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Shotgun Sorceress
Lucy A. Snyder
Del Rey, 326 pages

Shotgun Sorceress
Lucy A. Snyder
Lucy A. Snyder was born in South Carolina but grew up in the cowboys-and-cactus part of Texas. She has a BS in biology and an MA in journalism and is a graduate of the 1995 Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers' Workshop; her classmates included authors Kelly Link and Nalo Hopkinson. She currently lives in Worthington, Ohio with her husband and occasional co-author Gary A. Braunbeck.

Lucy A. Snyder Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Spellbent

Past Feature Reviews
A review by John Enzinas

I have just finished Shotgun Sorceress and, even though I'm in a pretty cranky mood, I'm still am going to say nice things about it because regardless of my current frame of mind, it was a pretty good book. This is Lucy A. Snyder's sequel to Spellbent and, if anything, it's even darker and uglier than the first book, and that one had ritual child murder in it.

This one picks up where the last one left off, with the titular hero, Jessie Shimmer, coming to terms with the fact that her hand has been replaced with demonic plasma and she's just killed a couple of extremely powerful creatures. Just as she's wondering if maybe her flaming hand is just some kind of gift, she discovers that she now feels the death (and other memories) of any formerly living creature she touches and having an orgasm causes her hand to spray demonic napalm everywhere. This does not do much for her mood.

From there the story moves forward, closing off some of the loose ends from the last book and bringing in some new ones like Jessie's supposedly dead Father and previously unknown brother. She makes her peace with the local magistrates but, after the meeting, the Virtii (Spirit Lords) arrive and chase her through a portal to Chuchillo, Texas where a demon is trying to uplift itself into a death god and has found a way to suppress both fire and magic. Here is where the story gets really ugly.

There's all of the usual ugly that one would expect in a story like this, from soul stealing and zombification to dealing with having to kill demon controlled meat puppets that used to be your friends. There's also psychotic cold blooded murder, sexual abuse, graphic violent rape, incest and child abuse. If these are things you find triggering, this is not the book for you. While it was graphic, it was, thankfully, not gratuitous and that's the main reason I am willing to call this a good book in spite of the dark and the ugly. It's a good read, but a difficult read because of this. The story doesn't end with this book. It's clear that Snyder expects to continue this story for at least one more book and, while it leaves a number of threads hanging, it ties up enough to give the book a good stopping point. Thankfully, this keeps readers such as myself from becoming too frustrated waiting for the next one.

Copyright © 2011 John Enzinas

John Enzinas reads frequently and passionately. In his spare time he plays with swords.

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