Bastard. Killer. Husband. Father.
His wife cold in the ground, and two young boys to feed, Wil Cutter turns to what he knows: Violence. But a bounty is never just a bounty, and blood is never spilled in drops. Forced to ever more violent acts, he’ll have to ask himself: Is Hell too far to ride?
Once in a while a book comes along that takes you for a sweet ride without the effort of having to be read. Cold West is a ride through a bleak but awesome world. More specifically, Wil Cutter will grab you by the collars, shove you down and tell you his story, you have no choice in the matter and you’ll be glad of his insistence in the end.
Wil doesn’t always do what we expect of a fantasy western protagonist. He wears his grimdark badge with pride and sticks to his guns (often quite literally) making decisions based on his values, his past and the grief that he carries throughout.
For a relatively short book Cold West packs in so many delicious dusty treats to set the dystopian/western scene that it almost feels like smoke and mirrors, how can so much be packed smoothly into 141 pages?!
The world has a strong but obstructed pulse that functions beautifully and creates a finely tuned rhythm between blood and sentiment. The ride is comfortable but it insists you always keep one eye open.
Characterisation in Cold West is second to none, and at no stage does the veil slip to reveal you are sat in your favourite chair reading a book. The language, world history, blunt and violent poetry of this story is now part of you and you will never escape!
The magic system is risky, understated and dark. It’s so far up my alley that it’s moved in with a group of feral cats round the back of Ed McDonald’s house and can be seen threatening members of the public with a flicknife.
This book is something special. A brutal and engaging world with equally grizzled characters and a timeline that will not shake you despite the occasional jump as Snyder ejects unwanted scenes like spent casings.