Ahhhh The Others. I can’t give up on them. I even admittedly did not really like the last volume of the series that I read, and yet still, this showed up on NetGalley and I pressed that request button with no second thoughts about it.
Here’s hoping for the best, right? 😀
Thanks to the author, as well as Ace via NetGalley for the review copy!~
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.
“Something about the drawing upsets you,” Jesse said.
Tolya shook his head. “I haven’t seen it yet. But Jackson Wolfgard has seen it.” He finally looked at her. “And Jackson is afraid.”
This installment in the world of The Others follows several people who reside in the small town of Bennett, which has been afflicted pretty badly when the Elders went on a bit of a rampage. This story runs concurrently to a lot of Etched in Bone, and there are a few cameos from characters from that book.
Jesse Walker and her son Tobias are Intuit that live in the small town of Prairie Gold just adjacent to Bennett. They are helping Tolya Sanguinati, the mayor of Bennett, with the resettlement process.
Jana is fresh out of police academy, and the only woman to have graduated in her class. She is given a mysterious message from a stranger to head to the city of Lakeside. Once there, she gets a job as a deputy sheriff of Bennett. The sheriff, Virgil Wolfgard, and his deputy Kane are the only two adult Wolfgard that survived the human assault on Bennett that ended up causing the Elders to retaliate and destroy a goodly portion of humanity on the continent of Thaisia.
Abigail is an Intuit (people who are, for lack of a better term, a bit clairvoyant about things) pretending to be someone she isn’t. She fled from her gambler and hustler father into the arms of a young husband who promised to bring her somewhere very remote, and did, but her Intuit powers are coming to light and her marriage is falling apart because of it.
Evan and his partner Kenneth come to town with their four kids, all of whom are orphans that they saved on their travels. What has the terra indigine of Bennett up in arms is that three of the kids are Others, and one is a blood prophet, a cassandra sangue. She must be protected as much as possible, and so when they settle into a house in town, the Others move in around them to protect her.
Scythe rolls into town wanting to open a frontier-style saloon in town. Which is just fine, except that she, like Tess in the earlier Others books, is a Harvester, a Plague Rider. One of the most dangerous and lethal types of terra indigine that there is. Scythe is a bit new at mingling with humans. Also, that’s Madam Scythe to you.
And then a group of outlaws called the Blackstone Clan comes to down, and of course shenanigans ensue when they do.
All told, I have to say that I liked this one more than I liked Lake Silence, as there were more characters to follow, making it a little more broad a plotline. Where Lake Silence felt like the continuing adventures of Meg Corbyn only in a different place with a different name, this volume followed many people who were different enough and had their own stories that it felt familiar but still new. I will admit that there were times that Virgil Wolfgard felt like Simon 2.0 though, but it didn’t end up bothering me so much. Lots happens in this one, just like other books in the Others series. We see a lot of the day to day life of a few people who live in this frontier town on the borders of the wild country. Someone even gets laid in this volume, guys! Hooray!! 😀
Bennett was mentioned at times in the original series, and so it felt at least partially familiar. Tolya Sanguinati and Jesse Walker were characters that I had already been introduced to. It was interesting seeing a small mixed town of people come together and form a working community. I especially liked the relationship between Virgil Wolfgard and his deputy, Jana and how it grew over the course of the book, as well as that of Jana and Tobias Walker. I definitely loved Tolya Sanguinati as well. He is a good example of one of the Others who is, at times, not very Other… and at times also very, very Other. Like I have said in the past, I am a sucker for the Sanguinati (#notsorry) as characters. They bring an interesting element into a world that I already find rather interesting.
My chief complaint (and only complaint, really) with this one is a pretty similar complaint that I had towards both Lake Silence and Etched in Bone as well. The antagonists were really kind of ridiculous.
Every antagonist in this book is so over-the-top bad that my eyes rolled a bit once or twice. I mean they’re already clearly described as outlaws, gamblers and cheaters and what have you, and that are coming to wreak havoc on Bennett. And yet, despite that, pretty every time any of these characters were in a scene, they were abusing, raping, or murdering someone in ways that just seemed forced and were just there for shock value. For instance, a dude walks into a bar full of people and immediately assaults a woman for absolutely no discernible reason. That kind of thing.
The main villain is a guy who is made out to be so clever and devious that he can con his way to whatever he wants. Now, that said, here’s a quick reminder that this book takes place right after the terra indigine Elders very easily killed off a huge chunk of the human population of this entire continent for attacking the terra indigine.
So, I mean… of course our super clever antagonists attack the terra indigine. Of course they do. S-M-R-T.
But, I still liked this one quite a bit despite the awful antagonists, because the protagonists and the way they all came together to make a town work made this book fun for me, and that seemed to be the real driving force of this story. I liked these characters and I can honestly say I would love to read more about the continuing adventures of the town of Bennett.
It was a pretty fun read, and was hard to put down, so I finished it in just about a day. I said to myself after not liking Lake Silence very much that it was probably just a dud and that I would continue one nonetheless because I love the world of the Others, and I think the terra indigine are brilliant beings to read about. Well, here I am, and I’ll definitely be sticking around here for the next in the series too! But I really hope that the bad guys of Thaisia start getting smarter. Here’s hoping! 3.5/5 stars!~
Thanks again to Ace via NetGalley for the review copy!