Format: Hardcover, 342 pages
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Western
Nettie Lonesome lives in a land of hard people and hard ground dusted with sand. She's a half-breed who dresses like a boy, raised by folks who don't call her a slave but use her like one. She knows of nothing else. That is, until the day a stranger attacks her. When nothing, not even a sickle to the eye can stop him, Nettie stabs him through the heart with a chunk of wood, and he turns into black sand.
And just like that, Nettie can .
But her newfound ability is a blessing and a curse. Even if she doesn't understand what's under her own skin, she can sense what everyone else is hiding -- at least physically. The world is full of evil, and now she knows the source of all the sand in the desert. Haunted by the spirits, Nettie has no choice but to set out on a quest that might lead to her true kin... if the monsters along the way don't kill her first.
Wake of Vultures is the first installment in The Shadow series by author Lila Bowen. For those who don't know, Bowen is also Delilah S. Dawson the author who wrote the Blud Series. Wake of Vultures features 16 year old Nettie Lonesome. Nettie has only known a world where because of the color of her skin, she's been treated as though she were a slave by the "parents" that took her in after she was abandoned. That is until the night a mysterious man tries to attack her and Nettie discoverers that the world is inhabited by more than she could ever imagine.
Wake of Vultures is set in an Alternative universe where vampires, werewolves, harpies, chupacabras, water horses, sirens, and shape-shifters intermingle with humans. It is a place where Nettie has decided that being a boy is much more appealing that being a girl. Being a girl means you are expected to be weak, and provide babies and meals for the male of the house. But, by passing as a boy, Nat can mostly do whatever he wants to do including becoming a member of the Durango Rangers who hunt down and kill those paranormals that step out of line.
Wake of Vultures is a wonderful YA story that features a spunky heroine who can shoot a gun, break in a hissy horse, impale a vampire with a large branch, and take on a living legend who steals kids in the dark of the night. The world that Bowen has created is a realistic one. She is not afraid to get her hands a bit gritty when describing the things Nettie has had to do in the past in order to survive. She is not afraid to say that because of who Nettie is, there is, and was racism towards her people (black and Native American).
In this first installment, Nettie gets a chance to work with horses, something she absolutely excels at. I loved her pony Ragdoll. She will find friends who have her back like Sam & Monty, join the Rangers who kill monsters but don't exactly have a stellar relationship with Native Americans. Meet two skin-shifters in Coyote Dan and his sister Winifred who become not only her friends, but her guides in this weird world she now lives in. And, will have to decide if she likes boys, or girls, or both while trying to find her place in the world as the Shadow.
A wonderfully entertaining first novel in what I expect will be one helluva ride.
Next in Series: Horde of Crows (2016).