3 out of 4 stars
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I am going to start this review being brutally honest. I am not sure how to feel about this book. If I had to find a word to describe Blockhead by Kyle J.S. Bardell, unexpected would be the most accurate.
The book consists of four parts, each describing a different side of the plot. Admittedly, the rhythm might seem a little slow the first few chapters, but it doesn't take long before they merge into a very well-thought storyline.
The story begins when Bronco is left in charge of the family's ranch. Bronco is a hard-working, caring girl that loves her family and her job. However, like many other women, she is achingly underestimated by those she calls her own. Uninvited guests and new friendships serve to set the foundations of a delightful succession of slice-of-life scenes. Is this your typical cowgirl story? Well, no. The story has enough plot twists to make it way more complicated than that.
What I liked the most about the book was the world-building. I have to admit it was a enough to steal a few gasps from my mouth here and there. However, if I had to pick something that didn't meet my expectations, that would be character development. Please don't take me wrong. The characters are well thought, and the descriptions are good. But they felt a little flat to me at some point. Diving deeper into their personality would be beneficial for the book as a whole.
I have no complaints about the editorial work. The formatting is neat, and that's always appreciated. I found a few errors, but they were minor and not bad enough to distract me from the plot. I had to double-check to list them. That's always a good sign of the book's quality. Because of this, and considering the character's issues, I will rate this book three out of four stars.
I recommend this book for people that enjoy expecting the unexpected when reading a book. If you're not particularly into cowboys stories or constant slice-of-life scenes, the novel might seem a little slow, and maybe you'd prefer to skip it.
As always, allow me to give you a few trigger warnings. It is fair to mention that the story has its share of violence and, the working conditions, in some cases, remind me of slavery a little too much for comfort. Profanity is present but not excessive. There are no explicit sexual descriptions to worry about either, so the book is fit for minors as well, given that they are old enough to understand the plot and overlook a little profanity here and there.
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