Every month, I try out a different book subscription box and review them on my TikTok (@livingforliterature). Last month, I tried out My Sci-Fi Club, and picked the fantasy category. I recieved two hardcover fantasies, one of them being Silver On The Road by Laura Anne Gilman, published by Sage Press. I decided to start the month with this read.
This is a Western Fantasy, and as someone who has never read a Western before, I was intrigued. Izzy grew up in the Devil’s West, in a small town called Flood, where a man known as the devil (unclear on what he actually is). When Izzy turns sixteen, she makes a Bargain with the devil to become his left hand, and thus embarks on a journey with a rider called Gabriel, off to find what she’s meant to do around the whole of the Territory.
I loved the worldbuilding. It gave me real Red Dead Redemption vibes with saloons, and cowboys, and all the Western classics–but with a tinge of fantasy elements like demons, magicians, powerful crossroads, chimeras, and more. Plus, there was an element of rules in the Territory that basically came to this: if you don’t cause offense, you’re free to roam the land, but if you cause offense, justice must be served.
I also liked the characters. My favorite character was the mad magician Farron, who reminded me of the Mad Hatter. Gabriel was definitley the Arthur Morgan of this nove; I wish we learned more about his bargain. Izzy, my least favorite character, was kind of just a clueless girl coming to her own powers.
I think the plot had a lot of potential, but it was too slow getting to the point. I understand they are on the road, camping in spots, but we don’t need to know every detail they take to cook their beans and get dressed. It did make the pages go by slower, which made it all the more frusturating when the resolution wasn’t clear and Izzy was still mostly clueless at the end, leaving us, the readers, clueless. It is a series, though, so perhaps more is revealed in later books.
One thing I was slightly uncomfortable with was the portrayal of “Natives” as they are called in the book. It may have been historically accurate–I honestly am not sure and would love to hear other perspectives on it.
Overall, I’d give this book three stars. I probably will finish the series when giving the oppurtunity, but won’t actively seek out the books. I am, however, interested in reading more Westerns.