In the world of this series, humans live in what we would call North America at the sufferance of the terre indigenene – the Others who lived here before humans ever found the land. Their treaties give them full control of the lands they have has shared with humans, and humans occasionally need to be reminded where the real power of what the story calls Thaiasia resides.
Up until this book, I had a pretty good separation from the story – shape shifters, elemental spirits and blood prophets don’t exist in my world. And while humans really do keep proving themselves to be the villains of this series, it felt like a real ramp up into the real world this time around.
The human allies of the Other’s Courtyard are reporting that they are facing food shortages over the winter, which baffles the Others – they know all the farms are producing plenty of food. But then, one of the local wolves, returning to Lakeside on the train, runs into a small girl traveling alone, who turns out to be the daughter of police Lt. Montgomery. He had been forced to leave Lizzy behind with her mother when he was transferred to Lakeside and Lizzy’s mother refused to go with him. There’s no sign of her mother, and Lizzy is too young to be on that train alone. What they uncover has much larger implications for the whole of Thaiasia.
There’s a real sense of impending doom hanging over this story at this point, because the only humans the story interacts with are friendly to the Others, and they are clearly in the minority right now. There’s hope that they can turn things around, but things sure aren’t looking good right now. It feels very true to life at the moment.