Book Review: Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen

Another book that I picked up at the free little library on the next street just because it looked interesting. I didn’t have my glasses with me at the time so the back could have said anything. As an aside, a wake is the collective noun for a group of vultures, much like it is a senate of monkeys or a salad of sea cucumbers.

Anyway, the book is set in the late 1800s in the wild west of America, but in an alternate reality inhabited by mythical creatures. I didn’t know this when I started to read it, but there was a horrifying moment early on when it occurred to me that the book was about cowboys and vampires. I nearly stopped reading then and there, never to pick it up again, but I’m glad that I did.

wake

Nettie Lonesome, the hero, has grown up almost as a slave. One day she runs off to the nearest ranch, pretends to be a boy and gets a job as a wrangler. At the end of her first week she goes with all of the other wranglers to the local town for drinks and company. It turns out that she can ‘see’ that the three elegant working girls are all vampires, who suck the blood of the paying men, and, ahem, nothing else.

Nettie ends up escaping from another monster at the ranch, meeting up with a brother and sister pair of skinwalkers, who can change in coyotes. Together with a band of rangers, the captain who rides a unicorn instead of a horse, they hunt for the cannibal owl, a child eating evil presence that even the werewolves are scared of. Along the way they meet various other creatures, including a deadly siren which only Nettie is immune to.

It was an interesting book, never quite explaining everything that was going on, and although Nettie can be headstrong and slightly annoying, you grow to like her. Wake of Vultures is the first book in a series which currently has three books, but a fourth is on the way. The true test is would I read Book 2, probably, but only if I happen across it.

Currently reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman and Thin Air: A Ghost Story by Michelle Paver.

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