By: Steven S. Drachman
Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book to review. As is my policy with books that I receive for review, if I don’t like it, I don’t review it.
If I’m being honest, I wasn’t really sure what to think of this book when it showed up on my doorstep. It is a novel about a time travelling cowboy after all. I’ve read my fair share of westerns, and probably more than my fair share of science fiction. But, I don’t think I’ve ever read a western science fiction. It’s been pretty popular to include elements of the first in the latter recently (see Firefly) and I suppose you could call steampunk something that could be called a mix of the two.
Ghosts is the first in a trilogy of books that follow the main character, Watt O’Hugh, an street urchin turned civil war veteran turned cowboy who manages to find himself twisted up in a grand story of time travelling and western expansion with a little bit of love and gunplay thrown in for good measure.
The book is short. At just over 200 pages, it almost feels wrong to actually call it a novel. Especially when, like me, you’re more used to tomes that reach well over three times as many pages. (see: The Name of the Wind) It reads much quicker than it’s pages, though, and really reminds me of the old pulp westerns. Lots of action, not a lot of exposition, but a good solid story that feels fun and entertaining.
If I have to find a flaw with the book, it’s that it really is too short. I imagine, in the grander scope of the trilogy, that it will redeem itself and fit nicely in the overall story arch. On it’s own, it just seemed like it was too short and I was left wondering where the rest of the story was. (presumably in the next two books)
I don’t think you likely need to be a fan of westerns to end up enjoying this book, although it’s much more western than it is science fiction. The Ghosts of Watt O’Hugh is a fun, quick read.