True Grit meets True Blood in this delightfully dark and fantastical Western perfect for fans of Gail Carriger, Cassandra Clare, and Holly Black. This thrilling novel is a remarkable tale of danger and discovery, from debut author Michelle Modesto.
The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s just perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.
Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Seven years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.
But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.
Debut author Modesto's fantasy-western brims with intense action and intriguing characters, which include leprechauns, brownies, and werewolves. Seventeen-year-old Westie has been on a revenge mission ever since cannibals killed her family. Aided her adoptive father's assistant, Alistair, who also lost his family to cannibals, and her friend Bena Water-Dancer a member of the Wintu people, who magically protect Rogue City from invading beasts Westie discovers that the Wintu's magic is fading and that her family's killers may have just arrived in town. The newcomers appear to be innocent and trustworthy, but after a good friend is killed, Westie battling alcoholism and her split desire for Alistair and a vampire, Costin must find a way to prove that the supposedly normal Fairfields are actually ruthless killers. Modesto further flavors the novel with steampunk elements, including Westie's own mechanical arm, though the decision to cast the Wintu as magic-wielders feels like an embrace of "magical native" stereotypes, even within the book's fantasy setup. While the final showdown and conclusion are formulaic, Modesto's genre-bending novel offers full-bodied romance and electrifying twists. Ages 14 up.