Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Book Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

I’ve never read anything by Anne Bishop before but I read an intriguing review of this one and then saw that my library had it readily available so I decided to give it a try. I loved this book and am not going to even try to pretend any different.

Imagine a world very similar to ours, except in this world the inhabitants that were here first didn’t let the humans take over as they settled the colonies and moved west. Instead there is an uneasy truce where the terra indigene (or Others) and humans co-exist, bartering with each other for things they need or want. The Others that live close to, and interact with humans, live in closed communities called courtyards and human laws don’t apply in the courtyards. When the Others in the Lakeside courtyard take in a runaway human as their liaison and make her one of their own, they won’t give up without a fight when someone tries to take her back.

I was immediately immersed in this alternate reality. The book takes its time describing how the courtyard operates and there are many day to day details. There’s a long setup and the action doesn’t start happening until about 50 pages from the end. This did not bother me one bit. I was so totally wrapped up in the workings of the courtyard, I was surprised when I looked at the pages and saw how far I was. Meg is one of those underdog heroines who learns that she’s stronger than she thought and I really liked her. She is a blood prophet, which means when she cuts herself she has visions. I was a little wary of this going into it, but it turned out to be a very small part of the book and not graphic in details. The Others were my favorite part. I loved them all: Simon, Sam, Tess, Henry, Vlad, Winter, Grandfather Erebus, the Ponies… I can’t even name them all. They are not human and don’t even pretend they want to be. They are a mixture of species: wolves, vampires, elementals, and even a woman who reminds me a lot of Medusa. These characters and this world will be in my head for a very long time.

Really, this is the best new urban fantasy I’ve read in a while. My only complaint is that I had to go and read and love the first book in a brand new series and now I’m stuck waiting for the next one.

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