Written in Red

While I enjoy any book by Anne Bishop, I haven’t been quite this excited about a series since her Black Jewels Universe stories came to an end (sob).

 While I enjoy any book by Anne Bishop, I haven’t been quite this excited about a series since her Black Jewels Universe stories came to an end (sob).

She has this amazing ability to create a world with characters that are unusual but so very appealing.  If I was explaining to someone what this series was like, I would say the Others are a bit like the Kindred in the Black Jewels but also, so much more.  Neither human nor animal, they are something… Other.  The Terra Indigene (Earth Natives) – Deadly, feral, guardians of the world of Namid. Humans live by their sufferance and largesse, and woe betide them if they trespass on land that does not belong to them.

Simon Wolfgarde is the leader of the Lakeside City Courtyard – a place of the Others to live, work, rest and play.  Human laws do not apply.  Trespass and you may be eaten, and they aren’t kidding.  Meg Corbyn is an enigma to the Others, obviously human, she doesn’t smell like them, but doesn’t smell like ‘prey’ either.  Appearing from nowhere half frozen, and running from something, she applies for the job as Human Liaison between the Courtyard and the human world.  And so begins a very confusing and enlightening time for the residents of Lakeside.

This book is just so full of charm, from Meg herself to the Others and their interactions with her, and with each other about her.  Often hilarious as they try to figure out what to do with this strange short human who is willing to interact with their kind and as she creeps into their hearts, they all crept into mine.

I suppose the closest thing to call the others is shapeshifters, vampires, elementals etc. but those labels do not do them justice.  The creation of the world and the Others place in it is brilliant and without having to use lengthy explanations, Bishop manages to give you a broad view of the way it works.  Humans are not the dominant species even though their nature is such that they don’t believe half of what they hear about the Others and that is always their first mistake.  And there are some horrible humans.  There are also some amazing ones but you come to think of them as part or extension of the courtyard.

There are so many characters to love here, Meg first and foremost.  She is just so loveable and her innocence could have been annoying but it’s not at all.  You just want to look after her.  Simon is a close second and his confusion over dealing with a human female that does not smell like prey is just priceless.  There are quite a few laugh out loud moments where that is concerned.  Tess and her ever changing hair is both scary and awesome.  Sam is just so adorable as a wolf puppy, your heart just goes out to him for everything he’s suffered.

The rest of the cast are numerous and each and every one has a personality that shines – not always in a good way, but in their experience of humans and their distrust, Meg is something entirely new.  Anne Bishop keeps it simple though and you can identify new characters quickly by their surname as to what type of Other they are.  Wolfgarde for wolves, Crowgarde for Crows etc.

The story is fascinating and even the simple details make for enjoyable reading.  Pace wise, it never moves slowly without good cause and makes perfect sense for the plot happening at the time.  When it speeds up though, it really gets going.

Whether the Others will match my fangirl love of the Black Jewels books it remains to be seen, but after one novel, it’s off to a fantastic start!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Anne Bishop
  • Series: The Others (1)
  • Format: Kindle
  • Publisher: Roc
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Keeping Kaitlyn

Keeping Kaitlyn is a sweet and excitingly erotic novella set across twin worlds; our own and another filled with a history of battles between Magica and Shapeshifters. Originally one, the worlds were split apart by a mysterious force trying to prevent the destruction of humanity after the shapeshifting Lycaons rebelled against their Magica masters.  I found this premise of a world that was once part of ours, but separated through magic really interesting, and I would love to see the history of that explored more in future books.

When the split occurred, most of the Lycaon went with the Magica to the new world, while a few remained behind. Lycaon souls long to be with each other, and not even the Veil is enough to stop the mating bond from calling them.

Being a novella, Anya needed to cover a lot of ground introducing the story and characters quickly. She did that with remarkable skill, so that by chapter two I already knew the main protagonist, Kaitlyn, well enough to like her and empathise with her. Kaitlyn is from our world, and unknowingly part Lycaon.  I loved that her feisty manner was combined with a caring and practical nature, even when she finds herself in an overwhelming situation.

The characters of Lucas and Rafian were also well realised by Anya Bast. She presents the story from the viewpoint of all three characters and this allows the reader to get a good understanding of them in a short space of time.  The two male wolf shifters know Kaitlyn as their mate, they just have to convince her of the truth.  Anya gives Lucas and Rafian both funny and serious moments, but each also had a distinctly different personality which I thought was very well done.  I loved their amusing reactions when Kaitlyn would do something that proved she wasn’t an incapable female.  Did I mention that they were hot?  They were, very!

Although presenting the story from different viewpoints helped with understanding the characters, I did find it a bit confusing a couple of times. I found myself checking back to see which of the male characters perspective was currently being presented. Other than that though, I can’t find anything in Keeping Kaitlyn that was disappointing, I just wish it could have been longer!

The believable characters and interesting setting are supported by some very erotic and explicit love scenes.  Since there are so few Lycaon females, each of them always has two male mates and this allowed Anya a lot of flexibility.  The resulting love scenes were excitingly hot, very well written and even took into account the practicalities of their situation.  All I can say is Kaitlyn is a very lucky girl!

When it came to Kaitlyn’s choice near the end, I got quite choked up. I was totally invested in Kaitlyn’s character and Anya’s writing allowed me to experience her emotion and anguish first hand. I won’t spoil the context of that choice, and so can’t say much more.

Keeping Kaitlyn combines well realised characters with an engaging story and some super erotic sex.  Highly recommended!

Rating: ★★★★☆