I've been working on hunting down some "adult" series and authors to read (to give me more options when YA becomes too saturated with love triangles and such). I'm glad to say that this was a promising first kill. Which sounds really horrible, now that I've written that. Anyway, Written in Red is a story of an alternate world in which humans aren't at the top of the food chain and all natural resources are controlled by the Others. A little Planet of the Apes meets The Jungle Book, but more paranormal and with human technology similar to modern day stuff.
What I liked:
- No romance. It had me scared for a chapter or so, but nope. None. :D
- The "paranormal" Others are not just humans who happened to turn into animals. They are fundamentally different, which makes their reactions to Meg's human thoughts and behaviors amusing.
- The humor. There were these light, sometimes subtle, fun moments. I know the setting and plot were often tense and dangerous, but I loved the humor and wish there had been even more. (Minor spoilers) Like the crows stealing Meg's pens and slowly returning them in exchange for toys. Or the werewolf guy napping on the dog bed!
What I didn't like:
- Chapters in Asia Crane's perspective. I was fine with all the perspective switches except this one. I recognize Asia's chapters provided information that would have been difficult to obtain/understand elsewhere, but I really disliked seeing things through her eyes. She was this odd mixture of strangely competent and horribly naive, not in a good way. She was overly trusting of big promises from bad guys who were most likely to lie, cheat and kill.
- At times, the fact that Meg is the main character. I would start thinking about how I'd rather follow x cool person for a bit instead. But the fact is, Meg is likable, and no other character in the story could have effected the conflicts and changes she did. Her "special-ness" meter is a little high for my liking, but there are good reasons for those special traits that not only fit the story but play key roles in engaging conflict and character development.
- Despite knowing a lot about it, the world never felt fully fleshed out to me. Possibly because of the surreal mixture of modern-like cities and technology with obviously old world and Other elements. And the fact that, despite hearing about other towns, other places, the story was restricted to one smallish city, and often to one "neighborhood." I'd like to know more.
Not perfect or "oh my gosh!" but I enjoyed it, I felt invested in several of the characters, and I'd like to read more. Definitely on the lookout for the next in this series, and I may pick up some of the authors' other books as well.