Bethwyn is a judge for the Aurealis Awards. This review is the personal opinion of Bethwyn herself, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging coordinator or the Aurealis Awards management team.
Author: Marianne De Pierres
Series: possibly the first book in an ongoing series
Publication Date: April 29 2014
Synopsis: "When an imaginary animal from her troubled teenage years reappears, Virgin takes it to mean one of two things: a breakdown (hers!) or a warning. Dead bodies start piling up around her, so she decides on the latter. Something terrible is about to happen in the park and Virgin and her new partner, U.S. Marshall Nate Sixkiller, are standing in its path...
Virgin Jackson is the senior ranger in Birrimun Park - the world's last natural landscape, overshadowed though it is by a sprawling coastal megacity. She maintains public safety and order in the park, but her bosses have brought out a hotshot cowboy to help her catch some drug runners who are affecting tourism. She senses the company is holding something back from her, and she's not keen on working with an outsider like Nate Sixkiller."
My thoughts: Peacemaker is a book that blends so many different themes that I don't even know where to start, but we'll start with Virgin anyway. Virgin is an excellent, strong female lead, and I loved that. She also shows when she's beginning to wear a bit thin, or when she's suffering from injuries (like normal, non-indestructible human beings), which I loved even more. Her attitude at times, and her actions, riled me however, and so I never felt terribly close to her. This may have been a device to show how stubborn and determined she is, but in the end it just made me feel a bit distant. Sixkiller, on the other hand, was very well written, and retained a sense of mystery while still feeling genuine and interesting.
I loved how De Pierres was able to make the action scenes seem real, even when fantastical elements were in play. Often when a character was injured, I felt I could see it in my mind's eye, and that was awesome. I think what held it back, though, was that there was just so much going on. You had the whole Western/cowboy/cowgirl theme happening, and then the futuristic/world-has-become-overpopulated-and-wiped-out-most-of-nature thing, and then there were fantasy elements thrown in as well, and the occasional confused element of romance... I just began to feel a little overwhelmed with everything that was happening. The pace would have been excellent if I didn't feel like I was processing about ten things at once.
Having said that, I think I would have liked more of an exploration of the fantasy in the books. It felt slightly distant and confusing most of the time, but this may have been due to an effort to save most of the fantasy for a second book? I'm not sure.
Overall, I enjoyed this read, but I just felt like a few things could have been stripped out without too much sacrifice to the plot. While I enjoyed the writing, I don't think I will remember this book too well in a day's time. Perhaps it would be worth checking out some of De Pierres other stuff.
I received an e-copy of this book for review.
You would like this book if: You enjoy a mix of genres; you like a kickass, slightly emotionally unavailable yet still real female lead.
If you'd like to keep up to date with what I'm reading, follow me on Goodreads here!