Sunday, July 17, 2016

Book Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

"Written in Red" by Anne Bishop
Book 1 in The Others series
First published in 2013
433 pages
My rating: 4.5 out of 5
Image from Goodreads

The Short Of It:
This was one of those books that sucks you into a richly detailed fictional world and makes you want to stay there forever. I am totally in love with Meg and all her (mostly supernatural) new friends at Lakeside Courtyard, and I'm excited to dive into the second book in the series!

The Long Of It:
I would never have picked up "Written in Red" on my own, but I saw it on so many other blogs that I decided to give it a try -- and I am SO glad I did!

"Written in Red" is our world reimagined, where humans live in a perpetually tenuous relationship with the Others -- supernatural beings like shapeshifters, vampires and Elementals who can control things like water and air. On a cold and snowy night, Meg Corbyn is on the run -- and her saving grace is a flyer advertising a job for a human liaison to work in Lakeside Courtyard, the part of town run and occupied by the Others; it's a place where human law doesn't apply and she knows she'll be safe from her pursuers there.

What she doesn't count on is making such instant friendships with the Others -- and they don't expect to befriend her either, but there's something different about Meg from other humans. Meg also never imagines that working as a human liaison -- which mainly consists of taking deliveries and distributing mail -- would provide the perfect opportunity for her to find herself and discover an identity she's never been allowed to know. When Meg's dark past catches up with her, the residents of the Courtyard -- whose friendliness with Meg belies their inherent power, danger and dislike of humans -- must band together to protect a human they now consider one of their own.

"Written in Red" has a cozy small-town atmosphere to it and the setting was so incredibly immersive. Bishop is masterful at worldbuilding; it's been a while since I've read such a richly imagined and detailed novel. I have a terrible memory and often start forgetting the details of a book the second I close the back cover, but two weeks later I still remember everything about Meg and all the other residents of Lakeside Courtyard.

I loved getting to know the Wolves, Hawks, Crows, Owls, Bears, vampires and other inhabitants of the Courtyard. Simon Wolfgard is Meg's boss and runs the Howling Good Reads bookstore, and Tess -- an Other whose hair changes color with her moods -- owns A Little Bite Cafe. Erebus is an extremely old and scary vampire, head of the Lakeside Sanguinatis; he takes a rather surprising to Meg, who cares enough to hand-deliver the old movies he receives in the mail. Henry Beargard is the Courtyard's spirit guide as well as a woodworker with a shop next to Meg's office. And Jester is a Wolf who runs the stables and cares for the weather ponies (a delightful aspect to the story!). The Lakeside Courtyard is its own little snug and safe community and I'd love to switch places with Meg for a bit -- though I definitely wouldn't want her special power or the terrible past she escaped from.

My only complaint about "Written in Red" is that the writing could've been a tad stronger. It was hardly unreadable, but I'm a stickler for things like word choice and sentence structure and there were a few times I wanted to bop the author over the head with a thesaurus. And, while adequate, there was really nothing special about her writing. That issue is the only reason I didn't give the book 5 stars, and it didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the story because the plot is so fantastic. There are three more books out and a final one to come in March, and I will most definitely be reading them all! I'm reading something else right now, and it's good, but I find myself wanting to get back to Lakeside and Meg and the wonderfully eclectic and dangerous Others.


  1. I hear so much about this author and this series! I am not a huge fan of UF, so I hesitate, but your review does make it sound good. Ms. Bishop has several other series out there, and I'm curious about them because I don't read any reviews about those books.

    1. I'm not really all that familiar with the urban fantasy genre; I read the Twilight and Sookie Stackhouse books (I think those would be considered urban fantasy?) and that's about it. But... I don't know... there was just something special about this book (for me, at least), despite the writing being just ok.

      I wondered, too, about Anne Bishop's lesser-known series and after reading your comment I glanced at them on Goodreads. It looks like they're more traditional fantasy rather than vampire/werewolf/urban fantasy, so maybe that's the difference?

  2. I am glad you enjoyed this one, Lindsay. It is so good! The world building is amazing. I still need to read Marked in Flesh. I keep putting it off . . . I am sure I will love it.

    I've read the author's Black Jewel books (the original trilogy) and enjoyed it, but not as much. Those are definitely more your high fantasy (or what you call traditional fantasy). With those, I found the world building much less substantial--and a bit confusing at first.

    1. Ah, thanks for answering the question about her other books! I guess maybe good worldbuilding is something that an author gets better at over time, or maybe some writers are just naturals at creating other worlds. I'm SO excited to dig into the second book. I have two or three books to read first, then I'm going to get it from the library!


Thanks for stopping by! Comments make my day, and I read and appreciate every single one!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...