Grace and the Guiltess by Erin Johnson
Reviewed for Netgalley
Tombstone, where part of this story takes place, was a real western town so lawless it was called “the town too tough to die.” Grace Milton should have taken a lesson from the town and the people in it because she is the most un-western, un-tough, none-too-bright heroine I have come across in a long time. Growing up in the west was perilous. There were outlaws, warring Native Americans, dangerous predators, poisonous snakes, droughts, and plenty more ways to die. So one would think that Grace would be able to take care of herself or that her parents would have taught her a thing or two about surviving in such an unforgiving land, yet she stumbles from one near death experience to another. Somehow, despite being in a desert, then in the uninhabited mountains, some stranger always comes along just in time to rescue her. How convenient. And completely unlikely.
When I read the blurb, I thought, wow, a tough heroine in a western themed book. Having grown up reading and watching westerns, I thought this book ought to be interesting. Instead, this damsel in distress really annoyed me. Frankly, were this not a Netgalley book, it would have failed my 50 pages rule (as in, if I am not completely hooked by page 50, I toss the book aside and reach for another one). Instead, I kept reading despite doing a lot of skimming. The story felt as if it dragged in some places and then rushed through important moments. Grace failed to ever beomce a heroine in my eyes. The supporting cast, even the outlaw gang, felt like clichés. And the Guiltless Gang? Seriously, what a terrible name for an outlaw gang.
Very disappointing start to the series. I won’t be reading additional books in it.
Switch Press; expected publication August 1, 2014.