Title: Graves for Drifters and Thieves
Author: Sophia Minetos
Pub. Date: December 15, 2020
The Hespyrian West is a place for legends and lawless men. Here, Jae Oldridge works as a bounty hunter, getting by with her wits, her magic map, and not much else. At seventeen, she hunts not for money or glory, but to find her missing father—kidnapped by ghost riders three years back.
When a saloon brawl brings Jae to the enigmatic Harney gang, she feigns interest in assisting them, hoping to turn them in later on. Survivors of the Arrowwood War, the gang pillages silver, without interest in much else… and no one knows why. The gang is led by two brothers: the stern, commanding Halston and headstrong, fiery Hodge. Joining them is an aristocrat-turned-outlaw, a rugged, snake-skinned Azmarian, and a young storyteller with a mysterious past.
Trekking across the wilderness, the group encounters warlocks, monsters, and gunfights in the service of Sterling Byrd: the gang’s crooked boss. Jae learns that the gang is not what they seem. They also stand on a razor’s edge; not just with the law, but with Sterling himself. Jae finds herself growing closer to the Harneys… especially Halston.
Staying with the gang could lead Jae to a noose’s end, but Halston harbors a secret that could change her life forever. It is then Jae learns that her loyalties—wherever they may lie—do not come without a price.
This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to the author for reaching out and providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
You know, I honestly wasn’t sure what I was going to think about this book. It sounded really interesting, and the reviews hyped it quite a bit, but I still went in with an open mind.
Who would have thought that I’d totally be on board with Fantasy-Westerns? Not me!
I really enjoyed this book and I need to know what happens next.
I love it when books surprise you and I loved that this sort of reminded me of sitting at my grandpa’s house watching old westerns with him. Just a smidge outlandish, a little eye-rolling cheesy, but ultimately just a good time!
And omfg I can totally get behind the fantasy element and now I want more fantasy westerns!
As for the book – I thought the pacing was really good – quick but things don’t just happen at light speed. The cast of characters is fantastic and fun and just really enjoyable. They balance each other out so nicely. And the world! Think, Wild West (duh) but in a completely fantastical setting with Ghosts, a bit of magic, fantastical creatures and a whole pantheon of gods & goddesses! If I’d been able too, I could have easily inhaled this in one sitting.
I’m really glad that this is the first book in a series, because 1) I’m not ready to be done with these characters yet and 2) because I need to know if Jae finds her father. I also want to see more of the world, get more of the lore and history and find out about these other worlds. Yeah, did I mention that there’s a sort of multiverse thing going on – and I’m here for it.
Like I mentioned before, I really enjoyed the cast of characters and I liked how they all go a POV at some point in the book. Jae is the primary POV for most of the book until she meets with Harney Gang. Then it alternates. I especially liked how we got insight into who each character is and their backstory. It keeps you invested and wanting to learn more. I will say that I wish the relationship and budding feelings between Jae and Halston had been a little more drawn out – but I also like the unsurety of their feelings. It felt very wholesome and cute. Overall, I enjoyed it and I love them. Hodge might be my favorite though. He’s got a brand of chaos that I enjoy.
Sophia’s descriptive ability legit makes you feel like you’re actually there. I could easily visualize the world, the various locations and I loved it. This book just comes to life on the page and you’re instantly sucked in. The opening to this book immediately hooks you and makes you invested. You want to find out what happened to Jae’s father, why he’s missing and how she’s going to find him. You instantly root for her, because she’s very much navigating “a man’s world” and kicking ass at it. I’m excited to find out what happens next – especially with how the ending went down. I honestly expected that character to be around for longer, so it’ll be interesting to see what the gang does next.
I hope you pick this book up and if you do, let me know! I’d love to know your thoughts. And if you have any fantasy western recommendations – send them my way!