Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Not how I pictured Meg, but a very pretty cover nonetheless.

Gods above and below, I love me some Urban Fantasy. I always seem to forget this fact, and get into accidental long stretches of not reading UF stuff. Every time a book in one of the UF series I follow comes out, it’ll be a reminder that I should definitely consume some more. Written in Red was on my kindle waiting for me to read it for almost 2 years. That’s ridiculous, me! So, this week I gave it a gander. And by gander, I obviously mean I read books 1 & 2 in 2 days. So, I figured I’d better stop and write a review of at least one of them before I became completely incoherent.

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.

There would be a spike in the number of girls who went out for a walk in the woods and were never heard from again. There always were when stories came out portraying the terra indigene as furry humans who just wanted to be loved.

Most of the terra indigene didn’t want to love humans; they wanted to eat them. Why did humans have such a hard time understanding that?

I started this series off rather skeptically – but I will always give a book a chance if it’s been honestly recommended to me. This one was recommended by a friend of mine a couple of years back and given some high praise. It just didn’t happen to make it to the top of the TBR list for a while… (c’est la vie…)

But, still, I thought to myself… it’s basically ‘cutting is a magical power’….

Well, yeah that’s kinda true. That is somewhat the premise. It is, but it’s not at all cringey cutter romance like I thought it was going to be. It’s well thought out and really well executed.

The werewolves and vampires in this book are very unlike those in other urban fantasy books. They are legitimately scary, in that they give zero fucks about humanity unless humanity is producing something of value to them. They are The Others, the terra indigene – earth natives, and this world is our world if it were, and always had been, ruled by them. Humanity survives and thrives by their leave alone. Humans are ‘clever meat’ to The Others, and that’s it. But Meg is… different. She smells like ‘not prey’ which is confusing to most of them. She’s also really endearing, and even they can’t help but like her.

Meg Corbyn is a great character who handles her… power? Addiction? – in an unexpectedly realistic way, for a woman who sees the future when she cuts herself. She’s a really well-formed character who is always changing and learning, and I rooted for her hard. She grows as a character, even in this first book, and keeps growing. Her relationship with everyone she meets changes as she changes and I loved it. I loved seeing how she changes an entire Courtyard of monsters just by being her. She’s a really strong character. She’s not physically strong, but she’s not weak.

Simon Wolfgard is another great character who I can’t help but like even though he’s not very likable all the time. He’s harsh because he needs to be. His relationship with Meg is… not at all what I expected to find in these books. At least, not in the beginning. There’s not a whole lot of actual physical romance here… but there is a thread of… something. Simon becomes rather attached to Meg, but it’s not really romance-novel levels of lust between them (even with the euphoria that comes along with cutting for Meg). There is genuine caring and friendship between them. You can tell that these two will become romantically involved. There’s no real hiding that, but it’s done in such a way that it doesn’t feel rushed at all. It’s not corny. It’s not love at first sight. Simon seems oblivious to his feelings towards Meg, and Meg seems innocently oblivious to her newfound protector and his growing instinctive need to protect her from harm. I’m excited to see where the relationship goes and how it gets there.

It’s fast paced, well written, and very hard to put down. The plot is really well thought out and hard to guess at, even with the addition of prophecy to the mix.

I wasn’t sure I was going to like Sam, but the relationship between Meg and Sam and how they both benefited from the safety line was awesome.

So, in conclusion – this was ‘I should read this UF book that’s been on my kindle forever’ which quickly turned into ‘OMG I can’t stop reading this….’ which turned into ‘NO OTHER BOOKS WILL GET READ UNTIL I AM FINISHED EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE! CLEAR MY GODDAMN SCHEDULE!’

Yeah, it’s one of those. 5/5 stars!


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