Book Review: Gunslinger Girl

Posted January 18, 2018 by Kara in book review, Kara / 1 Comment

Book Review: Gunslinger GirlGunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely, James Patterson
Published by jimmy patterson on January 2nd 2018
Genres: young adult, western, dystopia
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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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.

I loved this book so, so, so much. The storytelling is fabulous, and the twists that come out of nowhere, OHMIGOD. I haven’t been this surprised by a book since I don’t know when. The author is an EXCELLENT writer as well.

The only thing I wish? There was a fair amount of world-building, but I wanted more. I wanted to know about how this war happened, and what led to the degradation of the government and society that led to this second civil war and how the sides panned out and who went to where. I think the current world-building was well-developed, but I wanted to know more about the past. This book also would have benefited from a map showing what areas were under CONA’s control, and which areas they were still trying to invade and take over. It also would have been nice to know where the larger cities were located. Columbia was supposed to be on the coast, but the only large Columbia I know is in South Carolina, and it’s not on the coast. Could the author have meant Columbia as a name for Washington DC which IS on the coast? See, I needed a map.

But that didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the book, because I was so, so attached to the characters. I loved Serendipity Jones and all her friends. I loved her relationship with Max, and I loved that this all revolved around a performing theater even though this book is SO much more than that. The tension just grows and grows, and the pacing of this book is handled perfectly, in my opinion.

The book starts off with a bang and a brutal twist right off. Serendipity lives on a commune with her horrible father and two brothers, and her father plans to marry her off to some guy so she can be a baby factory. SAY IT WITH ME: EWWWWWWW. She escapes with her best friend Finn (she’s a girl despite the name that makes you think she’s not), and ends up in Cessation, the post-apocalyptic version of Las Vegas, where she becomes a sharpshooter in Halcyon’s theater. There’s more going on than meets the eye though, and it involves betrayal, not knowing who is on what side, and a whole lot of drama. I really wish I could tell you what I mean, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

But I can say this: Lyndsay Ely is not afraid to take chances with her characters and plot, and that is perhaps my most favorite thing about Gunslinger Girl. You never know what will happen next and it’s most often definitely now what you are thinking.

Other things that are important to know:

This book features a lot of diverse characters: gay men, Latinx characters, Asian characters, black characters, and I honestly lost track because there was so much diversity. I need to start writing them down, and after this I think I will.

I definitely do NOT think this is a standalone because though it does not end on a cliffhanger, the ending is not really a happy one and there are a lot of open threads that have not been wrapped up yet.


I would not have read this if the publisher had not sent me an unsolicited copy of this because I generally do not like Westerns, but this was not just a Western, it was a futuristic Western with dystopian and post-apocalyptic elements. Anyway, I am truly thankful they sent this to me because it would have been a shame for me to miss this amazing reading experience.

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