Title: Written in red
Author: Anne Bishop
Series: The others #1
Genres: adult, urban fantasy, romance (sort of)
Length: 18 hrs 36 min
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
My rating: 4 stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.
I came across the sequel of this book (Murder of crows) soon after I started blogging, and put the whole series on my TBR because it sounded intriguing. It’s not really what I would usually pick up, but I’m trying to read more out of my comfort zone these days, and that includes more urban fantasy. Glad to say it’s paying off so far. 🙂
Things I liked a lot:
1. SHAPESHIFTERS. YES. Shapeshifters are my favourite kind of supernatural creatures, and I loved everything about them here. Shapeshifters usually mean werevolves in most cases, but there are all sorts of animals here. Crows! BEARS!!!! Spirit bears!!! Grizzly bears!!! Bears are awesome. More bears please.
2. Meg. To be honest, I had a hard time connecting with her in the beginning, but she ended up surprising me. Like I said, urban fantasy is not my strongest genre, but whenever I do read something that qualifies as such, I’m used to the heroines being strong in the physical sense. That’s not Meg though. I was initially a little disappointed by this, but by the middle of the book her character started making perfect sense. She’s exactly what the people in the Lakeside Courtyard need to shake things up. And make no mistake, just because she doesn’t beat people up, she’s NOT weak. Her blood prophet abilities come with a price and she has a mental battle to fight. That said, I wouldn’t mind if she learned some self-defense skills in the future. She’s going to need it.
3. Simon. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. That pretty much sums up my feelings about the guy. 🙂
“It was easier when all we wanted to do was eat them and take their stuff,” he grumbled. And it had been easier when he hadn’t cared if he made any of them cry.
4. Complete lack of romance. The series is obviously headed towards a relationship between Meg and Simon at some point, and I’m more than OK with it, but it is kind of nice to read a book without all the added angst every once in a while. It will come soon enough.
5. The humour.
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 morale and made it so much harder to find new employees.
6. All the secondary characters. I came to love pretty much everyone by the end (except for the bad guys of course) but especially Tess & Winter. A book can never have too many kickass female characters and these two were amazing. And more Vlad please. Because he really doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut.
“Is it that time of the month?” Vlad asked.
Some feeling blew through her. It might have been embarrassment, but she suspected it was closer to rage. “What?”
He studied her. “Is that not an appropriate question to ask?”
“Odd. In many novels I’ve read, human males often ask that question when a female is acting . . .” Puzzlement as he continued to study her face. “Although, now that I consider it, they usually don’t make that observation to the female herself.”
7. COOKIES. Shapeshifters are big and scary, but you can always bribe them with cookies. 🙂
Things I didn’t like that much:
1. The Others referring to the humans as monkeys. I had no problem with them thinking of humans as prey, but I wasn’t crazy about this particular detail. It’s a small thing but it bothered me.
2. Asia Crane. For someone who was supposed to be a bad ‘guy’, she was pretty much just annoying and delusional. I pretty much just wanted to fast forward whenever she showed up. She was crafty, I’ll give her that, but when it came down to it, she couldn’t actually accomplish anything ever and that does not a good villain make. I’d like higher stakes in the next book.
There’s no major cliffhanger at the end and things are temporarily resolved, but there are plenty of questions left. Overall, this book was definitely worth the read, and I hope to like the sequel even more.
This was my longest audiobook to date (Richelle Mead’s Last sacrifice was almost 18 hours) and I really enjoyed it. Alexandra Harris is a brand new narrator for me, and she does a great job here.