by Lyndsay Ely
Published on January 2, 2018 by Jimmy Patterson
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
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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.
This book was provided by the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I wanted to love Gunslinger Girl. So much, in fact, that when I started struggling to read it and set it aside I couldn’t bring myself to read something else in the meantime. As though if I limited myself long enough I’d give in and push through until it got better because it totally would. . . right?
It kind of did. Enough that I finished the book feeling pretty meh about it all. Good, not great. I was expecting a futuristic Wild West. Maybe in the vein of Westworld (which I’m a tad obsessed with) with a younger heroine? Not quite what I got. Instead it started out promising but quickly fell into tropes I’m used to seeing in dystopian YAs with a hint of western flair. Main character comes from a bad place, escapes to a “better” place, learns this “better” place isn’t as great as it seems. Possible love triangle. But tropes aren’t bad.
I’m just tired of them in this particular genre.
It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have had the expectation that this book would be different and instead just read it as is. Now that said, I did like Pity (though reading “Pity” over and over started confusing me, I kept thinking it was the noun rather than the name). She’s not always sure of herself but wants to do more with her life than life in a Commune and have children, and she’s willing to risk everything to find something more. But I also didn’t have strong opinions about her either. Much like I found the book, Pity is a good heroine, but not anything spectacular.
So an average character plays sharpshooter in what amounts to a weird combination of dystopia and Old Wild West. Now I would expect that the story would sort of revolve around Pity’s abilities with a pistol and, to a point, it was. But then everything slowed down after those initial high-tension scenes and you’re left with a weird romance subplot intermixed with schemes and plots afoot. The story became less about Pity and more about everything happening around her and how she handled it.
I started losing interest.
I enjoy books where the character is driving the plot through their decisions, where the character has to struggle and deal with making the wrong decision. Instead, Gunslinger Girl felt like a series of events happening to the character and she reacted. Too much reaction, not enough action (in this particular sense).
It’s not a bad book. But it wasn’t a spectacular book either. Definitely average and I might pick up the sequel in the future but it’s not high on my list especially with how this book ended and a particular subplot I wasn’t a fan of.
Be careful of your expectations when reading this book.