STORY: Serendipity “Pity” Jones is living a tough life. A life that’s forced her to be skilled in one specific way: a sharpshooter. As she and her best friend make plans to escape Pity’s cruel and domineering father, tragedy strikes. Along the way, Pity loses everything but her six shooters. Left for dead, she’s rescued by a band of misfits bound for the glittering (and lawless!) city of Cessation…‘GUNSLINGER GIRL’: YA Dystopian Western Marks Debut #FWarchives #YALit Click To Tweet
REVIEW: Figuring out how to describe this debut novel is proving a task. Part of the quandary is that it’s not totally within my wheel house of genres. Weird, I realize, as this is to say since I did request a copy of it. (But, come on! I couldn’t help it because a. its synopsis sounds kick-butt cool and b. that cover art is amazing.) The blend of genres (western and dystopian) also seemed too good to pass up. Despite the tone this review is setting, don’t let me fool you. I did enjoy this book. That said, there are some opinions I walked away with that aren’t five-star quality.
We’ll discuss those first. This book is decadent. I’m not sure what other word to use. It’s set in a world of power and debauchery. As its synopsis alludes to, parts of it harken back to The Hunger Games as it compares its heroine as a cross between “Annie Oakley and Katniss Everdeen.” It’s an accurate portrayal of who you’ll meet inside these pages. Pity has the sharpshooting skill and abilities of the famous western figure and the survival mentality of the pop icon.
The colorful world in which this story takes place will make readers who wish for something beyond “cookie cutter” normal happy. The politics or “system” of the world isn’t one I’m overly fond it. It echoes back to The Hunger Games, which is uses a form of control I’m not fond of. The loss of a character’s choice is not something I like reading about, though in all fairness, as a reader, its purpose isn’t lost on me.
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Pity is a fighter and unique character, and a heroine I did enjoy getting to know. The characters that support her lead are interesting and entertaining. Though subtle, there is a thread of romance that weaves through the story. There’s danger, excitement and moments of quiet. In short, Gunslinger Girl packs a lot into its story. Ely’s debut is a memorable one sure to make fans of the genre happy. It effortlessly combines a desolate (dystopian) world with the imagery of western. The latter is a genre I don’t see much in fiction, so for that alone, I applaud Gunslinger Girl.
Those who like everything tied up in a neat bow will be disappointed in the open-ended conclusion (at this time, there is no follow up). The end is a kind of new-adventure-ahead kind of place, but this doesn’t translate to the same in terms of character connections and relationships.
Full of twists and unexpected reveals, this is an exhilarating novel. Fast-paced and unique, Gunslinger Girl is, in short, a memorable debut. The blended genres suit each other, and the storytelling keeps its reader engaged and eager to flip pages; especially because of its gun-toting, fierce heroine who seems unafraid of most everything!
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ABOUT the BOOK
Author: Lindsay Ely
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Publication Date: 2018
Genre: Fiction; Dystopian, YA Lit
Source: Publisher Provided ARC – thank you, Little Brown
Shop the Book: Amazon | Goodreads
FIND the REVIEW ELSEWHERE: Amazon | Goodreads
Sincere thanks (and apologies for the review delay) to the publisher for providing an ARC copy of this book; all opinions are my own