Author: Anne Bishop
Release Date: March 5, 2013
The Courtyards of the Others #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Hardcover (448 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
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.
What B is talking about:
When the frightened human female entered his bookstore ridiculously underdressed and half-frozen in the harsh winter night, Simon Wolfgard knows she’s hiding something. But, as much as that concerns him, his curiosity over just what makes her unlike any other human he’s ever encountered is far stronger. How could he have predicted that one decision made in a moment of uncertainty would change everything?
Meg Corbyn knows that getting too close to the “Others” can be deadly, but when faced with the reality of what she’ll face if she’s caught and returned to the one she’s trying so hard to escape, it’s a risk she has to take. Running with nothing but the clothes on her back in the middle of winter, and in a strange place inhabited by the strongest predators in the land, she never expected to find more than just a temporary sanctuary. But, sometimes the future isn’t what it’s expected to be, even if you’re a blood prophet.
As another new author for me, I had no idea what to expect from this new novel from Ms. Bishop. Regardless, I very much enjoyed Written in Red. The world of this novel is a brutal one, and a brief history, that is itself a familiar story of “civilization” forcing its way across oceans and into lands where it isn’t welcome, is thankfully provided at the beginning. Here, however, the earth gave rise to a different group of creatures that have dominion over the lands, and humans aren’t at the top of the food chain, merely a barely tolerated part of it.
I liked Meg and Simon a great deal from the very beginning. Meg, while she is, literally, the innocent among the wolves, is funny and charming, and manages to make a place in the world of the Others just fine, even though she’s incapable of surviving for long on her own. The very nature of what she is makes her someone to be cherished and protected, yet she’s not presented as a powerless mannequin. Likewise, Simon was a tremendous surprise, somehow finding himself at the mercy of the frail woman he rescued from the storm, with plenty of humorous head-scratching moments and Alpha-prone outbursts as he attempts to regain some control over his community—all of whom are somehow, and delightfully, on Meg’s side.
With Meg’s powers of precognition, Written in Red isn’t so much a whodunit, but a story of survival and hope. Although I knew something bad was coming, watching the bonds form between Meg and her new “family” made anticipating what I believed would happen more agonizing with every page. Fortunately, there were plenty of surprises that made me continue to want the best for both the others and the humans they’ve worked so hard to accept.
While Urban Fantasy is a more difficult genre for me to really fall into sometimes,Written in Red was a great story. It could be said that parts of the narrative edge towards predictable in some ways, but I think that worked well in this case. Despite Meg’s status as a prophet, I grew more and more intrigued with her as she made a place for herself among the others, and enjoyed getting to know these fascinating creatures most of all. Ms. Bishop injects just the right amount of humor in all the right places, as well as moments of real sorrow, resulting in a thoroughly likable read. This series is definitely on my list of ones to watch, and I hope to be reacquainted with Meg and the Others again soon.
Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A)