Review: The Gunfighter and the Gear-Head by Cassandra Duffy

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Review: The Gunfighter and the Gear-Head by Cassandra Duffy

Postby tanager » 31 Jul 2013, 00:06

Major disclaimer: I really have no authority to be reviewing novels. I am not trained in any way. I typically read for pleasure. I am very likely an "inferior reader" (see point #4). So, take my reviews with a grain of salt. Please, understand though, if I am reviewing a novel, it's because I loved it enough to do so.

Bawdy. That's the word that repeatedly came to mind as I read "The Gunfighter and the Gear-Head" by Cassandra Duffy. And, after an initial shock period, I found I LOVED the bawdiness. The book is a post-apocalyptic steam-punk, lesbian, romance, western with a slight dash of bdsm. It is about Gieo ("gyo"?), a brilliant young Korean-American who can fix most any machine and build wondrous new technologies, and Fiona, an ex-underwear model with quick reflexes and a tendency to act long before thinking. These two wonderfully drawn and memorable characters inhabit a world where lizard-like aliens have failed in their attempt to destroy humanity and subsequently become stranded on earth. The humans that do remain are struggling not only for survival, but also power. So, trust no one as the bullets fly and blood flows in all sorts of human vs. alien / male vs. female skirmishes.

My favorite aspect of the novel is the relationship between the two leads. There is a sexual spark between them from the start. They constantly seem to be pushing and pulling to establish who will be dominant in the relationship (which adds a very delicious kink to the tale). This book is bold and does not just fade to black. Indeed, the bedroom antics play a large part in defining who these characters are.

I loved the setting and the world-building in the novel. I even broke out Google Maps in order to follow along with their travels.

For me, it seemed that the middle section of the book started to drag a little bit while the end seemed a little rushed. But, neither of these thoughts prevented me from enjoying the story. It also seemed that the characterizations of some of the characters "drifted" a little over the course of the book. More than once, I found myself thinking, "Wait a second! I thought that she would have... oh, well..."

I looked up an interview with the author:

Q: How would you describe what you write?

A: Sexy-sweet-humor-action! I’m honestly in writing to have fun and hope to help others have fun in reading. I’m more known as a Steampunk author, but my most recent book is fairly traditional swords and sorcery romance. Even with the genre jumping, I still try to sneak in as much sex and humor as the story can take without turning into a pornographic pie fight.

I'd say, Success! This is the first novel in a trilogy and I WILL be moving on to the second.

I am wary of star ratings because I tend to be pulled all over the place based on phases of the moon and other irrelevant stuff. So, in lieu of stars, here is how I would rank this book within the set of the last five I have read:

1. The Shining Girls - Lauren Buekes
2. The Gunfighter and the Gear-Head - Cassandra Duffy
3. Dust - Elizabeth Bear
4. Santa Olivia - Jacqueline Carey
5. Chained Convict For Life - JG Leathers

I hope that this review has been interesting / helpful...

-tl
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Re: Review: The Gunfighter and the Gear-Head by Cassandra Du

Postby ElaineB » 31 Jul 2013, 05:46

Hey Tanager, if you can read, you can review! That's what we're all about here.
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Re: Review: The Gunfighter and the Gear-Head by Cassandra Du

Postby Proofrdr » 31 Jul 2013, 06:16

I enjoyed your review. It was refreshing. :-)
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Re: Review: The Gunfighter and the Gear-Head by Cassandra Du

Postby Baker » 31 Jul 2013, 07:30

Yes, thanks for that. :-) Keep them coming. It's a great sign when you go to the stage of looking up locations on Google maps.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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Re: Review: The Gunfighter and the Gear-Head by Cassandra Du

Postby wildlx » 31 Jul 2013, 10:04

Thanks for the review.
A lesbian is the rage of all women condensed to the point of explosion. “The Woman-Identified Woman” Radicalesbians (1970)
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Re: Review: The Gunfighter and the Gear-Head by Cassandra Du

Postby tanager » 31 Jul 2013, 10:47

Oh, cool! I'm glad that you all read my review. It's a bit of work, but I enjoy trying to review books that I have read. It makes me think about the story more as I read. I will try to keep them coming. I've just started "The Handmaid's Tale", so that will be next. 10% in and I already love it by the way - which is good because I was a little wary that I would need to be in the right head space to tackle this one.

Thanks again for the responses!
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Re: Review: The Gunfighter and the Gear-Head by Cassandra Du

Postby FranW » 31 Jul 2013, 11:59

Thanks for the review! I love hearing people's opinions.

You're the second person to rec Santa Olivia. I'm going to have to get that book.
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Re: Review: The Gunfighter and the Gear-Head by Cassandra Du

Postby wildlx » 31 Jul 2013, 20:45

Perhaps you should ask Baker? I believe I've lend them, i.e. Santa Olivia and the Sequel, to her ;-).
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Re: Review: The Gunfighter and the Gear-Head by Cassandra Du

Postby tanager » 31 Jul 2013, 23:18

That list of five books is just a ranking of the last five books I've read (coz, you know, I've got the "brain=sieve" thing going on). Certainly, it is not an all-time ranking. "Santa Olivia" was fine, but I was not blown away by it. The story felt a little emotionally muted. I'm not much into boxing perhaps. I will likely read the sequel one day, but... It's the only Jacqueline Carey I've read. Are the others similar?
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Re: Review: The Gunfighter and the Gear-Head by Cassandra Du

Postby Proofrdr » 31 Jul 2013, 23:27

The Handmaid's Tale is in my top 10 of contemporary books. I kind of envy your first reading of it. The wonder of uncovering the whole story the first time is a powerful experience. Enjoy!
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