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Wake of Vultures

(The Shadow #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  4,432 ratings  ·  856 reviews
A rich, dark fantasy of destiny, death and the supernatural world hiding beneath the surface.

Nettie Lonesome lives in a land of hard people and hard ground dusted with sand. She's a half-breed who dresses like a boy, raised by folks who don't call her a slave but use her like one. She knows of nothing else. That is, until the day a stranger attacks her. When nothing, not e
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published October 27th 2015 by Orbit
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Tori Frost Note that transgender characters =/= characters who dress as the opposite gender as a disguise. You're going to find very different books depending on…moreNote that transgender characters =/= characters who dress as the opposite gender as a disguise. You're going to find very different books depending on which one you're looking for.

If you're looking for transgender and gender-nonconforming protagonists, try "Symptoms of Being Human" by Jeff Garvin, "George" by Alex Gino, and the upcoming "If I Was Your Girl" by Meredith Russo.

If you want characters disguising themselves as the opposite gender to move more easily through a sexist society, try Tamora Pierce's books (especially the Alanna series). Historical fiction has a lot of books like this as well, especially anything set in wartime. (less)

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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  4,432 ratings  ·  856 reviews

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Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a tricky book for me to give this a star rating to.

Don't get me wrong, I liked it. I liked it a whole lot. I read the whole thing in two sittings.

But that's not the end-all be-all when it comes to rating a book. (Or at least it isn't for me.) When I rate a book publicly, one of the things I take into consideration is how much you would enjoy the book. (And by "you" I mean the average person who reads my reviews.)

Here are the things that complicate rating this book for me:

First and for
Sometimes, it's all in the spin. If you has said to me, "here, read this YA book with trigger scenes, set in the Old-Timey West with phrases like, "Poor critter was parched and gaunt as a crow's skeleton," I would have insincerely said, 'sure,' and immediately made plans to deep-six it down the nearest prairie well. But had you said, "here, I have this great book about a brown, mixed race, Native gender-bender girl who learns to see monsters after she kills one and is given a ghost-quest to take ...more
I stinkin' loved this book. Clearly, as I gave it five stars, so that's obvious. And normally my reviews don't get all analytical or deep, but because this book tackles so much and does it really, really well, I feel like it deserves some praise and a little bit deeper of a review.

This book is set in the past - the late 1800s Southwest, to be exact -- but its message includes some highly relevant subjects. Sure it's a fantasy take on the famous western "Cowboy and Indian" tales and games we used
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Wake of Vultures has all the qualities of a great book. First, it features a standout protagonist, an undaunted misfit heroine who against all odds rises to meet the biggest challenge of her life. Second, we have an action-filled plot full of wildly imaginative ideas and exciting new twists–in other words, a genuinely entertaining story. Third, I enjoyed its poignant messages of self-discovery and independence, of seizing
Robin (Bridge Four)
DNF at 55%

I don't DNF often and it isn't that this is a bad book. It isn't at all I'm just really struggling to stay interested in it.

Lila hasn't been really likable for me so far and I'm not sure if it is just that this has a setting like a Western or that there was a lot of stuff with Horses that disinterested me.

I did like it when the shapeshifting Coyote showed up though.

I've tried to get back to it a few times and I'm just really more interested in a lot of other books right now and this


Get ready for a tale about the pull of destiny and the search of one's identity, carrying a distinctly feminist undertone (not that guys won't love it too ... it's a western, duh).

“Nettie Lonesome had two things in the world that were worth a sweet goddamn: her old boots and her one-eyed mule, Blue. Neither item actually belonged to her. But then again, nothing did.”

...and just like that, after the first two lines, I knew I would love it.

Set in an alternate v
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, fantasy, western
Because a shadow was a thing that defined itself, and Nettie didn’t have to fit anyone else’s shape.
It is a story of finding yourself and self determination.
" It doesn’t matter what tribe you came from. You can make your own.”

This was a fantastic weird western with ALL the things
Chupacabra, werewolves, harpies, minotaurs, vampire covens, a Cannibal Owl
gorgons , rabbits with fangs, butterflies with skulls for heads and huge stingers, Cockatrices, Death’s Head moths, pixies, dwarves, ski walkers
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
This is the most fun I have had with a book in awhile. I didn't really know much about this one going in. There is a bit of everything. There's a girl who wants to be a boy and isn't sure if she likes boys or girls. There are wranglers and vampires and coyotes who are really people and there is one mean ass owl. See fun! The audio narration is also excellent. ...more

Lately I have found myself being drawn to YA Westerns and when I saw this book, I was intrigued. Western adventure, Native American/Black protagonist and magic, magic, magic! Dream come true.

I had a lot of fun reading this, even though there is some darkness woven throughout the story. This is one of those books where the journey is the story more than the destination. As such at times the long road to the monster felt a tad tedious, and the ending was abrupt in comparison.

However I did enjoy
jv poore
This was both a joyful and inspiring read. With a fabulously frantic fast pace, the action-packed adventure to find and conquer the Cannibal Owl sucked me in and carried me along. The variety of monsters that are encountered all along the way totally tickled my adoration of fantasy, while the main character, Nettie Lonesome grounded me and filled me with hope and pride.

Nettie’s spunk, whole-hearted courage and unconditional admiration and adoration of all animals are delightfully demonstrated by
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: shelf-at-home, dnf
Dnf-ed 80 pages in.
It wasn't grabbing my attention, so I decided to just stop forcing myself to read it.
Jes Reads
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Behold, the western I didn't know that I needed in my life. I am beyond excited to continue this series. When can I start the next one?

Firstly, I went into this series pretty blind. I had heard some pretty stunning ratings and decided that it was worth a shot. thank you to Orbit books for sending the series my way, if not for you guys I wouldn't have gotten to read such a wonderful book.

Wake of Vultures follows our main character Nettie, a slave turned ranch hand, turned vampire hunter. Yes, you
Sep 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
BAM... great... weird... and different! I loved it. Full review to come.
Lauren Stoolfire
Wake of Vultures (The Shadow #1) by Lila Bowen (aka Delilah S. Dawson) was exactly the kind of historical western fantasy that I was looking for. Historical fantasy is one of my favorite genres, and this was delightful. Once I got started I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed that this series doesn't follow the character you usually expect to see leading a western. Nettie challenges expectations at every turn and she's always going to be herself no matter what that means. I can't wait to see more of ...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
2.5 stars

I’ll begin with a disclaimer: this isn’t my type of book, though from its marketing I thought it might be. First, because while it has a fantasy plotline, the setting and tone are more horror-tinged paranormal, full of monsters and gruesomeness. Second, because it really is a young-adult novel, in the sense of being an easy-to-read, action-oriented adventure populated by simplified characters and featuring a 16-year-old Chosen One who is unrealistically functional for her age and life e
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
Full review at The Speculative Herald:

4.5/5 stars

Wake of Vultures is a western fantasy doused with folklore, and complete with vampires, werewolves and shape-shifters. Just don’t go into this expecting the sparkling variety of vampires or the happy, hunky type of werewolves. This is a darker book that left me mesmerized by the world and characters.

Nettie has an incredibly hard life. She is the only non-white person around and was raised by a couple who to
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
This is an entertaining fantasy Western that takes a diverse set of myths and spins them together. Anchored by a hero learning her own worth, this is a really interesting story.
Nicholas Eames
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Short Version: GO BUY THIS BOOK!

The Long Version:

Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Pen name of Delilah S. Dawson, Wake of Vultures sets up to be a book tailor made for the likes of me. Diverse cast, Old West vibe, and a quick pace are all present. And for the most part it was a hit for me. I flew through it, the protagonists’ place in the story and the overall vibe. A nice big disclaimer warns the reader that this is based on a U.S. Old West that never was; a very smart move to keep us history majors from trying to dissect the exact time frame.

The story starts with Nettie, a g
Wake of Vultures is Fantasy meets the Wild West, which is just as adventurous and exciting as it sounds. It's also a tale with a moral story. Struggle and strength often go hand and hand, and that's readily apparent in the form of Nettie Lonesome. Not only is she in a battle for survival, but she's also in a battle to understand who she is, what she is, and how to embrace her true identity. Nettie's struggles often deal with both sexual and gender identity. As a girl masquerading as a boy, she k ...more
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sirens-2019
I think this book probably had two strikes against it (me-wise) going in. I'm not a big fan of westerns and I'm not a big fan of YA. That's not to say that I can't enjoy both of those types of books, but if I do the book's got to wow me in some way. That didn't happen here.

Nettie Lonesome is a slave on a broken down farm in the middle of dusty nowhere. After being accosted by a stranger-than-strange stranger in the barn, she discovers that through killing him she's tapped into the ability to see
Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Want to see me talk about books? Check out my Youtube Channel: Bexnbookx

Wake of Vultures is a western novel with a fantasy twist. It was an entertaining story with monsters weaved throughout and a strong main character, but the writing style dragged for me and the language and slang used was jarring.

Wake of Vultures follows Nettie Lonesome, who dreams of a life far greater than being a slave in the middle of the desert. When a stranger attacks her, she fights back until he turns into dust, and
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
A half-breed black/Indian girl comes of age in a fantasy version of the old west, complete with vampires, werewolves, ghosts, chupacabras and all sorts of other monsters.

Nettie Lonesome is the adopted child of a terrible couple who treat her poorly, but she's hard-working and talented with horses, so she has a promising future given that she can pass as a boy in most places. Unfortunately an accidental encounter with the supernatural leaves her able to see monsters, and monsters are attracted to
Suzanne Rooyen
I don't think I've ever read a Western, but considering how much I'm enjoying Westworld right now, I think I read this book at the right time.

I loved the setting and I loved the characters. The writing was great and the plot was intriguing. What left me a little confused in this book is the trans content.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD... Now, according to the info at the back of the book, the author considers Nettie, the MC, to be trans. While I absolutely appreciate the difficult nature of showing w
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
I LOVED this story! It's going on my 10* favorites shelf. I think you absolutely have to listen to the audio to get the full experience of Nettie Lonesome aka Nat aka Rhett.

On the surface it's a dark and gritty, western fantasy but down deep it's a whole lot more then that. The author touches on quite a few serious topics-gender identity; sexual orientation, racism, cultural identity, slavery etc.

The entire story was just so well written too. If you haven't read it, you should definitely add it
Ezinwanyi Chinyere
This story started off really promising with the introduction of the heroine Sixteen-year old Nettie Lonesome. She was a biracial girl living on a ranch with a couple she called Pap and Mam. According to Pap and Mam, no one including her biological family wanted this half black, half native American girl, so they took her in and tolerated her.

One day, a visiting man attacked Nettie at the ranch and when Nettie stabbed him, the man turned into ash. This opened her eyes to a whole other world of
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
4.0 Stars
This western fantasy novel felt incredibly fresh for the genre. The inclusion of Native American folklore and myths created a fascinating and unique story.

This novel included some excellent elements of the diversity, with a biracial main character grappling with her gender identity. Not the typical kick-butt female character, Nettie was instead quite timid and even submissive, which made her very sympathetic and relatable.
As the story progressed, she developed as a character, gaining m
DNF @22%

I could not get into this. Westerns aren't my thing. Since this is also fantasy I was hoping the western stuff wouldn't be so prevalent, but it was. Training horses and ranching is boring to read about. A few vampires have been in the story so far but not enough to keep my interest. Everything about this bored the hell out of me. Finally the book was getting to the point where a plot was beginning to take shape, but I just don't care anymore.
Holly (The GrimDragon)
“The world was not a place of black and white, night and day. It was shades of gray and shadows, dusk and dawn, in-between moments and shifting sands.”

Wake of Vultures is the first book in the Shadow series by Lila Bowen, which is a pseudonym for Delilah S. Dawson’s fantasy novels.

Set in an alternate world, but similar to our 1870’s, Nettie Lonesome is a young mixed-race woman who was taken in as a child by a poor white farmer and his wife because nobody else would look after her. Often terribly
Nina ✿ Looseleaf Reviews ✿
Jan 30, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF @ 15%

It could be a great book, but it’s not for me. I can’t do Westerns, nor can I do cis girls who just Hate Being Girls.
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Lila Bowen is the writer of Wake of Vultures and its sequel, Horde of Crows. As Delilah S. Dawson, she writes the Blud series, the Hit series, Servants of the Storm, and a variety of short stories and comics.

Other books in the series

The Shadow (4 books)
  • Conspiracy of Ravens (The Shadow, #2)
  • Malice of Crows (The Shadow, #3)
  • Treason of Hawks (The Shadow, #4)

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