Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Posted February 24, 2019 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 26 Comments

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Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Written in Red

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: The Others #1
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc
Released on March 5, 2013
Pages: 514
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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The Delight

Ever have a book that you have come to late, seen all the descriptions and praise, and just smiled in anticipation because you know that you are part of that target audience who are just going to love it through and through- hugging the Kindle to you and sighing contentedly.  That was me and… I did indeed love this one- one, no two eyerolls, but for the most part, loved it.


Written in Red is the first book and introduces a dark, well crafted world.  Humans are prey and the Others are not humans who get furry or sprout fangs.  I do love when my monsters get to act like monsters so I sighed with happiness at the first sign that a human being stupid got eaten with relish and a little seasoning (okay, teasing about the seasoning).

The story begins with a brief explanation of the fantasy world which has some commonalities with earth, but all the power and magic and ruthless strength go to the non-humans who see the humans as little more than upright animals with opposable thumbs and cool gadgets.
The first chapter introduces a mysterious woman fleeing danger and choosing the Others’ compound as the lesser of two evils.  Meg applies for the job of Liaison between the Others and humans.  In essence she is a glorified mail room clerk and postal delivery person now.  This may seem comical, but the Others do a lot of mail orders to avoid contact with the human ‘monkeys’.  And, the Others’ Courtyard in the boundary of the human city near the great lake is a clearing house for all the Others who live out in the Wild and away from human settlements.
This Lakeside Courtyard is the big experiment run by Simon Wolfgard.  He has hired a few humans and opened a few businesses to human customers to see how it works to allow this limited interaction between humans and Others.  Something about Meg had him hiring her on the spot though she has no skill or experience.  He doesn’t know why the shivering, bedraggled human tempted him to this impetuous action, but he is riled up because she doesn’t smell like prey and she has secrets.  She’s running from something.

And, the something has found her.  Meg ran away from an institution where she was prized as a commodity rather than a person and she wants more, but she has to stay free.  Human law doesn’t apply in the Others’ Courtyard so she begs a job to buy her some time in her flight from her handler.  She has foreseen her own death and now just wants to live life to the fullest.  She has no idea how and has to feel her way working and living among beasts, vampires, and elementals who can take on human skin.

It is the humans who are the most danger to her and trouble is coming from more than one direction.  Simon learns Megs’ secrets about the time he learns of the danger, but she has brought little Sam out of his two year silence and won the friendship of many in the Courtyard with her winsome ways.  She is theirs and they will protect her.

Much of this book was very much the usual first in series introductions and getting the plot underway.  It was not tedious and was interspersed with some action and nice moments of suspense.  The intro to the larger cast of characters was neatly handled as were the switches in point of view between a half dozen characters with Meg and Simon getting the front stage much of the time.

I thought it was both a good use of humor and a way of describing the true differences between humans and Others when the Others had these headscratching moments over human conversations and actions.  This actually explains a little why they figure out a certain human is acting suspicious, but she manages to stay ahead of them for quite a while because they can’t get a fix on what she’s up to.  Personally, I thought, given how they handle stuff, that they should have just chomp-chomped the first time she crossed the line instead of the half-dozen chances she got to wreck havoc.  Unfortunately, they start acting out of character as soon as poor Meg who might not like them eating the humans is installed.

Meg was my one big niggle.  I liked Meg and liked that she was a bit of something different in some ways, but also felt she was something of a Mary Sue figure.  The moving and shaking happens around her and with little time or effort, she suddenly has everyone’s liking and loyalty.  She wins over monsters who eat human for breakfast just by dropping off their mail and saying ‘good morning’.  She sweet talks a grieving and traumatized wolf pup out silence, out of his hidey spot, and into a shift in a couple of encounters.   Good on her (I love that she is kind- I really do), but that shouldn’t have impressed the big baddies much especially since her arrival signals quite a bit of trouble and bother for them.  Her winning over the whole Lakeside Courtyard in a few days was far-fetched, but I am willing to get past that and see where this series is going.  I think Meg will grow on me now that I’m past the intro.

Simon was a fun cranky wolf character, but it was Henry the spirit bear grizzily, the ponies who are more than they seem, and the mysterious Tess that even the monsters tip-toed around that I enjoyed most.  Actually, I liked everyone, including Meg, who lived in the Courtyard.

The last chapters were page-turners and I could barely breathe.  I loved seeing the Others rise up in fury to show who and what they really are.  Meg’s worth to the hidden bad guy along with humans who are arrogant and greedy enough to buck the system are going to make this ongoing series stay exciting.

So, I loved my first outing with this series and its fresh take on paranormals and fantasy.  I am definitely going forward with the series.  Oh, and yes, if you were sandbagging like me and love urban fantasy or low fantasy, snag it when you get the chance.


Mt. TBR #7
Literary Pickers #7 apples
COYER Winter #40




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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Rachel @Waves of Fiction

Thrilled you picked this up and liked it, Sophia Rose! I love this series! I’m reading book two of the spinoff now. Hope Meg grows on you. 🙂

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

It was a fun ride. I definitely want more. To be honest, even if Meg never turns out to be a total win, I think I’ll still end up loving the series. I am glad this series ended up with spinoffs since its really not that long.

Angela (Angel's Guilty Pleasures)

One day I’ll get around to reading this series. I’ve seen some great reviews and thank you for sharing your thoughts. This something I’d enjoy! ^_^

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Yes, one more to get around to, Angela. 🙂 I am hoping to get a few from this series read this year. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
2 years ago

Having a far fetched story line kinda messes the story up for me but when it comes to PNR I can usually over look that sort of thing if the story is good and this one sounds like it really is.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Yeah, she’s there a few days, fumbling and bumbling her way around, and suddenly they are completely loyal and can’t do without her even though every other human is on the menu. Oh well, I’m looking forward to what comes next and love the author’s take on shifters, vamps, and other paranormals. 🙂

2 years ago

One of my all time favorite series! So glad you finally got to read it. I fell in love with all of the characters and really miss them in the spin offs I have read. Great review!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Lorna

Yes! Finally. It took me a bit, but I’ve finally gotten to it. Hope to read a few more from the series this year. 🙂

Carole rae
2 years ago

I see so many good things about this series. I still haven’t tried it. Shame on me.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Carole rae

Haha! You sound like me. I have so many left that I need to give a chance. 🙂

Anne - Books of My Heart

Yeah I love this series! I’m glad you’ve jumped into the pool. It’s different and fun. It’s fiction so yeah, there will be a few things which aren’t realistic. But you know, dogs for example, have a sense of people right away, is it scent or pheromones or something? I didn’t realize it was only a few days, but she was kind and that goes a long way in this world.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

This is true about animals being a good judge of character and forming strong attachments. Maybe if they hadn’t let the other gal get away with so much because they worried about Meg’s sensibilities then it wouldn’t have felt so odd to me, I don’t know. I didn’t dislike her or the story, but you know how your mind latches on to something and it distracts you. LOL
Definitely think I’ll be loving this series as much as you soon enough. 🙂

Carole @ Carole's Random Life in Books

I am so glad you liked this one, Sophia Rose! I thought it was a great first novel. Everyone did seem to like Meg pretty quickly but I just went with it. All of the characters in the courtyard were great.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Yes, exactly, Carole. I adored the story so I let my niggles go to the side and embraced it. I can’t wait to keep going. I’ve got book two read to go when I can slip it into the queue.

Angie Elle
2 years ago

Welcome to the dark side. Mwahahahaha! 😉 I love this series. I listened to the first three books on audio, and it gave me a perspective I don’t think I’d have had otherwise. The narrator was growly every single time Simon spoke, and when I think about how different I would have read those lines, I love what the narrator did for me as far as the tone of this story goes!

Great review.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Angie Elle

I know, LOL, seriously, another series that I’m hooked in for the long haul. Well, not so long really.

You know, you have a point about the audio and how that can make all the difference with the nuances that can be interpreted differently and effect the reader-listener views of the story. I might have to experiment and see if that changes my perceptions, too.

Melanie Simmons
2 years ago

I’m glad that you started this series. I really love this series and I will enjoy revisiting it through your eyes. Great review.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Ah, yes, I do love reading reviews on books I’ve experienced already and can walk down nostalgia lane. I’m hoping to work through this series by the end of the year and a few other series, too. 🙂

Lover Of Romance
2 years ago

oh this book sounds wonderful darling. I am glad that you enjoyed them so much. I love those books that turn into such engaging page turners especially in the later half of the story!!!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Oh yes, it was a very unique paranormal world. You’d probably enjoy it.

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

YES! I adore this series and listen first before reading my hardcover copies. Woot!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

I look forward to what is to come from this series. You and a few others were my instigation in picking this up. 🙂

2 years ago

I have to try to give this series another chance, because I read this one and I didn’t like it but a whole lot of people do, so…. I should give the second book a try, maybe I wasn’t in the right mood when I read this one and I’m missing out!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Reese

Yeah maybe give it that chance in case it was mood and not preference. But, hey, if it turns out to not be your cuppa, that is no biggie. I’ll be going into the next one hoping I end up liking Meg more than I did in this one. 🙂

2 years ago

I bought a copy of this one ages ago (at least a few years I think), but still haven’t read it. It sounds like a great series and I keep hearing good things about it. It sounds like a lot of introduction in this book, but that makes sense with the whole world that needs to be established and I am glad to hear there’s enough suspense too. It does sound a bit unbelievable how she wins over the whole town in a few days, but she does sound like a likable character. I hope I enjoy it as much… Read more »

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Lola

Yes, it was great. Even with the slower start, I was enthralled with the world building. Meg was a sweet lady and a good addition to the Courtyard, but that part of me who had just read of a darker set up to this world struggled believing she won many of them over and accomplished so much in just days. But yes, good series starter and I think you’ll enjoy it, Lola!