Title: Written in Red (A Novel of The Others, 1)
Author: Anne Bishop
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: ROC (5th March 2013)
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-shifers 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 whether she’s worth the fight between humans and Others that will surely follow.
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Having read Anne Bishop’s The Black Jewels series and loved the first books, but been left pretty ambivalent about the later ones, and read her The Tir Alainn Trilogy and thought it was okay when I heard the first whispers of Written in Red I was intrigued. Once I read the blurb I knew I wanted to read to read the book, and I was not disappointed.
Written in Red marks the start of a completely new series by Anne Bishop. Bishop is well-known (at least, I think so) for the brilliant fantasy worlds she has created – they feel very real and alive – but her new series The Others is a little different. In Written in Red Bishop delves into the world of Urban Fantasy, though it is very definitely her take on it and you can definitely tell she has major world building skills. Written in Red starts with a glossary and a couple of maps, as well as ‘A Brief History of the World’ so that before the story starts we’re all on the same page (so to speak, and pardon the pun).
Written in Red is a very intriguing first book in a series. Bishop does a good job of providing both enough information to draw you in, but at the same time only giving tantalizing hints about what might be so that by the time you reach the end of the book you want to move on to the next one. I found Meg a really interesting character, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Bishop develops her through the series. I also thought Bishop’s handling of Meg and the fact that she is a blood prophet was done really well. Meg is definitely one of those interesting characters that blurs boundaries. Simon Wolfgard is also an interesting character, in fact I think Bishop writes The Others in a really interesting way – it’s clear from the start that they are not human, and they don’t think like humans which really works.
The plot of Written in Red is pretty much what I would expect from the first book in the series, but I think Bishop does it really well. She does a good job introducing the world and showing the potential conflicts, though these are only really hinted at and there is the very definite sense that there is more to come in this world. Bishop also does a good job with the Controller who, whilst we never see them, very definitely haunts the narrative and adds a sense of danger and tension to the story.
If you are a fan of urban fantasy, but what something a little different – a little less familiar – then I suggest you pick up Written in Red and give Anne Bishop’s new series a try. It is a very readable book, and before long you will find yourself hooked. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book, though I think it won’t be out until 2014.