Getting Lost in a Wake of Vultures

I’ve mentioned previously that I’m trying to get into the Twitter Writer scene. As a part of that, I’ve started following a bunch of authors and trying to absorb what I can from them. One of my favorite people to follow is Delilah Dawson. I learned about her as a result of my first foray into the new Star Wars extended universe. I was admittedly rather angry that they threw out everything that was written before Disney purchased the franchise, but I’m excited to see where the new stories go now that I’ve had some time to get over what felt like a rather personal attack on some of my favorite memories

Delilah Dawson wrote the Captain Phasma book (titled “Phasma”) and did an amazing job adding to a rather underserved character in the films. Since I enjoyed that book, I followed Delilah on Twitter and have enjoyed the positive, affirming energy she brings to her Twitter account. At one point, she mentioned that the next book in a series she wrote under a pen name was about to have its release date announced. I had already started collecting her other books (mostly in online wish lists so I’d have stuff to look for during my quarterly visits to the local book store), but I hadn’t heard of this series. Turns out, she was writing an entire series under another name and I’d missed it because I never went to her website or her Wikipedia page.

Then I read a description of this series she posted and I knew I had to read it. There was no way I couldn’t. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a tendency to pick up books by mostly male authors featuring mostly male characters, so this book by a female writer about a trans man of color seemed like a really enjoyable way to step away from my typical milieu. As both a reader and writer, there’s always something to be gained when I read anything, but reading stuff outside of my experience shows me more. Not always in a quantifiable “Here’s what I learned today!” kind of way, but in more of a subtle, “change the way I think without always being entirely aware of it” way. Which is really the best way, in my opinion.

Wake of Vultures is an amazing Fantasy novel set in the fantastical Old West. It has saloons, cattle rustlers, cowboys, vampires, monsters out of every tradition, and some amazing characters. There’s romance, personal awakenings, shootouts, and tense moments of near disaster. There were rough scenes that were hard for me to read. Things that made me put down the book for a little bit because I got so sucked in and the pain and desperation I felt in the characters was too real to handle all at once. I read the whole book in a day because I couldn’t stop to do anything else once I’d gotten started.

I sat in my chair in the little library we’ve got, under the same late-night light that helped me through the sympathy pain I felt while reading John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down, and powered through scenes that are outside my personal experience, but whose pain resonated with my own. Feelings of powerlessness, feelings of being trapped in something someone else chose and you had no ability to resist or prevent. I made it through the book just fine, but it was amazing, wonderful, and difficult read. A lot of the best books are difficult and the intensity of the emotions I felt while reading this one convinced me to move the rest of the series to the top of my “to buy” list.

I would really love to dig into specifics, but I feel like so much of the novel and my own interpretations of it was instrumental in forming what I eventually got out of the story. I don’t want to influence your experience beyond encouraging you to have it. The characters are wonderful, the writing is beautiful, the plot is twisty, the foreshadowing is clever, and the world rides that perfect line of being familiar enough to not need much information about it while still being foreign enough to be super interesting. Go read Wake of Vultures by “Lila Bowen” and learn for yourself what amazing story this is.

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