TRIGGER WARNING (HIGHLIGHT WORDS BELOW):
WRITTEN IN RED
Series: The Others #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release date: March 5th 2013
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.
Whether you’re beaten or pampered, fed the best foods or starved, kept in filth or kept clean, a cage is still a cage.
Written in Red is easily my favorite Urban Fantasy book. It is dark, engrossing, and incredibly well-written. The pace is slow but steady, and its world-building is complex and fleshed out. The novel gives us a delightful new perspective on shapeshifters and other supernatural creatures, and introduces to strong and well developed characters.
Anne Bishop is an amazing writer. I fell in love with her writing in The Black Jewels series and became even more of a fan after this book. She has the capacity to create enchanting fantasy worlds with eerie atmospheres, sweeping readers off their feet. Written in Red is the perfect example of how dark she can make things, while still providing us with humorous dialogue and witty banter.
Make no mistake, this book has a veeery slow pace. There is a lot of focus on establishing the world-building and mythology of this universe, and Bishop doesn’t mince words when it comes to describing things. While this is considered a plus for me, as it gives the reader a lot of insight into the rules and lives of people and others who live in this community, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea as it takes a while for the plot to really get going.
That said, Written in Red does have a lot of action! It’s to be expected when it comes to a book about supernatural creatures, and Bishop doesn’t disappoint. The action scenes are spread out throughout the story, and they do get rather gruesome at some points. It’s actually a little fascinating reading about it, and those are some of the scenes that really grabbed my attention.
As for the characters, I loved every single one of them. This story is told in multiple POVs, with the most notable being those of Meg, Simon, and Monty. Aside from that, there is a huge set of side characters, all of those who are layered and important to the story, and only get more and more developed as the plot progresses.
There is very very very little romance in this novel, with its focus being on setting up the world-building, introducing characters, and laying out the work for the next installments. The slow build up actually makes things sweeter and more believable, as we obviously know what characters are meant to be paired up, but nothing really happens. It’s another highlight that Bishop doesn’t shoehorn a romance for the sake of it, and instead works on developing it.
In the end, Written in Red is a wonderful introduction to a series. It gives us all the information we need and establishes an amazing set of characters. It’s dark, twisted, and such an enjoyable read. I definitely recommend this not only to Urban Fantasy fans, but to all Dark Fantasy fans as well!