cover image Written in Red

Written in Red

Anne Bishop. Roc, $26.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-451-46496-5

Bishop (the Black Jewels series) wraps a generally by-the-numbers urban fantasy in ill-conceived world-building. In this alternate universe, Native Americans have been entirely erased; instead, the natives of Thaisia (the continent analogous to North America) are Others, monstrous paranormal beings like vampires and werewolves. Despite the Others seeing humans as “meat” and brutally maintaining ownership of the continent, human settlements feel just like present-day small towns. Meg Corbyn, a human with precognitive gifts, escapes human slavers and finds sanctuary in a town’s Courtyard, the Others-only section where human law doesn’t apply. She gets a job working for shifter Simon Wolfgard, who’s puzzled because she doesn’t smell like prey, and befriends a number of other Others. Meanwhile, Asia Crane, an actress spying on the Others for the chance to get her own TV show, brings potential trouble for Meg and her new protectors. The offensive setup does nothing to enhance the familiar special-snowflake heroine’s journey of self-discovery and implausible romance. Agent: Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Mar.)