Gunslinger Girl, by Lyndsay Ely
Publish Date: January 2, 2018
Published by: jimmy patterson (imprint of Little, Brown and Company)
Genre: YA Fiction/Dystopian
My Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)
**I received this as an ARC from the publisher at BookCon2017 in return for an honest review.**
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.
This book stole my heart. I really did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. And while the beginning was entertaining and pushed the story into action right away, I think the moment I truly fell in love with it was when we find out that the most-likely-love-interest is a scenic artist/costume designer.
What? I work in theatre of course I’m going to get giddy over that!
Anyway, this book was definitely not what I was expecting. When I first read the synopsis I was picturing Wild West but with advanced technology and stuff. What it actually is is more like…Theatre Macabre/Sideshow acts/Moulin Rouge meets Las Vegas meets some really gritty gang and politics stuff. It sounds like an odd mix when you lay it out like that but it worked. I couldn’t stop thinking about this book the entire time I was reading it, and all I wanted to do whenever I was working or doing something else was pick it back up and read more.
The beginning was mostly a sort of set-the-scene kind of thing, giving the reader an idea of what Pity’s life is like and how she comes to Cessation. Once there the story really takes off, with the plot moving swiftly between the intrigue, romance, theatre, and of course, the action, pulling the reader along into the world of Casimir. It kept me interested the entire time I was reading it, with small plot twists here and there constantly keeping me on the tips of my toes, and moments of action that flowed excellently against the moments of intrigue and character development.
Mostly, though, I loved the characters. They are what really held my attention throughout the story. They were all wonderfully complex, with traits both good and bad in such a human way. Pity and Max, of course, were my favorites, and I loved how well Lyndsay Ely delved into Pity’s emotions whenever she faced something that played with them. She just twisted the words so well I felt as though I were Pity during those moments, feeling what she was feeling. And Max was so sweet and wonderful I knew instantly they would be together, but I also loved that there was so much more to him than what was just on the surface. The side characters, too, had such complexity that they really made the story that much more alive. From Selene’s disturbing need for control juxtaposed with her desire to protect her city, to the beauty that was the friendship between Luster, Garland and Duchess, I just thought that these characters are really what made this story shine.
This book was just such an unexpected gem and I am so so glad my friend and I went on a whim to the signing Lyndsay Ely was doing that day at BookCon, because this is definitely going to be one I will be thinking about for some time. It was fun, entertaining, full of emotion and intrigue, had a beautiful romance, and characters that were wonderfully complex. Definitely recommended for all.