Delilah S. Dawson’s first book under the Bowen name, set in a gritty and well-realized paranormal Wild West, is a warm-hearted winner. Nettie Lonesome, a mixed-race young woman who dresses like a man, has been told all her life that she’s worthless. She runs the failing ranch of a married white couple who treat her like a slave, but her heart lies with the nearby Double TK Ranch, where she trains horses and is welcomed with respect and acceptance. When a man attacks her and she kills him, he turns to sand and her entire world flips upside down. Soon tragedy strikes the men of the Double TK, and Nettie, with the help of enigmatic shape-shifter Coyote Dan and some lawmen who are no strangers to the strange, sets out to find her destiny, as well as a child thief called Pia Mupitsi. The unforgiving western landscape is home to supernatural beasties as diverse as the human inhabitants, and no-nonsense Nettie is pragmatic and brave. Themes of self-worth, gender, and the complexity of identity are treated with frank realism and sensitivity, and the narrative is a love letter to the paranormal western genre. Fantastical history fans will be delighted. Agent: Kate McKean, Morhaim Literary Agency. (Nov.)
"Gritty and well-realized... The unforgiving western landscape is home to supernatural beasties as diverse as the human inhabitants, and no-nonsense Nettie is pragmatic and brave. Themes of self-worth, gender, and the complexity of identity are treated with frank realism and sensitivity, and the narrative is a love letter to the paranormal western genre."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"I don't care what else you've seen in the bookstore today. Buy this book because it's the thrilling, delightfully written, and important one you've always wanted to read."Kevin Hearne
"Wake of Vultures doesn't just fly it soars. Lila Bowen brings in a wild fantasy quite unlike anything I've ever read, with a voice that's weird and wonderful. Bowen is truly a talent to watch. Hot damn, is this book good."Chuck Wendig
"Of all the books I've reviewed this year, Wake of Vultures' Nettie Lonesome stands out as the most compelling, well-crafted protagonist I've encountered... Bowen's superlative grasp of both character development and worldbuilding elevates a familiar story to mythic heights. "
RT Book Reviews (Top Pick!)
"Bowen's Wake of Vultures overflows with imagination and voice, channeling shades of Stephen King's Gunslinger and Western classics like Unforgiven. Nettie Lonesome is sure to become one of the iconic characters of this generation. This book puts you under its spell and will not let you go!"Jason M. Hough, New York Times bestselling author
"Bowen has created a fascinating, textured Wild West world...Readers will love this absorbing fantasy adventure [and] its strong, dynamic heroine."Kirkus (starred review)
"Nettie Lonesome kicks major ass. There is something strange and wonderful going on in Lila Bowen's head. It's the weird west fantasy that I never knew I've always wanted to read. Now I need more!"Wesley Chu
"Wake of Vultures is, quite simply, brilliant. A mind-bending mix of history, fantasy and folklore, it's a wild bronco of a read that'll leave you breathless for more."Rachel Caine
"Nettie Lonesome is a complex, tough, all-around wonderful protagonist. And Lila Bowen is equally wonderful for bringing us Nettie's story, set in a magical old west full of harpies and monster-hunters and stolen children and more. I look forward to more of Nettie's journey."Jim C. Hines
"Sharp as a silver Bowie and unsentimental as a stray bullet, Lila Bowen's Nettie Lonesome earns a place among the legends of the Weird West."Matthew Stover
"Wake of Vultures is a ferocious, fascinating take on the magical Old West - creatively and unsentimentally grim, yet rich with hope and heart."Cherie Priest
"There are fast-paced thrill-a-minute novels where the plot twists and wild action just. Keep. Coming. And then there are introspective books about someone searching for their identity and untangling deep issues of race, sexuality and gender. And then occasionally, you get a book that manages to do both. Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen is one such book, and it's a goddamn keeper."io9
"Wake of Vultures occupies a unique position somewhere between gritty western, supernatural horror, and just-plain-weird fantasy."B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
Bowen's debut, a fantastical coming-of-age Western, introduces half-Native American, half-African American teenager Nettie Lonesome. Raised by foster parents who treat her like a slave, Nettie learned early on how to take care of herself, and she isn't too surprised when she can suddenly see monsters no one else seems to notice. Nettie dresses and lives as a man, while working as a ranch hand, and has interests in both men and women, one of many elements that makes this first novel stand far above the usual fantasy crowd. VERDICT Incorporating Native American and Western myths, plus Nettie's multicultural heritage and characters from a wide range of backgrounds, this is a must-have for all modern fantasy collections and a great choice for adults and teens. Suggest to readers who enjoyed Western-themed fantasies such as Emma Bull's Territory.—JM
A fantasy set in a Wild West populated by plenty of vicious monsters—and one unwilling heroine. Nettie Lonesome isn't a slave. Not exactly. But the people she calls Pap and Mam don't treat her like their daughter, either. So when a stranger shows up, attacks her, and then poofs into a pile of sand when she stabs him in the chest with a twig, she has no one to turn to with her questions or her fears. And when her friend Monty gives her a chance to join the bronco wranglers at a neighboring ranch, she jumps at the opportunity to change her life. But the hidden world that stranger introduced her to won't leave her alone, and she soon finds herself on the run from all manner of monsters, trying to live up to a destiny she isn't too keen on. Nettie is a lively, ornery, unconventional heroine who rises to each fresh challenge with a believable mix of fear and determination. Half-black, half-Indian, and wholly confused about her gender and sexuality, she's a misfit who has to learn how to trust others—and herself. Debut novelist Bowen has created a fascinating, textured Wild West world. The monsters are gruesome, the battles are bloody, and the pace of this story never flags. Readers will love this absorbing fantasy adventure (the first in a planned series) and its strong, dynamic heroine.