Meg is running. She’s running from the Controller who viewed her as extra-sensitive skin to be sliced and sold to the highest bidder. As a cassandra sangue Meg’s blood carries prophecies, released when precise cuts are made on her body. Each cassandra sangue has only so much skin, however, and when the space is gone, so is her usefulness. While they have skin left, the cassandra sangue are kept under lock and key with every action controlled and scheduled. They have no friends, no conversation, no skill beyond their prophecy. To resist is to be punished with imprecise cutting that induces madness. But those maddening cuts brought Meg visions of how to escape…and images of her own death. Visions that contained Simon Wolfgard.
Even as Meg builds a life at Lakeside Courtyard among the terra indigene, making friends with the shifters and humans alike, the Controller searches for his lost property. It won’t be long before word gets out that a Blood Prophet is in residence. Will the terra indigene turn Meg over, or will the Controller truly learn what it means when they say “Human Law Does Not Apply Here.”
This novel is stunning, and the above plot description doesn't begin to cover the threads that are woven into the story. In addition to the overriding plot there are multiple spinoff subplots about some of the characters, which really develop them into more that simple secondaries. These subplots weave back into the main plot at the end, wrapping things up nicely while still leaving enough room for a sequel (which comes out in March 2014).
The world building in this story is brilliant. To have a world that is so close to our own and yet so different is not a unique concept, but this one is definitely a world that hasn't been created before. The terra indigene are the dominant species and simply allow humans to live here. They like our technology and the way we taste, but we tend to get a bit cocky and they have to smack us down every once and a while when we forget who’s boss. There’s a lot of humor in this relationship, as well as a lot of horror and violence. We are just meat. Literally. Intelligent meat, but edible.
I wouldn't yet classify this novel as romance, but there is something brewing. There is a bit of sex, but nothing graphic. The novel does contain some adult language and, as stated before, unabashed and unrepentant violence. Overall, however, it is much tamer than many of the books I've read lately (not sure what that says). Though the book is 433 pages I finished it in less than two days because I couldn't stop reading. I stayed up late – until I couldn't stay awake any longer – and as soon as I woke up the next day I started reading again and kept going until I finished. It was THAT good. I highly recommend this novel. And yes, I will be checking out Bishop’s backlist while I wait for the sequel.
Bishop, Anne. Written in Red: A Novel of the Others. New York: ROC, 2013. 433 pages. Five stars.