Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen

A review of the western fantasy novel Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen.

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Of the many different book publishers I follow on social media, it was a wonder that an interview for Wake of Vultures crossed my path at all. Or that I read it. There was something about the enticing half-sentence that grabbed me, and I wanted to read more.

Lila Bowen discussed a few things in that short interview, but nothing grabbed my attention quite like her inspiration behind the writing of the book. It is every author’s dream to get a book published, let alone one that had such a care-free attitude, such edgy nature, and such bite.

Nettie Lonesome was born from the angst of constantly reading about stereotypical white men playing the hero. A character, I imagine, that was quite difficult to turn away from. Not only is she a powerfully written reluctant hero, but she’s got the attitude to boot. Throw this into the mix of a fantasy western and you’ve got yourself a heroine capable of challenging not only vampires, but the whole damned system of bigotry and discrimination.

It does all this whilst also being fun. Lila Bowen’s attitude, passion and voice come across clearly and strongly in this third person narrative piece, and it was this beautiful blend of style that I found myself inspired and in awe long after I’d finished the final page.

After years of being nothing but a mixed-race farm girl, Nettie finds herself struggling to keep trundling through life as a second class citizen. It doesn’t seem like it is going to change until one night she is attacked by a vampire. After saving herself, Nettie suddenly finds her world entirely different to what it was before, no longer blind to the creatures that stalk her town, or the brothel girls that feed on unwitting (but paying) men.

She’s a mixed-race, bisexual, transgendered, cattle wrangler/monster slayer who’s had enough of taking other people’s attitude, and has started dishing out her own. The world’s gotten even more confusing, and challenging, and she’s just doing what she does best: living.

Personally, I love mythologies, and Native American folklore is one that I haven’t delved into, so this book was a treat. It was full of wonderful surprises, some jaw-dropping moments, and conversations that had me in stitches and laughing into the pages.

So, if you’re into westerns or, like me, are looking for something new, I thoroughly suggest this gun-slinging tale of what it means to be human and what it takes to survive.

Sometimes she writes. Sometimes she doesn’t. Either way, she’s not doing what she’s supposed to be doing.

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