No one creates realms like "New York Times "bestselling author Anne Bishop. Now in a thrilling new fantasy series, enter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities--vampires and shape-shifters among them--who rule the Earth and whose prey are humans.
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.Audiobook, 19 pages
Five stars: A creative and original book with outstanding characters and solid world building. A must read!
The young girl struggles through the snow, freezing, scared and on her last leg. She arrives at the Howling Good Reads Bookstore at closing. A help wanted sign is in the window. Simon is ready to go home, but something about the young woman makes him pause. He invites her in to warm up, and when she asks about the job, he sits down to interview her. She says her name is Meg Corbin, but Simon knows she is lying. As a werewolf and leader of The Courtyard, it is his job to protect the pack and the rest of the terra indigene from the outside world. For whatever reason, Simon gives the girl the job. Meg is to be the terra indigene's new human liaison. Simon doesn't realize that providing Meg shelter and a job could inevitably bring danger to the courtyard. Will Meg survive?
What I Liked:
- Written In Red was exactly the book I needed to break me out of a reading slump. This is an outstanding beginning to a tremendous new Urban Fantasy series. However this is not your typical UF series as it is set in a unique world. I was astonished at the detail in the world building and with the fleshed out characters. This book caught my imagination and kept me engaged until the end. If you are like me and desperate for a book that will recharge your enthusiasm for reading, this is a great one to try.
- I loved the characters in this one. The terra indigene is the label given to all the paranormal beings, the humans call them the Outsiders. What an eclectic and exciting blend of characters we get in Written In Red. There are werewolves, vampires, elementals, shapeshifters of many different animals from crows, bears, coyotes and hawks. We are also introduced to a new being a cassandra sangue or a blood prophet. Meg as a cassandra sangue is a valuable commodity. When her skin is cut, she can see visions of the future. Thus, cassandra sangues are kept in an isolated community, where they are nothing more than property to their captors. I was thoroughly intrigued by the unique characterization of all the paranormals and I appreciate that the author built on the traditional and then branched out. For instance, her werewolves are more animal than human and they can shift at will, sometimes only partially shifting. The wolves are dangerous and deadly, and the gruff Simon threatens to eat those who irritate him constantly. The vampires are mysterious and deadly, able to shift into smoke. No sparkly vamps in this one. Tess is an enigma. She is dangerous and deadly, and I was excited to finally see more of her true nature, but I am still wanting to know more. My favorites were the elemental ponies who have special abilities. I won't reveal the details as I don't want to spoil it. For a seasoned paranormal reader this book is a breath of fresh air. I loved the originality and creativity in this one. Absolutely solid world building and characterization!
- I thought the names of The Courtyard shops were fun and catchy. The bookstore run by werewolf Simon is called Howling Good Reads. The gym is Run and Thump and the little coffee shop is named A Little Bite just to name a few.
- I enjoyed watching Meg grow and transform. In the beginning, she is a quiet, frightened young woman whose ideas of the world are based on what she has gleaned from clips and videos during her life in captivity. Once she escapes, Meg begins to experience the world and make her own assessments. She changes from a timid girl into a brave and formidable young lady. At the end, she is able to stand on her own and go toe to toe with Simon, unafraid of being eaten. I liked how she quietly came into The Courtyard and made friends and quickly changed the thinking of the terra indigene regarding some humans. I loved seeing all the terra indigene rally around her and fight for her. Her relationship with the damaged Sam was one of the highlights of the book for me. She is a character who steals your heart. I cannot wait to see her continue to mature in the next book.
- The book builds and builds to a thrilling and riveting climax that will have you glued to the pages. There is danger and lots of action that lead up to a satisfying ending. No cliffhangers here. Loved that!
- I appreciated that this book didn't feature a romance. Instead it takes its time to establish characters and build friendships. There are hints that a romance is in the works, but for now, I enjoyed not having one. For all your romantics, I assure you there is plenty to keep you entertained in this one even though there isn't a romance.
- I listened to this book and I was pleased with the narration. Alexandra Harris does a good job with the character voices, I especially liked her voice for Meg. She also handles Simon's voice well, giving him bite. If you get the opportunity to listen to this, I highly recommend it on audiobook.
And The Not So Much:
- This one is a bit slow going in the beginning. The author takes plenty of time to not only world build but to detail and flesh out her characters. I wasn't immediately hooked, but it didn't take long before I was invested.
- I found it odd that there was a conflict introduced early on in this book regarding strange attacks affecting the terra indigene in other parts of the world. Simon leaves The Courtyard to investigate, and when he returns very little is spent on this story line. In fact, it is all but forgotten until the final pages where it is indicated that this will be one of the conflicts in the next book. This is not a big issue but it was strange that this story line was brought up early on only to be abandoned until the next book.
- While I enjoyed the chaos and fast pace of the climax, it moved so fast that certain things ended up being glossed over. There was a lot to take in and make sense of and everything happens so quickly. The point of view jumps around and it moves forward and backward in time. I thought that the one of the deaths was brushed over as well.
- The villainess, Asia Crane, is annoying. I was frustrated with the fact that she irritated Simon from the very beginning yet she continued to come into The Courtyard. She should have been eaten long ago. I also thought it strange that she was interested in Meg throughout the book and then when it comes to the big climax, she suddenly shifts the object of her desire. The other players in the showdown are nothing more than nameless idiots swarming in to their demise. The villains were weak.
Written in Red was an exceptionally good read. I loved the world building and the characters. This is a highly original book that caught my imagination. I was pleased at the creativity and the originality of this one. This was exactly the book I needed to help get me out of a reading slump. If you are a fan of Urban Fantasy, this is a series you must read. I am just thankful that I have book two ready to go. Read this now!
I purchased a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.