Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

I no longer remember how this book came to my attention.  It's been sitting on my shelf for far too long, to be honest.  I've renewed it from the library several times.  I finally picked it up a couple of days ago and I'm so glad I didn't just send it back to the library, as I sometimes do with books that have gotten a little stale sitting on my self.  It was an enjoyable reading experience.

Meg Corbyn, a cassandra sangue (sees visions when her skin is cut), escapes from imprisonment by her Controller and finds sanctuary with the Others where human law does not apply.  Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter, is the leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, the center for the Others in the town of Lakeside.  To get much more into the plot would give away the world building that unfolds.  Although, that may not be all that bad because how the world building was handled was probably my one gripe with the book.  So, I'll start by talking about that.

I found the world building to be slow and agonizing.  I don't really mind when things unfold as necessary over having an information dump, but I felt a bit like there was the worst of both worlds in how the world building was handled.  The book starts with A Brief History of the World, which is short and somewhat informative but also sort of purposefully mysterious.  And then the rest of the world building happens in bits and pieces, but I felt at times that we didn't get things at logical times or as much as we should.  That said, I was able to relax into it after a bit and it was fine.

That may make it sound like I didn't like the book.  Not true.  I really enjoyed reading Written in Red.  I was intrigued and found myself staying up late to read a bit more, which is just the sort of reading experience I like.  We heard from several points of view and I appreciated most of them.  There were a few short insights into characters that I thought just broke up the flow, but mostly, I was glad to hear from who we heard from.  I liked or was at least curious about the point of view of most of them. 

One more point of contention:  I felt like it was unlikely that humans and the Others would really have gotten this far into association without some of them having developed some sort of friendship.  I did get that the groups are just so different and that the Others do see humans as meat that provide just enough interesting products to not hunt all the time, but still.  This was a long, long peripheral association without someone breaking the ice like Meg does. 

So, while not a perfect book, Written in Red was a good read and, in fact, I've got my library's web site open in another tab right now to put a hold on the second book, Murder of Crows.

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