Bel Reviews: Anne Bishop's - "Written in Red"

Anne Bishop has held my attention for many years. She’s had me giggling, crying and just completely enthralled by her Black Jewels series. So you know the drill… see a new series coming out and HAVE to read it.

First impressions of Written in Red are quite good. This is a lovely thick book. Cover art in black and white, with a red title. The image of a girl with her head bowed is set within the shape of a howling wolf and placed against a white backdrop. Very effective.

Meg Corbyn is a Cassandra Sangue or a blood prophet. With each bloody wound she is able to see events in her future. When she escapes from the institution, where she’d been held all her life for the financial gain of her ‘owners’, the search is on to find her and put her back in the institution to keep the profits coming (pun intended).

Finding herself in the book shop, Howling Good Reads, within the Courtyard run by Simon Wolfguard, Meg seeks employment and a safe place to stay. Simon agrees and an odd relationship blooms between this sheltered young woman and the ‘Others’ in the Courtyard. Heaven help the people who come to retrieve Meg, because nobody else will.

Because I am so used to Anne’s writing being set in alternate realities, but more a dark ages time frame, I was pleasantly surprised to see this one is set in a more contemporary era. I think this allows for familiarity, and still gave the room to spin fantastical tales of were animals and elementals.

There is only so much searching through dusty old books by candle light to research werewolves that one can take before you’re begging for a scene change. Using the internet for one character to research another makes the story flow better.

I found the banter to be extremely witty, and yes I did it again, snort-giggling on the bus makes for some rather odd looks from fellow commuters. Not that I cared. Two words for you “Stag” “Stick”. Yup, you’ll understand soon enough. Dare you not to laugh out loud.

The historical back story, espionage and the current political tensions in Thaisia are woven neatly into the story. Romance is kept to non essential characters, and the cultural misunderstandings make for even more giggle-worthy pages.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 4 days it took me to finish the book. There’s just something about the mental image of a grown werewolf playing tug of war with a box of dog biscuits that tickles my funny bone.

The ending is a brilliant lead into book two, which I hope is already in the pipeline, because I’ve fallen head over tail for Meg and Simon’s story.

Trade Paperback 434 Pages

Published March 1st by Harper Voyager

ISBN: 9780732296810

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