Monday, April 7, 2014

|Review| Written in Red + Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

I'm going to review the first two books in The Others fantasy series, Written in Red and Murder of Crows  I've heard PLENTY of excellent things about this series and decided to buddy-read them with Heather
I think people associate fantasy with a historical like quality and, while The Others is set in a world with (some) modern technology, it is a completely different earth than what we know. So this is not urban fantasy series like I thought it would be (its been incorrectly labeled as that by some reviewers).

Actually, the first two books were NOTHING like I thought they would be. I thought they would be faced paced, because UF books usually are usually fast paced but most of Written in Red is world building. But despite that, these books are addictive. Unputdownable. Anne Bishop has reimagined a whole new world where humans are not the ones who dominate but rather the scary animals who can take up a human form or something resembling a human form. The Others view humans as meat and they barely tolerate them. This is not something I've ever read before. You have paranormal books where the creatures are hidden to the average human and books where they're not but I've never before read a book where the humans are portrayed as the barely-tolerated-can-be-wiped-out-at-any-moment creatures.

The series follows Meg, who runs away from a prison like compound she lived at. She finds herself hiding from the people looking for her at a Courtyard. A Courtyard is a place where The Others live like people, like a mini town, rather than just roaming the wild. In a Courtyard, humans aren't allowed in and human laws don't apply (so you can get eaten by a wolf! Or a bear! Or a vampire!). Meg takes the job of being the Courtyard Liaison which pretty much means she's the mailman. The Others order things from human run places (example: movies) but humans are too scared to deliver these things to The Others. Meg is the in-between girl.

Written in Red is rich in detail and world building. I never found it overwhelming and I don't think anyone would. It's very addictive. I wanted to know what Meg is (unfortunately, the summary & reviews on Goodreads don't mark this as a spoiler and openly mention what she is, except it is a spoiler!! I didn't read the summary or reviews before going in so I didn't know) and see how she navigates life outside the prison-compound she was held at and how she deals with The Others. Meg is VERY innocent because the compound she was held at monitored exactly what information she learned and they didn't allow her to know anything or to be exposed to anything. Nothing. Nada. So essentially, Meg is a child in a grown ups body. So 1) Meg had to deal with learning the normal human ways and 2) learn how to deal with The Others.

Next, you have Simon, a Wolfgard and the leader of the Courtyard. Simon, unlike most of the Others creatures, wants to have some relationship with humans. He wants to observe their ways. He doesn't exactly LIKE humans, but he's not as hateful as others. 

There are *hints* of romance between Meg and Simon in both books but its oh so slow, which FITS these books and characters. Because firsts of all, Meg is untouched by everything. The only thing she knows are pictures she was shown in the prison-compound. Nothing else. You can't go from that to romance. So I like seeing Meg and Simon learn more about themselves and the world around them and eventually the romance will come. There are bunch of side characters that make the books even better. Vlad, Henry, Tess, Winter. I was telling Heather how I would love love love to read books about any of the side characters.

I have only one complaint regarding the series and its not really a bad thing. The books are told in 3rd person and it shifts POVs. Meg. Simon. A nice policeman. Some of the side characters. The bad guys.  So many POV changes which is not something I personally like. I (somewhat) understood the necessity of it and I keep telling myself to get over it but honestly, it took away some of the enjoyment of the two books. But otherwise, I have nothing bad to say. I couldn't put either book down. I didn't want to finish them. I could read about this world forever. In fact, I currently have a book hangover thanks to both Written in Red and Murder of the Crows. I need more of The Others!!

There is no need for me to go into detail about each book because of spoilers but just know this series is very, very, very addictive and all the high praise its been getting? I totally understand why. Now I'll impatiently go wait for book 3 which I know I will DEVOUR.

Rating (for both books): [B+] Very addictive series and I want more, more more!

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