Friday, February 1, 2013

She Returns From War

Cora Oglesby #2

by Lee Collins

Release Date: February 7, 2013

Four years after the horrific events in Leadville, a young woman from England, Victoria Dawes, sets into motion a series of events that will lead Cora and herself out into the New Mexico desert in pursuit of Anaba, a Navajo witch bent on taking revenge for the atrocities committed against her people.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

The Sequel of The Dead of Winter, could just as well be read as a stand-alone. While it is a continuation of the first installment to a degree, it is written mostly from Victoria's point of view. The new main character. We get to meet some of the old cast like G. Townsend and Father Baez and naturally Cora again. There are vampire and other critters , Saloon and Gunfights like in the first book. But actually this one is better.

Not as many twist as in the first book and I was never caught by surprise at all. But this book is more rounded, the writing is even better and the characters are good.

Collins managed to mesh the western and paranormal genre in such a way, that it feels totally real. As if during Victorian times there were paranormal creatures roaming the American frontiers. I was impressed with Collins's ability to convey that time and space in his first book, this time he did and even better job. He nailed the Victorian English characters! The contrast in their speech and behavior to the people in the wild west is done well but not too excessively. Just enough slang but not so much to leave one bewildered.

The main character is totally new to the series, and I really enjoyed her point of view. A young woman, who on her search of vengeance, travels across the ocean to find help to get it.

Victoria is probably the best written character of the series. I was surprised that Collins chose to mainly go with her POV. Especially since I really liked Cora. But retrospective I think it is also a clever move, it disconnected the book to a degree from the other one, and also give one a totally new perspective. This isn't Cora's story after all. It really is Victoria's.

As I said in my opinion Victoria is the best written character so far. Collins created a round and believable young Victorian lady, her inner dialogues are interesting and it is actually amazing to watch her change and grow. Even though it's written from her POV, the recount of the story is actually in many ways quite neutral and matter of fact, which allows one to see how much Vicky grows, without much frill around it.

Saying all that I have to say, I missed Cora's POV. She is definitely my favorite character. And despite of the fact that this can be read as a stand alone, I think it would be a total shame if one would choose to do so. Because one would only get one side of Cora. Her character development in this book is much more subtle. One gets to see her from another perspective. And especially in the beginning its not very much in a good light.

Just as in the first book there were some stereotypical characters, the Saloon brawl - straight out of classic western 101. But it was much less pronounced than last time, more of a detail and for some reason this time around it didn't bother me in the least.

Its been a few months since I read The Dead of Winter, but I do remember that the descriptions were really good. I liked the way Collins wrote- and the feel they gave me still clings with me when I think about it. She comes from War is written in the same wonderful language, but most of the things I found lacking in the first were eliminated in this book.

As mentioned before the story line is much more straight forward than in the first. No shocking twists and way less action scenes. It still has a good pace to it though and does boast plenty of action. The emphasis in this book is more on the relationship between the two woman rather than the unfolding adventure.

I really enjoyed watching Cora's and Vicky's relations evolve and really loved the end. ( way more than in the first one)

I am not sure if Collins is planning on another book. But the way he finished this one, was extremely clever and I wouldn't mind seeing what he has install for Victoria and Co.

I am definitely looking forward to read any new books of him, should that be another addition to this series or a new one all together!

ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you!

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