This is a superb story, very well written and narrated.
My only problem is I now have to wait for the next book.
I have heard nothing, but wonderful things about Bishop's Others series so I was excited to try it. That being said, it is always a little nerve-wracking to start something that comes so highly recommended. But, thankfully, my expectations were met within the first few chapters of Written in Red and I found myself on quite a ride.
The protagonist of this series is Meg Corbyn, a cassandra sangue or blood prophet, who receives visions whenever her skin is cut. Written in Red begins with Meg having escaped from a mysterious persona known to her as the Controller who gained wealth and prominence through the hiring out of cassandra sangues. Meg spends much of this book trying to forge a new life for herself in the unique setting of the Lakeside Courtyard, a section of town that is inhabited by powerful, dangerous creatures known as the Others.
I found Meg to be quite a different type of urban fantasy heroine. She is not fiesty or street-smart or super-powered, but she has a certain something that I connected with. She is naive, but not stupid and is willing to do anything to gain her independence. Because of her lifelong captivity, this is Meg's first opportunity to experience things she only ever read about or saw on screen like music, driving, or even snow. I found myself very interested in her journey because she is a gentle soul with a spine and I think that is very refreshing in this genre.
The inhabitants of the Lakeside Courtyard are the terra indigene (The Others) which are a group of species that have lived on the Earth since the beginning and often view humans as prey. There are a lot of different terra indigene such as animal shifters, Sanguinati or vampires, and Elementals. I have read many series that have a mix of supernatural creatures like this, but Anne Bishop's creativity really shines in her depiction of these species. The Others are the dominant forces in this version of Earth and they allow humans to live among them because they enjoy the advances they bring. These groups are violent and completely willing to rid the planet of humans if they feel like it and I enjoyed that suspenseful aspect of their characterization.
When Meg arrives at the Lakeside Courtyard, she is given the job of Liaison for the Others which has the important task of dealing with human delivery workers and insuring packages/mail are delivered in a timely manner. This allows her to interact with a ton of the Courtyard's inhabitants who make up quite a large and diverse cast. My personal favorites were Simon Wolfgard (the unofficial head of the Courtyard who hires and trains Meg), Sam (Simon's emotionally damaged nephew), Tess (the mystery woman with the ever-changing hair color that everyone else fears), and Vlad (the helpful Sanguinati). I also have to mention the ponies that help Meg deliver the mail who have interesting powers of their own.
Written in Red does not have a romance, but there are definitely some hints of it especially in the second half. Ms. Bishop spends most of her time developing the world and introducing readers to the characters. The interaction between Simon and Meg is the one that I think has the most potential though this book primarily has them getting to know each other and developing a semi-friendly relationship. But, I am excited to see if things progress between these two later in the series.
As an introduction to a series, I thought Written in Red was very successful. I will warn potential readers that it does take some time to get used to the vocabulary of the series and figure out the different terra indigene species. This world is very different from ours and the rules are not as clear cut. Once everything is set up, I feel like the story really took off and never let off the gas. The second half, in particular, was full of action and suspense. I just couldn't stop listening especially when it hit the climax which is one of the most violent I've read in awhile.
This was my first opportunity to listen to one of Alexandra Harris's narrations, but I came away very impressed. She has a gentle and easygoing voice that is especially suited for the times when she is narrating Meg's sections. There were tons of characters that she had to voice and I think she did a good job with all of them even the gruff Simon and the smooth Vlad.
I know this review was pretty long and had some rambling moments, but it was such an amazing treat to listen to that I wanted to showcase what I loved. Written in Red was so unique in this genre and I think Anne Bishop has a real winner on her hands. I can't wait to see where she takes the story next and suggest anyone who likes dark, complex urban fantasy give it a try whether in print or audio.
Enjoy the adventure
This book is about a woman who transforms herself from an outsider into a beloved member of the community. It’s also about shape shifters and the women who love them. I am not a fan of interspecies dating and I lean towards adventure versus self-discovery.
I enjoy reading series and very rarely read stand alone series. I mostly read romance and sci-fi & fantasy.
This is one of those books you can't hep but reread. It has it all. From suspense to tears. Even though it is a longer book you will be hooked from the moment you start. You won't want to put it down.
Once you have finished the book you will find yourself going back to start over again. I really can't tell you how great this book is other than to recommend it to read.
I'm not sure if it is Alexandra Harris' reading style which made me like this book a little less than I think I ought to. Or Anne Bishop's writing style in this particular book which did not translate well into an audiobook. Or a lack in the audiobook director's part in the skills and talent department. Or maybe it's me as a reader or a combination of factors... Either way, I find Alexandra Harris' narration hard to follow that I bought a printed copy to read-along with the audiobook format. Don't get me wrong, the words are clear and distinct. The quality of her voice is pleasing to the ears. But Alexandra Harris does not give any indication when the scene changes. No pauses. No change in tone nor diction. Nothing. And that confuses me like hell. It is only after a sentence or two when the story lines no longer make sense that I realised that the people talking has changed. That the scene has changed. And I rewind to see if I missed anything. This made the pace slow that eventually I gave up on the audiobook about three quarters into it and proceeded reading the hardback without the audio. So I would not count the narration into rating this book because I did not really finish listening to the audio format. And I don't think I would be listening to Alexandra Harris again.
I've always been Anne Bishop's fan since I read her book, Sebastian. I like this author's voice! The main reason why this book got bought in the first place. Secondly, I like the cover art. I don't know what Anne Bishop did to please the Cover Art Goddess, but she sure was blessed with this book! Another thing I like about this book is the beautiful world building. But then again, this is Anne Bishop we're talking about here. So of course the world building is masterful! This book was slow going for me at the start mainly due to the audiobook but once I decided to abandon the audio this book just whizzed through and the next thing I knew, I was on the last page... And craving Murder Of Crows (Book 2)!! March come around already!!
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 4.5
Story itself = 5
Ending = 4.5
World building = 5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 4.5(18hours & 33minutes listening time)
Plot = 4.5
(Narration = 2)
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
I like Fantasy & Science Fiction but not into Zombie. Due to Health issues, listen to Audiobooks/read ebooks where I can enlarge the print
In a world dominated by the Others (Terra Indigine), humans are the minority existing under a truce of sorts in select areas allowed by the Others. The Others are wary of Humans and vice versa.
Meg Corbyn is a Cassandra sangue (Blood Prophet) and has run away from her keepers. Half-frozen, Meg stumbles into Lakeside Courtyard an Others compound in a human city which is beyond human law.
Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard and head of the Others' compound in Lakeside, agrees to let her take the job of Human Liaison; who accepts human deliveries for the compound and sorts mail, even knowing she's hiding from something.
The Others are not softened or even humanized in any way and make no apologies for the way they live.
Thus begins a fresh unique take of an urban fantasy book with a compelling series of suspenseful plots to keep you listening well into the night
I love this book, Anne Bishop makes you live in her characters skins, laugh with them, cry with them and die with them.
Written in Red's characters are interesting and relatable and Anne has created an amazingly detailed world that's intelligently written, incredibly creative, and will have you forcing yourself to put it down.
if you like alternate worlds, urbane fantasy, or fantasy you will love this book
If you like the Mercedes Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, or a story that has a new, totally fascinating take on Shapeshifters, Vampires and Elementals, get this book
If you grown tired of most Paranormal books, because they mostly use the same overused elements over and over again get this book.
You won’t be disappointed.
The narration is excellent
The characters are shallow; the reader isn't given any reason to care about them or like them, or root for them. The protagonist is a Disney princess; she's saccharine sweet and frightened (for a good cause, I should add) but shallow as a pond.
I think the most distressing thing about the book is that it had SO MUCH POTENTIAL. The world is interesting, and the protagonists' powers are interesting. When a story has this much potential, and falls short, it's harder to deal with than if everything about the book sucked.
No, but I won't read any follow-ups by the same author. At first, I appreciated the fact that the story is about a scared young woman trying to find sanctuary, and that the world isn't full of supernatural characters trying to mate with humans. But nobody in the story is, in any way, likeable, except perhaps one abused little wolf-boy.
I didn't mind the narrator at all. I'd definitely listen to her again.
Not purchase any more books by this author.
This book demonstrates Anne Bishop's phenomenal world-building and plot-building skills. It was one of the few of hundreds of audiobooks I've listened to recently where I paid rapt attention and had a hard turning off the I-Pod to get some sleep or work done. The narrator gave a beautiful performance and the book is so full of depth that I can't wait to listen again.
The story needs no improvement, but the narration is terrible. It really needs a different reader.
There are many elements at play in this story. First, it's a 'revised history' paranormal. Although the author never comes out and says so, the story clearly takes place on earth and in North America. But things have developed differently, with the 'others' or paranormal beings as we would call them, being the first and most dominant species. So there's some fun in recognizing the locations and in wrapping your mind around the way things are different. In this version of earth, humans are the outsiders, and the others are neither good nor bad. They are true to their nature, and their nature is predatory. The author is always very clear about that - no sparkly vampires or werewolves here. And yet, I was firmly on their side every time. They find humans useful and are willing to tolerate them provided the boundaries are understood.
Humans are not portrayed as all evil, either. Yes, the antagonists are human here, but we are introduced to several human characters, chiefly on the police force, who respect the others and understand why things are they way they are. These characters are, in turn, respected by the others. You get the impression that the two sides could make a heck of a good team when their interests are aligned.
I've read the printed copy, and it's a favorite story. I can't wait until the next one in the series comes out. I enjoyed it so much that I bought this audio version within just a month or so of reading the book. I was left disappointed. This is a story with strong paranormal and horror elements, but Alexandra Harris does not do it justice. Her voice, inflection, etc. made it sound like she was narrating a children's book. She would probably be a very good narrator for children's books, as her voice does put me in mind of a kindergarten teacher, but she's not right for this book. As much as I would like to encourage others to read this excellent book, I would also discourage anyone from making this audio version your first introduction.
I wouldn't cut anything. The pacing is very good, and each scene was drawn for a reason.
I loved this story! From the Dark Jewels series, I know Anne Bishop has a knack for rich, deep, well-explored worlds that offer a whole different perspectives on the supernatural, and this is another amazing read along those lines.
But the reader was sadly unspectacular. Maybe I'm spoiled by readers like Luke Daniels and Michael Kramer, but this seemed slow and pauses poorly-timed, and sometimes the emotions in the words didn't match what came out of her mouth. I eventually turned the play-speed up to 125%, that helped some, but it was still a bit stilted. FYI, if you're picky about readers you might prefer to read this one in text.