by Anne Bishop
Series: The World of the Others #2
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Relative to the rest of the books in The Others universe, this one was ‘meh’. But ONLY relative to the rest of the books. In general it’s a great story and Bishop continues to create incredibly readable stories centered in a world where humans are resoundingly not an apex predator. Or, at least, not the apex predator.
This is the second book in the off-shoot series called “The World of The Others”, but its placement on The Others Universe timeline puts it chronologically in front of the 1st book, Lake Silence; thankfully the author’s note at the start explains this and that the events in this book take place simultaneously to events in the last book of the original series, book 5, Etched in Bone. Given that it’s been a few years since I read Etched in Bone, I needed to re-read it first to reacquaint myself with the characters and events. Which then prompted a re-read of the entire series.
Wild Country is the story of the aftermath following the complete eradication of all the humans of Bennett, a small town in the western part of the continent (alternate universe, alternate names, but it’s generally based on North America). The residents were members of the Humans First and Last League, and responsible for the wholesale slaughter of an entire Wolf pack. After the Others retaliated, they took back the land Bennett sits on, and went about re-creating the town, bringing in a mix of Others, Intuits (humans, but humans persecuted for their uncanny intuitiveness) and select humans, experimenting to see if they could create a more cooperative community.
I was engrossed in this storyline – some of my favorite non-lethal bits of these books is how Bishop shows these wildly differing life forms working together cooperatively, finding ways to respect the differences and keep the similarities working harmoniously. But then she went all Wild West on me and I’ve never been enamoured of the whole Wild West genre. The showdowns, the gunfights, the cattle rustlers… meh. I’m not saying that she didn’t do a good job with it, only that it wasn’t my jam, and towards the end it just lost me a little bit. It also felt a tiny bit like satire; like an homage that put a toe over the line and got a little silly.
Still, my bias is just that; a bias. Overall the story was great and kept me up, along with a taco dinner I made way too spicy, until 2.30am. I hope Anne Bishop’s imagination is chock full of stories of The Others and their battles with the selfish gits that make up entirely too large a proportion of humanity, because I’m nowhere near tired of reading about them.