Written in Red (The Others, #1) by Anne Bishop
Series: The Others #1
Also in this series: Murder of Crows (The Others, #2), Vision in Silver (The Others, #3), Marked in Flesh (The Others, #4), Etched in Bone (The Others, #5)
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
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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 a job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she's wanted by the government, he'll have to decide whether she's worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.
Meg Corbyn is cassandra sangue, a blood prophet, who can speak prophecy when her skin is cut. Because the blood prophets become addicted to the euphoria that veils their mind when they speak prophecy, many years ago it was decided benevolent ownership of them when be given to caretakers “for their own protection”. The majority of whom then used them for profit. For 24 years Meg has lived in such a compound, being used and abused by her owners, taught only what she needed to know to speak prophecy. Until she becomes desperate and escapes. She ends up in Lakeside at a Terra Indigene (The Others) Courtyard. The Others are Earth Natives who rule the continent of Thaisia. They allow humans to lease the land from them, but they have Courtyards in each major city so The Others can keep an eye on what the humans are doing.
Simon Wolfgard is an “Other”, a Terra Indigene (Earth Native), who can shift into the shape of the wolf. He’s the leader of the Lakeside Courtyard. To The Others, humans are just clever meat. Meg is a human, but she doesn’t smell like prey. This intrigues him enough that he hires her to be their Human Liaison. He knows she’s keeping secrets and lying to him, but it isn’t long before she’s won the hearts of all the residents of the Courtyard, including his. When her secrets come to light he’ll have to decide if she’s worth possibly going to war to protect.
Equal parts humor, intrigue and horror, Written in Red sucked me in from page one. The world-building in the first few chapters was somewhat dense, but Meg’s interactions with The Others and her struggle to settle in to life outside the Compound kept me glued to the pages. From there things only got better. Simon’s struggle to pin down why he reacted differently to Meg who smelled like not-prey; His nephew Sam and the emotional trauma he suffered after the death of his mother; Meg befriending everyone in the Courtyard, most of them in spite of themselves; The Elementals (who control the weather) and their Steeds…all of this, and more, pulled me in. I was fully immersed in the Courtyard and the lives of those who inhabit it. Bishop tackles heavy issues like racism and abuse, yet does it so expertly I didn’t feel preached to – or at.
I immediately picked up the second book in series.
4.25 out of 5