Today’s review is of Six-Gun Sorcery by Andrew Slinde. As usual, I found this book on Twitter. Full disclosure, I do follow the author on that platform and Instagram, but I have not had a lot personal interaction with him. As always, my opinions are my own and I am receiving no compensation for this review.
About the Author
Andrew Slinde currently resides in Iowa. His official bio assures the reader that he is not, in fact, a dozen squirrels in a raincoat. You can find him on Twitter here.
About the Book
Six-Gun Sorcery is a Fantasy novel published by small press Shadow Spark Publishing. It is not enrolled in Kindle Unlimited and may be purchased as an eBook from both Amazon and Barnes&Noble for $2.99. The paperback is $16.99, which is what I paid.
The book is 318 pages according to the Amazon listing, and is in English.
I really want to like the exterior design. It has a really good foundation. The clock-work, steampunk sort of gears and the revolver imposed over the desolate background are what first drew me to the book. And it looks really good on the computer screen. The problem comes into play when you’re holding the print edition of the book. There’s something sort of fuzzy about the whole thing, like the image that was given to the printers wasn’t quite a high enough resolution for that purpose. As a result, the writing on the back cover is sort of difficult to read. My eyes want to slide around instead of staying focused on the words. The cover would look so much better if the graphics were crisp and clean. 21/2 teaspoons.
The interior is nice enough. There’s nothing flashy or eye-catching. It uses a nice, legible serif font. Scenes breaks are clearly delineated. I did notice one chapter header that was not formatted the same as the rest, and it appears to be a mistake in the formatting, rather than an intentional difference. Still, there were no formatting errors that took away from the readability of the book. 3 teaspoons.
Total for design is 3 teaspoons.
The premise on this is so cool. It’s sort of like an old-fashioned western: you have a new law person going out to deal with their first big assignment out in the boonies. Yet, it’s also kind of steampunk with airships and mechanical horses. But it’s also fantasy with magic and monsters. It is by far the strangest genre mash-up I’ve ever read, and I love it. 5 teaspoons.
The main characters of the book are Peacekeeper Esther Triad, Leiyara the former bank teller, Hrakar the draconian warrior, and Le Valet des Couers. The way the main party contrasts with each other and the bonds they form are both interesting and well-written. I especially enjoyed the friendship between the women.
I enjoyed the way the author wrote his female characters. It would have been easy, I think, to fall into some nasty tropes. Leiyara easily could have just been a damsel in distress the whole book, yet she continually managed to surprise herself and her companions (even if she did need the occasional rescuing). Esther, on the other hand, is a beautiful blend of strength and self-reliance paired with an aching vulnerability as events wear on her.
Additionally, there was a wide variety of side characters, each with their own desires and prejudices.
Characters for me are 5 teaspoons.
In my opinion, the worldbuilding in this book is mind-blowing. It’s hard to call out just a few things. Each aspect of the world seems well thought out. I enjoyed how the author included transitionary details that show a world that is changing and growing. The monetary system, for example, is in a state of change-over from hard currency to paper. There’s a feeling of depth and history that is revealed through the way the characters react to the changing world around them.
There’s also the monsters. Oh, the monsters. I think by far the most horrifying thing in the whole book is probably the demon fungi.
Solid 5 teaspoons for worldbuilding.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was the way the plot continually surprised me. I frequently did not see the hits coming, and spent much of my time reading on the edge of my seat. The pacing was excellent and kept me engaged. There is a tiny bit of an info dump at the beginning, but it’s so interesting as to be forgiven.
I found the book to be well-written. The action scenes in particular were enjoyable, and even heart-stopping at times. There were a few editing mistakes that I noticed that had me re-reading some sentences here and there.
4 teaspoons for writing.
I am solidly ranking this book at 4 teaspoons. I think with a few minor polishes it would be a solid 5. It has so many wonderful qualities going for it, from the unique genre mash-up to the interesting characters and plot. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel later this month.