Series: The World of the Others #2
Published by Ace Books on March 5, 2019
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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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.
I just love the creative world-building in The Others/The World of Others series. While it is the same series, Anne Bishop drops us into a new world featuring the Town of Bennett which is so very different from the Lakeside Community we have come to know and love.
The timeline for Wild Country blends with the happenings of Book 5 of The Others series. In Etched in Bone , Simon and Vlad are interviewing possible candidates to resettled the western town of Bennett which lost all it humans citizens in retaliation of the attacks by the Humans First and Last Movement.
One of the main characters is police officer Jana Paniccia, who graduated the police academy as the first woman officer but who couldn’t find a job in a men-only profession. The Lakeside Courtyard is unconcerned with the fact that she is female, they are more concerned that the Wolfguard sheriff in Bennett would eat he new human deputy. They need a human officer in Bennett because the current sheriff is wolfgard and after losing his pack, including his mate and pups to the attacks by the HFL, Virgil is still hostile to the humans arriving in Bennett. Jana simply hopes that she can find acceptance in the mixed-town of Bennett but more importantly, she wants a chance to be a real police officer.
Both are law officers, but Jana and Virgil aren’t always on the same side of the line. Virgil’s beliefs are usually to bite anyone who is causing trouble and even eat them if they cause too much trouble, and while still a shiny, new officer, Jana is trying to veer Virgil towards arresting and prosecuting bad guys. Jana desperately wants to be accepted into the Police pack but she first has to understand the wolves. Virgil and Jana’s dominance battles can also be noted when Jana adopts a puppy and they don’t agree on the proper way to raise him. It is Tobias Walker, the Intuit from Prairie Gold, who tries to make Jana understand that she is thinking like a human and Virgil thinks like a wolf; Jana needs to understand her boss, a dominant wolfguard enforcer if she is going to survive and be accepted in Bennett.
The funniest part is that while Virgil continues to have issues with humans, he is not sure how he feels about Jana. Is she, as a human, an enemy; or is she, as an officer, part to his pack? But he is convinced that, even though it is impossible for terre indigene and humans to breed, his feisty deputy must be part wolverine since she acts like she is a bigger predator than she is and while he most often wants to bite her, he respects that she isn’t easily cowed.
We have met several of the characters in Bennett in Etched in Bone. There are several people from Prairie Gold (the small ranching town to the South) as well as John Wolfgard to leaves the Lakeside Courtyard to run the bookstore in Bennett and help repopulate the Wolfguard pack. Tolya Sanguinati who left Toland to run Bennett. We also find out that some of the nice people from Prairie Gold are hiding dark secrets. While the Elders (Namid’s teeth and claws) purged a lot of humans after the HFL attacks, they can’t tell good humans from bad, so not everyone heading for Bennett is looking for a new life…some humans are arriving looking to see what they can fleece from the abandoned houses and the naive citizens of Bennett. Some are even looking to take over the town from the terre indigene, not knowing that the only reason the town is allowed to have human citizens is because the terra indigene control it. If these new arrivals take over the town, then the Elders will simply finish where they left off. After all, humans are still only clever meat.
While we want to see harmony between the humans and terre indegine, there will still be a part of you siding with the Others and saying “someone eat that guy.”
This town is portrayed as being like an old frontier town which gives this story a whole different flair than the other stories. Towns have been but off across Thaisia. Communication between cities is limited and towns like Bennett in the west, cannot contact cities like Lakeside or Ferryman’s Landing in the east. The only safe way to travel is train. Horses are used within the town limits since gasoline is scarce and expensive. The saloon has everyone dressed in costumes to promote the old-time frontier theme.
We also see that while Bennett is a mixed community of terra indigene, humans, simple life and Intuits, it is not just humans who are closed minded. We still see prejudices, and not just in the outlaws coming who want to take the town from the terre indigene. We meet one of the pantherguard and his adopted brother who is part Intuit and part cassandra sangue and while they are accepted by the town, Jana has to step in to protect two human males who adopted some orphaned terre indigene children and hope to find acceptance in this new community.
It was so intriguing to watch the reemergence of this new/old frontier town and absolutely tension-filled as we watch the outlaws work their way toward Bennett and Prairie Gold and see their intentions for the town become darker and darker. It was such a great story and such a great series which is a must read for Urban Fantasy/Fantasy lovers. I enjoyed the audiobook narration but couldn’t pass up the change for an ARC except now I have to wait another year to see what happens next. The pain of waiting is a direct indication of how good a series this is.
Virgil nodded and walked in the office. John had done some scrounging in the warehouse that held possessions from the cleared-out houses. He hadn’t found something he called a Wolf bed, but he had found a folding cot. After moving Kane’s desk to one side, there had been enough room to put the mattress on the floor. John had added a couple of blankets as a mattress cover and thought it would do as a comfortable place for Kane to sleep while he was in the office.
Kane obviously thought it would do since he gave the mattress and blankets a quick sniff before lowering himself onto them with a groan.
The wolverine wasn’t paying attention to Kane. She was staring at Rusty–or the remains of something in Rusty’s crate. Then she narrowed her eyes at Vigil. “Who gave Rusty one of the treats?”
“Cowboy Bob,” he replied blandly.
She looked at the toy leaning against the side of her desk, then turned back to Virgil, baring her teeth. “Cowboy Bob? Really? Is that what we’re doing now? Blaming the stuffie?”
She looked bigger than she had a minute ago, but he met her eyes and said, “Yeah.”
The sound she made reminded him of a whistling teakettle on boil.
She brushed past him, giving him an elbow in the ribs before she grabbed one of the bowels near Kane, who flinched and then whined when he realized his injured leg wouldn’t allow him to get out of the way. When the wolverine headed for the back rooms and started banging around in the kitchen doing who knew what, Virgil blew out a breath.
He was starting to understand what Tobias Walker meant by her emotions being big. Fortunately for the Wolves, there was a reason to shove her out the door and let someone else deal with her for a while.
She returned to the front room and put the bowl of water where Kane could reach it easily.
Tolya Sanguinati needs you to talk to the females from the Dixon ranch,” Virgil said. “He’s waiting for you at the saloon.”
“Why there?” She didn’t sound quite on the boil anymore but still close enough.
“Scythe is protecting them while Stewart Dixon is protecting the wounded male, who is at the human bodywalker’s office.”
The wolverine nodded. Virgil stepped aside to let her pass. But she stopped when she was abreast of him and stared at the door.
“You tell Cowboy Bob that if he gives Rusty another unauthorized treat today, I will pull all the stuffing out of his arms.” She walked out of the office.
<Virgil?> Kane whined.
He didn’t answer, but he heard Kane sigh–and felt the same relief–when he turned the lock on the door.