Wild Country by Anne Bishop
The World of the Others #2
March 5, 2019 by Ace
In this powerful and exciting fantasy set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, humans and the shape-shifting Others will see whether they can live side by side…without destroying one another.
There are ghost towns in the world—places where the humans were annihilated in retaliation for the slaughter of the shape-shifting Others.
One of those places is Bennett, a town at the northern end of the Elder Hills—a town surrounded by the wild country. Now efforts are being made to resettle Bennett as a community where humans and Others live and work together. A young female police officer has been hired as the deputy to a Wolfgard sheriff. A deadly type of Other wants to run a human-style saloon. And a couple with four foster children—one of whom is a blood prophet—hope to find acceptance.
But as they reopen the stores and the professional offices and start to make lives for themselves, the town of Bennett attracts the attention of other humans looking for profit. And the arrival of the Blackstone Clan, outlaws and gamblers all, will uncover secrets…or bury them.
The newest release in Anne Bishop’s The World of the Others series takes place simultaneously with the last book in the original Others series, Etched in Bone. Fans of this world won’t be too surprised with Wild Country… there is a small group of humans trying to assimilate and work together with the Others to reopen a small town decimated when Namid’s teeth and claws swept through the human territories, there are Others setting boundaries and striving to understand their human neighbors, and, of course, there are bad guys who come to town and think they can get away with their nefarious deeds. No, there won’t be too many surprises, but that’s okay. There are so many little things about this series that I love.
This time we are taken to Bennett, a town where all the human inhabitants were killed by the Elders. The Others have decided to allow a small group of humans to resettle as long as it remains in Others control and all the new humans are interviewed and vetted. The POV switches between quite a few characters. The main ones being Jana, the new human sheriff’s deputy, Virgil Wolfgard, the newly minted sheriff whose entire pack was killed by humans, Tolya Sanquinati, who governs Bennett, and Jesse Walker, an Intuit woman who runs the general store in Prairie Gold and advises Tolya.
I feel like this world gets darker the deeper we get into it. Maybe it’s because I’m familiar with how the Elders operate and I know how low their tolerance is for human shenanigans. Maybe because I expect humans to act in the worst way possible and I know exactly what’s coming. I’m not sure, but I do know that in the original series Meg and Simon offered a bit of lightheartedness that we don’t necessarily see as much anymore. That’s not to say that there aren’t charming moments when human and others in the newer stories try to connect and understand each other. In Wild Country there is even a more traditional romance that was lovely and an open door sex scene that surprised me. But all in all, this series keeps getting darker and grittier and I love that.
It took me a bit longer to get through this installment, mainly because so many of the characters were new and I think the pacing was much slower and it was harder to get into. There is a lot of set up, but the bad guys don’t get into town until almost 75% in. That’s when the pacing really picks up until the big showdown at the end.
I am fully invested in this world and look forward to the next release. I’m hoping that Ms. Bishop decides to revisit Bennett once again as I really connected with several of the characters and hope to see them again. (Especially Tolya and Jesse.)
Final Grade- B
There was no mercy in the wild country, no safety in the dark. She knew that. But she wondered if the people coming to Bennett fully appreciated what that meant.