lagilman: coffee or die (I rawk)

redstarGilman, Laura Anne. The Cold Eye. Saga. (Devil’s West, Bk. 2). Jan. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9781481429719. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781481429733. FANTASY

As the Devil’s Left Hand, Isobel serves as his eyes and ears across the land. Wandering the western edges of his territory, she is called to a place where everything has gone wrong: [spoilers redacted]. With her mentor Gabriel, Isobel investigates the cause of these natural disasters. They soon uncover a growing danger that threatens the entire region. Adding to their problems is an encounter with explorers sent by the U.S. president. It will take all of the knowledge and magical power at Isobel’s disposal to keep herself and Gabriel safe—along with the rest of the Territory.

Verdict: ­Gilman’s sequel to Silver on the Road continues a fabulous coming-of-age tale of magic and power, set in a conflict-ridden alternative Wild West so vividly evoked that readers will be saddling up to ride along.


lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
Asimov's (yes, Asimov's) reviews SILVER ON THE ROAD!

"Gilman, who’s had success with urban fantasy and her ambitious “Vineart War” trilogy, begins a new series, “The Devil’s West” with this novel, a solid entry in the currently hot category of Weird West fiction.

Gilman serves up a set of challenges worthy of the premise.....[she] has created a fascinating world for her characters (and her readers) to explore. A lot of the fun comes from her twists on what look at first like familiar tropes from the mythos of the American West—saloons, mining towns, Native Americans, Spanish missionaries—all taking on a new meaning in the Devil’s West. It’ll be very interesting to see what else she has in store in this big, untamed landscape. Recommended."
lagilman: coffee or die (I rawk)
http://binwallaradio.com/silver-on-the-road-book-review/

"[SILVER ON THE ROAD] has the rare ability to suck readers into a new world from the first chapter. Gilman lures the reader in with what appears to be a familiar setting, but surprises the reader with a bold reimagining of the Western myth and the Devil....The internal mythos of the Territory is a strange amalgam of Christianity, Native American Shamanism, and the inherent magic of the land. This strange mix sounds like it shouldn’t be able to meld into a coherent whole, but Gilman is able to mix these elements into something that feels authentic and real to the reader.

While Gilman adheres stringently to the steps of a hero’s journey, it doesn’t feel forced or just a list of events that the main character has to go through. Instead there is a freshness and purity to the story that is lacking in many other novels.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. The book’s sequel Cold Eye, which will be published January 2017 is already on my pre-order list."



My only caveat in that interview is that it's Not A Trilogy, Damn It.
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
Particularly, things that say of SILVER ON THE ROAD, "this book is SPECTACULAR."

BoookRiot discusses "10 Great Books that Feature the Devil."

Oh, and this, too!

Obsidian Wings' Summer Roundup

The idea that people are still finding the book a year after it was originally published gives my withered and battered soul hope, it does.
lagilman: coffee or die (I rawk)
The Blue Fairy says, of SILVER ON THE ROAD....


"...I picked up this book out of curiosity, because fantasy western is a subgenre that I enjoy, but don’t see that often. And I loved it. I have pre-ordered the sequel.

I love the setting. In this world, everything from the Mississippi to the Spanish colonies is the Territory. The Native nations co-exist with small settlements from outside, all governed by the Agreement: give no offense without cause, and the Devil protects his own. Magicians and marshals both ride the roads, and crossroads are places of power and danger....

The land itself is practically a character, it’s described in such a compelling manner. I have always loved the sea and the mountains, but this book could convince me to love the plains.

I also loved that there is a female main character and NO romance in this book! Everyone is too busy getting stuff done/running for their lives/fighting evil magic/etc. Also, Isobel deals with many aspects of being female in a matter-of-fact way that I appreciated.

There’s intriguing and worrisome foreshadowing for coming books as well, dealing with events outside the Territory and what might happen as history marches on.

In short, this hit right in my sweet spot. 5 Stars - An Awesome Book"
lagilman: coffee or die (winsome boomer)
The Vampire Book Club reviews SILVER ON THE ROAD, and invokes both Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock and Diana Gabaldon's Claire in OUTLANDER in their discussion of why they gave it 4.5 stars....


"I’m happy to think they can keep traveling the Road indefinitely"
lagilman: coffee or die (nate-and-hardison)
Excuse me while I hit some of the review highlights for SILVER ON THE ROAD....



"In this delightful start to The Devil’s West series... Gilman skillfully plays with western folklore and history, infusing them with ambiguity and subtle strangeness to deliver a memorable adventure out on the untamed frontier. Refreshingly, her vision of the American West includes respectful portrayals of Native Americans. Isobel’s coming-of-age story is very accessible to teens, and there’s plenty for adventure-minded adults to enjoy as well."  - Publishers Weekly

Silver on the Road takes an underused setting for fantasy—the American West—and uses it to explore coming of age, the limits of power and responsibility, and the importance of mingling compassion and justice. It’s fresh and original and the language is both stark and lovely. The descriptions of the natural landscape of the West fit beautifully with descriptions of talking animals, travelling magicians and terrifying supernatural forces.  4.5 stars”  - RT Reviews

“The characters and setting keep the interest of fans of atmospheric, strange Wild West stories." – Library Journal STARRED REVIEW

“One of the things I most love about [Gilman’s work] is the way she takes folklore and myth and makes it her own, rendering the familiar into something new and strange, but at the same time coherent and consistent... I think Silver On The Road, the first of Gilman’s Devil’s West series, has surpassed her own previous efforts for world building, and that is no small task.”
Green Man Review

" In Laura Anne Gilman’s stark, sparkling Silver on the Road, the star of the show is the devil’s nimble, freshly minted left hand: Isobel, not a day over 16, reared alongside saloon girls and gamblers, and very suddenly sent off on a Western odyssey she cannot begin to understand....While Isobel may perfectly capture all the feelings of inadequacy of adolescence…she’s also a modern encapsulation of the hero’s journey.  In fact, that’s what Gilman does best here, infusing the classic with the modern. Her cocktail of Western folklore, Native American mythos, and known history are seamless, and will be a particular treat to fans of the other master of that kind of mashup, Neil Gaiman."   BarnesAndNoble.com

“[Gilman] not only has a knack for writing kick-ass female characters who are also – SHOCK! – allowed to have weaknesses, she has a knack for worldbuilding, sneaking in all the little details of the world that make it believable….  The end of the book feels real to Izzy’s character, and was, actually, eminently satisfying.  5/5 – when does the next one come out?” – Book In The Bag

"[A] fresh take on the hero's journey......I liked Izzy and loved seeing her growth. At only sixteen she's already quite strong and courageous; I can't wait to see what else she has in store.   [Silver on the Road] was entertaining, fascinating, and a wonderful story. I'll be looking for the next book." - Bea’s Book Nook

"I've enjoyed Laura Anne Gilman's previous novels and stories but with SILVER ON THE ROAD she creates an entirely different level of fiction, an exciting mix of world creation and character study and realignment of fantasy and history. Part road novel and part coming of age story, SILVER ON THE ROAD is well written and insightful...I look forward to the sequels and highly recommend this novel to others."
            - Jason Sanford, “Novel of the Week”
lagilman: coffee or die (winsome boomer)
Bull Spec sez: A Weird West story with a teenage girl employed by the devil as the main character? The concept was so intriguing that Your Humble Reviewers had to read it.

And so they did. And they liked what they read!

The scenery descriptions are wonderful and the details of trail life...make the world feel very real. Isobel changes from a rather sheltered teen into a confident young woman. She and the supporting cast are all well-drawn characters with distinct quirks, habits, and clothing.

This alternate Wild West story has the realism you want to find in a western, a reasonable magic system based on nature which is limited as to who can use it, and characters that are easy to care about and cheer on... The different tribes of Native Americans are depicted as clearly distinct from each other and treated with respect. So if you like westerns or travel type fantasy stories, then this story is for you!
lagilman: coffee or die (lol)
Got my first 2-star review on Amazon for SILVER ON THE ROAD! Mostly, it seems, for using "they" as a gender-neutral pronoun.
"The author created engaging characters and a story that kept my interest. But... the worst, and most frequent, glitch was the use of "they" as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. "They" is always plural and can't properly refer to one person; "he" or "she" is required. Even though I'm curious to know what happens next to the continuing characters, I will not read any more of this awkwardness."
I may not find this so amusing after coffee. But I bet I probably will.

Meanwhile, and not to bury the lede,
Library Journal awarded SILVER ON THE ROAD a starred review, saying "the characters and setting keep the interest of fans of atmospheric, strange Wild West stories."

*admires the shiny star*

And then Green Man Review made me purr like a sun-splashed tiger -

"I think Silver On The Road, the first of Gilman’s Devil’s West series, has surpassed her own previous efforts for world building, and that is no small task... As much as I love Celtic and Northern European inspired fantasy, it’s increasingly being done badly. It’s a refreshing change to see American folk motifs and tropes, and especially to see them executed well.

Silver On the Road is Book 1 in Gilman’s
Devil’s West Series. I can’t wait for Book 2."

So yeah.  You can't please all the people all the time.  But you can please the majority, and there are other books by other writers available for everyone else.

Meanwhile, I'm calling today a win all around, and it's only just past 9am.
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
Tough. :-D

from Book In The Bag:

I really enjoy reading Laura Anne Gilman’s novels – she not only has a knack for writing kick-ass female characters who are also – SHOCK! – allowed to have weaknesses, she has a knack for worldbuilding, sneaking in all the little details of the world that make it believable. So when she started talking about Silver, I knew I was going to buy it. Then she read part of the first chapter at DragonCon, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to wait until it came out...

Izzy is the right mix of naive and experienced – frustrated again and again with the fact that she received no guidance on what her new role really meant, and yet her experience in the things she knows serves her well when it becomes important. 

Along with Gabriel, Izzy travels the way with several other companions (and Farron was either fantastically fun to write, or the biggest headache in the world, but he was lots of fun to read), each with their own goals and agendas.
 
The end of the book feels real to Izzy’s character, and was, actually, eminently satisfying. We’re left with enough untangled threads to make us eager to find out what happens, but not so many to feel like nothing got fixed this time.  5/5 pages – when does the next one come out?
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
The gig at Mysterious Galaxy yesterday was great fun, and getting to know my co-conspirator Cat Winters was also fun. We left the place standing, if listing slightly, and with a few signed copies for anyone who couldn't make the reading.

But the day was kind of thrown akilter (in a good way) by the news that NPR had reviewed SILVER ON THE ROAD. And despite a few phrases that made me blink in bemusement (no, sir, I am not a devotee of Campbell), overall it made me very very happy.

the closer:

The book has an internal logic that holds together. The strangeness feels honestly strange, but rooted in the land like it'd been living there far longer than there have been eyes to appreciate it. The magic feels real and dirty and grounded and dangerous and uncontrollable. The Boss is a force whose influence holds the Territory together. And the people who populate Gilman's west seem sufficiently steeped in this mess of Christian theology, Native American shamanism, homespun desert magic and a healthy dose of purely American Weird that suddenly seeing a talking rattlesnake on the trail spouting doom-y prophecy only counts as maybe the third or fourth creepiest thing that might happen to them in a day.

All of which makes Silver take on the sheen and weight of forgotten history. Lost in the middle of the story, you'll feel somehow that you've always known the Devil wore a suit and ran a gambling house back in six-gun times, that he once sent a sixteen year old girl out into the world to fight monsters for him — and it's that echo in the brain that makes the thing hard to put down, because reading Silver on the Road is not like falling into some new and unfamiliar world.

It's more like a true American myth being found.



...yeah.  My job here is done (at least until the next book, anyway).
lagilman: coffee or die (I rawk)
via Barrnesandnoble.com

"With all due respect to Steve Earle, the devil’s right hand is a largely overrated appendage. In Laura Anne Gilman’s stark, sparkling
Silver on the Road, the star of the show is the devil’s nimble, freshly minted left hand: Isobel, not a day over 16, reared alongside saloon girls and gamblers, and very suddenly sent off on a Western odyssey she cannot begin to understand.

...While Isobel may perfectly capture all the feelings of inadequacy of adolescence—who am I? What do I want out of life? How do I menstruate on the open road?—she’s also a modern encapsulation of the hero’s journey.

In fact, that’s what Gilman does best here, infusing the classic with the modern. Her cocktail of Western folklore, Native American mythos, and known history are seamless, and will be a particular treat to fans of the other master of that kind of mashup, Neil Gaiman."


*falls over a little, giggling like a madwoman*

lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
Professional reviews are lovely. Reader reviews make my heart grow two or three sizes. But peer reviews give me the shiver of craft-recognized on a whole different level - because most writers, willingly or not, become jaded readers. So if you can wow them, that's a job very well done.

-------------------


Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] difrancis at All the Ways I Love This Book: Silver on the Road

First, a qualifier. I know Laura Anne Gilman and I got an advance reader copy of the book from her because I whined and moaned. I’d heard her read from it at an SFWA reading and I so wanted to have a chance at it as soon as possible. I wasn’t disappointed. In fact I already want to read it again.


What’s the book? Titled Silver on the Road, it’s the first in The Devil’s West series. silver on the roadHere’s description of it:


A heroic fantasy by an award-winning author about a young woman who is trained in the art of the sinister hand of magic, but at what price?


Isobel, upon her sixteenth birthday, makes the choice to work for the devil in his territory west of the Mississippi. But this is not the devil you know. This is a being who deals fairly with immense—but not unlimited—power, who offers opportunities to people who want to make a deal, and they always get what they deserve. But his land is a wild west that needs a human touch, and that’s where Izzy comes in. Inadvertently trained by him to see the clues in and manipulations of human desire, Izzy is raised to be his left hand and travel circuit through the territory. As we all know, where there is magic there is chaos…and death.



Now first, don’t go making the mistake that this is YA because Isobel is 16. It isn’t. It’s a coming of age story, a story of becoming (and not just for Isobel) and a story of change and exploration.


Set in The Territory, where magic is normal and the world is very dangerous, Isobel travels with her mentor, Gabriel, to learn about the territory and The Road. On their journey, they uncover something dangerous and evil and must attempt to deal with it, for Isobel is the Devil’s Left Hand, and while she doesn’t know what that means at first, she has to learn.


There’s so much I love about this book. The characters have such depth. The writing is deft and rich and I could smell and practically touch everything inside. It’s well researched, which you only notice because you can immerse so deep into the world and the story. The deftness of the story-telling left me a little breathless with envy. Especially conversations.


There’s not a lot of religion in the book, though the devil is there, as are some monks from Spain. It’s more about the west and the Territory’s own peculiar rules and habits. It turns history on its head and makes it both utterly familiar and entirely new.


I’ve read Laura Anne’s other books. I like them. A lot. But this is a whole new level of writing for her and it’s truly stunning. If I sound like I’m gushing, it’s because it’s one of those books that you want to pass around to everybody you know to read and you want to put it up for awards because it’s just that good. So do yourself a favor and get a copy. Read it. Savor it. I did. I will again. It releases on October 6th. So go get yourself signed up. I promise you won’t regret it.



Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

lagilman: coffee or die (I rawk)

"[A] fresh take on the hero's journey....The world felt very much like ours but was different enough that I could see the similarities while keeping it separate it from our world. It's layered and textured and feels real...I liked Izzy and loved seeing her growth. At only sixteen she's already quite strong and courageous; I can't wait to see what else she has in store.

SILVER ON THE ROAD is a coming of age story filled with poetic language, adventure, a different take on the devil, and a new perspective on North American history. It was entertaining, fascinating, and a wonderful story. I'll be looking for the next book."

love-keyboard.jpg

lagilman: coffee or die (nate-and-hardison)
Did you know? RT Magazine says SILVER ON THE ROAD is "fresh and original...both stark and lovely!"

(now you know!)

full text:

Silver on the Road takes an underused setting for fantasy—the American West—and uses it to explore coming of age, the limits of power and responsibility, and the importance of mingling compassion and justice. It’s fresh and original and the language is both stark and lovely. The descriptions of the natural landscape of the West fit beautifully with descriptions of talking animals, travelling magicians and terrifying supernatural forces.  (4.5 stars)
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)

Gilman (the Vineart War trilogy) takes readers on a scenic tour of a very weird Wild West in this delightful start to the Devil’s West series. In an early 19th-century America where superstition, magic, and unusual beings flourish, a man considered to be the devil has claimed a vast region west of the Mississippi that’s known simply as the Territory. When saloon girl Isobel turns 16, she volunteers to work for the devil and is appointed as his Left Hand, an agent to help keep the Territory under control. Under the guidance of her new mentor, the enigmatic Gabriel, Isobel sets out to learn the ways of the road and discover what her role truly entails. A rash of supernatural events terrorizing the Territory forces Isobel and Gabriel to team with unlikely allies in hopes of preventing further tragedy. Gilman skillfully plays with western folklore and history, infusing them with ambiguity and subtle strangeness to deliver a memorable adventure out on the untamed frontier. Refreshingly, her vision of the American West includes respectful portrayals of Native Americans. Isobel’s coming-of-age story is very accessible to teens, and there’s plenty for adventure-minded adults to enjoy as well. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency. (Oct.)

(bolding mine, obvs)

So yeah, they kinda sorta liked SILVER ON THE ROAD a little bit...  And the placement of the review did not suck, either...

PWReview

lagilman: coffee or die (puppyface)

A new review for L.A. Kornetsky’s DOGHOUSE!

(if you’re too busy to click through, I’ll give you the sum-up: “Explosions, bar brawls, and intelligent sleuths combine for a great read. I’d recommend it to fans of cozy mysteries.” - Krista McKeeth Woo!)

More info and buying links here

heee!

Sep. 15th, 2014 05:38 pm
lagilman: coffee or die (I rawk)
Things that make me happy: a reader review of HEART OF BRIAR that sums it up thus: "A dark tale, of dangerous gambles, loyalty, and how seductive those who have the power to control your mind can be."

Hrm. No wonder the looking-for-romance readers didn't flock to it. ;-)

The reviewer makes a point of how few reviews this book has on Goodreads, and how that's a shame. I completely agree. Let's fix that, shall well?


(thanks, Caitlin!)
lagilman: coffee or die (madness toll)
When you discover that your name has been invoked as "I like her book better than the one I'm reviewing."

Because yes there's "YAY! Reader-love!" but there's also "oh god, I've been on the other side of that and it SUCKS."

So I'll say that I'm glad the reviewer likes my books, and I'm glad that the reviewer acknowledged that it was their preference for my style, and not that the book they were reviewing was bad.

And maybe someone reading here will like both kinds of books, so here's the link
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
Publishers Weekly just reviewed FIXED! I'm afraid they're not entirely sold on Penny and Georgie as investigative sidekicks, but call it "well-crafted" and "(a) comfort-reading cozy."

Yanno, we'll take that. Because it's true. :-)

FIXED revised cover

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Laura Anne Gilman

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