by Elizabeth Bear
I'd heard of Elizabeth Bear and had always wanted to check out some of her books, but to be perfectly honest with you, it was the badass woman with a shotgun on the cover that grabbed my attention.
Let's get the good news out of the way: Elizabeth Bear is an amazing writer. She creates an alternative history out of thin air with fascinating euphemisms (a bunch of prostitutes are "seamstresses") and characters (a black US Marshal, a cross-dressing prostitute, a Chinese rescuer), and definitely has a mastery of language.
The bad news? I was mightily distracted by the voice of the narrator. The story is told from the perspective of Karen Memery, the main character, and no that's not a typo. I'm personally a big fan of transparent prose, so flowery language and a Mark Twain-style voice are very distracting for me.
That said... I plowed through the book in just two days, so let's just say I got past the flowery language and enjoyed the story on its own merits. I'm definitely going to pick up a sequel, if one appears, and I have other Elizabeth Bear books on my To Read list.
I think female readers especially would enjoy this series. It's not a romance novel, per se, but there's definitely a female power vibe going on.
TL;DR: Not my cup of tea, but enjoyable nonetheless.