79 points (4 stars)
The people of Bennett and Prairie Gold are trying to survive. After the Great Predation wiped out entire towns across the world, what is left is trying to make do with what they have. The Others leading Bennett are reluctant to even be around humans, let alone allow more to come into the area. However, that is exactly what they have to do. Bennett is short on skilled people, and there aren’t enough of anyone left to protect what they have. Human and Other both have to work together to live.
“Stop being such a baby about this. The vet is going to shave off the fur and stitch you up and that’s that.”
All three males staled at her.
“What? Is this Testosterone United?”
Wild Country was so much better than Lake Silence, I almost can’t believe it. I nearly decided that I wasn’t going to read this after what I got in the previous book. I knew that if I got more of the same, I was going to be done with the series, no matter how much I absolutely adored the first five books of The Others. I’m so damn happy with Wild Country. It was everything I wanted out of the previous book.
I really enjoy the frontier setup. All of my problems with Lake Silence boiled down to the fact that it tried to copy the first five books and not expand what Anne Bishop already gave us. Wild Country does exactly what I wanted: took the bones of the world and explored more of it. Bennett is completely different from the Courtyard in Lakeside, while also being similar down in its core. And in some ways, a lot of ways even, it was even better than the Courtyard. It is a different setup for a different place with different difficulties.
And the whole point of the book is that it is growing to support the infrastructure already in place in Bennett, as well as the humans who are there already. Other and Human, whether normal or Intuit, are learning to work together. They’re learning to trust each other. We had so many new perspectives, as well as some old ones. While the first five books were clearly about Meg and Simon, and the last book was about two people I’ve completely forgotten, this one doesn’t feel like it was about any people in specific. It was about the town.
The events of Wild Country take place during the last Meg and Simon book, which in my opinion really help the events in this book. It helps the book feel like it isn’t a small part of the world that is lost in itself. It has the same feel as the first five where everyone in Thaisia is interconnected. It also gives me glimpses of Meg and Simon which I really appreciated (now if only I could have gotten more).
The most improved thing between Wild Country and Lake Silence was the villain of the book. I’ve read every single Anne Bishop book that I know of, now. All of her villains are pretty dumb overall, I’m used to it. But damn does this set look like absolute geniuses compared to the idiots in Lake Silence. They actually felt almost realistic. I’m certain there are people dumb enough out there to match these villains, while still being lucky enough to have survived the culling.
I still have some major problems with the series, though. The Others are all “our way or death”. Which, fine. Whatever. They’re the major predator. However, they’re still willing to work with humans, as long as the humans follow their rules. Yet they’re entirely unwilling to teach anyone how to even behave as Others want them to. They’re expected to just know it because they’re adults. Only, these adults didn’t grow up with the same expectations as Others did, didn’t learn the same cues the Others did. It is just completely frustrating for me, and I kept wanting to growl at the Others for being assholes. (Also I still dislike the strict gender ideas that pervades all of Bishop’s writing.)
I’m so glad I decided to read Wild Country. I really enjoyed myself, and I’m looking forward to what may come.