra indigene. She shows them kindness because it had been the one thing she'd always been denied, and in return, they don't eat her. Gradually, they begin to rely on one another and Meg even befriends some of the most lethal of their kind.
WRITTEN IN RED isn't just the best urban fantasy of this year, it may be one of the best ever. The Others are not softened or even humanized in any way. They don't pursue romantic relationships with their food and they make no apologies for the way they live. There is an awe inspiring sense of pride and protectiveness that they posses, almost a code that brought to mind the wolf packs in Patricia Briggs books. The characters are brilliantly realized with flaws and strengths uniquely theirs, and the writing is textured and inviting. The worldbuilding, though, is the true star of the story, just as it should be in urban fantasy.
WRITTEN IN RED is my favorite urban fantasy since Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews wooed me into a forever love affair with this genre. From the gorgeous and frightening world that is similar but deliciously other from ours, to the tightly written suspense plot, and the characters who are so primal and wild and so very not human. I can't gush enough. I plan to devour Ms. Bishop's backlist while I endure the wait for the next book in The Others series.
- Written in Red