Westie lives in Rogue City, a place full of magical creatures. and humans living together. She lost her arm as a child after her family was attacked by cannibals on the wagon trail and adopted by infamous inventor Nigel Butler as she was the only survivor. Now, nine years later, she’s determined to find the people who slaughtered her family and make them pay. When new investors, a wealthy family, come to Rogue City to possibly finance Nigel’s newest invention, an invention that could save the city as the magic that has kept them save for so long is depleting, it should be a joyous occasion. The problem: these investors look exactly like the family that killed Westie’s family. Westie sets out to prove them guilty with the help of Nigel’s assistant Alistair, but she has to watch her step or risk losing the people she now calls family.
I wasn’t quite sure what this book would be like going into it. It sounded, at first, like a paranormal western, but the more I read, there were also some steampunk elements thrown in and it ended up feeling a lot less western than I expected. There were a few times when it felt like the plot was trying to be too many things at once and a lot of things got touched upon but never really felt completed. It was slow to begin with but once Westie became determined to investigate, the action picked up.
Westie was a great character. I wanted to scream at her to have come sense just as much as I wanted to be her friend. She was stubborn and could be infuriatingly narrow-sighted but she also cared about her friends and I could definitely understand her wanting revenge against the people who’d stolen her whole family away from her. She was definitely an action now, think later type of girl, another thing that made me want to scream at her. She had to learn to let other people in and to trust them, that they could help her instead of holding her back. She was entertaining and her loud-mouthed comments had me laughing at times then she’d turn around and make me tear up as she lost herself to alcohol to numb herself.
My main complaint of the book would be that all the secondary characters felt underdeveloped. There were many, and there were quite a few that interacted a lot with Westie and there was a lot of room to give them more depth, but it never happened. The character that got the most depth and attention outside Westie was Alistair, one of the love interests and a boy who’d grown up with Westie after also being adopted by Nigel. I liked his character and was glad he got some development but it felt like all the other characters barely skimmed the surface of who they were.
The plot started slowly and kept a pretty steady pace for the first half of the book, baring a few scenes here and there that had some action. It was all about setting up the world, Rogue City, and the stakes at Westie was facing trying to prove such a wealthy family of cannibalism. There was a lot of information to absorb: all the different magical creatures, the magic used to sustain Rogue City, the Undying and how they became that way, Westie’s backstory. Once Westie started to put her mind on moving on so she could be clear-headed enough to get the Fairchilds, the action started to pick up. There were a lot of twists and turns in the last quarter of the book. I was able to figure out one of the big ones but one caught me totally off-guard. I love when plot twists are able to surprise me.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.