548480339.jpegThis is the debut novel for author Lyndsay Ely, but when you read it there isn’t an indication of that fact. Except when you read the author bio of course. It’s so expertly written and edited that you would have thought it was Ely’s fourth or fifth novel. If this is the level of talent that Ely exudes in her first novel, one can only imagine what the future holds for her.

As far as the quality of the product, I purchased this in hardback which I highly advise. The book, published in January 2018 by Jimmy Patterson Books which is an imprint of Little, Brown and Company, weighs in at 422 pages. What I like about the actual book itself, the binding of it allows you the ability to open it up and lay it flat without the book closing. The book jacket has a nice feel to it. The artwork is phenomenal as well. Kudos to Brandon Hill. The formatting is also nice. At the beginning of the chapter there’s a rustic look to the page which adds to the feel of a dystopian western feel. Overall, it added to my appreciation of the book overall.

I know you didn’t read this wanting to know what I thought about the book itself, but the contents inside of it. So let’s jump into the pages of Gunslinger Girl and see what I liked about it.

The story is set in a future about two decades after the Second Civil War ends. The United States is no longer around having been replaced by the Confederation of North America, CONA for short. Readers are plunged into the narrative of a teenage girl named Serendipity “Pity” Jones. Pity lives on one of the many communes that scatter the CONA west. Her commune is responsible for raising crops to send back East.

Readers will sympathize with Pity as she is berated and belittled by her father and two brothers. Her mother, who Pity takes after, died long before the book begins. Certain circumstances arise forcing Pity to wind up in Cessastion. Think New Vegas in the video game Fallout: New Vegas, with the colorfulness of Hunger Games. Pity becomes part of a theater act and known as “the fastest sharpshooter in tomorrow’s West.”

Pity then becomes involved in a twisted behind-the-scenes political game where she’ll have to make some decisions that test her moral compass. She’ll have to rely on that compass and back it up with the six shooters on her hip if she wants to survive.

Pity’s story is an excellent coming of age novel that’s set in a dystopian western that incorporates futuristic technology you’d find in Hunger Games. There’s also the playful grittiness involved that you’d commonly find in a western, The Quick and the Dead (1995) for example.

I won’t spoil the plot any further. I wouldn’t want to have Pity hunt me down and force me to join the theater.

The book is marketed towards Young Adults, but I would recommend this book to anyone that likes futuristic westerns. It’s got romance without being explicit, death, action, adventure, political themes, and the hints of a really interesting sequel. I’m not ashamed to say that, as a 32 year old man, I had a tear or two in my eye when I finished reading it…. maybe just a sliver of a tear. I can’t remember when I’ve spent an entire Sunday reading, it was that good of a read.

Here’s hoping that this novel is just the first in Serendipity Jones’s story. Have you read this book yet? Let me know in the comments below on whether you share my opinion or have a different one.

You can purchase Gunslinger Girl here and read it for yourself.

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