In my opinion, 2013 was a great year for books. There were a few HUGE disappointments, but mostly 2013’s authors rocked my striped-fuzzy-socks off. Of all this awesomeness, one book really stands out from the rest for me:
Here’s some info:
Title: Written in Red
Author: Anne Bishop
Published: March 5th 2013 by NAL Hardcover
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.”
POV: third person, multiple, head hops to (I’d say) most characters.
Review: So first let me say that I don’t usually like books that “head-hop,” as in switch from one person’s perspective to another’s constantly…but my goodness, there is something about this book! After finishing it (the first time) I rated this book four stars and was still a bit on the fence about how I felt about it. This book is brutal, most characters view humans as “smart meat” and yet, I sympathized with them. Also, every character in this book did things that appalled me.
But then…I just couldn’t get past this book, I kept coming back to it, reading it over and over, every time loving it a little more. The world building is so fantastic and original, I’d say that it’s a cross genre of urban fantasy and high-fantasy (contemporary fantasy?).
The world is an alternate modern day society where “The Others” (a race of various supernatural monsters) control all natural resources, and therefore humans are subservient to them in most ways. “The Others” live in compounds separate from humans and only choose to interact with humans because they like the inventions and products humans create. “The Others” hire a bedraggled runaway named Meg Corbyn to be a liaison between them and humans (because they hate interacting with humans.) Meg Corbyn has her own problems these inevitably become The Other’s problems as well.
Quite a bit of this book is centered on Meg Corbyn’s job as a liaison, or basically a mail woman. This is actually one of my favorite parts of this book. Meg is a strange woman and has quite a lot of misadventures trying to work with the fierce and very odd supernatural community.
My other favorite part of this book was Meg’s awkward bonding with the human-hating supernatural creatures she is surrounded in. (Especially her maybe-hopefully-love-interest with Simon Wolfgard!!!)
Okay, so I’m making this book sound light-hearted, which it is at times but it is also very dark at other times, graphic and a little bit gory.
The world building and feeling of this book is so original I’ve spent a good portion of my reading time (after I read Written in Red several times) questing to find books like it, and failing. A couple books that I’ve read in this pursuit:
The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop (different)
Kushiel’s Dart (Phèdre’s Trilogy, #1) by Jacqueline Carey (like The Black Jewels)
Chronicles of Elantra series by Michelle Sagara (also cross genre urban fantasy and high-fantasy-but very different)
Sunshine by Robyn McKinley (–So if you’re a fan of McKinley you already know how long-winded she can get. I usually like it. Sunshine was a bit much for me at times. However, this book was the most similar book I found to Written in Red.)
All great—but none of them satisfy my weird obsession with this fantastic book: Written in Red. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to wait for 2014’s release of Murder of Crows (The Others, #2).