Lora Blackgoat is a smuggler and mercenary who is not afraid to take her use her rolls lethally (she is now begrudgingly called the Chopper). After a job that did not go as well as planned and did not pay as well as she needed it to, Lora is lying low and trying to avoid the bookies and creditors she owes money too, but Lora can only stay out of the bars for so long before the thirst hits her. When Lora is approached by an old childhood friend approaches Lora to use her skills and contacts to find out who the Butcher of Applecross is, Lora jumps at the chance to redeem her some what tattered reputation. The farther Lora digs into the murders, the more she realizes that there is dark magic surrounding each death and the deaths are about to get very personal. Lora is going to have to use every trick in her belt to try and defeat this evil but there is going to be causalities on the way and a big truth is going to be revealed which will change everything.
I have mixed feelings about this book. There were aspects that I really liked/enjoyed and there were aspects that I felt were under explored or explained where I felt the story was hampered by it. This book is more for those who like the Fantasy genre that is based around an Elizabethan time period. Although our part of the world in is in the 21st century in Lora's world it feels behind in the times, as there is no technology that works there and with the Order and the The guild, there is a lot of secret society feels to the world.
I really really liked that Lora was not your typical heroine (which means I liked her as a character). Yes she is brass as hell and her mouth gets he into trouble more often than not, but it is her physical disabilities as well as a gambling and alcoholic issues that truly make her different. Lara always had her whits about her even in her vulnerable moments and she did not let anything slow her down. I found it very interesting her ability to use human technology in the Weald and magic in the Outlands, very cool and very useful to say the least. I am really interested in her past and what happened to her mother, father ect. I'm still not 100% sure what it mean to be a ****** (sorry don't want to give it away, if you have read the book you'll know what goes there), so I hope that is explained more in the next novel. The one thing that I was not a fan of was Lora being attracted to every guy in her life. There was too much oh he's good looking or oh I'll sleep with him even though I know he's not good for me, but maybe secretly loves me and might be good for me...What??? And this was more than one guy I'm talking about. This kind of sub plot is not something I enjoy in books. I understand that romance or love interest are common place in many books and there are times when they enhance the overall plot, I just did not think this occurred here.
I found that there were a few things that were glazed over and not fully explained throughout the book and while Lora's past is a secret and we are discovering it with her, there are aspects within the world building that just are not fully explained. There are so many different types of creatures, areas, societies ect that I found it a little overwhelming and trying to figure out where everyone belonged in this world. There was also the underlying (and not so underlying) racism towards some of the characters in the book that were not fully explained. I just think the world building could have been better and I think that Turner tried to put a little too much in the first novel.
I think people who are into the paranormal, urban fantasy and fantasy genre(s) will enjoy Turner's novel, however, I do not think that if you are looking to try these genres that you should pick up this book. There is too much going on in this world, and with different types of creatures, I could see some people being overwhelmed by it (I mean there were times I was and I read in these genres on a regular basis). I would read the next novel in this series to see what additional trouble that Lora gets into but also to see if Turner does more world building, but I think it is mainly Lora that will keep me coming back for more.
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