3 out of 4 stars
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The Bluejay Trail is the first book in the Bonnett series by James L. McKinney. When the Bonnett family’s dog unearths human bones on the ridge close to their home, they are shocked to discover that the bones are the remains of their son, Frank, who had supposedly migrated a few years ago. When his brother, Joe, discovers that Frank’s gun is missing from the corpse, he knew Frank had been murdered. After grief kills his mother and father, eighteen-year-old Joe decides to seek vengeance for Frank. He packs his own gun for the trip, a Bluejay Colt which is identical to Frank’s. Plenty of gun-fighting adventures keep Joe busy, but will he be able to get revenge, make a name for himself, and settle down with a young woman who has captured his interest?
I grew up watching old Western movies with my dad, and this book reminded me of that time in my life. I think that this book will appeal to a wide range of readers, including older teens and adults who like heroic cowboy stories and action novels. However, the violent parts of the book may make the book unsuitable for younger readers. Personally, I really enjoyed reading The Bluejay Trail, especially the parts with riveting gunfights.
In addition to the gunfights, the story had many unpredictable moments. The sudden twists and turns kept me interested in the story. New characters were always popping up, and quite a few of them were killed off quickly. Sometimes, the story deviated from Joe’s initial mission, but somehow, his adventures were always connected to the main plot. Joe’s character was also unpredictable. Although he was comfortable wielding guns, he was inexperienced when it came to girls. However, his naivety was endearing. It made him seem more realistic. I really appreciated these aspects of the book.
Another thing that I liked about this book was that the author balanced the action with peaceful descriptions of the natural environment. On a few occasions, the author described the weather, the ridgetops, and the night sky. One of the most poetic descriptions I came across was ‘I sat on my blankets and watched the nightwalker of the sky as he began to light his small lanterns. He kept at it until the sky overhead was filled with tiny, twinkling lights’.
There was one thing which I disliked in the book and that was the use of the name ‘Bill’. There were at least three characters named Bill – Bill Bradford, Bill Tucker, and Bill Bailey. Although each appeared at different times in the story, it would have been best if they had different first names. After all, there are so many names in the world.
Besides this, there were numerous grammatical and spelling errors. For instance, the word ‘eaves’ was misspelled more than once, and question marks were put in the wrong places. I had no choice but to remove a star from the final rating since the book contained at least ten errors. However, these errors are nothing that a round of professional editing can’t fix. Therefore, I am awarding this book 3 out of 4 stars because it was interesting, well balanced, and the main character was both likable and realistic.
The Bluejay Trail
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