Written in Red

Anne Bishop
Written in Red
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Penguin Publishing Group
Release Date
March 2014
Book 1 of Others Series
Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance, Vamps & Shifters Romance

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.

Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Dec 09, 2015   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
69 people found the following review helpful
I didn't like the Black Jewels Trilogy, not because it's dark fantasy and the worldbuilding and the magic system is wonderful, but because I didn't like the heroine. I didn't like that she's this all-powerful Witch (of course, the baddies don't stand a chance!) and she's got all the characters (except for the baddies) eating out of her hands WITHOUT doing anything, but only because she's the long-prophesied, long-awaited Witch. So, I wasn't sure I'd like this new series, not if the heroine is the same kind.

But I'm glad to say Meg Corbyn is so far from Jaenelle as the east is from the west, and I'm very glad I took a chance on this book.

The mythology of this series is something unique. While there are the shifters (wolves, bears, crows, hawks) and vampires (the Sanguinati), they are different from what you'd usually encounter in paranormal romances. Called terra indigene, they are a force with a mysterious first form that later took on these animal forms. Some learn another form--the human one--in order to deal with humans. Or, at least, that's how I understand it. They are earth creatures, very attuned to their animal forms, and they are the monsters in our literature, because they don't hesitate to eat men when men betrayed them or broke one of their rules. They are, in fact, the primary force in the world, and humans are allowed to live by their indulgence, and also because humans are useful with their many inventions. So definitely not your typical paranormal romance. In the Lakeside Courtyard, Simon Wolfgard is the leader, the dominant Wolf.

Meg Corbyn is a cassandra sangue, a blood prophet who could give prophecies with a cut on her skin. Meg is one of the cassandra sangues owned by someone called the Controller, and when she had the chance, she escaped right into the Lakeside Courtyard during a snowstorm, and half frozen, asked Simon Wolfgard for a job so she could stay. When Simon learned that she's a cassandra sangue, he has to decide if her life is worth the possible conflict that might arise between the humans and the Others...

The first book in this new series is a delight to read. Despite the dark tones--like the wolves eating bad humans who trespass into their territory, for example--I find it charming, mainly due to Meg learning about the different terre indigene and learning how to live as a free human and interacting with others. There are spots of humor throughout the book, mainly seeing things from the Others' perspective--like being puzzled as to the absence of chicks in a chick flick.

Meg is also endearing. At her core, she's a kind, thoughtful person, which is why the Others--even those feared by their own kind--slowly come to like her. Though she may be passive at times--she drew to mind a picture of a timid mouse--but I think it's due to her situation, being controlled and imprisoned for much of her life that she didn't know how to have her own opinions, thoughts and wants. She does show signs of being wolf, as Simon would say, and I think she needs time to grow into her own person. And seriously, I'm tired of always reading about kick-ass heroines. Not everyone is kick-ass, but I wouldn't say that Meg is a doormat either. For people she cares about, she can turn into a ferocious wolf protecting her cubs.

There are great secondary characters, too. The humans are represented by Lt. Crispin James Montgomery and his team of police officers, who try to maintain a cordial relationship with the Others in Lakeside. It's wonderful to see sentiments from both sides (Others and humans), making for a well-rounded tale.

I'm so looking forward to the next one! I'm glad I read this when three books in the series are out, so no waiting time to get to the next book, Murder of Crows.
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