Fun, feminist fantasy western | BookishFirst

Fun, feminist fantasy western

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I admittedly read this all in one evening - it was plenty action-packed and the plot was brisk enough that it was easy to keep devouring it.

There were a lot of very, very good elements to this book. The worldbuilding was quite interesting - "duskbloods" as this universe's marginalized group, the acceptance of ghosts as commonplace, the horrific raveners, the magic brands ("favors")... all of it was so interesting! There is a fantastic diversity of women (queer POC representation!), and I loved all of the main cast. Finally, the book did not shy away from trauma, and I think that is what truly distinguishes it. There are not many YA fantasy novels I feel that really dig deep into drug addiction, PTSD, class stratification and discrimination, slavery, a gruesome imprisonment... and more. Aster has remarkable strength as a survivor.

The more I ruminate on the depth of this book, the more I like it. I hope this catches on for book fairs and other opportunities for young women to get a hold of this book.

(I was provided an ARC by BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review)