This is the sixth in her The Others series and almost as wonderful as the first five; although this one has an entirely different cast of characters.
The Others are those sentient native terran species that aren’t human. In this alternate earth, humans evolved isolated from the rest of the world and by the time they were ready to explore and colonize, they discovered the rest of the world didn’t belong to them. And if they encroached where they were not welcome they got eaten. But after a time, they learned to trade the things they made and invented with The Others and won land for their use. But The Others controlled all the natural resources and the humans could only use that which was allowed to them. This story is about how both the Humans and the Others try to work together. Please see the other reviews for more background.
While this story is still on the continent of Thiasia, which correlates to North America, it is particularly in the Finger Lakes area (Great Lakes) and has a different cast of characters. Vicki is human and recovering from a messy divorce. Her divorce settlement included a rustic resort on one of the Finger Lakes and Vicki has decided to do a little renovation and bring the old resort back to a condition that would entice visitors to once more visit Lake Silence. It’s been a long six months and she labored hard to adher to the letter of agreement between the long-dead Honoria Dane, her ex-husband’s Aunt, and The Others who control the area. The original agreement was to create a safe area where humans and Others could co-exist and learn from each other. But Vicki hasn’t quite learned what exactly that will mean to her future. Vicki is still severely emotionally bruised and damaged from her nasty marriage so has not made a lot of contacts or friends in town. Her closest contact is a young teenager, possibly a runaway, who is renting one of her cabins.
The true nature of the young teenager, Aggie, becomes more clear when Vicki interrupts her warming up an eyeball. But, as Aggie explained, the dead man didn’t need it anymore. Vicki immediately called the local Highway Patrol, as the town was too small for a local police force and no one wanted to work there anyway. This brought in Officer Grimshaw to investigate the dead body on her property and while his presence was somewhat stressful to Vicki it wasn’t anything next to the other police officers who appeared at her door to inform her that she didn’t actually own The Jumble, as her property was known. They then accompanied her to the bank to get the deed to prove her ownership only to find her safe deposit box had been emptied. The next shock to poor Vickie was to meet her very own (gorgeous, totally yummy) attorney. An attorney that she neither called nor could afford, but who seemed to guarantee that he would do everything to take care of her. This was not the male attention to which she was accustomed. But having a scrumptious vampire attorney was only the first of many shocks and revelations coming at her.
For reasons that Vicki could not truly fathom, the local Others (and Elders!) seemed to have a very personal interest in retaining her as the owner of The Jumble; and helped her face down the very dangerous men who were determined to take it away from her. The plot really hinged on the truly staggering arrogance of human men who thought they could trick The Others and not die for it. Considering the events of the preceding book, it seemed a stretch of imagination for there to be a single human soul on the planet who didn’t know what The Others were capable of doing.
The other issue I had was with Vickie. A more broken and pathetic woman, you’d have trouble finding. Meg of the previous books was also more than a little broken. Both women were forced to depend on the kindness of strangers to survive trials. It felt a little forced and even improbable considering the nature of The Others and the fact that all humans were prey; weak prey always being more vulnerable. But The Others show inexplicable concern and consideration.
It was fun and I enjoyed it but it felt rather like the same story. I desperately want more of The Others but I really want a stronger female protagonist and a different storyline. I hope Ms. Bishop is listening…..~~ Catherine Book
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