Funny story about Anne Bishop’s first series Black Jewels Trilogy and me: when the books were first released, I bought them. Started the first book many times, never got beyond the first chapter, set the book aside. During one of my first moves, I had a great book purge, and I gave up way, way too many books. Including that series.
And then a dear friend read them and her enthusiasm over the series convinced me to try the books again. I did, and I’m so very, very glad I did.
Anne Bishop in one part of my three “B” authors triumvirate: Anne Bishop, Carol Berg, and Patricia Briggs, a trio made up of three authors whose books I read for the first time rather in close proximity to one another, and whose books have not yet failed to engage me.
Still, it’s hard, isn’t it, when you have your favorites and then the author moves away from those story lines and worlds that you hold so dear. And you pick up the next offering, which you know is going to be inferior to your beloved stories, with trepidation and reservation . . .
. . . . and then suddenly the day is gone, the book is devoured, and you’re not quite sure what’s happened to that reservation you supposedly had.
Written In Red: A Novel of the Others was released in March of this year. I did not buy it. Worse, I didn’t even want to read it. A quick glance at the cover-flap told me two very important, very damning things: first, Lucivar is nowhere to be found in these pages. I’ll let that sink in a moment.
The next strike against the novel is, it has vampires and werewolves. It pains me to admit it — it may even shame me to admit it, because vampires are my first love, in all they myriad representations . . . but vampires and witches and werewolves all being together, a secret society or cluster of societies, interacting poorly with humans in our current world or in a world that is an alternate version of our current world . . . . blargh. Just, blargh! The shelves are saturated with such stories, and I wanted something different. So many are turning to contemporarily set fantasy novels, and until this, Anne Bishop was one I could count on for fantasy novels with intriguing and sharp worlds, whose world building skills were well-honed, and now this? “Nooo!” I cried! And then I ignored that the book existed.
Last week I remembered it, and I was in the mood for a book whose writing, at least, I knew I could count on to hold my interest. Anne’s got a title list full of stories that I’ve enjoyed, characters I’ve grown to love, and if they can’t all be Lucivar, at least the others are also endearing. Right? So, a little begrudgingly, I requested the book from my local library. I cracked it open . . .
And here I am. We’re about to read it for our Story Time book, so I’ll be doing an immediate reread.
Written in Red is the story of Meg Corbyn (sounds a lot like Corbie, if you ask me), a runaway with a special gift. She has visions when she’s cut, and for most of her life she’s been nothing more than a piece of property. She seizes an opportunity to run, and she does so, landing herself at the Lakeside Courtyard, a land between the wilds of the Others and humanity, where some of the more “tame” Others live — though I don’t suggest you try petting them.
The Others have always existed, and rather than being dominated by our resourceful ancestors, they did the dominating. As a result, the world looks much different from our world. Fewer cities, fewer towns, fewer humans. And yet, much is the same. We are clever and adaptable, we humans, and some of the Others decided that some of what we can do merits keeping us around. So long as we know our place.
Meg arrives at Lakeside, and almost immediately the trouble starts. Others who have not taken much interest in the scant humans allowed in Lakeside are intrigued by her. She befriends the residents with seeming ease. There’s an innocence about her, a sweetness, and such mystery. Simon Wolfgard, leader of Lakeside Courtyard does not, even a little bit, like that she’s landed on their doorsteps, but he’s determined to figure out what it is about her, before sending her on her merry way. When the human police start poking around, looking for someone who matches Meg’s description, wanted for grand theft, this makes the Others curious . . . and protective. Anyone the humans want badly enough that they’ll start sending people into territory that the humans should know better enough to not cross, the Others will want to keep. They know value, even if they don’t understand the why behind the value.
And then there’s that strange thing about her that makes her not prey . . .
Written in Blood is the first book of the Others. The second in slated to hit the shelves come March. All I know is I want it now . . . yes, even without Lucivar.