Sunday, April 28, 2013

Audiobook Review: Written in Red (The Others, #1)


Written in RedAuthor Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Series: The Others, #1
Release date: March 5th 2013
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Buy: Audible

No one creates realms like New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop. Now in a thrilling new fantasy series, enter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities—vampires and shape-shifters among them—who rule the Earth and whose prey are humans. 
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.

I am, first and foremost, an urban fantasy reader. On the secluded island that is my mind, a new series as good as The Others is more rare and more coveted than a fresh batch of blueberry muffins. And I do love my blueberry muffins. It should be mentioned that Written in Red leans more towards the fantasy part of urban fantasy. In fact, if we take the strictest definition, it’s not urban fantasy at all. But it’s a thin line, and Bishop’s world so unique that I see no point in making the distinction.

In Written in Red, we familiarize ourselves with Thasia and its inhabitants. In Thasia, Others live in compounds where they govern themselves. Human laws don’t apply. Their contact with humans is extremely limited, which is for the best. Any human who breaks a law of the Others ends up eaten or worse. Humans (or monkeys, as the terra indigene call them) have access to a few stores and restaurants, but they aren’t allowed to go anywhere near the residential complexes where the Wolfguards, Hawkguards, Crowguards, Sanguinati and other clans live.

The terra indigene are not human. They are supernatural creatures that acquired human skin because it suited them for some reason. If visitors to the courtyard expect them to react and behave like humans, they are most likely to get eaten. The Others don’t advertise the fact that they all eat special meat, but they don’t try too hard to hide it either. To them, humans are monkeys, and they only tolerate them because there are certain human inventions and products they enjoy.
“But what would they have said to their Liaison? It’s like this, Meg. We didn’t like that Asia Crane, so we ate her.
When dealing with humans, honesty isn’t always the best policy, Vlad thought”
Meg Corbin, a blood prophet and the courtyard’s human liaison, is not your typical urban fantasy heroine. She is physically weak from being imprisoned all her life and her knowledge and social skills come from carefully selected photographs and video clips. Until she escaped, she wasn’t allowed to talk unless she was speaking a prophecy. But despite her obvious weaknesses, there is a certain strength in her quiet, persistent ways, a steel spine in her small, fragile body. And unlike all the other humans, she doesn’t smell like prey.

The narrator’s voice has a very pleasant timbre and her voice characterization is excellent. Simon Wolfguard is a true alpha male if there ever was one (notice how I wrote male but not man!), and getting his voice just right was no small feat, yet Harris gave him just the right amount of growl and menace without making it seem like she was trying too hard. 18 hours is a very long time to spend listening to a single person, but Harris made it very easy. In the future, I won’t hesitate to pick up any audiobook she narrated.

I can’t believe I have to wait a whole year for Murder of Crows to come out. Just thinking about it is painful. But I do know I’ll wait for the audio, if they keep the same narrator. This is another book I can already add to my ‘Best of 2013’ list.


30 comments:

  1. 18 hours is a fair length for an audio book but a good narrator can make that seem short and it sounds like this one did! I've seen this cover around but this is the most detail I've read about the book and it sounds good!

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  2. 18 hours! That is impressive, Maja. Noelle liked this one too but I'm so torn about starting ANOTHER UF series where I have to wait on pins and needles for the next book. Of course, this will help fill the time between the next Ilona Andrews or Patricia Briggs. Hmm...

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  3. And here I was thinking that I couldn't find an audiobook to buy with my monthly audible.com credit. I'll def. be checking this one out now!

    I'm so glad you loved this one, I love the title, brings a whole new creepy level to it. Well written review, Maja!

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  4. BLUEBERRY MUFFINS OF AWESOME! I can't believe we have to wait until next year, either. I LOVED this book and am dying for more.

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  5. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Maja! I've had it ever since Wendy's gushing review came out, but in between all my Mercy Thompson reading, I haven't had the time for this. I'll probably wait until the release date of the next novel looms closer, but I can't wait to delve into this creative new world. It sounds fantatic and I'm thrilled the audio book was so good. I'll have to see if I can find it (or just start listening to the numerous other audio books I have but never listen to). Lovely review, Maja!(:

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  6. I LOVE finding new UF to read as well, it is rare that I fall in love with a new series because I am pretty picky if truth be told. I am so glad you really liked this one. I lean more towards the other spectrum of UF but I think I would like this one.
    As always, awesome review!!

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  7. OMG, Maja! Every review of this book I'm reading is literally taunting me! :) It sounds absolutely fabulous! I am firstly UF reader as well and it's not that easy to find UF series that I can rate as beyond average these days, but this one sound like one I'd love. Thank you!

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  8. Great review Maja. This sounds like an interesting world with even more interesting characters. They seem to eat a lot of humans lol :)

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  9. MMM Blueberry muffins that is the only thing I retained from reading this review. Other than that I am glad I got this book. Now I just need to read it!

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  10. You had me at new fantasy world. Not to mention that this is more fantasy and less urban them I'm in. I love fantasy. I haven't heard of this book before but I'm really interested in it. It sounds so unique and interesting. I'm not a fan of audiobooks so I'll stick to the paper. Great review Maja :)

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  11. I'm reading the book currently and I really enjoy it so far. I like how the Others honor Meg as a member. Glad to learn that the audio version is impressive!

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  12. I first heard about this one from Wendy so I'm happy that you enjoyed it too, Maja, especially as yours was the audio version. I normally don't listen to audio books because I find it hard to concentrate on what's happening but I'm impressed that the narrator was able to get the guy's voice to sound believable.

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  13. Happy to see that the narrator was just as good as the story here! I have seen a few glowing reviews for this and even though it isn't my genre I am curious about it! It sounds like it has some top notch world building and that is always something that I am looking for. I don't seem to be getting it in YA lately so maybe I need to branch out into adult a bit more? ANywho, great review, Maja!

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  14. I've heard nothing but amazing things about this book Maja! I gave it to my mother in law to review for the blog and she absolutely adored it. I think her favorite characters were the people who were crows - something about them constantly being distracted by shiny objects made her laugh:) 18 hours is definitely a long time to listen to one person, so I'm glad the narrator was brilliant!

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  15. AH! Year waits are always killer when you want the next one now. The paranormal concept sounds interesting, and I am glad you enjoyed.
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  16. I know visiting your blog is going to be dangerous for my TBR and wallet and yet I do it anyway.... :-) This book sounds exactly like my kind of read. The world seems fascinating, and I love a good alpha male. I'm currently catching up on Mercy Thompson on audio, but I think this will be my next listen after that. I love not only having a guarantee of a great story, but a great narrator—that's SO important to me. I listen to audiobooks when I run, so I need to be transported by the performance, because I hate the monotony of running. :-) Wonderful review, thanks for introducing me to this!

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  17. This sounds so good and another book I may have to try on audio. Oh I do think I'll have to see if the library has a copy on an audio format I can use (I hate when they don't!). If not, I do think I'll have to add it to my tbr. It sounds fab (as well as a bit icky... "special meat").

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  18. How can you expect me to concentrate after the mention of blueberry muffins? ;)

    I'm really glad you liked this one, Maja! I'm a lot easier to convince with it comes to urban fantasy (mostly because I haven't read nearly as much of it as you have!) so I'm feeling very confident now that I'll enjoy this. I have to admit, I completely ignored this one at first because of the cover (I so need to work on that!), but the positive feedback so far has me more than eager to pick it up now. Fantastic review. :)

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  19. Wonderful review, of course I now want blueberry muffins you naughty girl! I love urban fantasy and this world has me curious. Especially with the reversal of citizenship.

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  20. Hmmm, I think I want to try this one. Amazing review. Thank you!

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  21. HI MAJA!!! HOW ARE YOU? I'm back from my exam break and I've missed you and your blog so much. <3 Can't wait to get back to commenting on and reading your lovely posts again :D :') The Others seems so good and different, while I'm not really an Urban Fantasy reader like you, I do tend to like to challenge myself and read books outside of my comfort zone, so I'll definitely pick this up! It's so great that the voices made it a pleasant experience for you. Fabulous review, doll! <3 x Missed you!

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    1. Whoops I commented under my other profile. :P LOL silly me!

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  22. This sounds kind of awesome! I really need to check out an audiobook sometime soon; I've never listened to one. Glad this narrator worked though. I do want to check out more UF, even if this one is on the thin side of UF. Quite alright!

    -Lauren

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  23. I want to read this one SO bad! I love Anne Bishop! I like that it's more fantasy than urban, that's my preference, though I like both. I'm so tempted to buy this one right now! Wonderful review!

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  24. I read Anne's Black Jewel series ... well, the first 2 or 3 book, anyway. It was very fantasy, which I'm not big on, but man, she can write. I'm really tempted to read this book.

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  25. I have a limit when I search for an audiobook. I think my limit is around 13 hours before I figure it's TOO much and I might as well just read the physical book. Someone else (I can't remember) listened to this and loved the audio version as well... I may have to give this a whirl anyways because I love a good audio. :)

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  26. Ahhhhh! I have this sitting on my shelf from the library, but I'm not sure I have time to read it this week and it has to go back soon! But I love a well built fantasy world and this story sounds really fascinating. I do get nervous about beginning series so far from the release of the second book, so I may wait a while. But it is on my list for sure. And though I'll read the print, the fact that this narrator was able to achieve the male voice is a great feat!

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  27. 18 hours is a long audiobook. This must be a lot of pages. I've been seeing glowing reviews for this one and so I've wanted to pick it up. Your review makes me want to even more! :)

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  28. This one is completely new to me! You know, I don't read a ton of urban fantasy, but I would definitely read this. Or listen to it actually!

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  29. Now see you went and made me regret not voting for this when it came up as a possible book club pick this month! I love that you found it to be such a great series start Maja, because yes, those are oh so rare. Bummed by library doesn't have it on audio, but I'll hopefully track it down or read it in print!

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