Title: Written in Red (The Others #1)
Author: Anne Bishop
Publisher: NAL Hardcover
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Summary: 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.
Wow. This book… it was amazing. Amazing. AH-MAZING. I can’t stop thinking about it and all I want is to get my hands on the second book. I need it now.
Written in Red starts with Meg stumbling through the snow, running away from the Controllers who kept her imprisoned, selling her to the highest bidder since she can see the future and speak prophecies when she is cut. She finds herself inside Howling Good Reads, a bookstore run by a werewolf, inside of a business district run by the Others. She asks for a job, knowing that she could be safe from the people hunting her in a place where human laws don’t apply. But whether she’s safe from the creatures inside is a whole other matter, especially since before she ran away she had a prophecy that foretold her worn death. These vampires and werewolves aren’t your modern misunderstood, angsty supernatural teenagers, they are dangerous and take pleasure in killing.
Guys, this book was so freaking good! To start it off, the world building. The magical, beautiful, wonderful world building. Anne Bishop creates this world that is so well formed and close enough to our own that it is eerily realistic. Seeing the interactions between human and the Others, how everyone is so afraid of them but fascinated by them, it was intriguing. And as I was reading this book, I could help but ask myself whether or not I would ever venture into one of the Others’ business districts, to see them for myself but risk it. With the whole “human law does not apply” thing going on, it’s a huge risk but at the same time, as I was pulled into the story, I could understand the appeal and desire to go into a place like that, to see supernatural beings with my own eyes. There was loads of action and danger and suspense, the whole gritty and dark tone had me biting my nails in anticipation, never knowing what would come next, half excited and half afraid to find out.
I also absolutely love how the supernatural beings were actual bloodthirsty, menacing, creatures of death. Hehe, okay that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but they actually kill and eat people and all of those things that real werewolves and vampires would do! The werewolves can half shift or shift all the way, and like to hunt and eat humans. Vampires can turn into smoke and suck the blood out of people in multiple ways. Along with them, we also meet Elemental’s, like Winter and Spring, horses that can cause natural disasters, crow shapeshifters that like shiny things and peck out people’s eyes, etc. Every… species? I don’t know if that’s the right thing to call them but that’s what I’m going with. Every species is so defined, with their owns rules and quirks and characteristics, seeing the dynamics between them all living together in peace was something I’d never really read about before and it was so refreshing.
Meg as a heroine was very refreshing. Being kept in a cage her whole life and not knowing how to interact with people or things in the real world made her kind of like a child. She was very innocent and vulnerable, and watching her struggle with her addiction problems just added to that vulnerability. Her blood prophecies themselves were really interesting and just as confusing as they were enlightening, but you start to get a sense of how they work through the book. Watching her interacting with all of these different characters, Simon especially who is so gruff and snarly, it was funny and heartwarming that the same time. She is so sweet and innocent and he is a big manly wolf man, so they don’t really know what to think about each other. But it’s so frustrating because if you’ve read any of my other reviews, you know that insta-love is a big no for me. But then in books like this where there is just a hint of romance, a realistic foundation for a relationship to maybe happen later, it drives me crazy because I just want them to smooch it up! Gah!
Part of what really made this book such as success to me was the huge slew of interesting and well written secondary characters. Most authors have a hard time creating one or two fleshed out, layered characters but in this book, we get a whole town of them. And being able to read from constantly changing POV’s usually annoys me and creates distact between me and the characters, but not in this book. Instead it added so much to the story and characters, to be able to read from their POV and see what they think and how they interact with each other. We get Vlad the vampire, Tess the something scary, Simon the werewolf, Monty the human police officer, Asia the stupid antagonist, and a whole bunch of others. I loved how each character had a distinct voice and how the change of POV added to the book instead of taking away, and in my opinion, really helped the pacing.
Speaking of pacing, this book moved at a fantastic pace and kept you hooked the entire time. Being able to read from Asia’s POV (the antagonist) kind of gave you hints and clues so you knew that something was happening, that something big was coming, you just didn’t know what or when and it really teased you. And between the mystery of Meg and her prophecies, Simon and a possible drug going around that was causing angry slaughtering of humans, and Monty the police officer adding an outside view and more political information, I couldn’t decide which I wanted to read more about.
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m head over heels in love with this book. The whole story kept me on the edge of my seat, and I couldn’t put it down. The characters were beyong great, the story was engaging and interesting, the romance was just a huge tease, and the mystery is making me ready to murder for the next book. This is a must read for anyone that likes urban fantasy or just an amazing read in general.