It's officially time to talk about our first read for this year's Flights of Fantasy Book Club! I was really excited when we came up with this year's reading list, but I can tell you now that I was most looking forward to reading this month's pick - Written in Red by Anne Bishop, the first book in The Others series. Check out what I thought of this series starter (and don't forget to go and visit Rachel's blog to find out what she thought too)! And if you're interested in signing up for the Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2017, you can still do so.
As a cassandra sangue, Meg Corbyn can see glimpses of the future whenever her skin is cut. She's escaped from the Controller who kept her imprisoned and providing prophecies for profit, and found a new refuge in Lakeside Courtyard - a business district operated by the Others, The Others are shapeshifters, beings that are a source of fear and fascination for normal humans, and their ways are not necessarily those of a regular old human. But when Meg changes their community simply by being herself, and there's a threat against the women who has become one of their own, the leader of the community - Simon Wolfgard - is forced to decide if Meg is worth the fight to come.
Plot? While I can't quite put my finger on what specific stories mirror the plot of Written in Red, I do think it is fair to mention that I felt like it was similar to something I had read (or read about) before. Even considering the very familiar elements - a woman running from her past, a man desperate to protect his own, a community that is slowly eased into caring for an outsider - I still found the story quite compelling. I was eager to find out what would befall Meg and the Others, and any book that has me eagerly turning pages is always a winner.
Characters? Honestly, the best thing about Written in Red is the rather large cast of characters that Bishop brings to life. While I will admit to a certain fondness for some of the humans mentioned (particularly the cop Monty and Meg's friend Merri Lee), I really loved Meg and the Others most of all. Meg is a mess of contradictions - smart and kind, innocent and brave - and it made her such an interesting person to read about, and also made it incredibly easy to root for her. And the Others - the Sanguinati, the Wolfgard, the Beargard, the Crowgard, the Hawkgard, the Elementals, the Ponies and more - were just wonderful. I love that Bishop made them mostly animal (or natural) with just passing hints of being anything like a human. Like Meg, the Others were a mess of contradictions, and it really made for some fun complex characters to get to know.
Writing? I definitely think that Anne Bishop has a knack for storytelling. Her writing is compulsively readable, and I found myself flying through the pages faster than I'd expected to. I also felt like she did a genuinely good job of revealing more details about the characters, the setting and the world without any information overload. That's definitely the mark of good writing, or at least one of them in my own personal criteria.
Overall? I'm glad I finally got the opportunity to read Written in Red, especially after years of being told by other readers that this was a great series. While I certainly enjoyed the story and the lore, what I really loved about it was the incredible cast of characters. They're the reason that I'm most looking forward to checking out the rest of the books in the series! I would definitely recommend reading this novel, especially if you're into urban fantasy reads.
As always, Rachel & I will both be answering the same set of questions with every book club pick that we read and review for Flights of Fantasy Book Club. Don't forget to share your answers with us as well, whether you link up to your post in our monthly link-ups or simply comment below!
1. Who is your favorite character? I'm hard-pressed to choose between the characters for an actual answer to this question, since I have such a soft spot for majority of the colorful cast of this tale. I think I'm most partial to three people in particular - Simon Wolfgard, Sam Wolfgard and main character Meg Corbyn. I'm drawn to Simon's alpha wolf tendencies tempered by his need to do the right thing, to Sam's playful nature as a Wolf pup and to Meg's genuine naivete and strength in the face of a world that can be ever changing, unfriendly and unfamiliar.
2. Would you read more books by this author? I would absolutely read more books from Anne Bishop, particularly the rest of the novels in The Others series. I really love the characters, particularly all the different types of Others, and it would be a delight to experience more of their stories with every single book. Plus, her writing style is incredibly readable and I can't say I don't find the plot itself fairly compelling.
Written in Red by Anne Bishop | Series: The Others #1
Publisher: Roc | Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Source: Paperback gifted by Racquel (Thanks!)