Battle of the Books: Weird West

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Welcome to another edition of my monthly feature, Battle of the BooksEach month, I will read and review two books that take a spin at a similar topic/subgenre in speculative fiction, be it broad or narrow in scope. There will be two posts a month -- one to introduce the topic and books, and another with my reviews and verdict.

This month's books are both considered Weird Westerns. Also sometimes called flintlock fantasy, books in this subgenre combine a wild western setting with fantasy, horror, or sci-fi.

Why this somewhat obscure subgenre with a horrible history in Hollywood, you ask? If you have been reading my blog, you know that I recently finished Stephen King's Dark Tower series, which has elements of westerns, sci-fi, and fantasy. And that I am still recovering from That Ending. I need a couple good gunslingers in my literary life.


So do yourself a favor, get this song on (I'll wait), and scroll down to catch a glimpse the books in this month's duel. 

For this to be a fair fight, I am going to take books from two well known fantasy authors who each happened to have written a standalone western recently - Joe Abercrombie's Red Country and Brandon Sanderson's Alloy of Law. Both are books also set in the respective author's already established epic fantasy worlds (Abercrombie's First Law & Sanderson's Mistborn). 

Red Country follows Shy South and her stepfather Lamb as they chase after her siblings' kidnappers in the wild Far Country. Everyone on the frontier seems to have a bloody past worth forgetting. I'll admit, I love the jacket blurb, too: They burned her home. They stole her brother and sister. But vengeance is following. Shy South does not seem like the type to be trifled with. 

Set 300 years after the original Mistborn trilogy (of which I'll admit I've only read the first, eep), The Alloy of Law is set in a city on the "verge of modernity", with railroads, electricity, and beginnings of skyscrapers. The story follows Waxillium Ladrian, a man who can use both allomancy and feruchemy, as he returns from the Roughs to assume the head role of a noble house. But is the city really safer than the wild country?

Have you read Red Country, The Alloy of Law or another Weird Western? Have any suggestions for fans of the sub-genre? 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Copyright © 2014 Exploring Worlds
Template by These Paper Hearts