*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*
This series is a wonderfully unique blend of western gunslinging and magic. It’s so much fun seeing the alternate version of our world this author has created and how magic has impacted society and people’s ways of life.
This sequel was rather different from the first book since it took place mostly in a village in Mexico rather than the American Frontier. While it did slow down the pace and give the plot somewhat of a meandering feel, it was neat getting to see how this little, close-knit, fairly isolated community worked, and it kept things fresh by and giving Hettie different sorts of problems to deal with instead of more running and chasing. It also let the reader learn more about this fictional world and brought some new characters into the story.
Speaking of the characters, both the old and the new were three-dimensional and imperfect. A lot of them made mistakes. Some of them tried to atone for those mistakes as best as they could. Hettie frustrated me with a few questionable decisions she made, but she was still a brave, headstrong heroine who prioritized her sister’s safety above all else, which was admirable, and who was willing to put herself at risk to help others. Walker went through some struggles but also some growth. Uncle was his usual gruff-but-caring-in-his-own-way self. Ling was trying to do what was best, even if he wasn’t always sure what “best” was. Raul, a new character, could be overbearing, but he cared about his village. Even Hettie’s gun had a bit more personality this time, which I thought was interesting.
Another thing I liked were all the surprises and small twists! I also found the whole story to be pretty unpredictable. I was never sure what would happen next, how certain relationships would turn out, or what different characters might do. I like being kept on my toes, unable to predict the outcomes of everything.
Overall, this was another enjoyable, well-written book in this magic-filled western series!
Fans of Book 1 in V.S. McGrath's The Devil's Revolver series. Anyone who likes the Old West, magic, headstrong heroines, and motley crews.