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

wow that’s a great author name

Pages: 487
Genre: Fantasy – urban

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Synopsis

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.

My thoughts

fire

This is a great fantasy story about finding a home, more than anything else. It’s one of those books about “Others” coming together, both in the sense of being outsiders and different magical creatures (werewolves, vampires, fairies and more).

Meg’s like a child in many ways, especially when she just escapes from the institution she’s been held captive in, considered someone else’s property. She has a lot of trauma to work through and self-discovery to do, but she’s also both fascinated by everything and doesn’t have the same prejudices and fear of the Others as regular humans have learned. Her curiousity and out-going personality makes her the perfect fit for her job as human liason and she gets a sanctuary that’s willing to protect her against those after her. Funny enough, while being surrounded by beings that eat human flesh (a practice that fades fast as Meg arrives), humans seem to be what’s she’s in most danger of.

“Vlad hated doing the paperwork as much as he did when a human employee quit, which was why they’d both made a promise not to eat quitters just to avoid the paperwork. As Tess had pointed out, eating the staff was bad for marale and made it so much harder to find new employees.” 

This book doesn’t contain a straight-forward plot as much as it’s carried by character’s interactions, their daily life and the many ways it’s regularly disrupted. Much of the plot is based on the idea that one kind soul can change a community, magical deadly creatures or not. And it’s a lot to believe in, but Meg really tries to bridge the relationships between the humans and Others, as well as the way the groups within the Courtyard operates. The vampires aren’t exactly social or friendly, but they are the outliers. While trying to be an example of the relationship between humans and Others, Meg gets herself into some trouble, but that’s what you’ve got monster-sized wolves for.

There’s a lot of interesting characters, the terrifying Tess and Simon is my favourites. Simon is one temperamental, but protective shape-shifting leader. He was what glued the community together, barely, before Meg arrived. Overall, the only thing I cringed a bit over while reading this book is the bad names (come on the Others, really?). It’s truly a story that has been stuck in my head and it feels like a different way to do fantasy than most of what I’ve read before. I’ve just read the second book as well and it’s just as fantastic.

*TW for self-harm* I know nothing of self-harming, but cuts are described in quite detail in this book, as stated in the synopsis and it’s a issue Meg struggles with throughout the story.

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