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I have now read all three books in this trilogy and I sincerely hope that Wrede's readers will convince her to turn this into a series. I can see plenty of paths she could take towards turning out more books about this interesting young woman.
Over the arc of the trilogy, I really enjoyed the unfolding of her personality, from a disregarded and dismissed child to struggling adolescence to blossoming young woman. I don't want to provide spoilers, but I find that while Lan is an admirable and deserving young man, Eff is by far the more creative and interesting character.
I enjoyed the interplay between events in our history and how they differ in Eff's. And I really enjoyed learning that both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were seventh sons of seventh sons. (We should have guessed.) 8-)
I kept thinking during the first book in this trilogy that she kept hanging revolvers on walls and then not shooting them (see Wikipedia article, "Chekhov's Gun") It was revealing in this book to see all those guns being taken down and used. Clearly, this entire series was mapped out before she completed the first one.
To sum up: Don't start with this book. Read them in their proper order: "Thirteenth Child", then "Across the Great Barrier", and then this one.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
If you've listened to the first 2 books in this series, then you won't be too surprised by this one.
As usual, the story plods along, with remarkable scenes littered amongst the pretty mundane. Oddly though, it's enjoyable. You never feel like you're rushing anywhere; you're just along for the ride, taking in Eff's daily life as we meander to the end game. It's a bit similar to some of the earlier Harry Potter books in that way.
The downside of this type of story telling (aside from it being slow, which can be a pain if you're not enjoying taking it all in), is that there is much discussed and revealed during the story (indeed, the entire series) that never gets resolved.
In most stories, most of what you hear about is fairly important. In these types of stories though, you hear about so much that it can be hard to figure out just what's important and what is just a tidbit. Sadly, many of those tidbits that seem to be going somewhere never do, and you're left to fill in the blanks in your mind. A shame for such a wonderfully-crafted universe.
Overall however, I enjoyed it. For the shippers, Eff finally "settles down" in this book, and thankfully those parts of the story aren't mushy or annoying. In fact, it doesn't interfere with the story at all; it adds to it.
I'd hoped this wasn't the end, but given that there's an epilogue, I guess it is. Great series.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I've never read another book in this 'genre' (alternate magic version of America in frontier times) which in itself makes the book interesting. It is well written & an amazing, fully formed alternate history with interesting characters & a fun concept. It can sometimes get a little confusing working out what places are supposed to be in our world when everywhere has a different name but that's a tiny niggle like the fact that the series felt like it had been written as one long book & then hacked into chunks so it would sell, doesn't ruin the story at all, it just broke the spell a little bit.
My only real niggle was the main character (a girl) felt a tiny bit wet to me, but I like my female leads to be shooting of bullets in one direction & witty retorts in the other.
I would whole heartedly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys fantasy, alternative histories, stories of the frontier &/or exploration books.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What did you like most about The Far West?
It made a wonderful ending to Eff's story.
What did you like best about this story?
Which character – as performed by Amanda Ronconi – was your favourite?
I'm still fond of Eff and Professor Ochiba... and Wash is always fun.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
No, but it made me smile. I don't want to cry. I like entertaining books. I hate being manipulated into being sad.
Any additional comments?
I was expecting something different from one of the characters, but it didn't eventuate. That didn't matter, I just got my forecast wrong.
By the way, I have read reviews of this series that suggest the author has done something wrong by excluding humans from the far west. I don't agree in the least. This is Columbia, (Colombia? have to read the book to see the spelling) and not the US, and this is Patricia Wrede's vision of her alternate world. A world that includes mammoth, silverhooves and steam dragons quite clearly is NOT our world. If she had included people already living in the west, then they would have been the focus of the story rather than the animals. Also, the point of the expedition is that they are going where humans have not gone. To have native Columbians would have made this pretty well impossible.