In the southwestern country now known as Texoma, this is a world where magic is acknowledged but mistrusted. Battered by a run across the border to Mexico, gunslinger Lizbeth Rose takes a job offer from a pair of Russian wizards.
She may be young, but Gunnie Rose has acquired a fearsome reputation and the wizards are at a desperate crossroads, even if they won't admit it. They're searching frantically to locate the only man whose blood they believe can save their tsar's life.
A powerful enemy sends enemies who want their mission to fail. The trio are set upon by a powerful force does not want them to succeed in their mission. Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie who has never failed a client, but her oath will test all of her skills and resolve to get them all out alive.
Charlaine Harris has been a published novelist for over thirty-five years. A native of the Mississippi Delta, she grew up in the middle of a cotton field. Charlaine lives in Texas now, and all of her children and grandchildren are within easy driving distance.
Though her early output consisted largely of ghost stories, by the time she hit college (Rhodes, in Memphis) Charlaine was writing poetry and plays. After holding down some low-level jobs, her husband Hal gave her the opportunity to stay home and write. The resulting two stand-alones were published by Houghton Mifflin. After a child-producing sabbatical, Charlaine latched on to the trend of series, and soon had her own traditional mystery books about a Georgia librarian, Aurora Teagarden. Her first Teagarden, Real Murders, garnered an Agatha nomination.
Soon Charlaine was looking for another challenge, and the result was the much darker Lily Bard series. The books, set in Shakespeare, Arkansas, feature a heroine who has survived a terrible attack and is learning to live with its consequences.
When Charlaine began to realize that neither of those series was ever going to set the literary world on fire, she regrouped and decided to write the book she’d always wanted to write. Not a traditional mystery, nor yet pure science fiction or romance, Dead Until Dark broke genre boundaries to appeal to a wide audience of people who simply enjoy a good adventure. Each subsequent book about Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic Louisiana barmaid and friend to vampires, werewolves, and various other odd creatures, was very successful in many languages.
The Harper Connelly books were written concurrently with the Sookie novels.
Following the end of Sookie's recorded adventures, Charlaine wrote the "Midnight, Texas" books, which have become a television series, also. The Aurora Teagarden books have been adapted by Hallmark Movie & Mystery.
Charlaine is a member of many professional organizations, an Episcopalian, and currently the lucky houseparent to two rescue dogs. She lives on a cliff overlooking the Brazos River.
Hooray! If, like me, you loved roughly 1/2 of the Sookie books (the beginning 1/2) but found the rest sort of meh (but still kept on reading) you will like An Easy Death. Same for the rest of her series, love some and are annoyed by the others (but still kept on reading). An Easy Death had me putting off chores so I could spend all my time with my new gunslinging girlfriend, Lizbeth. Oh boy, oh boy, I'm surely looking forward to this kick-ass series and its alternate history line.
3.75 stars. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature (along with my co-reviewer Jana's review):
The author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels jumps into the Weird West with her latest series, GUNNIE ROSE: It’s a combination of Old West + magic + alternative history. An Easy Death appears to be set in the 1930s or 40s, but not in an era we’d recognize. When Franklin Roosevelt was assassinated before taking office, the U.S. fractured and chunks of it were claimed by other countries, including the Russian royal family taking over California and Oregon, Mexico taking back Texas, and Native Americans reclaiming much of their territory. Nineteen-year-old Lizbeth Rose is a gunslinger or “gunnie,” part of a crew that gives travelers an armed escort to protect them on their journey.
The very first thing we see Lizbeth Rose doing at the beginning of this book is cutting her hair into a pixie cut, mostly because her much older boyfriend Tarken liked it long and cutting it is her way of pushing back against his too often telling her what to do. It’s a signal of Lizbeth’s obstinacy and independence — qualities she’s going to need in the conflicts and difficulties coming her way. It's grimly amusing that "an easy death" is the accepted way to say goodbye to a gunnie and the kind of luck they wish for.
After the Tarken Crew’s job escorting two farming families from Texas to New America takes a disastrous turn, Lizbeth — somewhat at loose ends, and financially strapped — overcomes her detest for wizards and accepts a job protecting a couple of Russian wizards or “grigori.” These wizards, Eli and Paulina, are searching for a particular Russian, Oleg Karkarov (or if not him, his descendants), whose blood is needed for transfusions to preserve the life of Tsar Alexei. Apparently the blood of Grigori Rasputin and his relatives has a salutary effect on hemophilia (it’s nice to know that in this world Rasputin was good for something). What the wizards don’t know, although Lizbeth mentions it in her narration to the reader fairly early on, is that .
In this gritty Wild West territory, life is precarious and the lives of most people, other than the wealthy, are hardscrabble. Cars and homes with electricity exist, but they’re too expensive for most folk, including Lizbeth. Bandits and magicians are equally feared. It’s not easy for a young woman to stake out her position in this world, but Lizbeth is determined both to make her own way and to protect those who she’s responsible for.
There’s lots of action in An Easy Death, with guns blazing and magic slaying, but the book isn’t a whole lot deeper than that, and the logic of the plot got a little murky. But Lizbeth Rose is an honest, tough and appealing heroine, and her continuous adventures and struggles against opposition make for captivating if not profound reading. I’ll definitely follow Gunnie Rose into Dixie in the sequel, A Longer Fall, where the antebellum South has risen again ... in fact, I'm reading it now!
Content notes: Rape of a minor character (on-page, but brief), sex, violence and murder, a handful of F-bombs.
I received a free copy of the hardback book for review from the publisher and publicists. Thank you!!
Original post (Oct. 2018): Look what just landed on my doorstep! Looks very interesting - the only question is how and when to fit it into my already overstuffed reading schedule. ETA: Well, it took me 11 months to read this. But better late than never?
An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris is the first book in her new Gunnie Rose series. I had a whole internal debate on what to even classify this series, sort of a historical western fantasy I suppose. Characters in here can wield magic and it does take place in an alternate version of our world in the past in the days of gunslingers.
Lizbeth Rose is a gunslinger is an obviously man’s world making her work that much harder to succeed at her chosen job. When out with her crew making a run protecting a couple of families on their journey her whole crew is taken out but Lizbeth makes sure she saves her customers and finishes the job escorting them the rest of the way.
After arriving back at her home she finds out there are a couple asking about for someone skilled to hire and before she knows it the couple are tracking her down. The pair turns out to be a couple of Russian wizards searching for a a direct descendant of Grigori Rasputin in which Lizbeth is afraid that they will find out it’s her blood they need.
Ok, I will first admit that I picked this one up strictly based on author only since I’ve never been a huge western fan but having read a few different series from Charlaine Harris and enjoying them curiosity killed the cat so to speak. After finishing the first book I’m glad I gave this a shot though as it was actually quite entertaining. A kick butt lead female gunslinger mixing it up with bandits and magicians is certainly different than anything I’ve picked up and I’ll definitely want to know where this one goes from here. So if you up for a different type of fast paced fantasy then I’d give this one a try.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via Edelweiss.
AN EASY DEATH by Charlaine Harris is the first book in the Gunnie Rose series. This was an exciting start to a new series that spans genres. It is a western, an urban fantasy, an alternate history, a thriller and it contains magic.
Franklin Roosevelt was elected President, but assassinated prior to taking office. The vice-president dies of influenza, the banks crashed followed by a large drought and massive influenza. With the population decreased, the government was not able to protect itself and other countries grabbed pieces of America. Additionally, this is a world where magic exists and is mistrusted by many.
With this alternative history, we meet our protaganist Lizbeth Rose who lives in the southwestern county now known as Texoma. She is a young gunslinging mercenary who protects and moves people and/or cargo. Within this world, the story progresses rapidly with Lizbeth's skills constantly tested.
Charlaine Harris is one of my favorite authors and she did not let me down with this unique start to a new series. The worldbuilding is fantastic and the characters are compelling. Lizbeth's motivations are believable and well-drawn and the secondary characters were well-rounded and enhanced the story. The plot twists were believable but mainly unexpected. The story moved at an appropriate pace. The scenes were well described and gave me a clear sense of place.
I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. If you like blended genre books, then this may be a book that you would enjoy.
April 21/19 -- This is the Audible daily deal today for anyone who was thinking about this one!
Oh my stars, yes! Move over, Sookie Stackhouse, and take a seat, Angel Crawford! There's a new snarky southern chick in town and she's jumped right to the top of my supernatural fun list! This is not a deep read, but goodness, did I enjoy it!
In An Easy Death we follow Lisbeth "Gunnie" Rose who lives in an alternate timeline where (when?) the US became fractured with the assassination of Roosevelt. Without his guidance, the country was divided and broken into pieces -- some parts were absorbed by neighbour countries Canada and Mexico, some states were taken by other countries altogether.
Americans who were caught in states with new leaderships are trying to migrate to New America, and to stay safe on the trail, they hire gunnies for protection. Lisbeth Rose is one of the best gunnies, with an almost second sense to warn her of looming danger, and an aim that can take down even the quickest targets.
Although Gunnie Rose comes close to falling into some tropey traps, I didn't find the character annoying at all, and my attention was held from start to finish. I alternated between reading and listening to the audiobook as narrated by Eva Kaminsky. I think this may be a case where the narration truly elevated a good book to one that was completely unputdownable!
My only real disappointments here are that I don't know how long I'll have to wait for the next book in the trilogy, and the fact that it's only planned to be a trilogy -- I loved the world building here and I think there are many more stories that could be told in this world.
Thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a DRC of this book.
It pains me to write this review, almost as much as it pained me to finish this book. I’ve always enjoyed Charlaine Harris’ writing: the Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood series, Harper Connelly, Midnight, Texas. When I saw that Harris had a brand-new, what I would call, dystopian/fantasy, I was all in.
An Easy Death simply did not meet my expectations. I’ve always loved the way that Harris could make me laugh out loud through a unique dark story. While Lizbeth Rose had a constant stream of sarcasm flowing from her mouth, it just didn’t hit the mark.
Did Harris create a new concept of a dystopian world with An Easy Death? Absolutely. Was Lizbeth Rose a well-developed, strong heroine? Definitely. Sometimes this just isn’t enough. An Easy Death was dragged out far too long with too much repetitive action: Lizbeth leaves town escorting her charges, she kills bad guys, arrives in the next town, has a bath, changes clothes, repeat. Come on, Charlaine, you can do better than this.
If you don’t know Charlaine Harris, (what rock are you living under?) I would have to say that An Easy Death is not the best place to start. Go for Dead Until Dark or Midnight Crossroad. From a technical aspect, there is nothing wrong with An Easy Death, but it felt like the story was tossed together just to get a book out.
*I received a copy of the book from the publisher (via NetGalley).
Just as the cover implies, An Easy Death is a cowboy shoot 'em up style book. In the classic comedic style of Charlaine Harris we are introduced to our bad-ass heroine who doesn't like anyone meddling in her affairs and has kept her hand on her gun mos of her life just to survive.
Characters Something Harris is a master at creating are characters. Her original series 'True Blood' characters are unforgettable and as such so are the ones in An Easy Death. Not only is our lead gal likable, she has many traits readers may wish they had; including a fearless personality. Additionally Harris introduces us to a whole host of characters you come to care about. Although fair warning there are a lot of people that don't make it in this wild west dystopian environment; so try not to get too attached.
Alternate Dystopian History The setting of Harris' new series is really interesting. It's back in the 1930-40's or so (I think) and yet the USA has been split into factions/areas that are no longer one country due to a rise in magic and magical abilities. This has led to outlaw areas, new regimes and intense politics. My fave part (because I'm very biased) was that Canada held onto their land and got a chunk of the northern United States. So I just have to say thanks to Harris for not assuming my country would fall. ;) The other side of the split of the USA is that the Russians have taken over portion of the former country including what was California. They are the ones with the most magic and a royal bloodline that includes the original royal line whom all suffer from hemophilia. There's no lack of politics in this world and yet it's not complex or heavily set. A perfect balance to the wild west feel of the show.
Action An Easy Death is primarily a bunch of action scenes strung together with some mysterious plot. But don't be fooled into thinking there is a complexity to this story. At the end of the day it's just like your average John Wayne style story. Except our lead gal doesn't end up with near as many people in bed with her as Wayne might have had back in the day. (lol)
Overall This is a fun, take a break and laugh book. Just like the Sookie Stackhouse series (True Blood on HBO), Harris has taken a relatively simple approach to let us know that the books are really all about having some laughs, shooting up a lot of places and our heroine surviving. As our lead gal is only 19 (or so) she displays a strong desire to survive that is admirable and reminded me that I can totally handle -35C (on one of the days I was reading this) so long as no one is shooting at me. While no one is likely to give out a literary award for this new series, I know I will look forward to the next book. And I hope that this series can go on for 3-6 books and be decent additions to my TBR as 'break' reads from some of the heavy literature on there.
To read this and more of my reviews visit my blog at Epic Reading
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
You have to give points to Charlaine Harris for being inventive. From Aurora Teagarden to Sookie Stackhouse to Lisbeth Rose (and a few others along the way) each series is totally different to the one before.
An Easy Death is set in an alternate USA, one where Franklin Roosevelt was assassinated and the Government lost control. Other countries quickly moved in to claim whole areas for themselves resulting in a sudden loss of things we take for granted such as usable roads and a police force. Lisbeth Rose is a talented shooter and is employed as a Gunnie or a person who rides with travelers to protect them from bandits.
The scene is thus set for an urban fantasy/western but later developments introduce magic as well via the Grigori. These Russian wizards have some interesting and frequently lethal talents and definitely add excitement to the story
I thought the book was great fun. It moved at a steady pace and was hard to put down and easy to pick up again. Always a sign of a good book! Gunnie Rose is a great character and I am looking forward to reading more about her.
What a fun book! I usually don’t like western gunslinger themed books but I absolutely loved this one! Lizbeth (Gunnie) is an awesome character that you easily like to read about rather quickly. In a torn and divided USA, Gunnie ends up being hired by two wizards (which she is not fond of because of something in the past...no spoilers from me!) and it is at this point that the story really picks up. At this point, I could not put this book down and I ended up finishing it in one sitting. So if you start this book and think it is slow, just wait for the wizards to show up and then prepare for the thrill ride. I hope book two comes out soon!
My quick and simple overall: fun and thrilling read (and that is coming from someone who does not normally like gunslinger and western themed books).
Before An Easy Death, my past experience with Charlaine Harris’s work pretty much began and ended with the first Sookie Stackhouse book, and it was swiftly determined that southern vampires just weren’t for me. Afterward, I wasn’t so sure about trying another one of her series, but then I heard about Gunnie Rose. Maybe it was the weird western vibes or the idea of a modern gunslinging urban fantasy set in a post-collapse alternate world where most of the country and its heroes are wild again, but right away, the premise caught my attention like a fish on a hook.
Lizbeth Rose, our intrepid protagonist, is a gunnie—a hired gun who makes her living with a mercenary team whose jobs frequently involve escorting bands of farmers across the treacherous landscape of what was once the southwestern United States. Following the assassination of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s, the country suffered a massive decline in economy, infrastructure, and national defense, forcing its government to cede much of its territory to the other world powers. The Russians, for instance, have claimed much of the west coast as part of their Holy Russian Empire, while Canada has also taken a chunk out of the north, and in the bordering states to the south where we find ourselves now, the area has become known as Texoma. Much of society here has reverted to the times of the Old West, where bandits on the road are not uncommon, and travelers who wish to arrive at their destination in one piece are wise to hire gunnie crews like the one Lizbeth works for.
But of course, survival—like everything else in Texoma—is never guaranteed. What was supposed to be a routine job turns into a bloodbath, as the caravan Lizbeth and her crew were hired to escort is ambushed on the road by a group of merciless bandits. All our protagonist’s teammates are killed, including a couple of their charges, but nevertheless, our girl perseveres, completing the job with what’s left of her party. Once safe, Lizbeth returns home for some much-needed quiet time in order to grieve and figure out her next step. Unfortunately, respite is not in the cards. Apparently, her reputation as a reliable gunnie has reached the ears of the Holy Russian Empire, and a couple of their wizards from California have found their way to her doorstep, looking to hire her to protect them while they search for one of their fellows. Pauline and Eli are “grigoris”—powerful magic users named for their venerated Rasputin—on a dangerous and secretive mission, one that would require the services of an effective and discreet bodyguard. What they don’t realize, however, is that Lizbeth has a personal stake in their manhunt too, and she knows a lot more about the situation than she lets on.
Have you ever finished a book and thought to yourself, wow, this was just what I needed? I felt that way after reading An Easy Death. It’s the perfect book to raise you out of a reading slump, or to tackle on a leisurely Saturday morning after grueling week. Action-packed and fast as hell, this was a novel I finished in a single sitting. The pacing never really let up, and the snappy prose and dialogue kept me reading for hours until the very last page. I enjoyed everything about the book—so much so, I can’t decide what I loved best. World, characters, story—it was all so good.
But I suppose Lizbeth Rose made the strongest impression. The author has a knack for writing feisty, spirited main characters who might not be very worldly for their young age, but they make up for it with cleverness, independence, and determination. Some of Lizbeth’s strongest traits include her sense of honor and loyalty. She’s only a killer when she needs to be, when she’s on a job or defending herself and her friends. She’s the kind of person who does right by those who treat her well, and will give no mercy to those she considers her enemies. This simple worldview of hers also has a tendency to make strangers underestimate her, always to their own detriment. In reality, Lizbeth is a lot more perceptive and calculating than others give her credit for, which she uses to her advantage.
Then there’s the world-building. Charlaine Harris has created a no holds barred version of a post-apocalyptic Wild West-like setting where life is rough, violent, and mostly lawless. You get a sense that everyone is out for themselves out here, in this world where wishing someone “an easy death” is the kindest and most friendly greeting you could receive from a passing traveler. Theft, murder, and rape are everyday realities in Texoma, a notion backed up by the blunt, no-nonsense attitude of the prose. Horrifying as it is, none of the violence or suffering is really played up for emotional points or drama, and in a way, this stark presentation further adds to the gravity of the situation. Perhaps none serves as a better example than the massacre in the opening chapters. This is the only life Lizbeth has ever known. It is what it is, so you do what you do to pick yourself up and keep going.
This being an alternate history, the setting also has its fair share of quirks, not least of them being the presence of the Holy Russian Empire in the Americas, bringing along with them their powerful magic. And yet, the fantastical elements remained a more understated aspect of the book throughout, though I enjoyed the interesting angles they provided. They added spice to what was a standard adventure plot following the trio of Lizbeth, Eli, and Pauline as they made their way across Texoma, stopping at town after town—some of which are more welcome than others. As you would expect, there was also a light touch of sexy action, though mixed in with the action and mystery, the romance wasn’t something that was emphasized or put on a pedestal, which was exactly the way I liked it.
Bottom line, for a straight-up awesome read, pick up An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris. Whether you’re new to the author’s work or an old fan, I think most readers will be struck by the refreshingly different feel of her new series and be riveted by the energy of Lizbeth’s tale.
Re read January 2020 I needed a refresher before the new A Longer Fall Gunnie Rose book. Believe me, it was no hardship! This book was action packed and full of great characters in an alternate version of America. There’s a lot more to explore I. Terms of the magic of the grigoris and I’m now really excited to move on the next book, especially as I had forgotten that I pre-ordered it!
First read I didn't get on with Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series. Never the less when I read about this book before it was published, I was excited. I do love a weird western. And I absolutely loved this. Can't wait for the next one.
It's been a hot while since I've had the desire to pick up one of Harris's books after not liking quite a few of them but, I decided to try again after checking out the reviews for this as well as the description and slight switch in blended genres. I'm so glad I did because even with the slow start, this actually turned out to be quite a good read and one that I am glad I took a chance on. I'm actually really looking forward to book two!
I have read and loved all of the series that Charlaine Harris has written... until this one. Definitely not her usual great story, fantastical world, and dynamic characters. I will not be continuing with this series.
An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris Gunnie Rose series, book 1. Urban fantasy western. Alternative history and magic. Lizbeth, aka Gunnie, is hired by two wizards for a search. As they are targeted everywhere they go, Gunnie must ask more questions and be more cautious when guns are fired, secrets revealed and bodies pile up.
The heroine has mad skills and determination. At only 19 years old. She is the take no prisoners type and fire first. Fast moving action with twists and hidden connections. Zombies take on the form and disguise of family. Win the game or die action. Remarkable world building.
Excerpt: “ Paulina had taken off in the opposite direction. She returned with some green stuff she said was edible and good for you. It was a plant I’d seen before but never tried to eat. I watched her take a bite first; that was how much I trusted Paulina. The leaves didn’t taste bad, a little peppery. Since they were fuzzy, the feeling of them in my mouth was not pleasant. But fresh green stuff is hard to find the farther south you go, and my mom had always told me it was important to include vegetables in your eating habits. I hoped I was healthier after I’d made myself swallow a mouthful. It was like chewing a caterpillar.” Excerpt for An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris
Well, I loved this! I have been a huge fan of Charlaine Harris's work but I haven't picked up any of her new books since the Sookie Stackhouse series ended. I have re-read a couple of the early Sookie Stackhouse books but I guess I was more than a little upset by how that series ended so I took a break from her work. I decided that it was time to give her books another chance and I must say that I am very happy that I picked up this book. It was an incredibly enjoyable read from beginning to end.
This book's setting is an alternate America in the 1930s. America has been broken up into several different countries and some areas are rather wild. Lizbeth Rose works as a gunnie, or hired gun. She takes her job seriously and will do whatever it takes to complete her mission. She finds herself without a crew and decides to take on a job offered to her by two Russian wizards.
This story was really exciting and there is a ton of action to go around. Gunnie Rose seems to be able to protect her charges very well even when they are not cooperating. I loved Gunnie Rose. She is a little rough around the edges but she is incredibly smart and knows when to keep her mouth shut. She never stops trying no matter how the odds are stacked against her. Eli and Paulina were also wonderful characters. Paulina and Gunnie didn't always see eye to eye which made for some rather interesting scenes.
I would highly recommend this book to others. I loved the Old West setting along with the alternate world that is very different than what is in the history books. This book was filled with action, wonderful characters, a bit of romance, and an interesting mystery. I cannot wait to read more of this exciting series.
Initial Thoughts Well, I loved this. I have to admit that I am still a little mad about how the Sookie Stackhouse series ended and while I have re-read some of the early books in that series in recent years, I haven't picked up any of Charlaine Harris's new work. Until now. I didn't want to put this book down. I loved the characters, the world the book was set in, and the fact that there was plenty of action to keep things moving. I am going with 4 stars for now but may end up bumping it to 5 after I have some time to think about it. I can't wait to get started with the next book.
I'm an enormous fan of Charlaine Harris, though not really a completist about it. In other words, I don't jump immediately after she writes a book and there are some I probably won't ever get to. I put this one off because the world didn't feel like one I'd enjoy much. It's kind of pre-apocalyptic in a post-apocalypse of a world that never was kind-of-way. In other words, things went to the bad place in the early twentieth century and it's limping along from there. Only, not everything fell apart. So stuff has familiar shadings, but the U.S. was torn apart and lots of bad things happen in the shadows of that destruction.
Lizbeth Rose lives in one of the areas devastated and in flux and is a "gunnie" or gun for hire. Her story has a very serious and penetrating tone that becomes clear in the very first chapters so if you're going to bounce, you'll probably bounce early. Personally, I was pulled in completely and had a hard time putting the book down. Structurally, it's a journey story but at least some of that journey is self-discovery and since I liked Rose so much, I found that beyond engaging. She's hard in that way strong determination manifests and yet as kind as she can manage in a world gone dark and with skills that make her ideal for killing folks. And since she's being actively hunted throughout the story, the body count is eye-liftingly high.
And I liked Eli and the secondary characters and that includes the world/setting as character as well. So while there was some hand waving around minor details (like how much gas did that car use/hold/carry/require, anyway?) I cared so much about the story that I hardly spared those more than a thought.
So the fast pace and engaging story make this a five-star read and I'm ignoring the wobbles of the minor detail-niggles. Incredibly strong story and I really hope the next carries the expectations such a strong origin engender.
A note about Steamy: There was an explicit sex scene or two and a rape and some sexual assault threats. None of it very detailed, even the ones that weren't horrible. So this is very low on the steam setting and that was exactly right for the story told.
Charlaine Harris has a way of sucking me in to her books. It isn't exceptional writing or story lines, in fact I do a lot of eye rolling usually, it's more about cozy entertainment with strong ordinary female protagonists.
When I saw this new release is the beginning of yet another series, I was like, *sigh* "Another series? Another series?" *clicks "Place Hold" on library account. I seriously don't know where this compulsive need for yet another Charlaine Harris series on my TBR comes from but I went with it and I'm glad that I did because this book was a pleasant surprise.
In An Easy Death, we're introduced to an alternate history of America where President Franklin Roosevelt was assassinated and a massive influenza outbreak during the Great Depression killed the vice president and caused a large population drop. The vulnerable U.S. was overthrown and countries conquered large portions.
The setting of our novel is known as Texoma (formerly the states of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and a portion of Colorado) and we follow Lizbeth Rose, a young gun for hire who protects people traveling across the lawless divided countries full of bandits and patrols.
After losing her team on a routine job, she's hired to be a guide and gunnie for two Russian wizards (c'mon, this is a Charlaine Harris novel, of course there are wizards!) searching for a man believed to be a direct descendant of Rasputin in order to save the life of their young tsar. On a journey to the border towns of Mexico, the wizards are hiding something from Lizbeth that places them all in danger at every turn ...but she has an even bigger secret to keep until she can learn their true intentions.
The Gunnie Rose series, an alternate history/paranormal fantasy Western, is off to a promising start with Harris's signature formula of an ordinary female protagonist living in a bizarre world. If you enjoy a light but entertaining read with a little fantasy/paranormal thrown in, this fits the bill!
This was quite the unconventional story. The best way to describe this is that it had the feel of an old western with a more modern society. It was what western would feel like in todays world without the advancement of technology and a lot of fantasy thrown in.
What I loved about that, was it gave us a heroine that is a gunslinger, or more known as a gunnie in this book. Her skill with guns was pretty impressive. This 19 year old seemed to just have the right instincts that kept her alive in impossible situations. Just that part alone had me glued to the pages.
The weirder side of this story was the Russians. They were constantly referred to as grigoris. There is a battle of the Russian royal family going on and they hire Lizbeth to guide and guard two grigoris as they track the descendant of a certain family line. They have magical powers that seem very dark and a bit frightening to what they can do.
The combination of the magical powers and Lizbeth's skills with her guns was actually pretty fascinating. It was a weird story, but I liked it. I'm actually pretty excited to start the next book in the series. There is no cliffhanger. This could be read as a standalone.
This was pretty good, but I didn't love it like I expected to. I like Charlaine Harris and I like Western themed fantasy, so I thought this would be an easy win for me. I listened to the audiobook, and while the narrator did a good job, I don't think this was the right format for me in this case. Most of my audiobook listening is done in fairly short segments, and I had a hard time keeping the flow of the story listening to it like this.
That said, I did think the overall story and the world Harris has created here are interesting. The main character, Lisbeth Rose, reminds me a bit of a slightly tougher Sookie Stackhouse. Both are independent young women with a little bit of magic about them they they mostly try to keep hidden as they make their way through the world. We didn't get a lot of what Lisbeth's small ability might do for her, but I got the sense it would become more important in later books. I'll probably read the next book, as I'm interested to see where Harris takes things next. There is definite potential here.
An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris and narrated by Eva Kaminsky is a book that is totally different than what I thought it would be. This has an alternative history and it has magic as part of life. It is a rough life like cowboy times but they have some cars and occasional electricity. This world building is amazing! Truly strange and fascinating! The characters are very intriguing too! Our gal of the story is paid to escort people through the wilderness or from one place to another. It is a dangerous business to be in. She ends up taking magic users. This is a very suspenseful, unique, and wild ride through this bizarre world and I loved it! The narration was absolutely brilliant! Great job!
#1 Request to make this book better. Please give us a map to more easily reference alternate locations, it adds a LOT to the frame of reference for made-up boundary lines other than the current country.
I have a hard time reading books written in mostly slang speak, so right away, I had a hard time getting into the book's flow.
Is it an interesting concept? Yes, completely original, I don't think so, but it's not a saturated area to work with, so that was ok.
Overall I didn't connect as much with the characters, and some of the scenes felt a bit like cut-and-paste action sequences with a few things changed. I didn't feel the depth of the story as I have from Charlaine Harris in other books.
Overall, I am underwhelmed. 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.
Well that was really a fun read. Ms. Harris has hit the money spot with this series. Strong action packed, characters, magical extras and suspense with only a semi touch of romance. I really enjoyed this and want more asap.
4.5 Stars for An Easy Death: Gunnie Rose Series Book 1 (audiobook) by Charlaine Harris read by Eva Kaminsky. This was an interesting take on an alternate history of the United States. I really liked the characters and the setting. I’ve already checked out the next book in the series. I also liked the narration. I think this is the first book of hers I’ve listened to. I’ll have to check out what else Eva Kaminsky has narrated.
I wasn’t sure how to feel about a western feeling story set in an alternative history with some magic splashed in, but I have typically liked Charlaine Harris (although as the Sookie series got on I was a bit lost) but I am glad I picked this one up. I liked the main character Gunnie Rose and I definitely will be reading more books about her. I am also very interested in this world with the USA broken up between Russia, Canada, Mexico, and England. I think the world building was a good start and definitely potential for more. Lizbeth “Gunnie” Rose decided she did not want a traditional path like marriage or a teacher like her mother and become a gunnie. On a routine mission the ret of her gang is killed and while she finishes the mission she is now in need of a new job. Two Russian wizards employ her to help them find a man but are mysterious about why they need him or what they will do with him.
An Easy Death is not quite a Weird Western as it lacks monsters and devils, but it’s an alternate history world where there’s gunslingers and magicians roving the land. President Roosevelt was assassinated in Florida and the country, times being what they were, couldn’t hold it together anymore. The thirteen colonies except Georgia became a new Brittania in league with merry old England. The Dixie South became its own entity. The Great Plains were New America. Texas and Oklahoma and thereabouts became Texoma. And, stray Russian Princes with their pet magicians (Grigori) established the Holy Russian Empire (HRE) in the West Coast. Texoma, where much of the action takes place, is like the Old West with gunfighters, bandits, and often warlike Native Americans. Between towns, it’s pretty desolate and every man for himself.
Lizbeth Rose (aka Gunnie Rose) makes her living as part of a posse of gunslingers escorting families from town to town. She’s an unlikely gun hero being a young woman and short of stature. But, she’s one of the quickest and deadliest shots around and has got a real fireball of an attitude. The story is told from her point of view and the author(Harris) does a great job of getting that narrative time right.
Just when you think you’re reading a western, the story switches up and it’s all about escorting a pair of magicians through the hinterlands to find something valuable. And the battle of magic powers takes over with Rose running interference with her mighty guns.
Enjoy the works created here and the great narrative voice - although the eventual resolution of the quest had a little something missing for me. Book two of the series is coming out soon and promises adventures in a different part of the new world.