D.G.’s Rating: 4.5 skulls = A-
I’ve read so many Urban Fantasy books with pretty much the same tropes that I’m delighted when I find something new. Yes, Written in Red has the usual gamut of supernatural creatures – vampires, shifters – but the world is definitely different: one where “the Others” are on top and humans are living on their sufferance.
Just imagine if when the Europeans reached America, the Native people were from a completely different race, one that considered humans as prey. *gulp* And when I say that, I mean it in the full sense of the word: the Others eat humans and like it. The first scene where the Others capture and devour a human was difficult to take and revived some long forgotten fear in the most primitive part of me. I didn’t think I was going to be able to identify myself with these creatures and only kept reading because of Michelle’s assurances the book was worth it.
And it was. The world building was wonderfully creative, with characters that leaped off the page and a message of tolerance and learning to live with one another. The Others (or terra indigene as they call themselves) are definitely not human (even if some of them look like they are) and realizing that gave me my first shift in perspective as to how they thought and felt. They’ve been dealing with humans for hundreds of years and a lot hasn’t been good. But Meg is unlike any human the Others have ever met: she doesn’t smell like prey and she behaves with kindness towards everybody. It doesn’t take a long time for them all to like her. And once they do, it’s impossible not care about her or her feelings.
“It was easier when all we wanted to do was eat them and take their stuff,” he grumbled. “And it had been easier when he hadn’t cared if he made any of them cry.”
Meg is a great person, a bit naive perhaps, but so brave. Her desire to live life on her terms is admirable. A lot of the book deals with her carving a life in the Courtyard and while some of the scenes can be a bit pedestrian, they slowly build up the narrative towards the climax.
For romance lovers, please note that there isn’t any romance in the book and I’m not sure if it will ever develop as the series progresses. Simon is definitely protective of Meg towards the end but I think he’s very mindful of his position and the differences in their race and temperament. It will be interesting to see how the author deals with this in future books.
One of the things I loved the most is that two of the biggest badasses are women – it turns out the vampires and shifters are the least dangerous creatures among the terra indigene. *double gulp* I loved Tess in particular because I’ve always identified myself with that creature (nobody knows in the book what she is but I figured it out fairly quickly…there are several clues in the book.)
This is my first time listening to a narration by Alexandra Harris and I completely recommend it.Her narration wasn’t unforgettable but good enough that I’ll continue listening to the next book in the series.
I liked Written in Red so much that it left me in a complete book hangover when I finished it. I’m already counting the days until the release of Murder of Crows, the second book in the series. In the meantime, I’ll start looking for other books by Anne Bishop. If her backlist is as good as this one, I definitely found a favorite author!
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