This is a Western low fantasy book that reads like a mix between a cowboy movie (if the cowboy was Batman) sprinkled with a little monster invasion. It was definitely different. The first chapter felt much more like a prologue than a “Chapter One”, and honestly I was feeling on the fence and confused after reading the first few chapters. The first chapter told me it was the year 2017 which felt familiar and urban, but the subsequent chapters were much more of an early 1900’s western vibe – there were gas lamps, horse-drawn carriages, handwritten letters etc. It took me a bit to settle into it but once I did, I enjoyed myself.
The main character is broody, he jumps around on roof tops, wears a cape, and fights crime. He’s also very well educated and formal, he’s not a ruffian type vigilante. He’s known as The Reeve and it’s his job to keep the peace and make sure the citizens follow the law.
There’s another rogue vigilante type character named the Veil. She’s also out to protect the city but she’s more of a break the law if necessary type, unlike Logan, who is more of a follow the law to the letter type. He’s a bit over powered if you ask me, and he thinks very highly of himself which made him a little more difficult for me to relate to. I found myself enjoying Amelia as a person more so than Logan – which was sad for me because she didn’t have nearly as many chapters, and there were long breaks between them.
At the start of the book a young man dies and on its surface it appears to be a suicide. There’s a note left in the victim’s handwriting, he just broke up with his girlfriend, and it looks like he jumped to his death. Something doesn’t feel right to Logan, however, and after some digging Logan finds poison and believes the young man’s death was due to foul play. Foul play that could possibly be linked to a long-gone race/culture known as the Wojiin. This is a murder mystery so going more into the plot would be spoilery.
The writing was descriptive but didn’t overwhelm the story, but it was still more straightforward than some of the other entries I’ve had this year. The writing style helped get me into the story quickly. There’s no cursing in this book, it’s also on the shorter side and gets right to the point, but I’d hesitate to call it YA – it’s a slower burn kind of book with older MC’s with themes more on the adult side of things.
The pacing was a bit off for me, it starts out strong and fast, but then it meanders in the middle of the book. It took until about 80% for the pace to pick back up and from there it goes super fast, the book explodes in the last fifth.
I didn’t like the constant flashbacks, there are LOTS of memories for both of the characters and it threw me out of the story more than once. There were just so many of them and they would come at random times, I would be into a scene and then it would cut to something else, and by the time it rounded back to the original scene I had disconnected feeling. This could also be a me thing, the flashbacks for Logan’s character were dominated by a past love named Clara, and although she likely plays a bigger part in later books, I just didn’t find myself engaged in their backstory.
Overall this was a decent read, it kept me engaged enough that I didn’t DNF, but I didn’t connect with it well enough to consider it a semi-finalist either. So, unfortunately, this one is a cut for me – however, I really recommend picking it up if you liked the sound of the review.
- Plot: 10/15
- Characters: 9/15
- World Building 11/15
- Writing 10.5/15
- Pacing 9/15
- Originality 10/15
- Personal Enjoyment 5/10
Final Score: 64.5/100 -> 6.5/10 for SPFBO -> 3.25/5 stars on GR
- Read: 100%
- Rating: 6.5/10