by Lyndsay Ely
Published on January 2, 2018 by Jimmy Patterson
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
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.
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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.