REVIEW by EN Blake: Wild Country by Anne Bishop – Includes an Excerpt!

In this New York Times bestselling powerful and exciting fantasy set in the world of the 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 outlaw Blackstone Clan will either unite Others and humans…or bury them all.

 

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KEEP READING TO SEE EN BLAKE’S REVIEW & AN EXCERPT!

 

 

About the Book

Wild Country
by Anne Bishop

Series
Wold of the Others

Genre
Adult
Dark Paranormal Fantasy
Urban Fantasy

Publisher
Ace

Publication Date
March 5, 2019

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EN’s Review

Wild Country is the second World of the Others novel, and surprisingly, it doesn’t tie into the events of Lake Silence at all. In fact, anyone who has recently read Etched in Bone, may find a lot of the events of the book fairly expected due the overlapping timelines and intertwined events. That aside, the novel is an interesting read, with the continued exploration of themes surrounding the exploitation of the natural world, and the grey area between protection and control.

Wild Country has a whole host of strong female characters, all nuanced and unique in a way that is refreshing to read. Jana is a great character, and the relationships she builds amongst the townsfolk are respectful, believable and fun. The way she interacts with Barb is a highlight of the book, reading about their interactions with the ‘me time’ cell made me laugh aloud several times. Jesse’s existence independent from, but still related to her position as Tobias’s mother was another small example of the way female characters are so often dehumanised or put in a box of only existing in context to a male character. With its many and varied important female characters—not all of them on the ‘right’ side—Wild Country most assuredly does not fall into that trap.

Virgil is a great character, allowing as he does for an examination of the way someone’s past experiences can taint their perceptions of the world. It grated a little that Jana is shown to have to work very hard to understand Virgil, but the expectations placed on him seem noticeably lower. The in-world reasons for this are clear, but it made Virgil less sympathetic at times.

Another high point in this novel was the chance to watch events play out in a different setting, still led by the others, but with unique problems and power structures because of this. Hopefully the interesting cast of characters that populate Bennet continue to be explored in further novels, as there are a few characters that haven’t yet received the rewards they have earned. Madam Scythe in particular deserves to be fleshed out further in future novels.

The sexual and romantic relationships (or hinted at potential for relationships) in Wild Country are well written, never feeling shoehorned in or abrupt. As long-time readers of Anne Bishop’s novels will know, the attitude surrounding the protagonists and their circles of friends always promotes the healthy expression and exploration of sensuality and desire. In particular, the healthy portrayal of (safe) casual sex that a woman genuinely enjoys is something that is ridiculously rare, but that can be found fairly often in Anne Bishop’s works. That’s why it’s a little disappointed that a character’s enjoyment of rough sex was added to Wild Country seemingly only to cement their position as a bad person. Had the author’s Dark Jewels series not sent a completely different message, I would have assumed this was an unconscious bias creeping into the book. As it was, it seemed an awkward addition to Wild Country, that cheapened the otherwise universally elaborate and enjoyable characterisation.

The villains of this book at times seemed a little cliché, a problem not unheard of among the antagonists in The Others world. At times it strains credulity that humanity would be so incapable of learning to work with the Others, though Anne Bishop does a good job of writing plausible reasons for villains and antagonists to ignore their instincts towards self-preservation.

This book was action packed, with a fair amount of violence and death in the novel’s finale; long term readers of The Others series will not be surprised by this, but as Wild Country stands fairly well alone, anyone interested in beginning here should be warned. Fans of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Laura Anne Gilman’s Devil’s West books, Ilona Andrews’ The Edge series, Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling novels or Anne Bishop’s previous works will enjoy Wild Country, and as mentioned, the book stands alone (though there are of course nuances that will be missed by new readers). If you love urban fantasy with interesting characters crashing up against each other in a community setting, and old-school justice that tends to solve problems in a permanent fashion, Wild Country may be for you.

See All Reviews by EN Blake

 

Disclaimer

The review copy of this book was purchased by the reviewer. All titles reviewed on this blog are a fair and honest assessment of the book. No monetary compensation was received in exchange for this review. For more information regarding our review process, please visit our Review Policy & Review Request Submission page.

 

 

Excerpt

WILD COUNTRY
A World of the Others Novel
© 2019 Anne BIshop


CHAPTER ONE

 

Jana Paniccia followed the gravel paths through the memorial park. There were no cemeteries on the continent of Thaisia, no individual gravestones, no family mausoleums unless you were very rich. Cities couldn’t afford to waste land on the dead when the living needed every acre that they were grudgingly permitted to lease from the terra indigene who ruled the continent.

Who ruled the world. They had smashed and torn that harsh truth into humans around the world, and only fools or the blindly optimistic thought there was any chance of things going back to the way they had been before the Humans First and Last movement had started the war against the terra indigene here in Thaisia and in Cel-Romano on the other side of the Atlantik Ocean.

Instead of gaining anything from the war, humans had lost ground—literally. Cities had been destroyed or were no longer under human control. People were running to anyplace they thought could provide safety, thinking that the larger cities were less vulnerable to what the Others could do.

In that, too, humans were wrong. The destruction of so much of Toland, a large human-controlled city on the East Coast, should have taught people that much.

But this wasn’t a day to think about those things.

Jana found the large flower bed with the tall granite marker in the center.

There were no graveyards, no gravestones, in Thaisia, but there were memorial parks full of flower beds and small ponds, with benches positioned so the living could visit with the dead. She looked down the double column of names carved into the granite until she found the two she’d come to see. Martha Chase. Wilbur Chase. The foster parents who had taken her from the foundling home and raised her as their own. There hadn’t been even a birth certificate left with her when the Universal Temple priests had found her on the temple doorstep. Just a printed note with her name and birth date.

All bodies were cremated and the ashes mixed with the soil in these flower beds, the names carved in the granite the only acknowledgment of who was there. Martha had loved growing flowers, and Pops had always tended a small vegetable garden in their backyard. Jana was the one who had no skill with the soil, no matter how hard she tried. She knew a rose from a daisy, understood the difference between annual and perennial, and, most of the time, had dug up weeds instead of flowers when she tried to help Martha tidy the beds.

You have other talents, Pops used to say with a laugh.

Other talents. Gods, she hoped so.

They had died in a car accident just a week after she’d been accepted into the police academy—one of only three women to be accepted. She’d spent the first few months struggling with her classwork and the hostility of her classmates while traveling from Hubb NE to a village near the Addirondak Mountains to meet with the Chases’ attorney and take care of her foster parents’ estate. There wasn’t much. Martha and Pops had never been interested in things, but the sale of the house and furnishings was enough to pay off the school loans she’d taken out to attend a community college while she tried to get accepted into the police academy. It was enough to pay for the academy and living expenses. She’d been frugal, but if she didn’t get a job soon . . .

“Hey, Martha,” Jana said softly after looking around to make sure she was alone. “Hey, Pops.” She sat on the bench, her hands folded in her lap. “I graduated from the academy. The only woman who stuck it out. Martha, you always said I was stubborn, and I guess you were right. I have a meeting with the academy administrator next week. Hopefully it will be about a job offer. The gods know, every human community needs cops right now, and everyone else in my class has already been hired by towns in the Northeast Region, which lost officers last month because of the war. But I know there are positions that haven’t been filled yet because no one wants to take a job in a village stuck in the middle of the wild country. They say that’s just delayed suicide. Maybe they’re right, but I’d take that chance.”

She looked at the flowers growing in the bed and wished she could remember the names of some of them. “I came to say good-bye. It’s getting harder and harder to purchase a bus ticket, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to get back here again. And if I’m hired—when I’m hired—I may be leaving in a hurry.” She paused. “Thanks for everything. When I get to wherever I’m going, I’ll light a candle in remembrance.”

Jana hurried through the park, gauging that she had just enough time to reach the bus stop near the park gates and catch the bus back to Hubb NE. She hoped that by this time next week she’d be heading to another town to do the only job she’d ever wanted to do.

CONTINUE READING…

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