“People who entered the Courtyard without an invitation were just plain crazy! Wolves were big and scary and so fluffy, how could anyone resist hugging one just to feel all that fur?
“Ignore the fluffy,” she muttered. “Remember the part about big and scary.”
Let me just say -first of all- that I know I seem to be in the minority here when it comes to this book. I didn’t like it. You already know that I didn’t like it. In fact, I consider the two stars that I gave it to be quite generous. Let’s not do that thing where you loved the book and you read my review and get really mad at me about it. Okay? If you’ve already read the book and you loved it…just walk away.
We’ll start with the good parts: the premise and the world-building. AKA the reason I finished this book and it got any stars in the first place.
Anne Bishop has created a complex and unique world in Thasia–one that is dominated by the terra indigene (or earth natives) and in whose territory human laws do not apply. Now, the terra indigene are kind of like shifters, but there are many different types and their human skin is like a disguise they’ve learned to put on. Because they aren’t human. Humans are just meat to them. And are only permitted to exist where they do so they can have access to some of the things they’ve created. And they won’t hesitate to kill them.
Next, we have a unique character in Meg Corbyn. Meg is a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet. And blood prophets are a tool used by humans. You see, when you cut their skin, the release of blood allows them to see images of the future. Because of this, they are kept as property and bled for whomever pays, never to live among others. Unless they escape. And that’s what Meg does. She knows they’ll be looking for her so she makes off for the Courtyard –an area controlled by the terra indigene. She hopes she can hide here from human law, taking one of the few jobs in the area available from humans. Whatever threats lies inside the Courtyard can’t be as bad as her life as a prisoner.
Sounds interesting enough, yeah? I thought so. Surely, I thought, this is the next amazing UF series that I’m meant to love. But it all went wrong for me.
We’ll start with Meg. The blood prophet thing was really intriguing, but the character fell really flat for me. Meg had about as much personality as a rock and was even more helpless than I would have thought possible. She was such a perfect Mary Sue, universally loved and in constant need of babysitting. Now, let me digress for a moment and mention that this is my first Anne Bishop book, but I’ve since become acquainted with the fact that she [allegedly] LOVES her some Mary Sue. Myself, I prefer some Chess Putnam, Jericho Barrons, or Ellie Watt kind of fucked up in my novels. So, if this is also your cup of tea, Written in Red may not be the book for you. Because that’s not what you’ll find here. What you’ll find instead is three hundred pages on how to make people and animals like you on your new job as a mailman and a lot of characters that are supposed to be horrifying being nothing but perfectly polite and proper. Oh, and everyone just loving the new human when, IMO, she didn’t do anything that was any kind of special to deserve it.
Also, some sexism.
Yeah, I was really offended by what Anne did to the antagonist, Asia. Let’s see. Asia is this super-hot blonde babe that wants to be an actress in her own TV show, but the only way to get her TV show is to work as a private investigator for hire! Yeah, I don’t get it. So basically, people hire her to get information and she gets it by sleeping with people. And don’t worry, she mentions several times how she doesn’t mind sleeping her way to the top and she can’t wait to get her own show! Also, at one point, mentions how she can’t show how much sexual experience she has or she’ll lose the guy’s interest. Um, excuse me? Her new target is no-looks Meg. And yes, she actually calls her that. Multiple times. She can’t imagine why anyone would want anything to do with no-looks Meg. And certainly can’t imagine why Simon (sexy wolf who wouldn’t even sleep with her/Meg’s boss) would go so far to protect her.
In addition to being a big step back for feminism, Asia is also really incompetent (I mean, of course she is, right?! She wears really tight sweaters and has big boobs!) and non-threatening in general. I was never really worried about any of the characters in the story. I was never introduced to the people that had actually been keeping Meg captive. And any kind of big revelation I was waiting for never came.
Also. I see the slow-burn chemistry build up going on between Meg and Simon. But I’m not feeling it. Probably because I just find them both to be so damn boring.