Devil's Tower, by Mark Summer Rothdas book review RSS
4.0 Stars

A surprisingly high quality adventure story set in an Old, Weird West that has had a ShadowRun-type awakening of magical talents in the wake of the Civil War. There were a lot of things to like about this novel. The powers are inventive, the pace is fast, the world building was interesting, the writing astute, and things could get unexpectedly dire/gory/horrific. So, in more detail. For the world building, I like that the author recognizes how powers would completely upend society. Just like how a nomadic society tends toward certain social structures and an industrial society tends toward others, the fact that no one person can ever have that much direct physical power pushes us to cooperate and imposes at least a modicum of society and equality on us. But with heroic/magical powers, all of those previous relations go out the window and its not clear that anything like past human society would be able to survive. And the book takes that as the premise, that the West and the United States as a whole are unraveling as allegiances to ideas and countries are replaced with allegiance to whichever individual has the raw talent to keep an area safe. And the talents run the whole gamut; there is shape changing, mind-afire seeing, scrying, foretelling, shouting, carving, elemental bending, a mess of different summonings, and "chattering", a speaking in tongues type talent that manipulates the world directly. And those are just the basic ones, a number of wilder ones are introduced later on. So! You take those powers and world building, and mix them with more traditional Western themes of Sheriffs and Black Hats, Soldiers and Indians, blood and revenge. It's shotguns and strange magics. I enjoyed the crud out of it.

Edit: While looking up the author on Amazon, I found some recent blog posts by him. Mark Summer is apparently now a leftist writer for DailyKos. Noice!