Written in Red

Posted on April 2, 2014. Filed under: Fiction | Tags: |

book cover for Written in RedWritten in Red: A Novel of the Others
by Anne Bishop

“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” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

This is Anne Bishop’s first foray into urban fantasy instead of dark fantasy, and she makes the transition beautifully. I love this book and have read it 8 times now, but I will admit that it isn’t for everyone. Some people will find the violence and topic of cutting disturbing. For fans of urban fantasy, though, this is a true gem.

Urban fantasy is full of stereotypical races, yet this book puts a new spin on these archetypal characters, binds them together as a race in a unique way, and creates another prophetic race that is entirely new. The cassandra sangue are physically and emotionally driven to release the prophecy from under their skin, yet they know that each cut leads closer to their death. I find Meg’s struggle between finding release and self-preservation compelling. Another aspect of this story that appeals to me is that, though the Others see us as prey, the true monsters in the story are the humans because of their greed, bigotry, and corruption.

Though dark, this books is also full of humor. A great example is when Beth, the casandra sangue, gets together with some of the female Others to watch a chick flick. Because none of them are familiar with human culture, they just don’t get it: “There were mothers crying about daughters, and daughters yelling at mothers. There were fathers arguing with sons. There were friends offering unwanted advice to everyone. But in the end, they were all smiling and hugging. Meg couldn’t decide if this was supposed to be a story about a real family or if it was make-believe and wouldn’t actually happen in a human community. The Others didn’t understand the story either, but they all agreed on one thing: there wasn’t a single chick in the whole movie” (pg 207).

I highly recommend this book to any fans of urban fantasy or anyone looking for something with engaging characters, moments of levity, and a gripping plot in a dark alternate reality.

-posted by Gretchen Schneider

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