Author: Anne Bishop | Pages: 433 & 354 | Series: The Others, #1 & #2 | Rating: 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.
I originally started the first book in this series, Written in Red, for the 2015 Reading Challenge as ‘A book with a color in the title.’ Beyond the synopsis on the back, I really had no idea what the book was about going into it and as such, I really had no idea what to expect. It had been on my TBR for a while but it was kind of at the bottom of the list. But as I discovered when I drew that specific challenge, I apparently have few books with a color in the title, and even fewer that wouldn’t require me to read an entire series to get to it. So, I started in on Anne Bishop’s novel.
As it stands, I’m very glad I did. Written in Red exceeded my admittedly few expectations by a tenfold. This series reads much more as an urban fantasy than I was expecting originally, and it worked out very well in the world Bishop crafted. Although nothing much in the plot really shocked me, it kept me hooked and I really enjoyed learning about the characters and their backstories. And oh, the characters were great. I loved all of them, from Simon to Jenni to Meg.
In the first story especially, the characters were what really made the book. Meg is definitely not your typical heroine; having been kept in isolation (this isn’t a spoiler, it gets mentioned in the first chapter or so) for her entire life, she doesn’t know much of the outside world. She isn’t physically strong, and few would consider her dangerous. But she’s brave (if not against mice) and intelligent, and watching her learn and grow and find herself as well as her place among the Others was a lot of fun.
And then there were the Others, who were all lovable in their own unique ways. The Others are shapeshifters, and I greatly enjoyed Ms. Bishop’s take on a seemingly common thing. They are almost all predators, more animalistic creatures who can take on human forms than actual humans that turn into animals, and it shows in their manners and ways of thinking. Watching Meg slowly engrave herself into their society was great, especially with Simon. The poor gruff Wolf just couldn’t understand why she smelled like Not Prey, or why he cared.
“’It was easier when all we wanted to do was eat them and take their stuff,’ he grumbled. And it had been easier when he hadn’t cared if he made any of them cry.”
From Jester the Coyote to Jenni Crowgard, all of the characters felt real and fleshed-out. I especially loved Sam, Simon’s nephew.
Murder of Crows was just as good, if not a different pace. Where the first book was a bit more character-centric with action thrown in, the second book fleshed out some of the story lines that Written in Red had just sort of hinted at.
All in all, I really loved the first two books and am excited to see where the next book takes us when it comes out in March.