It’s going to be hard for me to describe this book, let alone review it. I really liked it! But it’s hard to put a pin in.
First, I’ll say that it took me awhile to finally get to this book. I bought it when it was on sale through a BookBub email and I saw it had very good reviews, but then every time I’d look at my Kindle and read the description I’d lose interest because I really don’t read westerns. And this is definitely a western, albeit a very unique one: in fact, it’s one fault is that it leans a little too hard on being one, and sometimes the cowboy speak made me roll my eyes. But this isn’t like any western I’ve read or heard of.
To start with, this is a western full of monsters and legends: sirens, vampires, and more populate the world, some with good intentions and many more of them with very, very bad intentions. The Big Bad seems to be a creature of Bowen’s own creation, though it reminded me of a wendigo, which just happens to be my favorite type of fictional monster. And of course like any good supernatural novel, sometimes the monsters are the human beings, too.
Also, the diversity in this western is impressive, especially since it never feels forced: often when I read diverse characters in period pieces, I have a hard time suspending disbelief because I know those characters just wouldn’t be accepted in the situations they’re put in. This book manages to elude that issue, allowing a mixed race, probably bisexual, gender non-conforming main character to feel natural in the old west.
It’s also just a propulsive, interesting read. I often get annoyed when I start a book and realize it’s part of a trilogy. There are too many trilogies nowadays. Please eliminate three. P.S. I am not a crackpot. Anyway, it’s a good sign when I overcome that and buy the next book in a series immediately after finishing the first.
I will note that there are several triggering scenes in this book, so buyer beware.