Monday, 6 February 2017

Review: Conspiracy of Ravens

Conspiracy of Ravens
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Nettie Lonesome made a leap -- not knowing what she'd become. But now the destiny of the Shadow is calling.

A powerful alchemist is leaving a trail of dead across the prairie. And the Shadow must face the ultimate challenge: side with her friends and the badge on her chest or take off alone on the dangerous mission pulling her inexorably toward the fight of her life.

When it comes to monsters and men, the world isn't black and white. What good are two wings and a gun when your enemy can command a conspiracy of ravens? 

I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about these books, mostly because when I read the first book I was expecting it to be a fantasy and then it was a fantasy but it was all western and completely unexpected! But I have to say, I really do love Rhett. I've enjoyed watching Nettie come to terms with who he is in the first book, and in this book he accepts himself as Rhett. In the first book I was never sure which pronoun to use but in this book Rhett decides to be Rhett. 

Conspiracy of Ravens picks up right where Wake of Vultures ended, and we get a new character in the form of Earl, an Irish man who was working for the railway! We also get Cora, a Chinese girl (I totally squealed when I worked out which 'monster' she was) who's also working for the railway. Not voluntarily of course! I loved getting new additions to Rhett's posse and I'm interesting to see how everyone is going to get on after the end of this instalment in the Shadow saga. Earl of course, spent a lot of time with the posse but because of his worry and fear he wasn't his best self all the time, so I'm intrigued to see what he'll be like and how he'll interact with the others in the next book! Likewise Cora because there is a love tangle. Yep. 

I'm not sure how I feel about the love tangle. I kinda ship Rhett and Sam if I'm honest, so I'm not really here for all the love interests popping up everywhere! I do think that Winifred is my least favourite option, especially after Dan's warning. So yeah. Sam or Cora, if Sam really isn't an option. But I felt like brining in so many love interests was getting a bit out of hand at one point, because the plot in this book moves slowly and we had all this stuff going on, and then love interests left, right and centre until we finally got to the part where all the action was going to happen. I was a bit like "yeah great...can we get to the action now?!" 

Most of the book is genuinely spent getting to the location where the action is going to happen, so I did find myself losing interest a little bit because I was waiting for something to happen. I did like how the book ended, the set up in the beginning was necessary and I know that, it just made the book harder for me to read at points. But the set up left plenty of threads for the next book, and the ending definitely left me wanting more! I'm intrigued to see what's going to happen next with Rhett and his posse, and how they're going to defeat the bad guy and what exactly the bad guy is after?! 

Like I said, with Wake of Vultures I wasn't entirely sure whether or not I liked it or not, having expected a fantasy and gotten a Western, but I found myself liking it a lot more this time around. It's a diverse book, we have Chinese, Native American and Native American/Black characters, one of which is the main character which made a nice change. I think it's an interesting setting to have those characters in considering how Native Americans where treated in the West, as well as other minority groups. They didn't have a pleasant time of it and I do think that they perhaps get treated a little better in this book than they would have in real life.

The author uses language that's authentic to the time, and helps to create an atmosphere and build up the world. I found myself slipping in to the world of this book a lot better than the previous book. I was sad not to see much of the Captain as he pleasantly surprised me last book, and again this book! I'm hoping nothing bad happens to him but we'll see! I enjoy seeing the different kinds of 'monsters' that the author brings to life, both well known and lesser. I found it interesting to see how the Irish and Chinese where treated in the West, the authors note points out that they where the people mostly used to create the railway, and they didn't have a great time of it. 

I'm enjoying this blend of fantasy and Western more and more as the books go on, and I really do love Rhett as a main character. He's been interesting to read about and I admire his bravery and determination to do what's right. I could do without the love tangle, especially as it was put in during the slow part of the plot and I was feeling like we could have gotten to the action a lot sooner if it hadn't been. The pace is steady, but the first half if not more of the book was spent setting up and I don't usually do well with slow paced books, but it was necessary and provided the threads to bring us the third book! 

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