Boneyard by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!
I've been a big fan of Seanan McGuire for a while so I was super excited to get this ARC, only to realize, belatedly, that it was a part of a series based on a western-style tabletop RPG filled with darkness, magic, monsters, undead, mad science, and a very particular brand of steampunk devoted to the American Wild West.
That's not a dealbreaker. Far from it. I like Weird West stuff. In fact, just to prepare myself for this title, I went out and got the first of the Deadlands books and devoured it, enjoying the fast-paced fun immensely.
So of course, my expectations were very high with this one by an author I've followed religiously.
Unfortunately for me, it felt a bit uneven. There's a ton of great things that can and probably will happen in this RPG setup, but most of that was left out of the book until after the traveling circus made it to Oregon. After that point, however, it picked up wonderfully and I had a great time.
Where it felt slow to me was due to the immersion of being in a circus. And it's odd that I'd feel that way because I enjoyed McGuire's particular circus branding in her InCryptid series.
For that reason, though, it took me a long time to get into the characters and things didn't really start clicking until after the main action began fairly deep into the text. Alas! It ended well and I loved all the supernatural stuff and the history and the wraparound of the main character arc, but I just wish I hadn't had to work so hard to get there.
Maybe it's just me! A lot of people apparently love circus tales and maybe I just don't! :) Even so, I did like this one a lot even if I happened to like the first book in the series better.
I should say, however, that this one felt a lot more genuine, full of deep and complicated characters... unlike the twisted stock characters from the other book. That's definitely a huge kudo for McGuire. :)
Weird West for the win! Anyone hungry?
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