With all of the Urban Fantasy and paranormal books on the market these days it is difficult to find a unique take on the genre(s). However, Anne Bishop in my opinion has managed just that. The Others--werewolves, vampires and various other shifters and non-humans--see humans as meat, very little else. Few humans are allowed in their world and any humans disobeying their wishes are turned into dinner. In many ways this take on such beings is a bit more realistic and I really enjoyed seeing humans from their point of view.
The main character of Meg is not your usual kick-ass heroine of many UF, she is an escapee from essentially an institution that tortured her and kept her from truly understanding the outside world. Fortunately Meg comes to be the liaison for the town of Others, she accepts deliveries and such from humans which do not wish to deal with the Others. Simon, one of the major characters of the book is skeptical of Meg but slowly throughout the book becomes one of her biggest proponents. I loved the progression of Simon's opinion and feelings towards Meg.
All of the featured characters were great, except for the "bad guys" who simply proved annoying to me. Honestly, POVs outside of the Others and Meg did not interest me much but they did not slow down the book enough to dissatisfy me.
I absolutely loved the Others honestly, all of them. Bishop did an excellent job of intertwining the shifter and human forms for the Others. The werewolves were believable as wolves, the crows were believable as crows and so forth. I adored the crows and their love for all things "sparkly" and stealing pens/pencils. They were also inclined towards calling Meg "the Meg" which was rather endearing actually, especially after you came to know all of them. There was a bit of humor included in the story, although the characters saying the funny tidbits weren't necessarily trying to be funny which just added to it.
Meg's relationship with Sam and her ability to bring him out of his shell was a big part of the story and well done (although at times a bit long). Sam saw his mother killed and has subsequently stopped growing or shifting into his human form from his wolf form. Simon, his uncle, has been caring for him and has had little luck in bringing him out of his traumatized state. I really feel like Bishop managed to have both Sam and Meg rely on each other to transition to a better time in their lives rather effectively.
One mystery remains in the story: what is Tess? Not even the others know. Her ability kill parts of people that look at her leaves me with only one guess. Is Tess perhaps a basilisk? I really hope Bishop lets us in on that secret in the next installment.
Overall I greatly enjoyed Written in Red and cannot wait to read the next installment. I have come to love the characters and will miss them! Recommended.