Title: Written in Red
Author: Anne Bishop
Genre: Urban fantasy, adult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
This book was more fun than I was expecting.
Written in Red is set in a parallel universe where the earth is inhabited and largely controlled by creatures called The Others. These shape-shifting creatures aren't the usual "hot bodies with a wild side" that have come to inhabit most of the UF and paranormal books I've read. Instead, they are feral creatures that see humans as nothing more than a special kind of meat. They have made it clear that they are being kind to the humans by letting them live and have settlements, and they are equally clear about how quickly they can take that away. They made my skin crawl, and even once you get to know their softer sides, that sense of unease never truly goes away.
Throw into the mix a race of humans known as the Cassandra Sangue, or blood prophets. These women see prophecies every time their skin is cut, and are practically farmed for their services. Meg manages to escape her prison and winds up deep in the middle of an Others settlement.
As I mentioned earlier, the Others remained truly frightening throughout the novel, which was great. I'm a little tired of feral creatures actually being nice, misunderstood people. Here, everyone is scary, yes, but they are also endearing. Simon Wolfgard is the leader of the Wolfgard, and very formidable. Yet, he shows deep kindness to his nephew, a traumatized young wolf who saw his mother die. Tess freaked me out the most, but I also probably loved her character the most. She has a very deep sense of right and wrong, and doesn't hesitate when she believes someone deserves punishment. She's a fierce character, and she's amazing!
I wish I could say Meg was equally badass, but she spends most of her time trying to adjust to normal human life after a life in a compound. She's very sweet and innocent despite the horrors she sees, which is endearing, but also frustrating when you want her to go do stuff instead of letting other people save her time and time again. I suppose she's been through a lot, so maybe she'll grow out of it. We'll see.
The villains weren't actually all that sinister. Asia Crane was just a foolish woman who was trying and failing to cause a lot of trouble. The people from Meg's compound were more frightening, but there wasn't enough of them for me to feel like they were a real threat. Still, the climax was pretty intense.
This book was a lot of fun and different from what I usually read. It's definitely worth a shot!