TOME THURSDAY: Make Me No Grave by Haley Stone

3.75 stars – An unusual western romance

Five Things I Loved

  • – Apostle had his reasons for being and reasons for changing
  • – Almena makes the very human mistake of trusting lovers
  • – Characters were relatable and human, even the antagonists
  • – Flesh magic was pretty cool and I enjoyed Almena explaining the background
  • – The violence (to me) was at an acceptable amount for a Western

SPARKED

1 Sparked Star – The bright red cover most certainly attracted me, but what caught my partner’s eye (and he’s the one who bought the book), was the subtitle of “A Weird West Novel.” The plot and the characters in the blub sounded interesting, with outlaw queens, US Marshal Richardson (aka Apostle), and the tantalizing idea of what the “dangerous flesh magic” is.

CHARACTERIZATION

.75 Characterization Star I really did enjoy Song, who dressed in a skirt that swept the floor and hair cut close to the scalp like a man’s, and being a part of the Cortez family… but the diverse characters weren’t really part of the main story. Apostle and Almena do show growth throughout the story, and each of them has all the small details that flesh them out and make them believable, including choosing when and why they might wish to discard values they’ve been holding onto. 

PLOT

.50 Plot Star – The true enemy seemed to come out of nowhere and talking with another reader of the book didn’t help with untangling a plot hole about the timing of when the villain did a few specific actions. There were a few twists about the book, and the ending was… nice, but not really satisfying. However, this was a very unique idea and I don’t regret the time I spent reading this book.  

FLOW

1 Flow Star – While I’ve seen some reviews say it was a little hard to read, I had no problem and consider the pacing, especially since it’s coming from the Marshal’s point of view, well done. The information dumps were spaced out, the cliffhangers made me want to read onto the next chapter, and I did want to continue reading to know what happened to all the characters. 

EVOKED

.5 Evoked Star – While reading I let out some sounds and made some faces as I saw what the characters faced and it tugged at their heartstrings. I will say that I’m not sure who I would recommend this book to. It’s not Weird West, with the presence of one magical power, but it’s not written enough like a romance novel to (possibly) interest someone looking for that. I’m interested to see what other books Haley Stone will write.

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