Series: The Shadow #1
Published by Orbit on October 27th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, LGBT, Mythology, Wild West, Young Adult
A rich, dark fantasy of destiny, death and the supernatural world hiding beneath the surface.
Nettie Lonesome lives in a land of hard people and hard ground dusted with sand. She's a half-breed who dresses like a boy, raised by folks who don't call her a slave but use her like one. She knows of nothing else. That is, until the day a stranger attacks her. When nothing, not even a sickle to the eye can stop him, Nettie stabs him through the heart with a chunk of wood and he turns to black sand.
And just like that, Nettie can see.
But her newfound sight is a blessing and a curse. Even if she doesn't understand what's under her own skin, she can sense what everyone else is hiding—at least physically. The world is full of evil, and now she knows the source of all the sand in the desert. Haunted by the spirits, Nettie has no choice but to set out on a quest that might lead her to find her true kin . . . if the monsters along the way don't kill her first.
Wow Wake of Vultures was unexpectedlygood! I just love the mixing of Texas History with a paranormal world. And it’s such a different, interesting interpretation of a paranormal world! The types of monsters we encounter range from Greek mythology to trickster tales of the Native Americans.
There’s a lot going on with gender and sexuality here too. The main character, Nettie, is a young black-native American (race is interesting too!) girl – but being a girl seems like a waste to her, so she poses as a boy. I found this interesting because Nettie’s sexual identity is never really clear – it’s not that she’s transgender in the sense that she feels like she was born in the wrong body, but more that she wants the opportunities afforded to her as a boy. Her sexual interest seems to be for another boy, but she’s not sure she doesn’t feel something for Wilfred, a woman she grows close too. And she doesn’t just defy quick classification, but she really wishes there were no need to classify. And really, why do we feel the need to put a label on everyone’s gender and sexual identify? I loved this message.
On top of the messages though, this was just a really well told story. I liked the characters and I loved watching Nettie grow from slave to horse wrangler to so much more. And with the way the book ended, clearly there’s even more transformation in her future. I can’t wait to find out what awaits her and all her new friends.