Ahoy there me mateys! This novel is the second in The Shadow series, which is an awesome western fantasy. If ye haven’t read the first book, wake of vultures, then ye might want to skip this post, grab yer horses, and ride out to the nearest dry goods store to get yerself a copy. Worth the read. If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril.
Well, Lila Bowen has done it again. This book was a wonderful continuation of the story of Nettie/Rhett. The first novel ended on a fantastic cliffhanger that made me anxious to get me hooks into the next book.
This novel deals with monsters, the building of the railroad, diverse characters, identity, and, above all, action. Me thoughts in no particular order:
- The setting: I continue to love the setting of the book with the Old West and monsters. The book has such a western feel but with the addition of fantasy elements, historical blending, and a variety of myths, the traditional western is enhanced into something bold and exciting.
- The main character: I love that Rhett continues to explore his own nature. One of the interesting concepts in the series is the use of names as part of identity. Rhett started out as Nettie in book one and as circumstances change, takes on different names as a consequence of different situations. Whether called the Shadow, Nat, Rhett, Nettie, etc., Rhett continues to understand a name is only part of who ye are and doesn’t have to define who ye are. For me, watching Rhett grow as a person is really the heart of the story and it is fascinating.
- The gang: Rhett’s ragtag bunch of friends continues to amuse. This book adds Earl, a Irish lad who can transform into a donkey. The relationship between Earl and Rhett was both endearing and not at the same time. I think it’s great that traveling companions can support each other and protect each other and yet can bicker at the same time. Rhett is prickly. So are the others in his group like Dan. The distinct personalities of each of the characters is a highlight of the novel.
- The magic: The magic of the West continues to fascinate. Rhett continues to explore his newfound powers with some entertaining side effects especially around eating. The magic surrounding the railroad and the villain is particularly fun. I want to spoil it but I won’t.
- The writing: I love the author’s writing style. She deals with such complex topics that make ye think while also not impeding the plot. In fact, such ideas enrich the diverse characterizations and make the characters seem all too real and yet bigger than life at the same time. As flawed and downtrodden as the people are, there is also hope, tenacity, strength, and growth in their survival
While trying to write me thoughts in this log, I realized after an hour that I cannot state me beliefs on this novel better than the viewpoint of one of me crew, Drew @ the tattooed book geek, so as yer Captain, I order ye to check out that scoundrel’s review by clicking on the link that be his name.
Side note: Apparently Lila Bowen is the pen name of Delilah S. Dawson and she has written lots of other things. Cool huh?
Apparently there are two more books in The Shadow Series to come! Hooray!! I can’t wait.
So lastly . . .
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
Monsters, magic and the supernatural combine in this sequel to Wake of Vultures, in which a young woman must defeat the evil hiding beneath the surface.
Nettie Lonesome made a leap — not knowing what she’d become. But now the destiny of the Shadow is calling.
A powerful alchemist is leaving a trail of dead across the prairie. And the Shadow must face the ultimate challenge: side with her friends and the badge on her chest or take off alone on the dangerous mission pulling her inexorably toward the fight of her life.
When it comes to monsters and men, the world isn’t black and white. What good are two wings and a gun when your enemy can command a conspiracy of ravens?
Conspiracy of Ravens continues the exciting journey begun in Wake of Vultures as Nettie Lonesome discovers that she, and the world, are more than what they seem.
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This Captain received a free copy of this novel from NetGalley and Orbit Books in exchange for an honest review.