Tuesday, February 5, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: The Delivery of Flesh (Bulletproof Witch #1), F.J. Blair

★★★ 1/2

As an indie fantasy writer, I love to find other indie fantasy writers who are new to me. I can't quite remember how I came across this novella, but I'm certainly glad I did! This is a fun, quick read with an interesting world and shades of Wynonna Earp. It's about Temperance Whiteoak, whose grandfather was the first Pistol Warlock, people who can make and use hex bullets. Now, though, the Pistol Warlocks are lawmen, and Temperance isn't interested in that nearly as much as she's interested in revenge against the demons who slaughtered her town and family.

But getting revenge means Temperance needs hex bullets, and hex bullets mean she needs money. She agrees to help a marshal escort a prisoner to Benson City in exchange for payment. Things get complicated, though, when the prisoner's men chase them across the wilderness thanks to a magical brand.

Because it's a novella, the plot is pretty straightforward, but I think where the story shines is in the worldbuilding. Little by little, Blair sprinkles in interesting or cool details that add to the world. The concepts of Pistol Warlocks and hex bullets are vital to the story, and the further in you get, the more you know about both. I especially liked the tidbit when Temperance refers to making and casting the bullets as an art form. But even the details that were less important to the plot made the world seem more developed and less cookie-cutter. My favorite was Astor the horse, Temperance's familiar, who can communicate telepathically with her and frequently does to tell her she's making bad decisions.

My biggest complaint is I didn't think Temperance was fully fleshed-out. Part of that is just the length of the story. It's hard to fit a lot of character development into 100 pages. Mostly, I want to know more about what drives her--outside of revenge--and I'm looking forward to seeing where the next novella takes us.

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