Oh, Lee Collins, I love this world you have created, but you kick me when I'm down!
Not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but I had a couple of ARGH moments. I am going to try my hardest to be non-spoilery, but this is a book 2, so be warned.
I really, REALLY liked book 1, The Dead of Winter (you can see that review here). An older, experienced female lead, lots of kickass action, all set in the late 1800s American West = miles of YES. Also, while we mainly followed Cora's POV (3rd person throughout), we also got to hitch a ride with some of the other characters and villains.
Book 2, however, is a different story. We don't get Cora's POV this time, but rather that of Victoria, an English heiress who needs Cora to hunt down the creatures who killed her parents. We also get interludes with the memories of another character. That's it.
It was interesting to see a beloved character (for me, she might be prickly but I love Cora) from another's POV. Victoria has heard lots of stories of the legendary Cora Oglesby, but when she faces the reality, let's just say she doesn't appreciate Cora's colorful language and lifestyle. Victoria is not always likable, but a lot of her responses were believable. She does come across as naive, but she learns fast. She grew on me.
I was reminded a few times of the movie Unforgiven, with the younger generation getting a look at the real life of a legend, and also learning about the costs of living such a life.
There is action, an old enemy and a new one, and once again Collins kicks my emotions around. I can't say I was surprised by how it all went down, but I thought it was a good end. I like that the vamps here are monstrous. There is good magic (I'd argue that Cora's blessed steel and silver bullets are magic, as well as the monster-slaying weapons from the Dine) and bad magic. Although this time around one of the villains is in more of a grey area. I can't really fault her for her anger or her desire for revenge.
I did miss being in Cora's head. She is a unique character.
I'm just wondering where this will go next, or if there will be more. It is hard to say. There is an end, so no cliffhangers. However, there is room for more stories in this world.
I liked it. Did I like it as much as book 1, no. Will I read more from Collins, oh yes.
[received an ARC to review]