Give me magic, gadgets, monsters, zombies, everything that seems impossible, and throw in some tough chicks with swords. That's the stuff.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: The Six-Gun Tarot

The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher

Another book where I sit here trying to categorize it, think who would be most interested in reading it, and how to describe it without veering off into spoiler land. It is a Western with fantasy elements. I really like the blend of Western and Fantasy, so I've been looking forward to this one for awhile.

Very interesting mix of mythologies and apocalyptic prophecies. We have angels, Lucifer (in a minor role), Coyote's son, a man who cannot die, a boy with a magical artifact, a priestess of Lilith, Chinese legends, Mormon legends all mixed together in the happy little town of Golgotha.

Considering Golgotha is pretty much synonymous with suffering and sacrifice, "happy" is relative.

The town is home to miners, a notorious saloon and mine owner, many Mormon families, and a very interesting team with the sheriff and his main deputy.  Most of the characters are trapped in the societal cage they built for themselves, or at least helped to build. You have the priestess in a loveless, abusive marriage, the Mormon leader who hides his homosexuality behind his 3 wives, the Native American deputy who has been cast out by his tribe and the white world. This isn't a story about how they all rose above the constraints of society and fight to live freely. No, these characters fight even though they will still largely be in exactly the same place. Except it's the apocalypse, so failing means good night Irene. 

There is some rape symbolism as the evil infects some of the townspeople. It was disturbing and horrific, as it is meant to be. I would say that what is going to happen is telegraphed quite a ways off, so if those scenes are too much for you, you can skip ahead without missing anything.

If you are good with the idea that belief itself is a power, more than the power being one particular belief, you might like this. Good for those who like their myths being mucked with. You know I do like it when things get mucked around.

There were A LOT of different POVs. Lots of flashbacks. While I liked some of the background info, it also got to be a bit much. Even though I was "shown" what happened in the past, given that it took away from the main story timeline, it felt off. I was itching to get back into the main story, and the asides made me think - Ooh, I'd like to hear more about that...but then you don't, because it is just a memory of what happened. A good chunk of the book is like this. 

I also feel like there was more promise of ass-kicking than what was delivered. There was one character in particular that I wanted to see light a fire under some villain butt, but I didn't get it. There is action, but I wanted a little more.

Sometimes when you are in so many different heads, it can be difficult to get into the characters. I did like most of them. They were down-to-earth and I did hope that many of them would survive. There were so many characters though, that I lost track at one point of who was where. 

I'm not sure if there will be more in this series. It is kind of set up to allow for more, although the main story is done. If there are more, I would hope for a little more "present", a lot less backstory.

[received review copy]


  1. This sounds interesting. Have you read or heard of "The Half-Made World" and its sequel, "The Rise of Ransom City"? I've seen them characterized as "cowpunk", but basically they're steampunk set in a alternate universe American West analogue, with a strong fantasy element thrown in. I haven't read the sequel yet but I loved "The Half-Made World".

    1. I have that one on my TBR list. Might have to bump it up. :) Thanks!