As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.
Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.
“Whether you’re beaten or pampered, fed the best foods or starved, kept in filth or kept clean, a cage is still a cage.”
The Others is one of my favourites. Within five minutes of finding this book all the way back in 2014, I started reading it. I came to love this series, this world, and these characters.
The main character of the series is Meg Corbyn. She is childlike, scared, and running for her life. As a Blood Prophet, she has been hidden away “for her own good”, but it was a cage, and cuts on her skin for prophecy were sold for money. Now she has escaped and run right into the arms of the Others, the Terra Indigene, who every sane human fears. But Meg finds safety in their presence. Blood Prophets were given no freedom, and the only things they ever learned were things that would help them to speak prophecy. Now Meg is trying to learn how to take care of herself, how to do things for herself, and how to do her new job the Terra Indigene gave her. And she knows she is going to die here at Lakeside.
Another main character is Simon Wolfgard, the leader of the Lakeside Courtyard of the Others. This consists mostly of growling at people, mostly Meg, threatening to eat people, and coordinating with a bunch of other Terra Indigene. He is Mr. Grumpypants the entire book, particularly at Meg – because she doesn’t smell like prey like other humans do. And Meg doesn’t seem to do anything right which aggravates him (mostly because she doesn’t know the ‘right’ way to act).
But Meg continually manages to do what Simon cannot. She can alert the entire Courtyard to danger through her prophecies, and Simon is only left to react to what she can see. Her presence and personality manage to bridge the gap between Human and Other, which is what Simon has been trying to do with the Courtyard this entire time. And Meg manages to save Simon’s nephew, who has been trapped in wolf form ever since the death of his mother, by being completely unexpected. It is adorable.
The world of the Others is…dangerous. Dark. The Terra Indigene rule the world, and they’ll never ever let humans forget it. When you’re on Terra Indegene land, Human law Does Not Apply. Which means they can take hands from shoplifters, eat trespassers, and protect little humans who run to them for help if they want to. Humans are clever meat. And the Terra Indigene are in more control over the world than that. They lease the lands the cities live on. They allot how much land goes to food and how much planetary resources the humans can use on the land the Terra Indigene own (which is pretty much all of the land, humans just lease it). It is all about balance.
The narration is split between Meg and Simon, a few other Terra Indigene that are part of the story, and a few of the villains. Anne Bishop… doesn’t write villains really well. They’re almost comical at how bad they are. Over the top ridiculous. One of the villains, Asia Crane, is a wannabe actress, who is doing tasks for a Bad Man because he has agreed to give her a good acting career if she does. That is her entire motivation for trying to kidnap and kill.
I just love the story of Written in Red, though. Meg escaping from her cage, finding her home, belonging. Learning how to live on her own. Making friends. Sure this series has a ton of problems. The Terra Indigene ate what was to become Native Americans, so there are exactly 0 on the entire continent of North America. As far as we know, every human on the world is of Mediterranean area descent. Meg Corbyn cuts herself for pleasure. And more. But I love it, despite that.