Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:
Synopsis for Gunslinger Girl (from Goodreads):
James Patterson presents a bold new heroine—a cross between Katniss Everdeen and Annie Oakley: Serendipity Jones, the fastest sharpshooter in tomorrow’s West.
Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great….
In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity’s struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.
Disclaimer: I stopped reading Gunslinger Girl at 17% (Start of Chapter 7). Find out why below…
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
Ever since I read (and loved) Vengeance Road, I’ve been eager to read YA Westerns. I had zero luck with Walk on Earth a Stranger but there was something about Gunslinger Girl that gave me hope it would be the one. I had great luck with Stalking Jack the Ripper, the first “James Patterson Presents” novel so I was optimistic when this one came in from the library.
What I Liked:
–The Premise of the World–
I really loved that this was set in the future but had the throwback to the Western era. I will admit that I was disappointed this wasn’t a true Western at first. But what I love about the Western genre is that we often see the grittiness of human nature. There is a reason they call it the “Wild West” after all. The character’s main drive is to survive and so we see them tested in a way we don’t often do in more modern or fantasy novels.
Add to that the dystopian elements (like breeding programs and colony communities) and I was intrigued…until nothing was really done with them.
What I Didn’t Like:
–The Lack of World Building–
Truthfully, if the synopsis didn’t highlight the fact that a Second Civil War had occurred, I would have been really confused. Like I’m not sure if I would have picked that up in the material I read.
Also, the Western aspect is such a small aspect of this story. So they all carry guns and it isn’t safe to leave town to bandits? You can transpose that from any dystopian novel without the Wild West influence. That was very disappointing and it didn’t look like it would get any stronger either as the setting shifts to a carnival aspect that I wasn’t feeling at all.
–Pity is too Blah–
I was very underwhelmed with Pity’s character. I went in thinking she was some already a badass chick but that is far from the case. Even with some of the events that happen to her, she just seemed so tame. I just couldn’t get invested in her character. Perhaps she would have had some good character development later in the novel (honestly, there is a lot you could do with her) but I didn’t want to dedicate the time to find out.
Will I Finish It?
Nope. I read some reviews (both positive and negative) and decided this book wasn’t for me. I just didn’t like the way it was progressing so I’ve decided to leave it there.
My Rating: DNF
As long as you know that this is a dystopian novel and not a Western, I think you might find something to enjoy here.
Read if You Like: dystopian, slower stories
Avoid if You: want a true Western
- Wither by Lauren DeStefano (Chemical Gardens Trilogy #1)
- Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman (Vengeance Road #1)
- Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson (Gold Seer Trilogy #1)