Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Review: Written in Red

Written in Red
Written in Red by Anne Bishop

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: New Adult
Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys these types of books, fans of Anne Bishop, those who like urban fantasy and fantasy novels involving “monsters”
Trigger Warnings: killing, eating of humans, violence toward women and children, murder

My Thoughts: This is the first in a new series. I've quite enjoyed other books by this author I've read in the past, so was happy to run across this one.

Initially I rolled my eyes at the terra indigene names. Oh, the werewolf's last name is Wolfgard? The vampire's last name is Sanguinati? But then I realized that these weren't really last names; it's just a convention among the Others to use their “race” name like a last name. I presume it's to make the humans more comfortable. It also makes it easy for people to call Others in their non-human form by a polite name.

One thing that Anne Bishop is very good at is creating characters that are interesting and relatable. Even the Others characters, which are not human and do not think like humans, were make understandable; I wasn't upset by the fact that they would eat a human any more than I would be upset about a wild animal killing and eating a human. It's just how they are. I really enjoyed some of the banter between Vlad and Simon about how silly humans were to be interested in Sanguinati or Wolves as lovers, since the only interest those creatures will have in humans is as prey. At one point, after Simon and Tess have an argument, shoppers in his book store buy out the werewolf-as-lover books, and he joked that Vlad should “drain a customer pale” to stimulate the sale of vampires-as-lovers books.

Anyway, she also writes characters you love to hate, like Asia. I spent so much of the time in her scenes just seething, and hoping against hope that she would be eaten. Slowly. While still alive. I'm sure I'd feel the same way about the Controller, only we don't really see much of that behind-the-scenes and shadowy character.

Speaking of the characters, I also loved the different races of the Others, and their interactions with each other and the humans. She does a great job of showing just how shaky the whole thing is. I especially liked the Sanguinati—Vlad has such a wonderful sense of humor. Jester is awesome, and the Crows were just wonderful.

The world is so intricate, and the world-building is only just beginning in this book. There is so much to learn about this world. Just based upon the names of things, I'm guessing this is an alternate Earth. I would be seriously interested in finding out more about how the Others ended up being the dominant life-form on this version of the world, and how humans managed to evolve at all with the Others to contend with. Another fascinating anthropology project, I see. This is definitely another of this author's series that I'm going to want to follow.

I was a little concerned when I noticed this is a New Adult novel that I'd be dealing with a bunch of smut, but fortunately that is not the case. There are a couple scenes, but they are of the fade-to-black type, and not gratuitous. All in all, a very satisfying and fun read, and a book I can highly recommend to anyone for whom it sounds interesting. Don't be afraid to check this one out, it's really good!

Disclosure: I received a paperback galley/proof from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: 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.

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