*I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Title: Gunslinger Girl
Author: Lyndsay Ely
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
James Patterson presents a bold new heroine–a cross between Katniss Everdeen and Annie Oakley: Serendipity Jones, the fastest sharpshooter in tomorrow’s West.
Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great….
In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity’s struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.
Review: Saddle up and get ready for a wild ride! Serendipity, or Pity, as she likes to be called is set up as a headstrong protagonist from the start, not willing to let anyone stand in her way of freedom. Taking her mother’s guns and leaving her abusive family and the confines of her patriarchal Commune far behind, Pity finally has a taste of freedom. After tragedy strikes, she finds herself in Cessation, where the only law is Miss Selene’s and turning your back could mean the difference between life and death.
Pity makes a deal to stay, joining the Theatre, not knowing that the glamorous lifestyle comes with a high price. I thought I knew what to expect when I read the synopsis, but there is so much more to this heroines story than meets the eye. Pity goes through a lot of growth in the book, from leaving home and being taken to Cessation, and then finding herself in the middle of a political war. She also finds love, but it becomes a subplot and does not distract from the main plot. The important thing about Pity Jones is that she is not set up as this perfect heroine who can shoot her way out of every situation. Her boundaries and morals are tested in ways she never thought possible, and she quickly learns the consequences of defiance.
The history is richly intertwined with a plot full of political intrigue, with a dystopian/Wild West twist. The cast of characters is unique and full of life as well as secrets. Pity thinks she knows who she can trust, but there are also a series of shocking betrayals. The set-up is definitely reminiscent of The Hunger Games in which a high-powered city tries to control Cessation, but with so many more twists and turns. The ending was also well done and it wrapped everything up perfectly, with room left to wonder what happens next. For me, this book was more of a mix of Caraval and The Jewel than anything, so if you loved those books you will definitely love this!