Gunslinger Girl - Lyndsay Ely

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Summary (from goodreads):
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.
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Edition Read: google play

Where (else) to buy: kobo*, amazon*, nook*

Thoughts:
Gunslinger Girl starts off with a bang. I was thrown right into the middle of everything and was excited for the adventure ahead of me. Unfortunately, the book takes a very sharp turn into something completely different than what the first few chapters were promising.

The first portion of the book should have been longer. I didn't feel the necessary urgency because I was just thrown in right when everything happens. This subsequently leads to dampening the emotional impact of a later event. It's something that should have ripped my heart out, but it didn't. Everything happened too quickly. Even two extra chapters on Pity's day to day life on the commune would have made a huge difference.

In contrast to the above, the book stagnates in the middle. It's more meant to focus on the romance, but I wasn't really feeling it. The romance was better developed than a lot of other YA, but it wasn't terribly interesting. It also came at the expense of getting to know and care about other characters --- ones you're also expected to care about further down the line.

All that said, I did enjoy this book.
While this one wasn't "unputdownable", I was able to speed through it with relative ease. The ending was definitely worth it. It strips everything bare and not all is what it seems. Choices are made and, honestly, either decision could have been the "right" one. I like ambiguity. It makes up for the issues I had with this book. I have hope that the next one will be the adventure this one initially promised both in the summary and the first few chapters.

Verdict:

If you're a fan of the YA genre, this one should check all the right boxes. If you're less inclined, it's worth a shot. It's not particularly character driven or deep. It just depends on how much you'd be into a Western-lite, criminal underworld, circus Dystopia.
I am waiting for the sequel.


Quibbles:
-Ignore every review that says this book is "like Westworld". Other than being set in the future and using old school six shooters and shotguns... they aren't comparable.

-I hate the nickname "Pity". I know people tend to shorten names, especially one with 5 syllables, but Pity sounds pathetic. I could get it if maybe her enemies called her this to mock her, but it's just what everyone calls her. Serendipity Jones a strong name. I am not sure why anyone would choose to weaken it in this manner. YMMV.  This is even lampshaded in the book and she still wants to be called Pity.

-While the title is fantastic. It is incredibly misleading.
When the book starts off, Pity has not been allowed to shoot guns since her mother's death a few years earlier and she is incredibly rusty. She does have a bit of natural talent, but she frequently misses and freezes up right when things matter.
This is a somewhat refreshing trait, coming from someone who dislikes YA on account of how "perfect" most of the characters are, but Pity isn't a "gunslinger"... yet.


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