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Vermilion Paperback – April 15, 2015
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Tanzer's first novel is a splendid page-turner of a Weird West adventure. ... This hugely entertaining mixture of American steampunk and ghost story is a wonderful yarn with some of the best dialogue around. -PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (Starred Review)
Old West steampunk has another appealing heroine in Lou (pair her with the equally winsome female lead of Elizabeth Bear's Karen Memory) to go along with the delightfully over-the-top villains. The pages turn themselves in this debut novel from a small press that deserves a big audience. -LIBRARY JOURNAL (Starred Review)
Lou is one of the most delightful and charismatic fictional creations in recent memory. Her compelling blend of world-weary wryness and wide-eyed vulnerability makes for some firecracker dialogue, but it also reflects Tanzer's kaleidoscopic view of the Old West, a place that's far more dazzling and diverse than most history books have led us to believe. ... Vermilion is a unique, hearty, thought-provoking romp that rewrites history with a vivacious flourish. -NPR
Vermillion is fresh and strange - a dark and sparkling story of magic, monsters, and mystery in the Old Weird West. Gloriously weird and heartfelt, it's a credit to the genre from start to finish. -CHERIE PRIEST, Award-Winning Author of Boneshaker and Maplecroft
Tanzer's debut novel is extraordinary, portraying a world that is engagingly curious and curiously engaging. One doesn't realise how much one's life has been missing a story about a Chinese/English buster of violent ghosts out in the wilder end of the Wild West until one reads this. Plus, talking bears. -JONATHAN L. HOWARD, author of the Johannes Cabal series and Carter & Lovecraft
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CONS: Uneven pacing, stale and predictable characterizations, anachronisms that tarnish the suspension of belief, and an over-reliance on character motivations intended to seemingly "shock" rather than propel the plot.
Overall a good book, if not great. Looking forward to a sophomore effort that expands and shows the author's growth.
This book also walks between worlds--it is out-and-out Weird West, where the Civil War happened, and the transcontinental railroad exists, but talking bears banded together to lay serious restrictions on development west of the Mississippi.
When Lou goes to investigate why so many of the men and boys from Chinatown have gone to work on a railroad that shouldn't exist and have never returned or sent word to their families, she will face dangers to her body, heart, and spirit, dangers born of the living and the dead.
I enjoyed this story and look forward to more from this author.