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Gunslinger Girl

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James Patterson presents a bold new heroine—a cross between Katniss Everdeen and Annie Oakley: Serendipity Jones, the fastest sharpshooter in tomorrow's West.

Seventeen-year-old Serendipity "Pity" Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She's been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great....

In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity's struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.

422 pages, Hardcover

First published January 2, 2018

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Lyndsay Ely

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 716 reviews
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
December 9, 2020

Welcome to Cessation, Serendipity Jones. The last place on the continent where you can do whatever the hell you want.
Serendipity "Pity" Jones is a seventeen-year-old gunslinger in a futuristic wild west world.

Her mother lived on a commune and raised three children with a man she abhorred.

Pity's mother did her best in a bad situation but ultimately, her drinking got the best of her.
Right and wrong isn’t so easy, is it? Sometimes the choices we make are a little bit of both.
Half-orphaned (what a twist from the normal fully-orphaned YA heroines...) Pity soon learns that her father plans to essentially sell her off to a different commune (she's a fertile myrtle).

Pity runs away and soon finds herself at Cessation - an almost mythical world of lawlessness.

She joins Moreau’s performing troop as a sharpshooter and meets a variety of other acts.

Despite the glitz and the glam
, there is something far darker lurking beneath the surface.

Will Serendipity discover it in time? ...or will it discover her?
It’s an ugly world, and we need to take what happiness we can, when we can.
You're never too old for YA... however, you do get too old for bad YA.

Other people who've read this book - am I the only one who just felt completely and utterly blah?

There just wasn't anything particularly interesting or gripping enough for me to care

Pity was a YA heroine to a T - she's a half-orphan, haunted by her actions, meek but not weak, headstrong but not aggressive.

She's wickedly good at an oddly specific talent. Her knowledge and skill set far outweighs her age, yet everyone around her just accepts it.

There was a dark mystery in her past, one that could forever change her future.

The whole time, I was just like, ehhhh. Feels pretty average.

The only thing this book had going for it was the setting - the pseudo-future-wild-west thing was definitely interesting...but literally 20 pages after Pity steps out the door, she goes to Cessation to become a showgirl.

I was FAR more interested in what was outside those walls than what costume she was going to wear.

Anyway, if you are looking for a light read and there's nothing else at the library - this one is for you.

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Profile Image for James Patterson.
Author 1,503 books340k followers
March 14, 2018
A girl who can draw a pistol faster than any man. A United States devastated by a Second Civil War. A decadent city teeming with vice and a particular kind of virtue. Lyndsay Ely imagines a new West where gunslinger Serendipity "Pity" Jones seeks her fortune. And you won't be able to put this book down until you finish Pity's thrilling story. I know I couldn't.
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.8k followers
December 27, 2017
“Welcome to Cessation, Serendipity Jones. The last place on the continent where you can do whatever the hell you want.”

I didn't know Gunslinger Girl existed before the day it arrived on my doorstep. I didn't know what to expect, only what the cover and the blurb suggested: an explosive blend of futuristic dystopia and Wild West laced with danger, conspiracies and intrigue. It is with great pleasure, ladies and gentlemen, to declare that Lyndsay Ely's debut stayed true to its promise!

“The sun has set, and the moon begins to rise. Now is the early black. Now is the time of magic and mysteries, of darkness and devilry. I welcome all of you, new friends and old, to the greatest show on the continent, to the theatre to end all theatre! Welcome to the Theatre Vespertine!”

After a devastating Civil War that left the country in ruins, the Confederation of North America arose, trying to stabilize its rule using raw brutality against the Patriots and a mix of propaganda and strict rules towards its supporters. Serendipity 'Pity' Jones, in a desperate need to escape from her cruel father, fled from her commune taking with her only her mother's six-shooters. An unfortunate occurence led her to Cessation, the City of Evil, where no laws apply and the greatest show on Earth, Halcyon Singh's Theatre Vespertine, gives mesmerizing and deadly performances. Death here becomes a spectacle. Pity finds a home in this peculiar city, but living in Cessation, performing in the Theatre, has a terrible cost. Between ambitious politicians and cunning bounty hunters, Pity faces the dilemma whether Cessation is worth saving or it should be left to crumble.
“Welcome, all of you, Serendipity Jones - deadliest shot in the west!”

While you read Gunslinger Girl, you realise one thing: Theatre Vespertine is more than a show. It's a challenge to all sensations, a vibrant spectacle that feeds the masses and gives them blood to quell their thirst. But when the spectacle is over, when the curtains fall and the blood is mopped up, it doesn't mean that the performance is. For even a lawless and vile city that deals in political favors, secrets and desires, that offers lust, freedom and wild abandon, needs a semblance of order and authority, before the gangs take control or the victims of freedom start piling up. Lyndsay Ely's world is vivid and ferocious; she doesn't elaborate much on the world-building, and this is one of the rare occasions that it's fine by me because she manages to impart the essence, the danger of her world without fanfares and boring details, but her story is still engrossing, especially once you turn the first pages.

In Cessation, and Pity's world in general, there is no black and white, bad guys versus good guys. All of them are morally grey, using any means necessary to achieve their goals and exploiting weaknesses of their enemies' and allies' alike to their own gain. In this parade of dubious, intriguing characters, of prostitutes and performers and artists and politicians, Pity Jones is the leading star. For the sake of honesty, I have to admit that I didn't feel connected to her character, but this detachment didn't prevent me from enjoying her story. Other characters, like Max and Selene and Beau provoked stronger reactions (whether good or bad you have to read Gunslinger Girl in order to understand), and they were colourful and a great addition to the plot. The combination of diverse characters, thick suspense, mind games, plots and action, revelries, debauchery resulted in a sinful ambience, and along with the sweet and slightly angsty romance they created a page-turner and a remarkable debut! Judging by the way this book ended, I'm fairly positive there will be a sequel, one I am looking forward to reading!

Gunslinger Girl is an intense adventure, and I highly recommend it!

*An early copy was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Review also posted on BookNest!
Profile Image for Kerri.
Author 17 books24.1k followers
June 6, 2017
Fans of WESTWORLD will devour this and beg for more! Dark as a dystopian future and wild as the old West, this is a debut to keep in your sights.
Profile Image for Shae.
741 reviews169 followers
December 22, 2017
It is entirely possible that the story improves past page 76, but I just can't stick it out. This book reads like bargain basement YA from 2007. It does nothing new. It takes the standard dystopian tropes, adds some Western "flavoring," and calls it a day. You have a horrifically misogynistic commune (literally called the Commune) where everyone talks like an old time Western painted over in sepia and women are coveted for being fertile and traded from commune to commune as underage brides. Of course the protagonist has an abusive, religious father and two brothers who take after their pa. She's mouthy and gets herself in scrapes. She ends up heading to a glittering, hedonistic escape out west (read: Las Vegas) and ends up rooming in a brothel but is not a prostitute.

Oh and did I mention that this post-apocalyptic background was put in place after the Second Civil War, which was literally between the Confederacy of North America and the United Patriot Front and the Confederacy won so everyone is awful?? Because that's a thing. Also, the protagonist is guided by a Latino gentleman, and we know he's Latino because he sprinkles Spanish 101 vocabulary into his dialogue, me entiendes?

There's an awful

Look, I don't want to scare anyone off this book. I thought what I read was really basic and paint-by-numbers, but you know what? That legit has its place. There are people that connect with that and good for them! If you're not already really knowledgeable on western and/or dystopian tropes, you may find this really fresh and new. I have less good things to say about the whole Confederacy/Spanish character stuff, but I didn't finish the book either, so do with that what you will.

[Edited to fix a few typos. There are likely more.]
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,820 followers
February 10, 2018
Well... I've got a bit to say here. Some of it will refer specifically to this edition, that is the audio. Other things will be general comments. I liked the idea behind this book . I'm a fan of "weird westerns", "science fiction westerns" etc. and frankly they are either way too few of them or their just really hard to find. I've picked up most every book I've come across that might/may fit the title/description fantasy type western...and sadly most have been, well to be charitable weak.

This book has it's pluses and it's minuses. For one thing the book has trouble deciding whether it's adult level or YA level. The main character is a "YA" but the story takes place in a world where there has been another Civil War, lots of people are dead, lots of females are sterile and life is still pretty cheap. Of course women are still dealing with their lot of being second class citizens in some places (the settlements will "sell" young women who are fertile to other settlements who may "need them". You know when the first settlement has more fertile women than they can marry off to locals...

Of course then we meet the "badest" leader in the badlands and she's a woman so maybe times be a changin". Who knows? Not me.

See that's one of the minuses here. We know that there was a war, we know Pity's (short for Serendipity) mother fought for the Patriots (who lost) and that they now live in the CONA The Confederacy of North America...but that's all we really know. It seems as though things may have collapsed at some point...maybe across the entire world but we don't know. Anyway the war (wars?) were nasty even including bio-war (thus the sterility) and the CONA victors are still ready to kill those who fought for the Patriots (seems a lot like a more violent version of the Unification vs. Brown Coats war in Firefly).

What did the Patriots stand for as opposed to the Confederationists? we don't know, however there may be later books so maybe we'll find out more.

Another thing, the book was a good 12 chapters in before we really got moving. Just hang in, a story does develop if you stay with it. For a good while (or maybe "fir a good while" as Pity does "talk western talk") Pity is very young and she acts it. I was a little frustrated with that part of the story for...well for as long as it went on but again, it was done intentionally and fit into the book.

Finally this edition. I find of late I do much more "brain candy" than anything serious. I suspect it's just a function of age and the fact that I'm tired. I just don't need to go looking for the seriousness of life, it finds me on it's own.

Also I listen to a LOT of books now. I like audio books. They allow me to do other things (like my leather craft) and still "read". However I am/we are at the mercy of the reader. Now this book is about a young woman...so apparently the producer thought it would be a good idea to get a reader who sounds...well very young. Now the book is not first person it's told by a narrator. Thus to hear this rather high soprano trying to read the story was (for me) not the most ideal. The novel is about a young woman who is a good marksman (markswoman?) and the book has a good many scenes involving gunfire. When this young woman reads "BANG, BANG,BANG" I kept hearing a child playing cowboys.

Oh well, you get the idea. I found this one a mixed bag but in the end went all the way to a 4 star rating. By the end of the book I'd gotten used to the reader and was interested in the story.

I'd just like to know a little more about the history here...naybe just me.

Okay, I can recommend it. Enjoy.
Profile Image for Jina | JeanBeanReads.
493 reviews171 followers
January 9, 2018
Given this books ending, I can totally see one in the future. But if not, break my heart why don't you?
I need to get my thoughts in order but I will say now that was an incredible debut novel.

Profile Image for Melanie (TBR and Beyond).
509 reviews366 followers
July 26, 2018
“Survival was about who stood beside you."

Lyndsay Ely will be stopping by for a live chat on my Facebook Group Book Group on July 26th at 8PM EST- be sure to come check it out! TBR and Beyond

This was not at all what I was expecting. Tough ass chick? Check. Political intrigue? Check. Theater/side show storyline? Check again, wait what?

Yep, you heard it. The setting for this gem of a book is a town where anything can happen and danger is always around the bend and that includes the theater that our protagonist checks sucked in immediately that has a sideshow carnival feel. First, don't be scared of this book - I know you are! Stop that! Yes, it looks like a western and that is going to make a lot of people turn this book down. This is not a western as much as it is a dystopian. The first three or four chapters feel very much like a western but after that it goes in a totally different direction.

The characters are well-developed and interesting. I love that the a woman is the crime lord of this town and she is brutal and unforgiving and seems to have little to no weaknesses (or does she!). At the heart of this story is about a young woman, Serendipity aka Pity, who is learning how to stand on her own and figure out who she is and what she wants in life. She has runaway from her abusive father, lost everything she has and somehow manages to get her shit together and become a star attraction at this theater. The the theater itself was really interesting - I would've liked to see even more on it but what I saw was fascinating. The acts were cool and the finales were...well I'll let you see for yourself on that one.

Overall, I would encourage you to break out of your comfort zone and give this book a try. Sometimes veering from your regular reads is the best choice you can make. I've found many of my favorite books by reading stuff that I'd normally turn my nose up at. You won't regret checking this unique story out.
Profile Image for Darque  Dreamer .
373 reviews47 followers
August 17, 2017
Fast paced and riveting, Gunslinger Girl is sure to thrill you! Praise goes to Lyndsay Ely for creating a world where the wild west meets a dystopian future. This story has adventure, danger, and a bold heroine you won’t soon forget!

The Plot: Serendipity wants nothing more than to be free of her tyrannical father and unhappy life in the commune. She jumps at the first chance of freedom, but quickly learns that it comes with a price. She soon finds herself in the city of Cessation, full of decadence and debauchery. As the fastest gunslinger of the west, she is offered a life of fame, but may have to give up a piece of her soul. With the aftermath of the second civil war looming over the city, and the spreading corruption of rebellion, Pity’s taste of freedom may go down in a blaze of glory and bullets.

Wow! Gunslinger Girl blew me away! This one far exceeded my expectations! I knew I was going to love it when I saw the stunning cover and the thrilling synopsis, but I am excited to say that this is my new favorite book of 2017 (even though it’s not going to be published until 2018, shhh). There was not one aspect of the story that I did not enjoy! It was full of unexpected twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end.

Lyndsay Ely did a phenomenal job with her debut novel. The world building was absolutely incredible, and rich with detail! I pictured Las Vegas meets The Wild West with hints of a Fallout (post-apocalyptic video game) type setting. I was not left wanting for imagery. Cessation was an incredibly written city that felt authentic, luscious, and treacherous.

The characters met along the way were extremely entertaining and highly developed. Each one had a unique back story and personality. They all worked so well together and added such depth to the plot.

Pity was the perfect gunslinging badass. She was tired of her mistreatment at home, and her circumstances, so she found the guts to do something about it all. She was fierce, brave, and moral, right to the end.

Max had the mysterious, misunderstood bad boy thing going for him. He was loyal and protective. He added a bit of intrigue to the story, and definitely took me by surprise.

Selene was my second favorite character. Pity being my favorite, of course. She was strong, calculating, and a badass force to be reckoned with. I pictured a Charlize Theron character in her place.

Even the supporting characters were astonishingly wonderful! There was sassiness in both Olivia and Flossie. Garland offered a bit of lust and intrigue. Luster was mischeivious, but also caring. Duchess had a confident air, all of his own. Santiago was quite humorous at times, and added an extra layer of “oomph” to the group. And Halcyon added a layer of eccentricity and vivaciousness to the mix.

This book was everything I wanted in a story, and so much more! There were unpredictable plot twists and thrilling shoot outs. The plot had entertainment, temptation, betrayal, and passion! Gunslinger Girl is now my new favorite and I look forward to reading it over and over! Make sure to pre-order this if you are looking for a story to blow the rest out of the water!

Keep an eye on my blog for an author interview coming within the next couple of months: https://darquedreamerreads.wordpress.com

Thank you to Jimmy Patterson Books and Hachette Book Group for sending me this free ARC in exchange for my honest review! I cannot wait to buy the published hard copy!
Profile Image for Erin Bowman.
Author 18 books1,920 followers
June 2, 2017
My official blurb: Equal parts futuristic dystopia and gritty western, GUNSLINGER GIRL is genre-bending at its finest. Much like the theater in which her sharpshooting heroine performs, Ely's debut dazzles and stuns.
Profile Image for Tomes And Textiles.
248 reviews407 followers
February 18, 2018
This wasn't for me. Not at all. I thought that by cover and title, this would be about a gunslinging girl in the wild west. Just look at the cover. This is what they're selling you as a reader. While the beginning did feel like we were in an alternative wild west, 85% of the novel took place within a carnival. Instead of focusing on the wonder and weirdness of carnival life, though, the novel focused on a scared girl who was anything but a gunslinger because of her huge conscience or fear of doing what she needed to do to get the job done for herself (not that I have anything against a character with a conscience). She wasn't self-sufficient or even working in her self-interest nearly as much as I like to see in my heroines. I found her immature and cloying, too, which just added to my overall dislike of the book.

There was political intrigue in this alternative United States, some carnival intrigue. The supporting characters weren't fleshed out and were interchangeable in my eye. The ring and performances were given cursory descriptions. Imagine reading a carnival book and not having one memorable moment or action in the whole book? In addition, the intrigue and premise of the tension in this book, , was almost non-existent. Not to mention to back-and-forth on who the actual villain was and Pity's mother's back history.

Also, please don't get me started on nickname of Pity, for which Serendipity is known the entire novel.

And the love story, or lack thereof. It was one of those "YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN HOW I FELT" stories, but instead of shipping the couple, all I did was not really care. The love interest just smoldered in a corner and not make any advances. At all. He was merely decoration and it would have been more gripping if Pity had just made it all up in her head. I was not into mixed messages. None of this "you should have known" when there is literally no clues to go on. And please don't get me started on the portrayal of kissing or sex--or should I say, the lack of it. Every time a kiss might get steamy or possibly more...the action would just fade to black. It wasn't just an innuendo, I literally didn't know if characters had just kissed or had sex. It was confusing and frustrating as a reader to see both love and sex implied in a way where they were interchangeable. Also, this isn't a middle grade book and if you're going to include it in the book, concretely and definitely include it. Otherwise, just skip it because it just takes away from the authenticity of emotion of it all.

One more thing and this specifically has to do with the audiobook. The reader was pretty good, but she would vacillate between having and not having a Southern accent within the same characters. It made character dialogue difficult to follow, to say the least. The audiobook director should have more carefully aligned accents with characters to ease the burden on the listener. I mean, I've listened to enough audiobooks where I believe this should just be standard.

I only meant for this review to be a paragraph, but I guess the age-old of having more to say about books that I don't like than books that I love is very true in this case...

Profile Image for Latoya.
164 reviews48 followers
March 14, 2018
This was an okay read. Pity's tired of her life in the commune and wants nothing more than to escape from her abusive father. He's decided to trade her to another commune because she's fertile and they are short on women that can bear children. Pity's determined that won't be her life and plots to escape on her own. She gets her chance when her friend, Fin decides that she wants to see the world and won't let Pity leave without her. The moment doesn't last long and Pity finds herself in Cessation without Fin. This place is new and thrilling at first but she has to earn her keep by becoming part of the show. Pity discovers that life in Cessation is much grittier than she thought when she's asked to do something she's not comfortable with doing, a Finale. She finds herself at the mercy of Selene and involved in a dangerous plot to save the town or lose what she loves. Pity realizes falling in love makes you vulnerable to those that seek to use you and Selene has her strung tight.

I liked Pity, she has an innocence about her that was appealing. She has some growth in this book as she learns that life is hard and scary no matter where you go but it's worth the risk try for something better. I would have liked to get to know Fin more because she seemed the most interesting character to me. Now, the world didn't feel western to me. The only aspect of that was Pity and her guns. It felt more futuristic with a circus vibe. Overall, the writing is good and the pace moved rather fast for this one. I think anyone that likes westerns with a futuristic twist and political backstabbing may enjoy this one.

Narration: Moreau does a good job bringing the characters to life but it was strange that Pity was the only one that had a deep country accent or maybe it just stood out more to me.

Original post on my blog
Profile Image for Howard.
1,184 reviews73 followers
January 10, 2020
4 Stars for Gunslinger Girl (audiobook) by Lyndsay Ely read by Christie Moreau. This was a fun story about a girl finding her self in a new wild west, after the second civil war. I heard her character described as a dystopian Annie Oakley and I think that’s really on the mark. The story was interesting and the narration was great.
Profile Image for Cindy.
Author 4 books317 followers
June 17, 2017
If Louis L'Amour wrote MOULIN ROUGE and set it in the Capitol of Panem... you'd have GUNSLINGER GIRL. (Okay, so I've actually never *read* a Louis L'Amour book—I know, Mom, don't hate me—but he was the most notable Western writer I could think of.) I can honestly say I've never read another book quite like Lyndsay Ely's debut... and I can also honestly say I'll probably never forget it! Ely's characters and setting are both larger-than-life; fans of THE HUNGER GAMES will love the complex politics of Cessation and the ruthless, bloodthirsty tactics that Cessation's charismatically chilly leader uses to keep everyone in line. GUNSLINGER GIRL was a rollicking read from first to last!

(A quick note: I don't do a lot of content warnings anymore, but did want to note that there's a lot of drinking to excess and a fair amount of drug references, possibly making GUNSLINGER GIRL more suitable for mature teens and adults.)
Profile Image for Justin Turczak.
151 reviews27 followers
July 25, 2017
Finished gunslinger girl and wasn't as western book Ssi thought and not as dystopian either that it hints to. It's more of circus book if sorts and trying to decide from what is right and wrong. Overall of book is ehh but it's ending gets better. 3.5-4ish stars/5.
Profile Image for Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard.
1,144 reviews248 followers
July 15, 2018
PS this book awesome. Excited to chat with the author this month. Such a fun dystopian and the ending made much more sense to me the second time around.
Profile Image for Holly (Holly Hearts Books).
366 reviews3,051 followers
June 20, 2018
The only thing “Wild West” and “Western” about this book is the fact the main character wields 2 revolvers. Other than that, I got nothin’..
Profile Image for BrocheAroe.
257 reviews27 followers
May 27, 2017
As much as I'd like to say I don't judge a book by its cover, sometimes I do pick one up solely because the cover calls to me. Isn't this cover intriguing? I want to be her. So I picked it up and read her in almost one sitting (darn that work shift getting in the way), and now I can't stop talking about how much I love this book. It's a debut novel, too! Which means to me, and no pressure, Lindsay, but I'm excited for all the years of reading your works ahead of me.
Shelf-talker: Watch out, Annie Oakley! Serendipity Jones has come to Cessation, and she's making her (expert) mark on the city of sin. This riveting debut novel follows Pity as she escapes a forced marriage and the 87th Commune (the only home she's ever known) and heads toward Columbia, across the "Wild West" of a post-Second Civil War landscape. Deadly Scroungers and a well-timed rescue derail her plans, leading her to Max and the Theatre Vespertine. Though Pity's now enjoying more creature comforts (delicious food, luxurious rooms, stylish clothes) than she's ever known, every day she stays in Cessation comes at a cost: complete loyalty to Selene, who rules Casimir (Cessation's "house of ill repute" and the home of the theater) with a velvet-covered iron fist, and Pity's struggle to decide whether she will allow her sharpshooter skills to be used for an act far more deadly than the mere marksmanship she displays before an audience. When Pity finds herself at the center of a plot to overthrow Selene, she must decide what is more important: the lives of her new friends, her new love, or her freedom - the one thing she's always wanted but has not been able to secure. A fast-paced, riveting debut novel featuring a cast of kick-ass females. While the ending does not disappoint, there's plenty of story left for a possible book 2.

Personal Notes: Two thumbs way, WAY up! I devoured this book, and challenge you not to do the same. The world building was just enough - lots of details that built a full picture but without bogging us down with ones that would make the story drag. I think that was one of the most impressive things about this book: the amount of plot it contained for its length. A LOT happened in those 368 pages, and the storyline just kept moving right along. There wasn't a lot of down time, and I really liked that. The pace of the book seemed to match the pace of the world Pity lived in. In a futuristic, somewhat dystopian Wild West world like this, I don't think they would have taken a lot of time to think things through. They would have had a thought and then acted, or let their actions speak for them, both of which we see evidence of many times over during the book.

Also, the cast. So many great female characters! While the males were no slouch either, they weren't the driving force of the book. There's plenty of fodder here for a feminist reading, but I'll contain myself and just list the main females that really pushed the plot forward: six-shooter toting Serendipity Jones herself, of course; her BFF, Finn, who provides comfort, support, and a major life lesson; Pity's mother-in-memory, and the sharp-shooting lessons she gave Pity; Selene, the ruler of Casimir, with a real friend-or-foe dilemma going on; Siena Bond, the bounty hunter, who may or may not be after Pity, but who certainly knows more than she's telling; and so on. I could name so many more, but that taste should be enough to convince you that women are the heart and soul of this novel, and I couldn't be happier in recommending it as a read.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,317 reviews215 followers
March 11, 2018

Gunslinger Girl is about Seredipity, aka Pity, Jones. She is the best sharpshooter ever. Okay, maybe not like ever ever.. but she's pretty bad ass. I really enjoyed her character throughout the book. The way she viewed this world and theater was just mind blowing. Nothing was black and white - everything was just shades of grey. This book also kind of gave me a vibe of the show Westworld which I've only seen a few episodes of but I did enjoy it and this book immensely. Now I feel like after reading this book I should finish season one!

Honestly, I had no expectations going into this book. I knew it was new and had a beautiful cover. I also knew that it had something to do with the wild west.. which I haven't really read a book about. So, I kind of just went into this book blind. Well, long story short.. I definitely came out loving this book. I really enjoyed the badassness of Pity throughout the book. I also enjoyed some of the supporting characters, like Max and Selene. Max was the mysterious and misunderstood cliche of a bad boy. While Selene was another strong, independent, badass as well. These two definitely added spice to this book that made it even more amazing and intriguing.

Overall, I really liked the message from this book about Pity now liking mistreatment and she stood up for what she believed in. Pity is a force to reckon with and I loved it! I couldn't put this book down once I got it from the library. This will definitely not be the last book I ever read from Lyndsay. I want more!

Profile Image for Suzzie.
908 reviews164 followers
June 22, 2018
An okay read but Pity was a bit obnoxious and slow on the uptake so to speak. The ending was a bit unsatisfactory. I did enjoy the emerging relationship between Pity and Max the most out of everything that happens in this book but honestly the book was like a slow movie; where you are just going with the flow and not too invested in what is happening or what will happen.

My quick and simple overall: an okay read that I was hoping for more from.
Profile Image for Pipsprite.
102 reviews29 followers
April 29, 2018
4/5 Stars

Gunslinger Girl by Lindsay Ely is an alternate history about a strong-willed girl named Serendipity “Pity” Jones; who is an amazing shot and learned everything she knows from her mother. Since the second Civil War things never really returned to the way life was before. Readers find out early on that losing her mom took a toll on her and her family. Pity has two brothers and a father that treat her like she is their maid, they don’t want her to leave but want her to marry rich. Since they aren’t rich they need to figure out a way to live with what they have. Pity has other ideas about her life and wants to find a way out. Cessation is the very high tech and fancy town, and that’s the way out. Since Pity is able to shoot at an amazing speed and accuracy, Moreau’s troop takes her in because they will use her for those skills. What Pity soon discovers is playing with fire, she never really knows whom to trust. Walking into a corrupt city was never her idea of a good time. Pity is forced to figure out how to come out of the city alive.

I picked this book up because of the cover; it’s a cover that really pops off the shelves. The vibrant colors of the cover are eye-catching, the pink and white cover really what draws you in. I picked it up because I am a very big wild west fan so the guns and the cowboy hat really had me. When I first started this novel I was shocked. I skimmed the back before starting the novel but I had no idea what I was in for before starting Gunslinger Girl. Buying the novel was purely because of the cover. I was shocked when reading about Civil War, wild west and technology. After getting my bearings back, I soldiered on and ended up loving the concept. I would love being in the wild west because of how open they are with arming themselves for protection and I can see how some much not see it that way. After getting through this novel I would really shy away from being as open as they were back in those days. When getting into Cessation with Pity, you learn there is a Moreau’s troop that wants her for her skills with her gun. Moreau is able to use Pity’s wild west style of shooting and clothing to make a new act is their theatre.

The wild west aspect in this novel makes you look at the world differently. Things are hectic because everyone is trying to make money to live. The only way to make money in this town is to work as a miner. They don’t make enough to support the family though and that’s where trading the things you have come into play. In this instance the thing that would be traded is Pity and she isn’t willing to make that sacrifice for her family. The readers meet Fin, Pity’s best friend and the reason she is going to make it out of the town alive. Fin is a mechanic and has a truck that can get them out of town. When things don’t turn out as planned though, Pity ends up in Cessation in the hands of Moreau.

Cessation is a town that is the exact opposite of Pity’s town but in the beginning she only sees the theatre part of it. Theatre is a strong part of Cessation because that is a way to entertain the masses of people and the queen of the city. Wild west shooting is always an entertaining act for a large audience. This is why Moreau takes Pity in and makes an amazing act. Pity ends up meeting Max who is really her partner in crime and she is able to find her place in the troop because of him. Max really takes a liking to Pity for the first time he meets her and really wants for the act to succeed. I really like this aspect of the novel because of my background in theatre. They go into a lot of technical part of theatre in this novel and that’s why I fell in love. My degree is in technical theatre so I could really picture everything that they were talking about even the little stuff.

I ended up giving this novel four stars because I thought the end was rushed and a little predictable. Though I really like how shocking the story could get at the points you least expect. The ending was a big deal for me because if I can see where it is going I end up disappointed. Since I am a big mystery person it may have been easier for me to see than other readers but I ended up liking where it finally ended. Ely made it seem like she was going to make it into a series that I could see myself enjoying. Ely really made this concept her own and brought in a lot of different aspects to this novel. Theatre and the Wild West, I would never put those in the same sentence but now that’s all I can think about. The reader really gets dropped into a very large but easy to learn world. Since the world is easy to follow, she brings in a lot of characters that you start to love faster than normal. I would recommend to any fan of the Wild West or just an amazing story. The reader really learns about Pity and you love her from the moment you meet her. Pity’s friends and family show you the kind of person she is going to be through the entire novel. The readers will truly be able to see how much work it takes for some people to find their true selves and Pity could be the way they see it.
Profile Image for Aneta Bak.
423 reviews102 followers
December 25, 2017
Gunslinger Girl was a powerful book set in a dystopian western society. It was so creative and unique, I loved every minute of it.

Pity can't wait for the day she can escape the commune. After her mother's death, Pity has lived a life of being told what to do by her father. When her father returns to town and tells Pity of his plan to sell her off to some stranger because she's "fertile," Pity decides that her escape is either now or never. Pity is taken to Cessation where she is offered a life of fame in the Theatre as Serendipity Jones, the fastest gunslinger in the west, but freedom comes at a price.

This book was not at all what I originally expected, but I fell in love with it nevertheless. Pity is an amazing main character and I just cant get enough of her. She is so strong and smart but she's also very human. She is not always brave and occasionally does the wrong thing, but her character development throughout the book was absolutely exquisite. She becomes stronger and a better woman. I cant wait to read more of her story and what she does next.

The supporting characters in this book were also very unique and engaging. I absolutely loved Max and Selene. Max is definitely the mysterious, artistic, bad boy type with a good heart that you cant help to fall in love with. And Selene is such a strong ruler, but also very loveable at times. The rest of the characters were really interesting as well, although it took me a bit of time to figure out who was who as I got the names confused in the beginning.

The plot of this story was what surprised me the most. I was expecting the typical western, like something out of Back to the Future III, but instead you get a complex dystopian world, that is something you haven't heard about before. The world that Miss Ely created was breathtaking and I absolutely loved it. We got to know the politics and how the country is run, as well as the backstory of what happened to create this dystopian world. I really hope to explore the world a lot more in the future books.

Overall, I loved this book so much, and I can't wait to read more from this series and from this author. I highly recommend this book to all YA Fantasy and Dystopia lovers, this is a book you won't want to miss.

Happy Reading,
Profile Image for Ashley Speakman.
199 reviews5 followers
August 8, 2017
This book is very different from any book I've ever read. It is set in a futuristic Wild West. I was hooked from the first page. Here was a girl who called herself Pity. Her life was terrible. She and her BFF Finn attempt to escape to a big city and out of the confines of Pity's abusive father. She's escapes with her dead mother's two guns. Pity finds herself in Cessation. It's like a carnival city with a fortress at the center called Cassmir . Pity is set to train to be in the city's theater act. Miss Selene runs the town and if you don't do what she wants, you will find yourself in the theater finale. But, can Pity do what she's told?

There was a little romance in here but true to YA, it's not descriptive in its content. It's still sweet and warming.

I loved the characters in this book. I was rooting for Max and Pity to get together as soon as they met. I loved how quirky Olivia was. I didn't like Sheridan. There was something about him. I couldn't put my finger on...
I am hoping there is a second book with more adventures with Pity. The end doesn't wrap up all the way but not really a cliff hanger either. All in all a great debut novel and I am looking forward to Lyndsay's next book!
Profile Image for Cori Reed.
1,135 reviews379 followers
September 14, 2017
4.5 Stars!

Gunslinger Girl is part Western, part Dystopian, and a hell of a lot of fun. I really enjoyed exploring the lawlessness of Cessation and the intricate workings of how politics were working. There were definitely some twists and turns when it came to who was crossing who and I did not predict the outcome!

This book has a lot of heart and I definitely recommend adding it to your TBRs!
Profile Image for M.K. England.
Author 9 books576 followers
July 30, 2017
A futuristic wild west? YES PLEASE. Gunslinger Girl had me hooked right from the start with characters I could hear so clearly and a world both dazzling and dark in equal measure. There's a heroine you can empathize with, a light romance you can honestly root for, and a setting so compelling you almost don't mind the corruption at its heart. Wholly unique and highly recommended.
Profile Image for Just Reading Everything.
128 reviews7 followers
June 12, 2017
A brilliant, expertly-written Western YA that includes incredible world building, a strong-as-hell, kickass female character, a sweet romance, and an action-packed plot! This debut is simply stunning — and hard to put down!
Profile Image for Empress Reece (Hooked on Books).
915 reviews79 followers
April 22, 2018
4.5 stars...

Not exactly what I was expecting but very good nonetheless. I had this mental image of a more traditional western setting but this world is more lawless than western and set in a futuristic time period- parts of it kind of reminded me of Mad Max Fury Road. All-in-all it was a pretty cool story. If there's a sequel, I'm definitely going to read it.
Profile Image for Kelly-Marie.
206 reviews5 followers
August 4, 2018
5 stars 🌟 there has to be a book two can’t leave the ending like that 😭 was brilliant 💕
Profile Image for Vicky Again.
596 reviews815 followers
May 11, 2020
I totally enjoyed reading this book! It was such an entertaining, fast-paced read that had me hooked from the first couple chapters I read in the bookstore that I had to go back and read the rest.

Pity is such a cool character, and although I couldn't relate to her very much, I enjoyed reading about her. It's like Katniss Everdeen--you like reading about her badassery, but you can't really relate because you know if you were in the book, you'd be Servant #3 or something so extraneous that you're not even written about. Pity was so interesting though, and I liked the nuanced complexity to her emotions, even with the romance added in.

Max, the romantic interest, is a pretty classic case of Mysterious Boy™, but there's more to him than what meets the eye and I really hope there's a sequel so I can unravel more of his mystery! His relationship with Pity was interesting and enough to keep me engaged--which was more than I could say for many other YA romances. I wasn't super hard SHIP SHIP SHIP but I thought they were cute together.

But the highlight of this book lay in the plot. Because it was so damn entertaining. Pity has to deal with morality issues (killing bad people in a showy manner) as well as the growing conspiracy happening in Cessation and the mysterious bad guy who's threatening Selene's reign. I liked both the mystery (who is this bad guy?) and action (fight scenes! civilians scattering! guns blazing!) which proved to mix very well with this Western-feeling dystopian setting.

It was interesting and felt like a tech-y Wild West, which was really cool and unique. The book was paced well and I liked how it paired with the aforementioned atmosphere to create a very novel concept for the reader that felt interesting rather than another overused SFF setting.

I did think the book was a little foggy in its premise and I'm still kind of confused on the politics going on. I got the very basics--CONA bad, Selene good--but setting up the premise was kind of confusing to me. What was the war about? Who are the patriots? What's going on in Colombia? What about the corporations, like Drakos-Pryce? I understood the basics of the book well enough, but I feel like the overall world's situation was a little too foggy for me and I think it could have used more exposition woven in. This was where that .5 star got chopped off.

Overall, this was a very entertaining novel and I definitely enjoyed! I would recommend it to anyone looking for a SFF or action that will keep you entertained with a unique atmosphere not commonly found in YA!
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