Thursday, March 17, 2016

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

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.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

“There would be a spike in the number of girls who went out for a walk in the woods and were never heard from again. There always were when stories came out portraying the terra indigene as furry humans who just wanted to be loved.

Most of the terra indigene didn't want to love humans; they wanted to eat them. Why did humans have such a hard time understanding that?”

Buddy read with the super awesome Rebeca!!!!

First, I would like to have a moment of silence for the last couple of days that I spent without reading, Goodreading, Tumblring, etc because I had to spend sleepless nights preparing for finals. Now I’m finally ready to regain my normal life of reading, because those horrid days are in HELL WHERE THEY BELONG. DIE! DIEEEE!!
Ehem… on to the review.

Written in Red was a book I had been looking forward to reading for a while, it had an interesting premise and raving reviews. But it was in fact Simona’s recommendation that sold me into reading it. However, as it is usual, I was afraid I would be my typical black sheep-self and end up disliking it. I was terrified, all of my friends who had read it loved it, and when it comes to books like that I always have to be the party blower and be bored (gosh, I’m such a fun person am I not??). Thank God for Rebeca, who wanted to read this book as well, and put up with all of my shortcomings when I tried to combine reading, writing messages and preparing for finals (an explosive combination) her opinions and ideas made this book for me!

First, something I was surprised about and feel the need to talk about, was realizing that Written in Red is NOT a Young Adult book, but rather a NA. As Rebeca pointed out, it was probably because so many Young Adult reviewers had read it that I hadn’t thought twice about it, and thank Goodness for that because I have my own problematic history with those books, and I might not have read it had I known it belonged to that genre.

Written in Red starts with a runaway and a very cold night; Meg is a Cassandra Sangue, a girl who has prophecies when her skin is cut, and she is running from the people who kept her captive and used her skin for lucrative business. Caught up in the middle of a storm, Meg finds a bookshop ran by Others, shape-shifters who control humans, and get a job there that will keep her safe from the people who are after her… at least that’s the idea.

I love the world this author has created, especially the Others. When it comes to NA, whenever you have supernatural creatures who transform into wolves (like in Simon’s case, Meg’s employer) or other animals, they tend to be reclusive and distant, but more human than anything else, wanting to “be loved” and all that crap (sorry, I can only read one too many books like that). But that’s not the case here at all, the Others have a very animalistic mentality, they run on their most basic instincts, which is why taking a human skin and interacting with them is something they are not entirely fond of.
It was fun to see how they all, even in human form, took characteristics from the animals they shifted into; from the crows who loved shinny and colorful things, to the wolves who liked to play rope and chasing toys.

This book is not, however, extent from typical NA clichés. We’ve got the naïve girl everybody loves, the “controlling” love interest, the mean hot girl… but that’s where the similarities end, and all of those aspects are dealt with in a quite original way that I can’t really complain about them.

Meg is our main character. Because she lived in a compound with other Cassandra Sangue being used for her skin, her controllers only taught her basic things; things she would need to interpret her visions but not enough for her to be able to survive on her own outside of the compound. As such, when she escapes it’s the first time she experiences cold, the first time she sees snow, and as she tries to live in the Other’s community, it’s clear that her knowledge is pretty basic.

Because of this, the beginning of the story can be slow; Meg has to adjust to life on the outside, trying to hide from the people who want to take her back and punish her for escaping, and trying to balance her visions and need to cut. Another reason why Cassandra Sangue are kept so isolated is because they cutting produces an euphoria similar to sexual pleasure. By being kept secluded and without experiencing emotions, the girls crave the cut and that makes them more docile, more desperate to cooperate because that’s the only time they feel something. When Meg leaves she’s not sure whether she can live without cutting, because she has always been taught she needs to be in that place with experts to remain alive, so it was an interesting experience to see her trying to cope with being outside and having new friends.

Perhaps a thing that did bother me was how much people liked her. Others are supposed to be mean and not care about humans, but the second Meg shows everybody goes crazy “HEY GIRL WANNA BE FRIENDS??! DON’T CRY, I’LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING SHINNY AND YOU’LL BE ALRIGHT.” Like, that’s alright and good but where are the prejudices? Only very few treat Meg like they would do any other regular human, but they soon learned they were wrong and start to respect her. It just seemed too easy.

Simon Wofgard is the leader of the place and one of my favorite characters. It’s weird, at first I wasn’t very much fond of him, he looked impulsive, cold and indifferent but then I started to like his attitude. He was a leader after all, and he was also pretty much the only one who acted like the Others were supposed to, with not a lot of interest in humans.
His relationship with Meg was both interesting and cute, especially because there was no lust or romance (ok, maybe the beginning of it but nothing too heavy). In a typical NA book, the guy would have had like seventeen boners by the middle of the story, that wasn’t the case here. In fact, as I thought back on it, it was amazing how there was no lust or obsessive attraction. When Meg thinks about Simon she first does it as a boss, and then as a friend, she never thinks that he is super-hot and get all awkward and blushing around him. It was cute when she saw him in his Wolf form and thought “SO FLUFFY AND ADORABLE!!!!! But.. umm, also Simon.”

And Simon starts to appreciate her for who she is, he enjoys her company and what she does for his nephew Sam. It was a relationship based on thrust and respect, and I loved that.

As I said before, the pace was a bit strange; it was slow a first and then sped up a lot at the end… but I was weirdly hooked during the entire read! Seriously, even when it was Meg sorting through mails I couldn’t tear my eyes away from it, I just had to keep reading!

To sum up, Written in Red is a wonderful New Adult book who takes the clichés of the genre and spins them around into something refreshing. Ideal for people who like slow-burn romances, compelling relationships and characters as well as a fantastic plot.
I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book!

No comments:

Post a Comment