Book Review: The Devil’s Revolver (The Devil’s Revolver Book 1) by V.S. McGrath

When Hettie's sister is taken, Hettie is determined to get her back, but she soon finds out there are a lot of secrets surrounding her family that she never knew about, including a powerful cursed revolver that ends up in her possession. Hettie doesn't know who she can trust, but she soon finds herself with a posse of sorts and will do whatever it takes to get to her sister.

Book Review: The Devil's Revolver (The Devil's Revolver Book 1) by V.S. McGrath | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, paranormal/urban fantasy, western
Title: The Devil's Revolver
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 323
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*

I’ve come to love fantasy books set in the Old West lately, and this was certainly a fun one.

I loved the combination of the Old West and magic, how magic was just a normal, everyday thing. There were spells and talismans and sorcerers and magicked weapons and zoom tunnels (portals). And because there was magic, the world was altered a bit—there were agencies and divisions related to magic, there were stations where people could travel by zoom tunnel, etc. But there were also horses, ranches, trains, guns, gangs, and all that. I liked seeing how the fantasy aspect and the western setting blended. It was not a perfect world though, and the prejudice and colonization of the time were addressed as well.

Another thing I loved was the title object—the unique gun that kind of had a mind of its own. It can do things no ordinary gun can do, and it wants to do these things. It does have its drawbacks though, like the way it takes a year off its owner’s life (by aging them forward a year) every time they use it to kill someone, and the way it gets jealous if the owner tries to use any other guns.

But of course the gun needed someone to wield it, and that would be Hettie. Her desire to save her sister despite the danger was a little bit obsessive, but I think it made sense considering everything that happened at the start of the story. She was headstrong and stubborn and sometimes impulsive, but she was doing the best she could.

The rest of the characters were all unique and different—Ling, the mysterious healer who was treated poorly by most due to his ethnicity; Walker, the tall, dark, and handsome bounty hunter with some tricks up his sleeve; and Uncle, the shady but possibly good-hearted old coot who always knew more than he was letting on and was surprisingly good with magic. I was never quite sure who to trust, but I wanted to trust them all. Walker might be a love interest in future books, but there was no romance in this one, so I can’t say for sure. And oh, I can’t forget Cymon! He was not the brightest dog, but he was lovable. I didn’t really connect deeply to any of the characters, but I liked them, and I feel like there’s a lot of potential for the characters to develop more as the series goes on.

As for the plot and pacing, both were well-done with enough action and stakes to keep me reading, but not so much that it was exhausting. And while there were some violent, grim scenes and moments, I still found the book to be pretty fun overall in that action-packed, guns-and-magic-ablazin’ sort of way.

Also, just a note, there was a fair amount of violence in this book, but it was never described too graphically or with too much detail.

So overall, this was a fun, perfectly paced romp through a magic-filled Old West!


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  1. verushka

    Another western and magic! No complaints here though — the idea of the gun having a mind of its own is a wonderful plot point, I think and honestly. as weird as this is going to sound, the relationship with Hettie and the gun is sooo intriguing!

    1. Kristen Burns

      It doesn’t sound weird, I found that part intriguing too! And I have such a conflicted feeling because part of me feels like I *shouldn’t* want her to have and use the gun cuz of all the problems it causes, but a bigger part of me really wants her to!

  2. L

    I actually really love the cover for this! I also like the idea of a Western and magic. It’s crazy to think of people traveling the old-fashioned way by horse, but then there is also an option for portals. Crazy. You would think the tunnels would eliminate the need for horses and such, unless you can only use them if you’re magic, or the cost is ridiculously high.

    The gun is like… it’s own cursed person? Is it a soul within the gun that wants to avenge something or someone? Why does it want to hurt people, but also age the wielder? And a jealous gun?? Thanks, now I need to read this book, lol. It sounds great!

    Do You Dog-ear?

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love the cover too! And I love the combo of western and magic. The zoom tunnels can only be opened by powerful magic-users, and the ones that are permanently set up are in specific locations, so you still have to travel in some other way to get to them. And they are expensive. So don’t worry, it all makes sense 🙂

      The gun is really interesting. I don’t think it wants vengeance on anyone in particular, but it wants to be used, and it wants to kill. I hope you enjoy the book!

  3. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    Now this is a review! (of course, you always do great and thorough reviews without giving away too much). I am SOOOOO glad I own this book and I can’t wait to read it. That gun, those people, I need to learn more about them. Hmmm, wonder if I would sacrifice a year off my life if I could get away with murder? Of course, I don’t think you said she can get away with it so maybe I’m assuming too much. It’s also a small detail but I love how the revolver in the corner has the series number in it. Such a small detail but oh so helpful.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Aww shucks XD Ah, you did assume a little too much there lol. It doesn’t actually stop her from getting caught, so that is a bit of a problem for her. But the gun and the characters are both interesting! Yes, I love when books in a series have the series number on the cover!

  4. AngelErin

    Oo I LOVE that cover! I’m not into books in the old west, but I am so glad you enjoyed this one. It’s not for me, but it does sound like it would be enjoyable for a lot of people! ??

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love the cover too! Darn, I didn’t think I’d like the Old West until I started reading some books set there, and it turns out I love it! But I understand we all have diff tastes!

  5. Lola

    I can’t think of many books I read that are set in the Old West. It does sound like the blend of magic and the western setting is well done. I remember you said you haven’t watched Firefly, but that’s one of the few western type movies/ books I can think of. And it was interesting how the western elements combined with the sci-fi ones. And your review of this one with how the magic and western elements combine reminds me a bit of that tv series.

    That does sound like an interesting gun and it’s kinda fun when the title or the object it refers to in this case plays such a prominent role in the book.

    And the cast of characters sounds pretty unique in this book. It sounds well written with how you’re never sure who you can trust. Good to know it doens’t get too graphic even with the amount of violence. Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s a fun setting! No I haven’t watched Firefly, but that’s cool it’s got a western kinda feel.

      Yeah, I would’ve been disappointed if the gun didn’t play much of a role since that was part of what made the book sound so interesting!

      I figured it help might people to know that it’s not too graphic 🙂 Thanks!

  6. Daniela Ark

    I saw this one on NetGalley and I even think I asked you about it on GR but I don’t know… Not sure how I feel about Old West and magic yet. I think it is a concept I have to dwell on more. You know I’m slow to warm up to certain things 😉 Glad you enjoyed it though!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, you asked me about this one. I love that combo! I think the Old West makes a surprisingly great setting. But it was one that kind of had to grow on me, so I get your hesitancy. Thanks!

  7. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I love the cover for this book! I’m never certain about books with an Old West setting, it’s not something which always appeals to me but this does sound pretty cool. And a gun with a mind of its own? Well, that could be dangerous. It sounds like it has the potential to develop into an interesting series. I may have to check it out.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love the cover too! That’s fair, everyone has diff things that appeal to them. For me, it’s a setting I do find interesting. And I do think it’s a series with potential to develop a lot more 🙂 I hope you like it if you try it!

  8. Olivia Roach

    I don’t know why, but when I read the synopsis about the revolver my mind just jumped to Supernatural and the colt storyline at the beginning of the series 😀 This book actually sounds so great. I really like the sound of magic and the Old West coming together – that sounds like such a fun setting! And the characters and their relationships all sound pretty cool too. Maybe a series for me :3

    1. Kristen Burns

      Tbh I watched that so long ago I don’t even remember what you’re talking about lol. But this was a fun one! I do love the combo of magic and Old West. I hope you like it if you try it!