It was my intention originally to review each book as I read it but I couldn’t keep up with myself. That book was a whirlwind. I finished it just last night and it was definitely one of the best reads in a while. Not that that’s saying much considering how little I’ve read in the last several months.
Anyway, the book. It was a really fast moving and engaging novel, each book ending with a cliffhanger that had me itching for the next volume. Thank goodness I had them all in one book! Sister Thomas Josephine starts off as an unremarkable nun who gets kidnapped travelling from Missouri to California. As one would probably assume from a nun, especially one in the 1860s, she was very opposed to violence, deceit, and really any sort of immorality or impropriety. Over the twelve books she gradually develops into a very different character, one who is more comfortable riding around the desert in men’s clothing with a gun in her hand than cloistered in a nunnery. What I liked best about her is that even though she does reluctantly engage in violence, lying gets easier for her, and very reluctant stealing happens in moments of desperation, she never lost her moral compass even if she occasionally struggled with her religion. I’m not religious in the slightest but I really like that the author didn’t have her lose her scruples and beliefs to become cold and mercenary because of her experiences.
The story was also really gripping, racing along at a breakneck speed which isn’t always what you want from a book but it worked really well here. It was also written in the first person which I’m not usually a fan of but this also didn’t faze me at all with this book. She was caught numerous times and managed to escape every time which almost suspended my belief towards the very end but not quite. The escapes were very different and the consequences of them made them work. For example, her very first escape from Carthy she shoots a gun for the first time and blows off his fingers and ends up shooting others in her frantic bid to escape. This weighs heavily on her conscience and is really the only instance where she wasn’t shooting to intimidate or lightly maim. Sometime later she and Abe escape once again but at the cost of their horses and supplies which I only mention because I loved Rattle the horse and I’m still sad he never turned up again.
Abe was another good character and once again I liked that although the Sister had what you’re lead to believe are romantic feelings for him that were seemingly reciprocated, she is largely unaware/in denial of the nature of her feelings and nothing happens between them. Romance is great and all and I’m as guilty of shipping characters as the next person but it’s so refreshing when a lead female character doesn’t have a romantic side plot.
Really all of the characters were great. Puttick’s redemption arc was tastefully done I felt, Carthy almost got one but you’re never quite sure about him. Owl was a boss. I loved her. I love that she was a recurring character and didn’t die at the end of book 6. I also like that she and the nun came to respect each other despite being very different and without Owl changing to fall more in line with the sister’s worldview.
If you’re looking for an easy, fast-moving read packed with nail-biting tension, adventure, and colorful characters then Nunslinger is where it’s at.