I have been struggling of late to find books worthy reading. It has been even more challenging to find one worth writing about – so this is going to be a short post. Nonethless, here is a Written in Red review.
However I was pleasantly surprised by Written in Red by Anne Bishop. I had noticed the covers of this author previously when browsing the library bookshelves. Until now I had been scared off by the blond-haired curvy female dominating the front. Further, I took the enlarged size of the author’s name – bigger than the title – as solid indicator the story is likely to be trash. So this was the first of her novels I actually cracked open.
Inside I discovered a world parallel to our own where humans have not dominated the land. Though they have spread to different corners of the world and have developed our modern conveniences, they do not have supremacy over nature. Instead, humans have been restricted to living in only a few cities and towns scattered across the continents and isolated by large, untamed tracts of deadly wilderness. The resources on which humans depend for manufacture and economic growth are controlled by the Others – essentially the fay.
Now, I don’t always like the employment of fairies in stories – they are silly. However, I did appreciate the way Bishop tried to portray these fay as Not Human. She seemed keen to emphasize the fact they are different, wild creatures lacking our narrow opinions and judgements. It was the Others that dominated the world, that won the battle between man and nature that came to control our destinies. I was particularly fond of the Other’s view of humans – intelligent meat. That view point, held pretty consistent throughout the book, was refreshing.It gave the story telling a clean, bright voice that feels different and exciting when compared with the other narratives saturating the market.
Although, I foresee this hardline attitude changing if she were to continue developing the world – which would be a sad loss to the tone of the story. I will not be surprised, after all it is the most common element of paranormal/fantasy to have humans tame the wild creatures of their environment – or enslave, depending on whether we are going for sappy and romantic or asskicking story styles.
I also liked the pseudo-modern, urban fantasy seeting that both was and was not our world. For once, wild spaces and trees were not a distant memory but the truth of the world. Although cities exist, they are contained, hemmed in and overseen by the fae. This was a refreshingly different point of view, neatly separating it from the numerous paranormal-cop-chick-trashy-romance novels breeding on the library book shelves.
Not only do I give this book a pass, but I would be interested in reading another story set in this world.