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Book CoverVeena’s review of Written in Red (Courtyards of the Others, Book 1) by Anne Bishop
Paranormal Romance published by Roc Hardcover 05 Mar 13

Arroo to all Anne Bishop fans. In a refreshingly different characterization, the Others, or terra indigenes, rule this brave, new world and humans like you and me live on their sufferance in pockets of civilization where interaction between the two kinds of species is limited and managed through courtyards ruled by an Other leader. Written in Red is the story of such a place called the Lakeside courtyard, where a single act of kindness in giving shelter to a bedraggled, cold, shivering, young woman brings about a sweeping change in building friendly relations between humans and Others.

Simon Wolfgard is a very progressive leader. In an attempt to understand the humans who live around them, he has created businesses that are open to the nearby humans and also employ humans. He has also set up a diplomatic relationship between the Others and the human government body in the form of the chief of police, mayor, and governor. In an unprecedented act of kindness, he gives shelter to Meg Corbyn, who comes into his bookstore out of the cold, half frozen.

Unbeknowst to him, Meg is a runaway. She is a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, prized for her sensitive skin and her ability to earn her owner millions of dollars. Thanks to a prophecy, she is able to escape and make her way to the Lakeside courtyard where Simon gives her the job of human liaison, where she interfaces with the human mail and package services. Through her dedication to doing a good job and her acts of simple kindness, Meg soon makes powerful friends all over the courtyard. Simon, by turns, is fascinated and confused by her because she doesn’t have the prey smell around her.

What I find the most fascinating about this book is that in turns I feel like parts of the book resonate with my memories of the familiar and then other parts are so fascinatingly new. Simon’s little nephew is traumatized at witnessing his mother’s death at the hand of humans and has been held back by his fears. Meg, through her innovative and creative memories, brings him out of his shell by giving him a safe environment and soon he is back to being a little boy who adores Meg.

The elemental’s steeds Twister, Thunder, Lightning, Fog, etc. become her friends because she gives them special treats, and I am sure that every time I see lightning or hear thunder I am going to think about the horses who are sweet, fat ponies who deliver mail for Meg every day. Winter, Spring, Air are the elementals whom Meg befriends by bringing them their library books, a knitted scarf for Winter, a dog bed for Nathan, the wolf assigned to guard her, and delivering Grandfather Erebus’s movies when they arrive all win her powerful friends in the Lakeside Other Community.

Of course, there are villains and serpents in Eden. Asia Crane has been assigned to snoop and investigate the Others to see what she can learn about them for her bosses. Meg is a valuable commodity and her owners are willing to spend a lot of money to get her back. The two together scheme and plot.

I think some of the best parts of the book are with Fire, Earth, Winter, Air, Twister, Fog, and Lightning in battle mode to defend their territory. The lighthearted moments with cookies and dog beds or Meg as a squeaky toy all build the layers and richness to the overall book. Vlad and Nyx are so typical of what you expect from vampires and then the crows are such an interestingly new twist on paranormals. Best of all I like the characterization that in reality the others had taken on some of the characteristics of the animals they represented.

I can’t wait for the next books to come out and to meet with the further development of this world and the relationships that we have formed here. I want to see how Simon and Meg’s relationship develops further. It is so refreshing that there were no erotic elements to their romance.

Grade: A


No one creates realms like New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop. Now in a thrilling new fantasy series, enter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities—vampires and shape-shifters among them—who rule the Earth and whose prey are humans.

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.

Read an excerpt.