Written In Red by Anne Bishop
|Book Name:||Written In Red|
|Formatt:||Hardcover / Paperback / Audio Book / eBook|
|Release Date:||March 5, 2013|
Being unfamiliar with this author, it was a pleasant surprise to find myself thoroughly impressed with this book.
Namid is an earth world dominated by the Others, creatures almost as old as the world they live in. They are at the top of the food chain in every age, regardless of what the humans would like to believe. Shape-shifters and vampires are the more familiar face and form of the terra indigene, or earth natives. Most of the terra indigene, however, live hidden from human eyes, intolerant of this “new kind of meat.”
The worldbuilding is subtle yet intricate. We are presented with pieces of the puzzle as the plot unfolds. In the tenuous peace that exists between the terra indigene and humans, we see a history where the Others remind humans of their place in this world time and again. As each character is introduced, we get a closer look into the beings that are the terra indigene, who are much more interesting than your garden-variety vampires and shape-shifters.
In the midst of this apparent calm, we meet the human, Meg Corbyn, a cassandra sangue, who escapes from her Controller after spending her life in servitude. As a blood prophet, Meg is prized for her ability to see the future through the cutting of her skin. She tries to hide in the Lakeside Courtyard, a business district owned and operated by the terra indigene and headed by Simon Wolfgard. It is a place where “human law does not apply.” As their new Human Liaison, Meg attempts to quietly build a new life for herself, in spite of the limited time she knows she has left. She is the most valuable cassandra sangue in the institute from which she escaped, and her Controller is determined to have her back in his possession. In learning how to live in the real world for the first time in her life, Meg begins to form relationships with the wary and reluctant terra indigene she comes in contact with. The terra indigene come to realize that perhaps there may be more to this human than meets the eye. When the Controller has government officials putting the pressure on local law enforcement for Meg’s apprehension, the terra indigene of the Courtyard must decide whether or not she is worth the fight.
Bishop’s characters are complex and captivating. Meg is tenacious but also has a naiveté born of a restrictive life. Her innocence in dealing with relationships causes her to react in unconventional ways, sometimes winning over the terra indigene. She also has some surprisingly angry outbursts at times. Considering the fact that she is dealing with creatures that could end her life without a moment’s hesitation, this allows her character some room to grow but also establishes an inherent steely will that can create the foundation for an admirable heroine. Her uniqueness even among the cassandra sangue also lends another intriguing aspect to her character.
Simon Wolfgard is the alpha of Lakeside Courtyard. He owns and operates the bookstore alongside other businesses that allow humans to work and shop there. He is also the one who gives Meg the job of Human Liaison against his better judgment. Like other alpha heroes, Simon has a past. An unresolved murder, a troubled pup left in his sole custody…all adds to the complexity of this alpha.
A few other fascinating terra indigene to add to the mix are Tess, a mysterious but greatly feared terra indigene even among her own kind, the Elementals and their faithful steeds, Henry, the serene and wise Grizzly, and of course, Sam, the adorable young pup.
Bishop’s writing is elegant and compelling. There are no lengthy, minute descriptions of the landscape, no wordy internal ramblings in the character’s point of view. Just 400 plus pages of clear, ingenious prose.
The book is well-paced, with moments of suspended terror as well as some of quiet understanding. The surprising twists keep you eagerly turning the pages, sometimes in heart-pounding suspense. There is humor sprinkled throughout the overall somber mood. A subtle, growing attraction between two characters is unassuming and endearing. The riveting conclusion leaves you with hope and waiting for more.
This is a brilliantly-written first novel in a new series. If nothing else, the amusing discoveries the terra indigene have of humans are worth reading alone.
“…But when you invite a human over for dinner, he expects to be served dinner, not to be dinner. Second, even though humans claim to enjoy biting as foreplay, they only mean it when their partners don’t have teeth of any significance. Third, no male, human or Other, feels easy when teeth get too close to the chew toy. So chalk this up to experience, and the next time you invite a human to take a walk on the wild side, stick to a jog in the park.” 🙂