Book Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop


I purchased a copy of this book for my own enjoyment, with no expectations of a review

Written in Red is the first of Anne Bishop’s latest series, The Others. This is the world of Namid, where humans dwell uneasily alongside a class of apex predator unlike any other. The terra indigene, also known as ‘earth natives’ or simply as the Others, control the majority of the planet. Humans live in tracts of land, grudgingly at times, leased to them by the Others.

The terra indigene have evolved into many different forms. There are shifters of various types, from Wolves to Crows. There are the Sanguinati, drinkers of blood, similar to vampires yet not. There are the powerful Nature spirits, the Elementals, who embody the awesome powers of nature itself. And there are darker beings that even the shifters and Sanguinati fear.

Meg Corbyn is a human fleeing captivity. She ends up at the Lakeside Courtyard, an enclave of terra indigene within the human city of Lakeside. The Courtyard is in need of a Human Liaison and they accept Meg into this position. She goes above and beyond in this job, and the Courtyard becomes very protective of her. When her captors catch up to her, they learn the peril in challenging the true masters of the land. And the Others themselves learn of one of Namid’s greatest creations, both terrible and wonderful.

I am soooo glad I waited to read this series until I had four to read! The Others has, hands down, become my favourite of Bishop’s series. Readers of her Black Jewels series will see echoes of Saetan, Damian, and others in Simon, Vlad, Henry and the rest in the Courtyard. Similarities can also be found between Meg and Jaenelle, females whose strength and power is hidden beneath innocence and pseudo-fragility, only exposed when absolutely necessary.

There are strong themes of respect for the land, proper management of resources, the delicate dance between two disparate cultures, and learning tolerance for one another on both sides. I kinda have to agree with the terra indigene, that humanity can be a disrespectful plague upon the land. We can create wondrous things, yet often destroy land rather than working in harmony with it. We overrun areas rather than remaining in balance. We may not have irritated terra indigene to cull our human herds, but one day, perhaps soon, perhaps decades from now, a new slate-wiper virus will come along to thin out ranks as bubonic plague, influenza, and tuberculosis did to ancestor populations, of this I have no doubt.

????? Highly recommended, especially if you are a fan of Bishop’s other works, enjoy paranormal romance/drama, or if you enjoy fresh takes on classic tropes.

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