Series: The Others
Published by Roc on March 5, 2013
Source: Library, Audible
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Length: 18 hours, 32 minutes
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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 loved this! I loved this so much. The more I think about this story and world, the more excited I am that I’ve started this series.
The world of The Others, aka the terra indigene, is complex and unique and so much fun. The characters in this story are just as cool as the setting.
This book takes place in a world that is mostly non-human, so mostly everyone has cool things about him/her. Main character Meg Corbyn, for example, looks like a human but she is actually a blood prophet, which means that she can see glimpses of the future when she is cut or when she cuts herself. Simon Wolfgard looks like a human but is really a wolf that often takes a human form to communicate with and walk among humans without making them too afraid. There are also bears, ponies, crows, hawks, a few vampires, the Elementals, and Tess. (No one knows Tess’ true terra indigene form, but they’re all afraid of what it could be-she can be vicious).
When Meg comes stumbling into Simon’s bookstore during a snowstorm asking for a job, he is a little wary of hiring her. She doesn’t have on boots and a warm coat, and she seems very unaware of her surroundings and the fact that human law doesn’t apply in the world of the terra indigene. But he hires her anyway: she becomes the newest Human Liaison, the middle-man between the human communities and the terra indigene. Honestly, nobody ever really lasts long in that position and Simon doesn’t think that Meg will either, as weak and pathetic as she appears. To his surprise and everyone else’s, she is GREAT at it. She proves herself as a great communicator, a great advocate, and she really shows up for their community of mistrusted and feared non-humans.
But Meg has a secret: she isn’t human either, and she is being hunted. As a blood prophet, a cassandra sangue, she is highly prized for what she is. When she
walked away ran away from her old life, Meg had no idea that even the government would get involved in looking for her. Thankfully, when gained the trust of The Others, she won over a band of fiercely loyal protectors that almost always wins when put up against the human world.
That doesn’t mean that the humans don’t try to come against The Others – and not only because they want Meg back. There are other people trying to work against the terra indigene too. Foolishly.
Written In Red is long, really long. It is a little slow to start and it lags in a couple of places. Setting up this world and developing the characters takes a little bit of time, but it is so worth it. By the last one-third to one-quarter of the book, there is a ton of action and it is unputdownable.
I wasn’t sure how I would like Meg in the beginning of the story – she is physically weak and she is unsure of almost everything. But there is a reason for all of this and while her weakness feels over-mentioned in the story, her growing strength is also addressed and thankfully she is developed on this point. She also develops a bit of a backbone, some tenacity. Meg still has some work to do, I think, before I want to call her confident, but I’ll give her some grace and space because of what she has been through, because of this story, and because of where I think she may be headed in the future. I’m eager to see what comes for her.
I was interested in Simon right away – I loved that he was a cautious character, unsure of what Meg was doing in the community and why she was there, etc. That cautiousness felt like a good-leader quality. When I added the audiobook, however, the narrator gave him a personality that sounded angry at least half of the time, almost like a grumpy, pissed-off jerk. As the story unfolded, I began to love his loyalty to the rest of the terra indigene and to Meg. LOVED. I have my eye on him, not only because I love his character, but because of what I feel is confusion between his personality in print vs. his personality on the audiobook.
I also loved that this book did not feature romance heavily. I’m sure it will come eventually, since this series is long, and that’s totally fine. But for now, the focus has been on the characterization, the world-building, and the relationships between Meg and all of the other members of the terra indigene community as well as Meg carving out her own place in that society – there really was not a place for a romance and I’m so grateful that the author didn’t try to put one in there. It was great just the way that it was.
The world is fun, the characters are fun, Meg and Simon are interesting, and I am starting the second book right now.