"There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person." ~Dan Greenberg
Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels saga is one of my favorite series, but I’ve had a hard time getting into her other worlds, so I was skeptical about “Written in Red.” After finishing the book, I’m glad I gave it a chance. It doesn’t capture the ridiculously wonderful over-the-top magic that makes the Black Jewels books read like crack on a page, but there is a lot to like here.
Meg Corbyn is running from a life of captivity and isolation. She has a rare and dangerous gift that makes her very valuable property to her captors. She stumbles into the world of the Others, a group of earth natives who shift into animals or control elemental powers and hold humans in contempt. The Others take her in with reservations, but she eventually makes a place for herself in the community.
Unfortunately, the new life she is building is threatened by the determination of her former captors and others to get her back and her own dangerous power. The Others are forced to decide whether they want to risk war with the humans to protect the stray girl they have accepted into their community or abandon her to her former captors.
I enjoyed this book. It was a good read, and the world-building is great. The basic structure is the same as other Anne Bishop series, notably the Black Jewels trilogy. A gifted childlike woman is abused and misunderstood because of her rare powers. She is rescued by a group of dangerous and dominant others and worms her way into their hearts with her sweetness and light. She befriends small children, animals and homicidal entities with hearts of gold. Mean, greedy people threaten her.
Yes, Meg has the making off a first-rate Mary Sue. Despite this fact, the book is still an enjoyable read with a really intriguing world, and I’m very interested in seeing how the series develops. I’m especially interested in the Others. They remind me of the Kindred from the Black Jewels books.
I give the book 4/5 stars and recommend it to those who like the Black Jewels trilogy and new readers. If you don’t like the Black Jewels trilogy, you are probably not got going to like this either.