Stories Within Stories

Awright, it’s Christmas Week, and nothing’s slowed down yet! Everything’s still goin’ crazy! Who has time to review anything? I DO, BECAUSE I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH I JUST GOTTA BRING Y’ALL MORE REVIEWS!

So we’re gonna review a short novel called Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus

Our story follows Desmond Coke, a Jamaican spy turned renegade, who is escorting a quiet, strange boy named Lij as they flee through an alternate-steampunk version of the Wild West while trying to escape from agents of the global empire of Albion.

They run into far too much trouble in the Free Republic of Tejas, but manage to cut through a bunch of corporate mercenaries. Unfortunately, the gun-slinging Pinkerton agent Cayt Siringo is a more dangerous foe, but they still manage to hobble over the border into the Assembly of First Nations, but not even this most technologically advanced territory may be able to protect them from their enemies.

Can Desmond and Lij escape to freedom? Can they find anyone they can trust? And what is the secret hiding in Lij’s genes?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Broaddus’ novella revs up fast and rarely slows down. The action is excellent, and the settings, particularly the extremely high-tech Assembly of First Nations, are lots of fun.

Characterization is also a very strong point. Desmond and Lij are both skillful and subtle creations, but some of the secondary characters are especially great, like the desperate but mannerly Cayt, the dignified fury of Inteus, and the calm, commanding, but compassionate Kajika.

It’s also a story about stories. Seems like everyone tells stories to Lij at one time or another, generally about legends and mythology. He’s on the run because someone decided they could decide what the story of his life was going to be — the stories show him he can decide for himself.

If you’re looking for grand, action-packed fantasy with a steampunk-Western twist and a fun, diverse cast, you’ll want to pick this up.

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