Graphic Novel Review: Hotblood! A Centaur in the Old West by Toril Orlesky

Steel industry business owner Asa is less than pleased to find the secretary sent to him is a centaur, but James is determined to do this job. James soons finds that Asa may not be all bad and finds that he even likes being around him, and he finds himself caught up in a mess in the Wild West thanks to one of Asa's crazy plans.

Graphic Novel Review: Hotblood! A Centaur in the Old West by Toril Orlesky | reading, books, book reviews, graphic novels, webcomics, fantasy, western, lgbtqia, m/m
Title: Hotblood! A Centaur in the Old West
Pages: 324 (omnibus edition)
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Distributer, Webcomic


This is a review for the entire Hotblood! webcomic because it’s the type of thing you can easily read in one sitting and because it’s sold as an omnibus.

So the first and most important thing… a centaur main character! A gay centaur main character! A gay centaur main character in the Old West! Whaaaaaaaat? I know, right? You don’t see that every day. And the centaur thing did end up being pretty neat, even though it was treated in a very non-magical, “this is normal” way. I loved when James would lay on his back and his horse legs would be all up in the air lol. It was also cute how Asa would lean on him when they were standing and sitting; the relationship in general between the two characters was cute too at times, and it was neat seeing the human body and horse body interacting (there was no sex though, at least not in the webcomic version). And it was just cool seeing how the centaurs did things in general, like how they would lie down on the floor to be at the right level while humans would sit in a chair, or how James would sometimes sleep by lying the horse part of his body down on the floor but leaning his head over on a couch.

As for the artwork, it was in full color, and the color palettes used were absolutely gorgeous. I’ve never been so obsessed with or cognizant of colors in a comic before. (It wasn’t the same palette throughout, it was different from page to page, depending on the setting, the time of day, etc., but all of them were gorgeous.) And sometimes the compositions were really pretty and interesting too—not just simple blocks of pictures but a good use of the comic medium to do some visually fun things. The landscapes were gorgeous too. I even liked the straight-edged, artsy word bubbles. Basically I liked a lot of the artistic choices and thought this was a beautiful comic to look at.

Hotblood Landscape

I was, however, sometimes confused about things that were happening, the passing of time, and characters’ emotions. I’m still not sure when the relationship between James and Asa started. It wasn’t a bad story though—just a bit confusing at times. And I will admit this was the first Old West story I had ever read.

But still, a centaur! And gorgeous, interesting artwork. I enjoyed reading, and especially looking at, this little comic.

*Note: This review is based on the webcomic. Other formats may have differences I am not aware of.*


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26 thoughts on “Graphic Novel Review: Hotblood! A Centaur in the Old West by Toril Orlesky

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    1. Kristen Burns

      Please do! Centaurs in the Old West is such an awesome idea, haha. And I am easily confused too, so who knows, what confuses me might not confuse other people.

  1. Lily B

    the artwork is definitely gorgeous, sorry it didn’t completely work for you. The centaur take thought is kind of interesting!

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s so unique, right?? I loved the centaur aspect and the art. I’m pretty easily confused though lol, so other people might not even find it confusing. Thanks!

  2. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    This sounds pretty cool, and very original. The only centaur character I can remember in a book is in Harry Potter, not much exploration of the characters happening there. And a gay centaur in the old west? That sounds different. I think the artwork looks lovely and although the story was confusing it does sound good, if you can get your head around time passing and such.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It was so unique! Same, I think the only centaurs I had read about were in HP, and they don’t exactly have a big role. I def still enjoyed this, even with a bit of confusion, and honestly I get confused easily lol, so other people might not have that problem. There was so much beautiful art!

  3. Vlora

    That certainly sounds pretty unique! I’m glad you enjoyed the artwork so much, even if the story was a bit confusing at times!

  4. Wattle

    I like the art. The illustration can make or break a comic for me and this one looks pretty great (also a centaur! Fun!) It certainly sounds like a unique story 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      The landscapes were so gorgeous! I actually did *love* the look of the people in this one, but the landscapes made up for it. And I agree, art can make or break a comic for me. This was definitely unique!

  5. Olivia Roach

    The way you described the centaur and the relationship between the human and centuar just happened to make me smile. I love the idea of it being so casually included and it sounds like so much fun! And yes – that is a really unique concept. The graphics being beautifully done and wonderfully coloured is also what I love when I read a graphic novel! It’s a shame I don’t read them as much? I wonder why that is…

    1. Kristen Burns

      It was kind of cool how instead of the centaurs being some magical thing, this was just an alternate world in which centaurs existed and were totally normal. And it was def unique! You should totally read more GNs, I love them!

  6. verushka

    A gay centaur is definitely a first! I love that this author has taken something like this and just built a gorgeous story out of it.

    1. Kristen Burns

      There are some out there that require subscriptions, but most of them are totally free! Any time I review a webcomic, I include a link to the site where you can read it w/ all the info about the book that I put next to the book cover. But webcomics are different cuz usually a page is posted each week or something like that, so you can follow along the whole time (or you can find finished ones, like this one).

  7. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer

    Wow Kristen! What a mix! And the art does look gorgeous! And the panel you picked to showcase definitely captured my attention! And all the centaur references sound intriguing… not sure about the old west setting but a tycoon is bound to get into trouble. ♥️ intriguing review! BTW where did you read this?

    1. Kristen Burns

      It really was an interesting mix! I’m glad to hear I chose a good panel to share 😀 I thought that one was beautiful. This was the first Old West story I’d read, but it turns out I actually love it as a setting!

  8. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    oh wow yes A gay centaur is not something you see every day in books. I don’t think I ever read a book about centaurs unless you count Harry Potter. and they are one of fav creatures! Though for some reason I always picture them above all those earthy issues like falling in love and all that 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      It was such a unique idea! I guess I had never really pictured centaurs as anything. I didn’t think about them until I read this lol. But I actually liked how they were so *normal* and human, just with horse bodies lol.

  9. Lola

    That sounds pretty fun that this book had a gay centaur main character. And set in the Old West as well, that sounds like such an unique and specific combination of elements. It seems I missed reading this review when you first posted it, so I decided to comment on it now :).

    The art style of that picture you shared looks nice and that sounds interesting how you get to see how the centaur sits or does different poses compared to the human. Too bad there were some small confusing parts tough. I might check this one out sometime.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It was so much fun! I loved how unique the combo of elements was. No worries, I don’t expect you to comment on everything anyway! But I do always love your comments 🙂

      The artwork of the settings was soooo beautiful. If you do want to check it out, it’s available free online as a webcomic 🙂