Written by Lyndsay Ely
Published by Little Brown, January 2, 2018
My star rating: 3.75 stars
Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great….
In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity’s struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot. Find it on Goodreads!
Not going to lie, the cover had a lot to do with why I picked this one up! I mean that cover is just gorgeous! But after reading the synopsis I realized that this was a unique book – unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I’m so very glad that I did! This is a debut novel by Lyndsay Ely and it was very well done. Not perfect, as I found quite a few small flaws, but all in all it was so very different and entertaining!
In the beginning we meet Serendipity (aka Pity) and we realize that we are in a semi dystopian world. It’s kind of like the wild west but with some modern comforts. There’s electricity, vehicles, and more, but it’s like society has regressed and is somewhat divided. The world is basically split into communes where each has a mayor. There was a second civil war and these were the after effects. Most of all, birth rates are low so fertile woman are very important. The beginning of the book is VERY fast paced. You’re thrown into the story and move very quickly to see what happens to Pity next. Problem is – it was WAY too fast. The world building was lacking in so many ways. Piecing together this setting and how/why things were the way they were was never explained. Also the character building was lacking as well. We know that Pity is dealing with an asshole father and 2 moron brothers, and also that her mother is dead. We get very vague details on all of this. I felt that the pace could have been slowed down in the first 1/4 of the book and given us some more information. A little info dumping wouldn’t have taken away from the story because the pace was just that fast! And the thing that makes me the most upset about it is that there were multiple times that all of her past could have been explained!!! In the beginning, as she met the theatre performers, and even near the end as she met someone else. There was little to no detail to it and absolutely no emotion behind her life story.
What I did love about Pity though is that she was flawed. She didn’t hit every shot, she didn’t always made the best decisions, and she didn’t always communicate properly. She was very real and made a lot of mistakes. Each of those mistakes had consequences and she needed to repair relationships and her own emotions.
Once Pity makes it to Cessation though, the world building and character building seem to fall into place. I started to feel a little more connected to the setting and people. But sadly, because I was missing so much background information about Pity, I was never able to fully connect to her. She meets a boy named Max though…. Oh how I love Max!!!
Cessation was an incredible place!! So full of politics being that there was a “city” within Cessation called Casimir, and that’s where Pity and her new troupe of friends lives and works at the theatre. I won’t talk too much about the theatre because I don’t want to spoil it’s amazingness! It was kind of like this wild west carnival/circus that was very dark and twisted. I loved all of the ‘performers’ and how they got along with each other. Even it’s headmaster was super interesting. The theatre is EVERYTHING! And the performers were all so different and offered so much. That’s all I will say….
But as we follow Pity along her new opportunity, we know that everything in Cessation is a well oiled machine, run by a woman named Selene. She is what keeps things going – keeping an eye on the crime, the poor, the money, and balance. The politics aren’t as simple as it may seem though 🙂
Once I hit the halfway point I JUST COULDN’T STOP! I finished over 200 pages in a day because it was one of the fast paced books I’ve ever read, with twists and turns coming from all directions!
While I was reading this book I kept thinking about all the things I was missing. But now that I’ve had a few days to reflect on everything that happened, I found that I enjoyed it more than I realized. The pace was insane, the plot twists caught me off guard, and I keep envisioning what it would be like to see a theatre performance! I do wish that I could have connected more to the characters, their lives, and the world, but it was still a VERY entertaining and wonderful read! If you’re looking for something new and exciting with a hint of the dark and twisted, you NEED to pick this one up! You won’t regret it!
Until next time, happy reading!