Book Review: Wasteland King by Lilith Saintcrow

Posted June 1, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Wasteland King by Lilith Saintcrow

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wasteland King by Lilith Saintcrow
Series: Gallow and Ragged #3
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Published by Orbit on July 26, 2016
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: he Red Plague Affair, Dark Watcher, Trailer Park Fae, Roadside Magic

Third and last in the Gallow and Ragged dark urban fantasy series and revolving around a rebellious trio of half-human, half-fae.

My Take

This was sad, fulfilling, sad, and oh, dang, just plain sad. I need to read something upbeat after this. And I find myself hoping that Saintcrow will figure out a way to keep this going!

I loved this dark take on the fae, and I think it’s some of the best Saintcrow has written, although, Ragged’s qualms do drive me nuts.

It’s a suspicious Ragged, a desperate Gallow, and a hopeful Crenn expressing their hopes and dreams…and fears through third person multiple points-of-view, and Saintcrow plays us throughout the story. There’s growth for each of them, with Ragged’s voice changing, Gallow and his epiphany, while Crenn…poor Crenn. And Saintcrow continues to pop in the odd encounter with humans with results that are sometimes good and sometimes not.

I like that bit of back history Saintcrow conjured up for Gallow and Crenn. It gave a sense of how old these two were without belaboring it. We do learn at the end what caused the Sundering, and without giving anything away, I’ll simply say that Unwinter and Summer were consistent to the end. Saintcrow did a great job of holding in those secrets and letting them out just when it had the most impact on the characters and me.

This fae world is such a contrast between what I’ve always seen as the better Seelie and the wicked Unseelie, and just the opposite of who Summer and Unwinter are. A man who holds by will while another flitters away lives. I guess it’s “okay”, since she’s keeping the childcatcher employed. *eye roll*

The Story

Summerhome is fading with rumor and plague, a plague that is cutting down the fae with the Halfs immune, and Unwinter is going to war.

The balance of power in the sidhe realms is shifting, for the land begins to suspect and wait. Even as the grudge the Unseelie King has against Jeremiah Gallow’s theft must wait. For he needs Gallow’s services for a very delicate mission — and the prize for success is survival itself.

To save both Robin Ragged and himself, Gallow will have to do the unspeakable…and survive the Wild Hunt.

The Characters

Robin Ragged is a Half, half-human and half-fae, with a voice that can kill. She’s also Robin Goodfellow’s daughter with some fascinating results. Pepperbuckle is the changeling Ragged changed (Roadside Magic, 2).

Jeremiah Gallow, the former half-fae, half-human Armormaster, wrested Unwinter’s horn from him, and now the Unseelie King has set his dogs on him (Roadside Magic). Daisy Snow had been his human wife until she was murdered, and Gallow found her sister. Clyde had been his foreman back on the job and Panko a fellow coworker.

Alastair Crenn, a half-fae, half-human knight who is Summer’s assassin, got his looks back, and now needs to win the girl. Hah. Good luck with that. He was raised in an orphanage alongside Gallow. Marrowdowne is now his swampy refuge.

The Fae

Unwinter is…
…the Unseelie side ruled by the plagued Haarhnhe, Lord of the Hunt, the former Consort of Summer, the Lion of Danur. Unwinter’s Horn calls the Wild Hunt, the sluagh. The Steward holds Unwinter’s authority inside his Keep.

Findergast is a dwarven healer of the Red Clan of dwarves who had allied with Summer.

Summerhome is…
…where the Seelie live and are ruled by Summer, a.k.a., Eaakaanthe, slowly succumbing to plague. She had been a favored handmaiden at the First Summer’s side. Broghan the Black, a.k.a., Trollsbane, is the Armormaster and Summer’s former interest. Braghn Moran is her current favorite, stolen from Ilara Feathersalt.

Robin “Puck” Goodfellow, a.k.a., the Fatherless, is no more, but does remain Robin’s father. Morische the Cobbler had made Ragged’s shoes. The Sundering was long, long ago in the past when the fae realms split.

The Human Side

Creslough Asylum is…
…where Jimmy Kamens, Jadek Kosminski as was, is a night guard. Wendy Campbell is the head nurse on D ward, the high security, solitary level. Annie Diamotti is the swing nurse. Hugo Planck, Sybil Almand, the semifamous Kelly Ashford, Henry the Happy Wanker, Pearl the Paranoid, and Marcus the philosopher are some of the Ward D inmates.

Matt Grogan is a clerk with a fracturing voice at an ancient gas station. His brother, Bobby, is the high school football savior. Cindy Parmentier is the girl who really wants Bobby and will do anything to get him. Bill Yonkovitch is a long-haul truck driver who was lucky to meet Deirdre. Pete Crespin was wounded and now works a desk in dispatch; Sandy is his es-wife. Darcy had been the hero who died. Other dispatchers include Wendy, Christina, Jenna the Butch, Rhonda, Sarah Thornton, and Sharon. Officer Paco Melendez hates having to partner up with the bigoted Adkins. Greggs in Vice later told Melendez about Adkins and his partner Harry Krjowiscz. Henry McDowell sleeps behind the Savoigh Unlimited by a Dumpster. Chuck Tennington is a search-and-rescue volunteer. Debbie is the wife wanting a divorce; Mona is their little daughter. Georgie Rankin is another volunteer who saw too much. Jenny Markham’s momma likes her happy medicine; Topper is her dealer with perversions. Mrs. Anderson is the understanding neighbor.

The Sevens are…
…a vicious abandoned neighborhood, a wasteland, where Tomtom, who has been on the streets since he was thirteen, and his gang hold sway. The others include Juice at 14, Brat, a.k.a., Eleanor Gunderson and Samantha who will become Ell Wild, is 12, Popper is an immature 16, Pinkie, Rom, Glue Clue, and Kitten (who’d rather be Tiger). The Sevens are also fae neutral ground.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a deep blue alley at night with a trashcan fire off to the left. It’s Gallow in white wifebeater and jeans, casually leaning against a partial brick wall with cracked advertising at head height, a fitting throne for the K-NG with his dwarven-inked lance of a “sceptre” as it flames down along itself and around Gallow’s tattooed arms. The author’s name is in a glowing white at the very top while the orange stenciled title crosses Gallow’s midsection. Below are testimonials in white. Do wish she’d included the series information…

The title is Gallow, a Wasteland King in so many ways, in a disintegrating world.

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