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.
I listened to the audiobook version of "Written In Red" in December 2013. I didn't write a review because I was so blown away all I'd have been able to say was: "Best fantasy novel I've read in a long, long time." I needed a bit of distance to get some perspective on what I enjoyed and why.
Last weekend, I was in "Forbidden Planet" in Liverpool and saw that the third book in the series, "Vision In Silver" had just been released in hardback. It was an instant and joyful buy. So I figured it was time to review the books that have brought me so much pleasure.
In my view "Written In Red" is closer to classic science fiction than it is to urban fantasy. Anne Bishop isn't writing about supernatural creatures roaming city streets. She's created an alternative reality, imagined the way good science fiction should be: starting with two small changes to our familiar reality - humans are not at the top of the food chain and shapeshifters are not only real but dominant - while keeping everything else the same and then working through the consequences. She then delivers complex, credible, I'm-hungry-to-know-more world-buidling in simple prose. But what makes this book unmissable is the way she made her world real to me by creating characters I cared about and putting them in peril.
The back story to Anne Bishop's alternative reality is that humans evolved and developed their civilization away from the wilderness that covers most of the planet. Then they came into contact with The Others - predatory shapeshifters and fierce elementals - who dominate the planet and to whom humans are "clever meat". The two cultures clashed. The humans lost, again and again, over centuries. Eventually the humans negotiated the right to specific pieces of land in exchange for services rendered.
At the time of the events of "Written In Red", humans are thriving on their "reservations" and are being supervised by Others living in Courtyards from which they observe what the clever meat is up to.
The Others in "Written In Red" can be described as werewolves or vampires or even werecrows but Anne Bishop only uses the familiar tropes to twist away from them. The Others are not humans who shift into wolves. They are wolves who occasionally choose to put on human skin. The Others are fundamentally alien. They literally eat humans that displease them. They are fiercely loyal to each other. They have a strong sense of pack or flock or hierarchy. They are civilized but they are not at all like us.
Into this world comes Meg Corbyn, a homeless waif with a secret. A Courtyard takes her in as their "Human Liaison" and the history of the world starts to pivot. Meg is engaging vulnerable, empathetic, curious, kind, and dutiful. Her innocence is explained by her sequestered life as a cassandra sangue, a woman who can see the future if her is skin is sliced. That she is kind and extremely likable is explained only by the fact that she is Meg.
The interaction between Meg and the Others is one of the most enjoyable things about the book. They laugh at her and puzzle over her but they also give her shelter. They declare her to "Our Meg" and protect her even though they are unaware of her background. She becomes, in effect, a valued pet human.
The treatment of the cassandra sangue by humans is far more monstrous than anything the Others do. When the Others sell human flesh as "Special Meat" it is an honest, malice-free act. When humans exploit the cassandra sangue, their actions are both fundamentaly inhumane and realistically human.
Anne Bishop's alternative reality is as dark and threatening as an ancient forest. Immediately after reading the book, I might have said that the darkness came from the constant threat the Others pose to humans, but the darkest image lingering in my imagination is Meg's razor: the one with her number on it, the one that was used to slice her skin to force her visions, the only thing she carried with her to her new freedom. The razor is a source pain and pleasure, a sign of slavery and a badge of honour, a bone-deep fear and a heart-felt desire. The razor and all it means, makes Meg Corbyn much darker than she first appears to be. In many ways it brings her closer to being one of the Others and makes her disturbing as well as engaging.
In "Written in Red", most humans who have power or are seeking it, are not mentally equipped to accept a status quo in which they are not at the top of the food chain. They are constantly plotting, looking for an edge that will enable them to become the apex predators. This seemed realistic to me, although I think the human evil-doers would have been more interesting if they had been a little less irredeemably venal.
Alexandra Harris does an excellent job as the narrator, particularly with the voice she uses for Meg.
"Written In Red" is original, rigorously thought through, passionate and written in deceptively simple prose. I believe it is the start of an outstanding series.
22 sur 22 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
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.
97 sur 102 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
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.
21 sur 24 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
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.
14 sur 16 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
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.
24 sur 28 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
This book is one of my favorite fantasy novels. Unfortunately, the audio version doesn't quite match up. While the novel has a distinct voice, the narrator is largely flat, except for the times she puts a... very creative emphasis on certain words or syllables. The accents she chooses for the supporting characters are inconsistent, sliding in and out of different regions, sometimes in the same sentence.
3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
This book was a surprising treat and a unique take on supernatural - human relations. I look forward to the rest of the series. It felt in no way formulaic.
3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
This book exceeded my expectations, there are lots of bad to average fantasy novels around but this isn't one of them. The world Bishop has created is unlike other fantasy novels. It's not cheesy at all either. It's an intriguing story and I got sucked in right away and I'm looking forward to the second book. I hope Bishop is a prolific series writer, there's so much story to explore here!
3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
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.
60 sur 76 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
Less insecure girl simulator, less detail about every fricking muffin the "hero" eats.
Has Written in Red turned you off from other books in this genre?
Certainly has turned me off any books by this Author
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
It could be refunded.
2 sur 2 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
before going into the what is what of this title please let me state the reason for my headline. Many protagonists male or female are depicted as strong even extraordinarily so, Urban Fantasy is rich with these types and it is depressingly hard to hear or read those titles when authors try to somehow reason a certain behavior or action within those confines. Characters act stubborn and self sacrificial in one moment just to be meek and even whiny the next and of course no story ends without them turning into some kick ass type to ensure a happy ending.
Anne Bishop manages to create well rounded characters that do not have to suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder just to act in a certain way, she simply has enough of those individual characters to get things done.
Written in the Red is a great read and a very good beginning for this series, not only do we meet Meg for the very first time, it appears that the same is true for Meg herself. She recently fled from some mysterious facility and we get to meet here only after she arrives at the Lakeside Courtyard that is why all introductions into this new and fascinating world Anne Bishop created feel so natural. The only one you might have problems with would be one Asia Crane whose delusions of one day becoming an actress seem to be quite strong considering her talents in causing mischief and doing actual spy-work.
Which leads me to the overall story of this first book. The runaway Meg is quite certain of her impending death, she is even sure of who might be involved but she plans to make her time left count for something, there are so many things she has never done before, like having friends and cleaning. And while this odd behavior is strange even to the Others who can't but become her friends, it strikes a nerve with Asia Crane who had plans of her own and considers Meg nothing else but the latest obstacle on her way to fame and a big payday. Thus we are led trough a tale of greedy and careless people making life difficult for our protagonists, that can only end, as we all know, in someones hand being finally forced. It is a big hand and even early on we learn exactly how big it might be should these bullies be allowed to to continue.
Alexandra Harris did great work on this title and her arsenal of voices and moods is quite impressive, you can hear the confidence or lack thereof of any character quite well, again a feat that is not accomplished by all audiobooks you come across.
1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
Würden Sie dieses Hörbuch einem Freund empfehlen? Wenn ja, was würden Sie ihm dazu sagen?
Ich finde die Geschichte einfach genial. Wunderschöne Reise in eine Fantasiewelt, wunderbar vorgelesen. 18 Stunden Hörbuch, die nicht langweilig werden. Habe schon das nächste Hörbuch "murder of crows" runtergeladen und freue mich darauf.
1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
(für Anne bishop vergleichsweise niedliche ) Geschichte vorallem im Winter, aber auch im Sommer
Gute und spannende Geschichte, die definitiv Lust auf die weiteren Bücher macht. Aufgrund der furchtbaren Sprecherin werde ich mir diese aber leider nicht mehr als Audiobook kaufen!
The Characters are powerful and unique. The Story is fascinating and the world just grabs your attention and does not let you go.
Absolutely love it!!! I think the others are very lively described and really nice to imagine!
spannend, unterhaltsam und auch amüsant.
Ich bin froh, dass es sich um eine Serie handelt, weil ich sehr gerne noch mehr von dieser Welt hören möchte.
Spannende Geschichte, die sich von den sonstigen Shifter-Geschichten unterscheidet. Die Sprecherin macht ihre Sache gut.
1 sur 2 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.
Was genau hat Sie an Written in Red enttäuscht?
also ich lese/höre total gerne fantasy Geschichten, und ich finde es toll, dass zwischen den beiden protagonisten nicht diese typische "Frau verliebt sich in wolf"- Geschichte läuft, aber der Rest der Story ist einfach superflach und langweilig.
Die Charaktäre sind nicht schön rausgearbeitet und verhalten sich teilweise total unlogisch, der Verlauf der Story ist von vorhersehbar,
mir fiel es wirklich schwer das zu Ende zu hören und ich habe es nur getan, weil ich beim Sport gerade nichts besseres zu hören hatte. Kauft lieber was anderes!
0 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.