No one creates realms like New York Times best-selling 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.
©2013 Anne Bishop (P)2013 Penguin Audio
I have been happily married for 17 years, I have 3 children (12, 14, & 16), and 2 dogs. I am currently working on a 2nd degree. Life is chaotic and stressful, but I wouldn't change it. I am blessed and enjoying my life.
This is truly a wonderful book, from start to finish, just outstanding. The book is 18 plus hours, I managed to listen to the entire book in about 30 hours. I did nothing else! The characters and the world that they live in are phenomenal. As events unfolded, I kept checking to see how much longer I had. This will probably be one that I go back and listen to again. And don't you just love it when the bad guys get exactly what they deserve?! It was really an outstanding performance with both Anne Bishop and Alexandra Harris. And you have got to be damned good to deliver such a fantastic performance without even one love scene!
This performance is worth BOTH of my credits for the month, so it was a bargain at only one credit.
Love Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Romance books.
I have already listened to this twice. It takes a little while to get used to since it is a different twist on the shifter human relations then you see in most paranormal books, but that is what makes it so good. The characters are excellent, well developed and likable. Bishop does a good job of establishing and explaining the world for these characters. The story is engaging and keeps you listening and wanting more at the end. I already cannot wait for the next book to come out.
The story, characters and world building! I have read in some places that this is being categorized as urban fantasy but I feel that it is more straight fantasy in the vein of her Black Jewels series. The Other characters are dark and dangerous but endearing. I loved seeing Meg grow while in the protection of the Courtyard and seeing the Others being more "humanized" through their interactions with her. Sam was absolutely adorable!
All of the interactions between Meg and Sam.
I don't think Ms. Harris did a terrible job but I thought most of her female voices sounded a bit childlike in pitch. I also didn't care for the tempo of the reading or how she emphasized some words but I was still able to lose myself into the story.
If you have enjoyed any of Anne Bishop's previous series, you will most likely like this one.
I loved this book!
I am not Anne Bishop's biggest fan (I DO like her writing!) but this was a very nice and happy surprise. The book is original and fresh with scary monsters aplenty.
The world setting was very well done and nicely written, even with the cutting and the pain/pleasure involved.
This first installment (I'm guessing this is a series?) has no big romance or cliffhanger (so refreshing) in the end, I can't wait for the next one!
So until then, this is a reread waiting to happen. ;D
I'd like to say I enjoyed the book, but I feel like I mostly mildly tolerated it just to know what happened as I don't like to leave books unfinished. The author fixates on extremely mundane details. There is so much fuss over putting on and/or taking off boots, moping up melted snow, and other things that I really just didn't care about. It slowed the book down tremendously, and while I can see how it fit with the naivety of the protagonist, it drove me nuts to listen to the repetition of routine tasks and how much concern everyone had over what nobody would even think about in their daily life.
She is a very slow reader, which made a slow story crawl even more. It added to the sense of mundane to this book, and I was honestly very bored through much of the book and I wonder how much had to do with the pace of the reading. Her voices were fairly good, other than Simon's voice (too hostile all the time).
Overall I enjoyed most of the characters. The female antagonist was highly annoying, fairly stupid for someone who is supposedly gifted at what she does.
As a fan of other worlds such as Jim Butcher or Faith Hunter where more action takes place in a vivid and brilliant world, I found Bishop's world laking somewhat in believability. I feel like the author could have done so much more with this book if the premise wasn't so... boring. I found myself not as engaged or enthralled by Bishop's world, I found it very simple and odd incongruences in the behaviour of the people in that world. If you are more action-based urban fantasy, like myself, this book may not be for you.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
Really, way too cute. I expected a dark adult urban fantasy. Instead this was beyond Disneyesque.
There are cute ponies, cute puppies, cute talking animals, lots of cookies & peppermint tea, shopping & catalogs, and making friends, as well as an unbelievable amount of mail sorting. Yes, there were some potentially dark themes of cutting, vampires, and were-creatures, but everything was so darn cute and simplistic there was little tension.
Even the antagonist is too cute to stomach.
The universe did not seem internally consistent to me. The internet exists, but humans are woefully uniformed about vamps and werepacks. The protagonist was raised without emotional sensations except those stimulated by ritual cutting, yet is just as cute as a button and peppy as can be. There are also direct inconsistencies like the protagonist sometimes knowing about wolves and sometimes not. I am also dubious that associating self-mutilation with psychic-powers for impressionable young females readers is the best of ideas.
The prose were weak, perhaps just ok for young readers, but too childlike for me. The universe is like 1990s US with the names changed to protect the cuteness. LA is “Sparkletown”, Wednesday is “Windsday”, and so on. Everyone and everything has a cute name. The masculine characters are all amazingly weak and PC considering they are mostly werecreatures and police.
The writing was also totally predicable. After the second chapter if you pause and ask yourself “How will this book turn out?” You will likely guess correctly on every aspect. There was literally not a single thing that surprised me.
The environment is not urban, instead it is like a friendly small college town where prey and predator learn mutual respect, how to understand each other and work together.
The narration is quite annoying with exaggerated cutesy-pie or gruff, but I find it hard to blame the narrator for this, as it seems that is how the characters were written.
My daughter really liked this series and recommended it to me. She loved the cuteness juxtaposed with darkness, and the characters and story, for her, made up for any inconsistencies. Nevertheless I would not even recommend this for young readers.
The only negative thing I can say is that I did have to speed up the narrator's voice. But once I did, it was just fine. And the story draws you right in. I finished the book and still can't get the story and all the things that happened out of my head. I really wish the next book was available, and no other book I have listened to in the mean time has even come close to measuring up. You won't regret this one.
Addicted to books, especially audiobooks. Read lots and prosper!
I absolutely adored this book. This is my first exposure to this author and all I can say is that I'm just blown away. The book covers are gorgeous and I can be lured in by beautiful graphics. I'm a book slut that way.
I didn't enjoy the narrator as much. I much prefer deeper voices and the voice seemed too young adult. However the voice was consistent and smooth. I could get past those slight annoyance and enjoy the story.
The premise of the story, based on a person who cut themselves (because they were a blood prophet), didn't appeal to me when I first learned of it and even though I had several recommendations by book friends, I resisted until now.
Finally in desperate need of a good book and looking for new authors I took the leap. Talk about rock my world. The best way I can describe this is an alternate reality story that is similar to our own world, but imagine instead that humans were the minority. Think of white man coming to America and finding indigenous natives that could and would readily eat you. It took a while but human finally negotiated a foot hold with bartering with the Others. Then after several hundred years as what rings strongly with our own society, humans forget what they should be grateful for and how they should be beholden too and starts creating trouble. They should let sleeping wolves lie as if they rouse they can not only eat you, but crush entire cities.
The main protagonist, Meg (who is the blood prophet), is actually an escaped slave who gets a job with the Others, and unknowingly starts changing the world of Others and Humans in her efforts to learn to be human and learn to coexist with the Others. She is not the strong fighter, and in fact scared a lot but she is brave in her own way. I didn't find this annoying because she wasn't whimpy/whiny. Even though the story is dark and violent as all the best Urban Fantasies are, there is so much charm and humor and the relationships and points of view of the different story lines are intriguing (other than one I didn't enjoy to much). I adored the elemental ponies, 'wolf' beds and cookies and Simon in his gruff/rough way was seriously too cute. Major hugs and scritches to Sam too.
Don't expect romance or sex - in fact I found it refreshing to see the development of relationships without it. (Reminds me of the lovely slow/strong relationship building of Kate and Curran over many books in the Magic series by Ilona Andrews) This story is NOT regular tame shifters that are just fury people. These are truly MONSTERS and the world building is just awesome.
My only little grumble was not liking the point of view of female baddie - she was just too annoying for me, rather than scary or worrisome.
As soon as I finished this I jumped on the next "Murder of Crows". I"m already jonsing for book 3.
I am a voracious reader of all fiction genres and poetry. I occasionally venture into humor, history, and science. I loathe self-help books.
I was intrigued by the premise of the story but quickly lost interest. I thought the dialogue was repetitive and the storyline boringly predictable. The narrator's performance was fair, but I think her creative talents were hindered by the author's inability to escape circular character exchanges. This storyline might have been improved if written in novella form.
Written in Red is a solidly written urban fantasy of an alternate universe (or alternate planet) Earth. Most of the modern trappings are there - cities, cars, etc., but the cultural references are missing (in a good way) and instead we have a very different set of humans and humanity in a supernatural world.
Megan barely escapes the prison she has been raised in her whole life - a place where women who are able to read the future are trained solely to that purpose so their 'minders' can profit from their visions. Megan knows nothing of the outside world except what her handlers felt she needed in order to give the best prophecies/to translate their visions welle nough. But she will have to make her way if she is to survive. She ends up being taken in by the Others - werewolves, elementals, vampires and more who live in enclaves in the human cities but outside of human law. She must earn their trust: for the men who owned her are powerful and she represents a staggering amount of lost investment and clout if she remains missing.
Anne Bishop did an excellent job of creating strong characters who stay consistent throughout. We don't have the cliches of strong minded girl, noble knight in shining armor, caring friends. Instead, we have a purposefully simple character (Meg) who wins over very jaded individuals because of that simplicity. She's not stupid but she hasn't been educated or experienced life outside of the institution in which she was 'protected' since she was born. Bishop gives Meg a humanity and the standoffish nature of the Others is well written. But without the fish out of water scenes that would get annoying.
I really enjoyed this first in the series. For once, the non-action scenes are as endearing as the fight scenes are exciting. Characters are very fully realized as is the world building. No one felt like one dimensional cutouts, which was refreshing. And there's no instalov and a very hinted at love story that will likely be built upon in further volumes.
The narrator did an excellent job.
"Endearing story. Dreadful narration"
An alternate Earth where shape shifting 'Earth Natives' tolerate humans - barely - until a special human with prophetic gifts stumbles into their lives.
The story has glaring gaps and is never going to win any literary prizes but the story is novel, if a bit predictable.
It's easy to love the characters and watching an impossible love story unfold will have you desperate for book 2.
The narration is dreadful. It spoils a lovely story. She pauses in the wrong places, puts emphases incorrectly so that the meaning becomes unclear. It also undermines the building of atmosphere and tension.
I really enjoyed this calm and smooth book - totally involving invented world. I didn't expect to like it but I loved it. I will now search for any other books I hope it's a series.
"As `credit-worthy' as Audible suggested."
I bought this after seeing it recommended on a list of credit-worthy listens by Audible and was not disappointed. It is hard to find a fantasy story where both the author and narrator are as good as the standard here. I would personally class this story as a fantasy romance but don't be put off by that if you are not a romance fan because the romance is mild, while the story and characters are strong. I wasn't board once in eighteen and a half hours and will be buying the squeal if it also comes to Audible.
There are many things I like about this story. The fantasy universe is well realized. The author has merged aspects of quite dark subjects and characters, with aspects of almost child like wish fulfillment, providing something new and interesting for her readers. There are several interesting plot's converging in the book and the writing is of a good standard in all the things that are most important to me as a reader: characterization, imagery and plot.
The narrator is also excellent. Time and again I am put of wonderful stories by the grating and robotic tones of a narrator. Alexandra Harris on the other hand, tells the story in a lively and engaging manner, voicing the different parts for the characters. She is one of the few American narrators of a fantasy book that I would recommend and I only wish there where more like her.
Why isn't it a five? Partly it's a four because I'm comparing against my favorite authors like Terry Pratchett, Patrick Rothfuss and Anne McCaffrey and if I give this a five, I have nowhere to go for them.
DO NOT READ IF YOU WANT TO READ THIS STORY UNSPOILED.
Another reason I haven't given it a five star rating, is that there is a vast and interesting background plot which, if given more focus in this novel, would have greatly improved the story. Instead the author appears to have chosen to tell it over a series and the story looses a bit of momentum and potential because of that. Also, it has to be said that the heroine is the typical outcast who quickly brings anyone of importance round to caring for her, sacrificing some credibility and potentially interesting plot developments because of this.
"A YA book that works for older ones!"
This is a YA book - that's not to say it isn't listenable to and enjoyable for a less than young adults, but it isn't a complex story, and can get a bit girly, with talk early on of "ponies tummies", and rather a lot of hot chocolate and cookie consumption, but these are minor complaints.
I was surprised to learn, a couple of hours or so in, that our heroine Meg is 25 (or maybe 24 - can't remember now) and not the 16 or 17 I'd assumed her to be. She is "read" very young by the narrator, and as the story progresses this apparent youth becomes understandable, but one of the "baddies" came over to me as about 18, while they were probably meant to be Meg's age or more, and they didn't have any reason to some across as a petulant teenager. So I grumbled my way through the first few hours of listening, feeling slightly misled over who the target audience for this book is, however... things got better!
This may be a straightforward and pretty predictable story, but it's also quite compelling once you get going. The world building is interesting and different, Meg is a good, kind, brave soul who grows on you - I was really rooting for her. The development of the relationship between her and the Others is allowed to progress slowly, showing the Others utter bewilderment at how to deal with humans, and Meg's complete lack of knowledge about human life in the real world. There's a host of supporting characters - decent human policemen, shifters of various species, vampires, elementals, the ponies (who have a darker side so aren't so cute after all) and Tess - and nobody knows what she is... The baddies are credible, and potentially quite nasty, although they stay mostly as shadowy background figures.
There are quite a few smile-out-loud moments, and I found myself impatient to get back to listening when I was otherwise engaged.
There's some swearing (the Others find swearing one of the few good things humans have thought up), some mention of sex, but nothing explicit and its all so vague you could easily miss it ("I'll let you do that thing you wanted to do last night" - if you have an adult take you fill in the gaps one way, if you don't ,you fill 'em another!), some violence and death - but again, nothing overt or nasty.
Well read, with the narrator managing to populate a wide cast. She gets a bit gruff when doing angry wolves, but what else could she do? There are a few jarring American pronunciations to my English ears, but not many.
The end leaves several (quite big) issues unresolved, so I imagine there's a sequel or two to come, and if the nasty, rather brutal Others become a tad nice and civilised rather quickly - responding to threats to withhold their cookies for heaven's sake - it doens't detract from what is a good, imaginative yarn about how plain honest-to-goodness decency wins through! I really enjoyed it and will look out for the sequel.
"A brave new take on the recent trend."
This has to be one of my favourite audiobooks so far.
The way Meg looks at the world around her is totally fresh. A child's innocence inside the body of an increasingly strong woman.
I must confess to a fear of small scurrying things but the reaction of Meg combined with the Others was hysterical.
When Sam emerged in defence of Meg's use of the harness followed by Simon's joy at hearing his nephew's voice,
I had to purchase book two at full price because I was unable to wait three days for my new credits to arrive. I can't think of a greater recommendation.
The narrator fits the personality of the main character really well.
When Meg stands her ground
The narrator's voice is quite calming but it fits well with the main character and I got used to it.
I didn't find it massively emotional but I did enjoy it.
It was really nice to have a good urban fantasy where the romance takes a back seat.
I have also listened to the next in the series.
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