Lowachee, Karin -- The Gaslight Dogs

This is frequently cited in lists of not-stupid book covers. (The person depicted is female, armed, not helpless, not half-naked, not contorted, and not acanonically Causasian. She does have tattoos but they're plot-significant.) Unfortunately, after all that, she's not the protagonist of the book. Her dog arguably has more of a plot role than she does.

The protagonist is Captain Fawle, the requisite disenchanted soldier in a story about white folks in a fantasy-US-western-frontier. This appears to be a Thing now (Felix Gilman, Richard Calder, the prologue of that Kris Saknussemm one) and I am having more misses than hits with it. (I liked the Gilman.) This one is mostly a miss. Fawle is ordered by his chilly martinet of a father to learn native-style spirit-walking. He is assigned two helpers: Keeley, from a local tribe, and Sjenn, from the North. She's the one on the cover with the spear and Dog. Nobody likes the arrangement, but it's the General's army, so Fawle gets to figure out his own Dog. Local politics intervenes, and things go very downhill. Set up for book two.

I like the good guys well enough; the antagonists (including General Daddy) are fascinating; and the prose is frankly gorgeous. However, the story never grabbed me. Nobody (not even the white guy) has a chance to do much beyond coping with the next life-wrecking plot complication. It's a familiar sort of setup for a (probable) trilogy, but I like a few more petty triumphs before (metaphorically) the Breaking of the Fellowship and Sean Bean getting scragged.

Books I have acquired recently
All the books I own