"Written in Red" is an urban fantasy novel by Anne Bishop. The story takes place in a world where humans grow alongside a race of…Others. The Others, terre indigene, or earth natives. The title is not that important. Among the humans there also live the cassandra sangue, or blood prophets, who hold the power to see into the future when their skin is cut. Meg Corbyn is one of these cassandra sangue. After escaping an institution that forces her kind to use their ability to generate profit, she comes to the Lakeside Courtyard, a collection of business run by the terre indigene. Its leader, Simon Wolfgard, under a strong premonition reluctantly hires this stranger. This fateful decision sets in motion the very plot of the of the entire book.
There are several factions among the Others. The Shifters have the ability to shape-shift from a human form into an animal form. There are smaller groups among the Shifters distinguished by the form they are capable of transforming into. For instance, there’s the Wolfgard, Beargard, and Crowgard. The Saguinati are beings with powers that are quite similar to vampires. They make up some of the oldest known terre indigene in the world. The Elementals with powers that influence the weather and other natural forces. The other factions know to leave the Elementals to their own devices as ticking them off could bring about a very sudden, very violent change of weather. (If there are Elementals around Chicago, they must be constantly moody then…) All these factions are joined together to achieve one thing: maintain a positive relationship with the humans they reluctantly share the world with.
From the beginning of the book, the Others are characterized as violent when necessary. That they would not hesitate to kill or maim if the situation demanded it. Throughout the book, they constantly call humans “useful meat.” This sets up the story as having a dark tone as well as setting up a strained relationship between the humans and the Others. However, later on as Meg and her new companions grow more acquainted this feeling is almost forgotten. Their interactions at time are not only genuinely pleasant but also sweet. For lack or a better word, the Others' way of dealing with the stranger among them could come off as "human." Even among all the stressful situations the characters find themselves in, the little moments in between makes for a nice variety in feeling and a reminder that there is more to the story than just the ongoing plot.