Review: Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop

March 15, 2013 5 stars, Book Review 10 ★★★★★

Pabkin’s One Liner: Action, drama, comedy, horror, romance – Written in Red has it all and does it well!


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.

Immediately Written in Red had me captivated from the opening pages! It has such a great introduction titled A Brief History of the World which sets an unsettling tone that matches the title perfectly. I literally felt as if the history of this world Namid was written in blood…or red if you prefer. *insert maniacal laughter here*

Written in Red takes place in the world Namid, on the continent of Thasia. As I read it was filled with haunting similarities to our own world, yet a wonderfully realized world all its own. I found it funny to try and guess which cities corresponded to our world.

Now, never have I read an urban fantasy that took such a visceral approach. I loved it instantly! When people die here, they die a gruesome, but totally awesome in its description, death. I gobbled up every freaking bit of it! There definitely wasn’t a word wasted.

Too often I think urban fantasy doesn’t hammer home enough just how animalistic the creatures other than human are. With Written in Red, there is no such sugar coating. The Others only think of humans as meat and an annoying but sometimes useful resource for material goods. Their aggression and violence serves a purpose, it isn’t out of hatred so much as survival. What made things work even more is you see the human cruelty, and how pointless their violence is – driven by fear, anger and greed for most part. I’m in no way saying all humans in this world are depicted as bad, but they definitely aren’t my favorites.

The protagonist Meg Corbyn is a cassandra sangue, a blood prophet…still a human but when her skin is cut she sees prophecies. These prophecies can either come with intense pleasure if she shares them, or agonizing pain if she holds them inside. People like her are property, they are used for their abilities, cuts on their skin going to the highest bidder. But Meg has escaped and wants nothing but to belong to herself and have a life of her own. Intriguingly enough where Meg has escaped to, land held by the Others, could be just as dangerous as where she was. Luckily though it might just be be the perfect place for her.

The tension between Meg and the Others is fantastic. She’s a human but unlike any human they’ve dealt with before. Simon the leader of the Others courtyard has taken her in, given her a job and she slowly becomes more to all of them. That is the great thing about Written in Red, the relationships develop slowly instead of everything instantly being slapped together as hunky dorey with instant attractions. Meg has a personality that I adored, she isn’t a push over and yet she is mostly an innocent. Because of this I think there are a lot of comedic moments that helped make this one of my new favorites.

Not only is Meg innately kind to others but she seems to draw out the best in people. So prepare yourself for some tender awww moments as well. I’m not kidding when I say Written in Red has a little bit of everything for me. Action and gruesome scenes aren’t in short supply. I loved the slower build up of things, normally that has a chance of boring me but here there was always something going on.

It makes meeting her supporting cast really interesting because they are all mostly Others with natural tendencies to be aggressive to humans. At this moment my favorites are Jake Crowgard, for his mischievious nature…(odd since I thought a coyote would make more mischief than a crow) and Vlad Sanguinati (I never can resist a vampire).

The various species of Others was great and I am hoping we haven’t seen all there is to see and learn. I loved Bishop’s unique take on each species and how essentially they are all shape shifters.

I do feel like there wasn’t enough of a presence from our big bad guy…but I suspect based on the setup that he is going to get play time in the next book in the series. I love a good villain and the vision forming in my head of him is a nasty one. I’m already crying from impatience for the next book!

Tabitha the Pabkins

Written in Red

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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10 Responses to “Review: Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop”

  1. kay @ Infiniteshelf

    I’ll admit this one hadn’t really caught my eye, mostly because with so many adult urban fantasy novels around, many of them end up sounding the same. This one sounds good though; I love your mention of the animalistic nature of creatures. I get tired of having them playing nice! I’m definitely adding this one to my wishlist!

    • pabkins

      Yeah I didn’t notice it pretty much until right before the day it released. I have some of her fantasy books still unread on my shelf – now I think I’m going to devour them. This was a freaking awesome urban fantasy. I know its going to a favorite!

  2. [email protected]

    This book sounds very good! I like the concept of a blood prophet and the balance between action and cute, romantic scenes. Meg sounds like a nice character, great review!

    • pabkins

      Thats the thing I didn’t even really consider any scenes romantic. Thats what I loved is the build of the relationship is so slow its not even going there yet! But you see the potential. I can’t wait ti see when something does happen.

    • Pabkins

      Thanks! Yeah I don’t buy as many hardcovers any more but this one is so worth the hardcover price. Haha

  3. Neyra

    This one has caught my attention for the cover and title alone. And it sounds like the plot is just as great. Nice review Tabitha 🙂