She Returns From War
Four years after the horrific events in Leadville, a young woman from England, Victoria Dawes, sets into motion a series of events that will lead Cora and herself out into the New Mexico desert in pursuit of Anaba, a Navajo witch bent on taking revenge for the atrocities committed against her people.

She Returns From War Details

TitleShe Returns From War
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 25th, 2019
PublisherAngry Robot
Rating
GenreFantasy, Westerns, Horror, Historical, Historical Fiction, Weird West, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Fiction

She Returns From War Review

  • Kathy (Kindle-aholic)
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, Lee Collins, I love this world you have created, but you kick me when I'm down!Not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but I had a couple of ARGH moments. I am going to try my hardest to be non-spoilery, but this is a book 2, so be warned.I really, REALLY liked book 1, The Dead of Winter (you can see that review here). An older, experienced female lead, lots of kickass action, all set in the late 1800s American West = miles of YES. Also, while we mainly followed Cora's POV (3rd person through Oh, Lee Collins, I love this world you have created, but you kick me when I'm down!Not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but I had a couple of ARGH moments. I am going to try my hardest to be non-spoilery, but this is a book 2, so be warned.I really, REALLY liked book 1, The Dead of Winter (you can see that review here). An older, experienced female lead, lots of kickass action, all set in the late 1800s American West = miles of YES. Also, while we mainly followed Cora's POV (3rd person throughout), we also got to hitch a ride with some of the other characters and villains.Book 2, however, is a different story. We don't get Cora's POV this time, but rather that of Victoria, an English heiress who needs Cora to hunt down the creatures who killed her parents. We also get interludes with the memories of another character. That's it.It was interesting to see a beloved character (for me, she might be prickly but I love Cora) from another's POV. Victoria has heard lots of stories of the legendary Cora Oglesby, but when she faces the reality, let's just say she doesn't appreciate Cora's colorful language and lifestyle. Victoria is not always likable, but a lot of her responses were believable. She does come across as naive, but she learns fast. She grew on me.I was reminded a few times of the movie Unforgiven, with the younger generation getting a look at the real life of a legend, and also learning about the costs of living such a life.There is action, an old enemy and a new one, and once again Collins kicks my emotions around. I can't say I was surprised by how it all went down, but I thought it was a good end. I like that the vamps here are monstrous. There is good magic (I'd argue that Cora's blessed steel and silver bullets are magic, as well as the monster-slaying weapons from the Dine) and bad magic. Although this time around one of the villains is in more of a grey area. I can't really fault her for her anger or her desire for revenge.I did miss being in Cora's head. She is a unique character.I'm just wondering where this will go next, or if there will be more. It is hard to say. There is an end, so no cliffhangers. However, there is room for more stories in this world.I liked it. Did I like it as much as book 1, no. Will I read more from Collins, oh yes.[received an ARC to review
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  • Milo (BOK)
    January 1, 1970
    “A fun and entertaining ride through the really wild west.” ~The Founding FieldsSo, the second novel in the Cora Oglesby series is certainly interesting. Whilst it may not be as good as The Dead of Winter, which was a superb debut, it didn’t quite match the high-quality set by The Dead of Winter which is a bit of a let down. However, there are still strong elements about this novel and you should not pass it up."Four years after the horrific events in Leadville, a young woman from England, Victo “A fun and entertaining ride through the really wild west.” ~The Founding FieldsSo, the second novel in the Cora Oglesby series is certainly interesting. Whilst it may not be as good as The Dead of Winter, which was a superb debut, it didn’t quite match the high-quality set by The Dead of Winter which is a bit of a let down. However, there are still strong elements about this novel and you should not pass it up."Four years after the horrific events in Leadville, a young woman from England, Victoria Dawes, sets into motion a series of events that will lead Cora and herself out into the New Mexico desert in pursuit of Anaba, a Navajo witch bent on taking revenge for the atrocities committed against her people."As the blurb states, it’s set four years after the Leadville incident detailed in The Dead of Winter and if anyone hasn’t read that book first and is reading this review, I highly recommend you read that book before reading any further. Cora’s character is really fleshed out in The Dead of Winter, but here she’s not as enjoyable, maybe because the POV is dominated by Victoria Dawes, who makes a very interesting counterpart to the eccentric Cora Oglesby.One of the main reasons why this book wasn’t as good as the first is the reason mentioned above, Cora isn’t anywhere near as likable as she is when she’s the main character of book one. There are some places in the book where I couldn’t stand her, and I was somewhat glad that Victoria Dawes was a strong lead. But, she doesn’t really have the same memorability that Cora had in The Dead of Winter, and as a result of that, the novel itself isn’t as strong as it should be.Read the Rest of the Review: http://thefoundingfields.com/2013/02/...
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  • Mike (the Paladin)
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked the first book in this...series. Sadly I can't say that here. Also sadly I bought this one. There will be spoilers for the first book in this review. I'll try to put them under spoiler tags along with the spoilers for this book but forgive me if one slips by. I will be assuming that if you plan to read this one you have read the first.Here our main character...isn't the main character we got to know in the first book. Cora is not only not the main character she's almost a foil to I really liked the first book in this...series. Sadly I can't say that here. Also sadly I bought this one. There will be spoilers for the first book in this review. I'll try to put them under spoiler tags along with the spoilers for this book but forgive me if one slips by. I will be assuming that if you plan to read this one you have read the first.Here our main character...isn't the main character we got to know in the first book. Cora is not only not the main character she's almost a foil to introduce Mr. Collins' new "main character" Cora is also not the same person she was in the first book. Where she was a (view spoiler)[ troubled woman who'd learned to survive in a harsh world, one who's had a sort of breakdown/break with reality she's now far more course. Cora is not as likeable as she was. She's gone from a woman who occasionally had a drinking problem (liked to drink and got bombed a bit too often) here she's surrendered her life to the drink. Instead of opening Ben's print shop she has a bar named Ben's Print Shop (saloon) where she drinks away her life as an old, drunken gambler. (hide spoiler)] I assume the idea here is that's it's been a lot longer than it seems to have been and Cora has gotten "old" and very bitter. She's harder to like and I must say that as I had the audio version the reader does a very poor job with her character.Now as to the "new main character". The original book set up a fantasy series set in the American West. I liked it. It's not been done often and the first book plowed that ground well telling a good story. I can only assume that the writer must have read Philippa (Pip) Ballantine's Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels or possibly The Parasol Protectorate Series and decided to give us his own Victorian Lady protagonist. Maybe I'm being picky...but those series mentioned and others already have Victorian female protagonists and this series was introed to us with different protagonists in a totally different setting. If I want to read Victorian heroines their out there. So, I'll mention a couple of things under a spoiler tag below but on the whole a dissatisfying book that's made a hard left onto roads that have already been well trod by others. Why 2 instead of 1. There are parts of the story that are readable and just because a story is a been there done that it isn't always a bad story. I'm sure some people will like this one better than I and if you're looking for another Victorian Lady in a paranormal situation here you go.(view spoiler)[ I'm not sure why but Collins opens the book with Victoria our new protagonist in her problematic situation and then leads her tp Cora. As I said Cora isn't the Cora we got to know, she refuses to help till she must, trains Victoria and then gets killed. The Book ends with Victoria headed back to England to use what she's learned to go after the creatures there that sent her on her quest. Don't know if I'll get the next book or not...I'll certainly go slower, as I snapped this one right up. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Mieneke
    January 1, 1970
    In She Returns From War Lee Collins takes the reader back to the world he created in The Dead of Winter . We return to that book's heroine Cora Ogelsby four years after the events recounted in it. This time however, the point-of-view character isn't Cora, it is a young British lady called Victoria Dawes. After losing her parents to what appear to be large, black hounds of a supernatural nature, which attack them on the road one night, she swears vengeance and turns to Cora for help. Cora has go In She Returns From War Lee Collins takes the reader back to the world he created in The Dead of Winter . We return to that book's heroine Cora Ogelsby four years after the events recounted in it. This time however, the point-of-view character isn't Cora, it is a young British lady called Victoria Dawes. After losing her parents to what appear to be large, black hounds of a supernatural nature, which attack them on the road one night, she swears vengeance and turns to Cora for help. Cora has gotten out of the business since the last book and has set up as a saloon keeper in Albuquerque. Needless to say, she isn't too keen on helping Victoria out. Before Victoria can leave with her request unfulfilled, she's drawn into a reckoning with not just the witch mentioned in the cover copy, but also with an adversary from Cora's past; an adversary who gives Cora no choice but to get involved.While surprising at first, I found Collins' choice to switch principal narrators for She Returns From War an interesting one. Victoria is a completely different character than Cora and her narration is far less unreliable than Cora's was in the previous book. It also allowed Collins to make choices narratively he wouldn't have been able to make if he'd stuck with Cora's point of view as the principal one. Despite the fact that Victoria encounters several characters of the previous book and one of the villains of that book makes a return performance, you can read this book without having read the previous one and understand everything. Surprisingly enough, Collins even succeeds in not spoiling the twist for The Dead of Winter, which means even those who jump into the series with this book, will be able to enjoy the previous one fresh.Victoria is everything Cora is not: she's young, she's proper, she's naive, and inexperienced. Like Cora, however, she's brave, resourceful, and smart. The combination of the two is an entertaining one and it's fun to see Cora put Vicky – as she insists on calling her, much to Victoria's chagrin – through her paces and school her in the monster-hunting business. Victoria's youthful tenacity is fabulous and while this tenacity doesn't fade, it's tempered by experience and learned caution, something which I appreciated. Victoria also lands herself in several problematic situations through stubbornness, despite being warned she's putting herself in danger, and doesn't always manage to get herself out. At the end of the novel, Victoria has not only matured tremendously, she's also learned to be at peace with the death of her parents and has discovered the fact that she has some supernatural powers of her own. At the beginning of the book, Cora is similarly at peace with the events of the previous book and has settled down to run her saloon. For her Victoria's arrival means an upheaval of her hard-won equilibrium, but by the end she's recaptured it and is at peace with her life. Collins strikes a fine balance between Cora's intractability, her desire to remain retired, and her reluctant and hard-won sympathy for Victoria. You get the sense that she likes Victoria almost in spite of herself.She Returns From War is a story about dealing with the consequences of actions, either your own or other people's. Anaba, the Navajo witch who is the main adversary in this book, is filled with vengeance due to the way her people have been treated by the US soldiers. While her anger is understandable, even justified, her reaction is not. Similarly, Cora has had to come to terms with her past and her own actions, but they come back to haunt her and she needs to put them to rest to protect the innocents – well, sort of innocents – around her. Victoria is drawn into this conflict set between people she doesn't known instigated by people she doesn't know all due to a vow of revenge. So beyond having to take responsibility for one's actions, it's also important to realise the path of vengeance is never a wise path to travel.While the plot was less intricate this time around and beyond the exploration of Navajo supernatural traditions there wasn't a huge amount of expanded world building, She Returns From War packs a more powerful emotional punch than The Dead of Winter did. Collins has avoided the sophomore slump and has completed this duology with a well-delivered finale. If you enjoyed The Dead of Winter, reading its sequel is a must, but even if unfamiliar with Collins' debut novel, She Returns From War is a strong and gripping story. I look forward to discovering where Collins will go next, whether he returns to this universe or introduces us to a new one; it's bound to be interesting.This book was provided for review by the publisher.
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  • Burgoo
    January 1, 1970
    When Victoria Dawes, a proper young Englishwoman, sees her parents killed by savage beasts, she embarks upon a journey of revenge. Her journey will take her to Albuquerque NM, in order to enlist the aid of seasoned monster hunter Cora Oglesby. Before Victoria’s parents can be avenged, first they must face the menace of a Navaho skinwalker.Collins’ first novel, Dead of Winter, was one of my surprise finds of 2012. It was a solid weird West tale featuring a unique voice and great plot twists. Need When Victoria Dawes, a proper young Englishwoman, sees her parents killed by savage beasts, she embarks upon a journey of revenge. Her journey will take her to Albuquerque NM, in order to enlist the aid of seasoned monster hunter Cora Oglesby. Before Victoria’s parents can be avenged, first they must face the menace of a Navaho skinwalker.Collins’ first novel, Dead of Winter, was one of my surprise finds of 2012. It was a solid weird West tale featuring a unique voice and great plot twists. Needless to say, I was excited to read the follow up. Unfortunately, She Returns from War is more than a bit of a letdown.It’s not that this is a bad novel. Plot, pacing, characterization, etc are all good. But none of it really stands out against the competition.Told from Cora’s POV, her voice was a distinctive feature of the first novel. She Returns from War is told exclusively from the POV of Victoria Dawes. After immersion in the roughhewn mind of Cora Oglesby, Victoria Dawes is a rather milquetoast choice.Additionally, a large part of impact of Dead of Winter hangs upon a very significant plot twist. While my expectation is not that Collins should try to replicate this each novel, the plotting in She Returns from War is rather straightforward in comparison.
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    ***3 1/2 StarsIn a word: Atmospheric, two feisty heroines, some poignant moments, but an ultimately unfocused plotThe sequel to last year’s The Dead of Winter, a book I loved and gave five stars to, She Returns From War unfortunately fell short for me for several reasons. The first book was driven by the strong and feisty character of Cora, a monster hunter who rides a horse and carries a gun. Collins’ story and pacing were excellent, and he surprised the reader with a twist at the end that I th ***3 1/2 StarsIn a word: Atmospheric, two feisty heroines, some poignant moments, but an ultimately unfocused plotThe sequel to last year’s The Dead of Winter, a book I loved and gave five stars to, She Returns From War unfortunately fell short for me for several reasons. The first book was driven by the strong and feisty character of Cora, a monster hunter who rides a horse and carries a gun. Collins’ story and pacing were excellent, and he surprised the reader with a twist at the end that I thought was brilliant. But She Returns From War lacked the cohesiveness of the first book. The story was confusing and fractured, the monsters were not nearly as scary, and worst of all, Cora seemed to be a different character this time around. What made me keep turning pages was the character of Victoria, a young woman from Oxford, England who finds herself completely out of her comfort zone after an encounter with a supernatural creature.The story is told from Victoria’s point of view, and starts with a bang as she and her parents are riding through the countryside in a carriage, discussing her impending betrothal to a man she has no interest in, when their carriage is set upon by a group of large, dog-like creatures. This encounter results in a terrible accident, and while Victoria survives, both her parents are killed. Vowing to avenge their deaths, she sets out on a quest to find someone to help her. Her circuitous path eventually leads her to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where our erstwhile heroine Cora now lives. Cora has retired from monster hunting after her exciting adventures in Leadville, Colorado, and she’s opened a bar called Ben’s Print Shop, an inside joke and a nod to events from The Dead of Winter. Victoria tries in vain to convince Cora to return to England with her and help her exact revenge on her parents.But after Victoria is abducted one night and taken to an abandoned barn in the middle of the desert, Cora changes her tune and decides to go after the creatures that captured Victoria—and then let her go. One of them, a supernaturally strong vampire, calls himself “Fodor Glava,” a vampire that Cora killed in the first book, and Cora won’t rest until she finds out why he might still be alive. Controlling the vampire is a mysterious Indian woman who has many powers, among them the ability to change into animal form. The story picks up momentum from this point until the expected final showdown at the end.I’m wondering if Collins intended for his story to end up being a humorous “buddy” tale, since the bulk of the book involves Cora and Victoria reluctantly working together to kill the vampire and the Indian woman. Cora dislikes Victoria the moment they meet, and continues to hurl insults at her for the entire story, often having to do with her feminine ways and her inability to do anything practical. When Victoria first walks into Cora’s bar, all the men think she’s a prostitute, and even Cora calls her a “lady of the night.” I never got over the uncomfortable feeling I had every time Cora spoke to Victoria. It was just odd to hear an older woman referencing a younger woman’s “pretty little rear” over and over again. At one point Cora decides to teach Victoria how to shoot a gun, and if I’d been Victoria, I would have turned the gun on Cora and the story would have turned out much differently.Also frustrating for me was the direction the story took after Victoria’s parents are killed. As implausible as it seems for a young English woman to head off on her own to America to try and find a mysterious woman who may be able to help her, and then convince this woman to come all the way back to England with her, I was more disappointed when the story shifted away from the (frankly) intriguing Hell Hounds and focused on vampires and the mysterious Indian woman who holds power over them. Collins seems to be more interested in creating sympathy for the plight of the Indians than making his story flow like it did in The Dead of Winter. There were some interesting moments near the end when Victoria realizes she has a special power of her own, but much of the rambling plot simply slowed down the momentum of the story.The character of Victoria was the best thing about She Returns From War. She’s an unwed, unchaperoned woman in the 1800s, all alone in a harsh and dangerous Old West America. Collins does a superb job of portraying her growth from a virtuous innocent to literally fighting for her life against supernatural creatures, and trying to sidestep the lewd advances of just about every male character in the town of Albuquerque. By the end of the story, I was cheering Victoria’s pluck and courage, and I would love to read more of her adventures. I don't know for sure whether or not there will be a third book in the series, but I did get a sense at the end that Collins could easily add another book and turn this into a trilogy. Victoria’s parents remain unavenged, a fact that begs for another installment.And yes, there were some moments when the "old" Cora made an appearance, a Cora made vulnerable by past tragedies, and I could glimpse the reasons I loved her in the first book. But it just wasn't enough for me this time around. I do hope the author continues Victoria's story, because that is one I am anxious to read more about.Many thanks to Angry Robot for supplying a review copy.This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy.
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  • Ranting Dragon
    January 1, 1970
    http://www.rantingdragon.com/review-o...She Returns from War is the second novel from American author Lee Collins, and it continues the story of old west supernatural gun-slinger Cora Oglesby four years after the events of her debut in The Dead of Winter.Nobody retires from a job like thisShe Returns from War opens with the tragic story of young Englishwoman Victoria Dawes, who, after a harrowing encounter with the supernatural, is directed toward now-retired Cora to help her face her demons (fi http://www.rantingdragon.com/review-o...She Returns from War is the second novel from American author Lee Collins, and it continues the story of old west supernatural gun-slinger Cora Oglesby four years after the events of her debut in The Dead of Winter.Nobody retires from a job like thisShe Returns from War opens with the tragic story of young Englishwoman Victoria Dawes, who, after a harrowing encounter with the supernatural, is directed toward now-retired Cora to help her face her demons (figurative and literal). This quest brings her to New Mexico where Cora is tending her bar and generally wanting nothing to do with any part of her old life at all. Of course, as you can guess, circumstances force her back in the saddle and back into danger. It was nice to not have to deal with all of the "I'm getting too old for this" crap that tends to creep into situations like these. Cora's just done with the work, not old and beaten, and she can still handle herself when she needs to.It seems to be a consistent theme: someone who tries to get out always gets pulled back in for one last job, but it's something stronger and different here. The impression is more that once you've been awoken to the existence of the supernatural, it's simply not something you can put back down. Cora will always be aware of what's going on. She'll hear stories of someone dying in a crazy accident and just know that something else has happened. It's never explicitly spelled out in She Returns from War, but I don't think I'm presuming too far to read that into the story. There are just some jobs you don't ever get out of on this side of life.Passing the torchNew to us in this book is the character of Victoria Dawes, an Englishwoman of taste and breeding, if a bit more intellectual than most of her peers. She seems to fancy herself a bit independent and tough. After all, she packed up her belongings as an unchaperoned young woman and traveled to barbaric rustic America. Of course, this falls apart after one day in the saddle, and she swiftly realizes the degree to which she is completely overwhelmed. This is a scene we're all familiar with, and Cora even directly lampshades it with a comment about how she has forgotten how funny and useless greenhorns are.Watching Victoria develop a bit of courage and confidence was really enjoyable. It felt like a definite passing along of Cora's mantle to Victoria. Cora had already tried to retire, wanted nothing more to do with this business, and here comes a young, strong-willed woman with something to prove. Without spoiling any plot details, I'll just say that Victoria is left in a place in her development that makes me really want to see a few books about her learning to be a hunter back in England. I'm not sure the degree to which Collins is wanting to stick with the Western motif, but a few adventures across the pond would be quite excellent.Why should you read this book?It's always awkward writing this section for books that aren't the first in the series. You should have already read the first book, The Dead of Winter, and if you enjoyed it, you will enjoy this as well. All of the same elements that made the first book fun to read are still here. The action is great, the pacing is wonderful. You really get to just revel in Cora being awesome, as she drunkenly ass-kicks her way through her problems, and you get to watch Victoria overcome a few prejudices about the West and about Cora, and learn that respect is something you earn, not something you're born with.I'd really like to see more of this world and these characters, and so should you.
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  • Christal (Badass Book Reviews)
    January 1, 1970
    See this review and others like it at BadassBookReviews.com!Lee Collins' "Cora Oglesby" series has been described as True Grit meets True Blood. It's a western that takes place during the Old West gold rush, but it includes paranormal creatures such as vampires, hellhounds, and wendigos. Cora is a sometimes bounty hunter that focuses on the supernatural beasties. The series has a dry humor and an in your face heroine in the form of Cora. She doesn't take lip from anyone and lives up to the reput See this review and others like it at BadassBookReviews.com!Lee Collins' "Cora Oglesby" series has been described as True Grit meets True Blood. It's a western that takes place during the Old West gold rush, but it includes paranormal creatures such as vampires, hellhounds, and wendigos. Cora is a sometimes bounty hunter that focuses on the supernatural beasties. The series has a dry humor and an in your face heroine in the form of Cora. She doesn't take lip from anyone and lives up to the reputation she has developed as a badass. She can sling guns, play cards, and drink whiskey with the best of them. I absolutely loved this series (is there going to be another book, Mr. Collins???) and found Cora to such an interesting main character. I recommend this series to all paranormal readers, especially those that are looking for something a little different from the normal urban tropes.Lee Collins took a risk with She Returns to War and gave us an entirely new narrator. We're still treated to Cora's brand of wit and snark, but we see the story through the eyes of young Victoria Dawes. While it took a little while to settle into Victoria's head, I think the change was ultimately successful. Having an outside perspective gave new weight to Cora's actions and decisions. It allowed us to see her as the legend that she is without the self-depreciation she tends to attribute to her deeds.I ended up liking Victoria (or Vicky as Cora called her) and enjoyed seeing her grow her a prissy, young lady into someone comfortable with the rough frontier life. She didn't back down from challenges and was a fast learner. She and Cora developed a nice rapport, though Cora was always the one with the upper hand. Her ability to spirit walk was an interesting inclusion, but I wish it had been developed more or at least explained a little better.While I did miss Cora's narration, I thought her story line here was fantastic. We start the story with Cora settled as a bar owner and turning down Vicky's request to hire her. She has retired from the monster hunting life and made peace with the events of the previous book. When Vicky mentions a name from Cora's past, all those old memories are stirred up and Cora agrees to one more ride. Cora and Vicky are not only facing an enemy from The Dead of Winter, but they are also on the wrong side of a Navajo skinwalker. The women end up having to depend upon one another for survival and the mentor-student relationship between Vicky and Cora was nicely done. It was entertaining to watch Vicky earn Cora's grudging respect. While this book has a definite and heartbreaking ending, I see plenty of storylines that Mr. Collins could choose to follow in the future. I really enjoyed this series and would love more novels in the setting. Whether he decides to write more Cora Oglesby novels or move onto a new and unique project, I know it will be good and I'm very excited to see what Mr. Collins comes up with next. I highly recommend this series!
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  • Casey Hampton
    January 1, 1970
    In this follow-up to The Dead of Winter, Lee Collins gives us a second installment of his "Cora Oglesby" saga. She Returns From War tells the story of Victoria Dawes, an English woman finding her grit in the American West...Here's all you need to know. Lee Collins has improved his writing but not nearly enough to make this tale snap with electricity. Collins does a great job in the early portion of this novel, I mean to say that the wheels don't completely fall off until midway through chapter t In this follow-up to The Dead of Winter, Lee Collins gives us a second installment of his "Cora Oglesby" saga. She Returns From War tells the story of Victoria Dawes, an English woman finding her grit in the American West...Here's all you need to know. Lee Collins has improved his writing but not nearly enough to make this tale snap with electricity. Collins does a great job in the early portion of this novel, I mean to say that the wheels don't completely fall off until midway through chapter three. The first three chapters are quite good. I hope that Collins continues improving and polishing his craft. If he does, I might be able to write a positive review of his work some day. But that day is not today.Collins is clumsy with the female characters in his charge. Either the women are two dimensional drunks, classic western prostitutes, or prissy high society types. Oh wait, he also includes a stereotypical Native American woman character who is a "skin walker" trying to reap revenge on the white man. My issue isn't with the choice of characters that Collins employs within his storytelling. My problem is that Collins fails to provide his characters with enough depth and substance that his characters deserve. As a result, we encounter a story jammed with cardboard cutouts lacking all sense of meaning. Alison Larkin is the Narrator. She uses an English accent for the most part since the story is inferred as Victoria's story. Larkin changes accents when doing American characters and I had a real issue here. While the English accent works quite nicely for the character of Victoria, Larkin butchers all other accents in an over-the-top cartoonish rendition of cowboy-drawl gone bad. If you can look beyond this, Larkin isn't a half bad reader, though she would do well to back down the level of dramatic inflection. There is a musical score that plays at the beginning and end of each audio CD. Every time I heard this, I kept thinking it sounded like a second-rate retread of the Titanic soundtrack with a not so haunting female vocalist in the background lamenting some long lost love... If any of you ever find yourself in the position of choosing music to go in these spots in an audio production, please remember that less is truly more. All that is needed is a simple single instrument that reflects the tone of the story where it is broken by the physical limits of the CD. Aside from Skin Walkers and vampires, there's not much new in the way of dark things that need to be killed. We do encounter mysterious wolf-like things at the very beginning but these are only with us for a short while. If you are contemplating giving Lee Collins a go, start here and see how you like his style. I think Collins is at his best in the first three chapters. If you like this story, then maybe take a gander at his first try The Dead of Winter... Though if'in it was up tuh me, I'd stop dead-in-my-tracks here. It's all downhill beyond this point.
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  • Shelley
    January 1, 1970
    *Genre* Western meets Paranormal*Rating* 3.5*Review*I am remorseful that this series is only two books long. I am remorseful that I did NOT read the first book "The Dead of Winter" before reading this one and will do my best to remedy that situation asap! I am saddened that the book wasn't told through the eyes of Cora Oglesby but rather Victoria Dawes. It was through Victoria's eyes that we arrived at our meeting with Cora and it was through Victoria's eyes that the series comes to an abrupt en *Genre* Western meets Paranormal*Rating* 3.5*Review*I am remorseful that this series is only two books long. I am remorseful that I did NOT read the first book "The Dead of Winter" before reading this one and will do my best to remedy that situation asap! I am saddened that the book wasn't told through the eyes of Cora Oglesby but rather Victoria Dawes. It was through Victoria's eyes that we arrived at our meeting with Cora and it was through Victoria's eyes that the series comes to an abrupt ending, again, after two books.I loved that Collins wrote his book set not only in England, but Albuquerque, New Mexico where vampires and skin walkers make their home. I liked the fact that Collins seemed to be genuinely respectful of the Navajo Indians that made New Mexico their home. I liked the western meets paranormal aspect of this book and I really didn't have any overt problems with Victoria as a main character even though at times I wanted to scream at her for being so naive and clumsy. She goes from a sheltered young woman from a well to do family who refuses to be married off and then watches her family get killed off by something similar to a werewolf (which we will never find out since the story ends here!), to a hunter in her own right thanks to Cora and the things that go bump in the night.Still, this book takes place 4 years after the first book, and therefore I missed out on what happened to Cora's husband Ben. I need to put all the pieces together before I can fully appreciate the entire series. I need to know what made Cora give up the hunt for vampires, werewolves, and hellhounds and nearly turn her back on Victoria when she's threatened with being raped and brutalized. I need to know what made Cora turn into a drunk bar owner who resembles an old west sheriff who has saw too much and now doesn't care about anyone else's problems. Lastly, I need to know why Collins decided on the ending he did. It's actually a brave move on his part, but then again, it's only TWO BOOKS LONG!!!*Recvd from Netgalley 12/17/2012* Expected publication: January 29th 2013 by Angry Robot
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  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    Unlike many others this second book for me was more enjoyable than book 1 The Dead of Winter, it was actually a pleasure that Cora Oglesby was more of a secondary character as compared to that of Victoria Dawes. The way in which this was accomplished however still allowed the reader to spend enough time with Cora that her presence was not missed when she was not front and center of the plot.The refined young English woman is not the same young woman who returns home at the end of the book and se Unlike many others this second book for me was more enjoyable than book 1 The Dead of Winter, it was actually a pleasure that Cora Oglesby was more of a secondary character as compared to that of Victoria Dawes. The way in which this was accomplished however still allowed the reader to spend enough time with Cora that her presence was not missed when she was not front and center of the plot.The refined young English woman is not the same young woman who returns home at the end of the book and seeing her transformation during this tale was not only interesting but quite entertaining also. "Vicky" Dawes is a far cry from the stuck up Victoria she started out as, a vast improvement to be sure.The action was intense, violent, gory and plentiful just like the first book. We came full circle and in doing so have completed the initial story arc as well as the one for this second book.
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  • Stephanie Griffin
    January 1, 1970
    40% in and I can't take it anymore. Cora just isn't the same character as in The Dead of Winter, which I loved.
  • Tarl
    January 1, 1970
    This book was okay.As I write this review, I noticed that it took me about two and a half years to read this book. That's crazy, and shows that nothing in it pulled me in so that I would choose to read it over the dozen or so other books I was reading at the time.I enjoyed the first book, it had interesting monsters, an interesting psychological element going on, and characters who were very fleshed out and grabbed one's attention. This book, unfortunately, didn't have any of those. The main ant This book was okay.As I write this review, I noticed that it took me about two and a half years to read this book. That's crazy, and shows that nothing in it pulled me in so that I would choose to read it over the dozen or so other books I was reading at the time.I enjoyed the first book, it had interesting monsters, an interesting psychological element going on, and characters who were very fleshed out and grabbed one's attention. This book, unfortunately, didn't have any of those. The main antagonist wasn't that interesting and came across as very two dimensional. She could have been far more engaging had we known more about her, or perhaps seen things from her viewpoint, rather than her just being a standard antagonist out for revenge. Even the small glimpse we get of her history does nothing to give her a relatable reason for why she does what she does, instead placing her in the standard indigenous people's antagonist role of 'you hurt my people, now I seek revenge'. The protagonist also felt pretty hollow. Even by the end of the book, she still felt like the weak English woman who floundered and flailed when faced with supernatural horrors. She only becomes a slightly better trained person from who she was at the beginning of the novel. It was fairly disappointing, and even though she won't be turning into the next hunter (based off how she acted and her thoughts at the end of this novel), she should have changed somewhat based off of the hardships she faced in this novel. Cora is handled well enough. She gets the stereotyped 'old cowboy' treatment that one sees in pretty much every cowboy movie out there involving older actors. It suits her, and goes well with her character I have to say. With it having been 4 years since the first novel, it makes sense for her to have changed as she had, though with her settling down I would have thought those who she wronged would have come and found her out and it would have been anything but peaceful. The deus ex machina resolution of the final conflict also didn't help the story either. Yes, certain elements invoked a fair amount of shock and 'holy heck', but then that all gets ruined as things get resolved in a hokey manner. All of that said, there is some good in this novel. The action scenes are handled well and are easy enough to picture as you're reading. The settings and world building are handled well and it feels as if you are there. And there are enough elements from the first novel to keep someone who has read it smiling at small Easter eggs or reoccurring characters. But unfortunately these elements can't keep things interesting if the characters themselves aren't. I don't know if there will be a third or further books in this series, but if there are I don't think I will be reading them.
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  • Ben Babcock
    January 1, 1970
    Lee Collins has gone and done it, people. He has made me a fan of a Western-based series. I never thought I would see the day. But if I liked The Dead of Winter, then I guess I loved She Returns from War. This sequel is everything I wanted and nothing like what I expected; Collins manages to satisfy my appetite while simultaneously surprise and delight.Whereas The Dead of Winter is a straightforward story about hunting monsters in the Wild West, She Returns from War is a subtler narrative of ve Lee Collins has gone and done it, people. He has made me a fan of a Western-based series. I never thought I would see the day. But if I liked The Dead of Winter, then I guess I loved She Returns from War. This sequel is everything I wanted and nothing like what I expected; Collins manages to satisfy my appetite while simultaneously surprise and delight.Whereas The Dead of Winter is a straightforward story about hunting monsters in the Wild West, She Returns from War is a subtler narrative of vengeance and power. Collins turns Cora Oglesby into a kind of sidekick and mentor figure to a new protagonist, Victoria Dawes. When the novel opened with Victoria and the accident in which her parents perish, I was a little confused and wondered when we would be returning to the United States and Cora. Gradually I warmed to the idea of Victoria as a hunter-in-training. She is in for a rude awakening on the frontier, of course, and Collins milks the fish-out-of-water subplot for all he can.As a main character, Cora was one of the principal attractions of The Dead of Winter. She embodies what one often desires from strong female protagonists: she is smart, sensible, capable. She has emotions, a relationship that has a great deal of influence on her motivations, but she isn’t defined only by her relationship to male characters. She drinks and shoots and swears and is, in all these ways and more, most unladylike considering the performance of gender in her era. Collins replicates this Cora, as seen from an external perspective, in this book. To this mix he adds Victoria. She is a more conventional sort of lady, at least at first, though even from the beginning she demonstrates that she is far from a shallow flower. As the story unfolds, she shows off a core of tempered steel that allows her to adapt to the rougher ways of surviving on the frontier. She learns to drink and shoot (not so much the swearing).Victoria goes in search for Cora because she needs someone to help her track down the Black Dog that caused the death of her parents. She hears that Cora will help her when others wouldn’t because of her gender. Cora has retired since the events of the first book, set up that "printing shop" she and Ben had always talked about, and now lives in luxurious decadence—such as one gets in the Wild West. She has no regrets about refusing the Call when it shows up in the form of Victoria—until Victoria is kidnapped by a Navajo witch and her vampire toyboy, who is claiming to be the Big Bad from book one. At first it seems like Cora’s demand that Victoria lead her to their hideout and help her take them down is just a sideshow prior to their return to England. Soon, though, it becomes apparent that this story is the plot of the novel.As a I mentioned above, this book has more complex and personal themes for Victoria, Cora, and the antagonist Anaba than did the first one. Yet structurally it is much simpler, and I suspect that is one reason why I enjoyed it more. The Dead of Winter was packed full of vampires, werewolves, and wendigos. It had twists and turns aplenty. While this never became too much, it was a veritable feast compared to the light repast of She Returns from War. Sometimes, less is more. As Victoria and Cora play cat-and-mouse with Anaba in the desert, Collins has plenty of opportunities to explore the way in which losing the people closest to us alters our desires. All three of these women have lost loved ones, and all three are now using the powers that they have in order to demand a price from the world: Victoria wants revenge against the Black Dog; Cora uses her expertise and grit to retire and open a bar; Anaba’s inherited magic allows her to target white people, the group she views as responsible for her family’s destruction.The title is quite apt. This is a story of women not recovering but reacting to experiences of profound loss in an active, empowering way. Collins sidesteps a lot of the more pedestrian hunter tropes—are all monsters truly monstrous and whatnot—to get at the more basic truth that the life of a supernatural hunter is dangerous and that people often die. Nothing demonstrates this with more finality than Cora’s own death, which is the twist analogous to the big reveal at the climax of The Dead of Winter. I admit that until the very end I was sure Cora would find a way to cheat death; Collins cruelly prolongs such faith for a few more pages by allowing her one last gasp before the end.Just as shifting the principal perspective from Cora to Victoria was bound to upset some readers, I’m sure killing off Cora has met with frowns and consternation from many. It’s a gutsy move, killing off your protagonist, especially when the series is nominally in her name and she is such a unique, recognizable character. How to carry on? Well, Victoria’s journey is far from over: she still has to return to England and track down this Black Dog thing. I, for one, would like to read that adventure.Don’t be fooled into thinking I dismiss Cora’s death lightly just because I remain sanguine about the future of the series. I’m not sure, were I in Collins’ place, that I would have done the same thing. It would have been nice to know Cora longer than the two books we’ve had with her. Then again, that’s the wonderful thing about literature: there is nothing to stop Collins from writing more stories set earlier in Cora’s career, perhaps when she and Ben were together and truly hunting as a couple. Unlike television, there is no need to worry about actors ageing or moving on to bigger, better roles. The potential for more Cora stories will always be there. Until then, Victoria has also emerged as an interesting character in her own right with a story of her own to explore and enjoy.The Dead of Winter was a nice surprise that invited me to reconsider some of my habitual snobbery against the Western genre (albeit a Western genre with heavy fantasy elements). She Returns from War is nothing short of thunderous confirmation that Collins is a superbly skilled writer capable of executing clear, original ideas and characters. I’m really enamoured of this series now. Seldom have I been so pleased to be proved wrong about an opinion of a certain type of book or story—it just goes to show how important it is to read widely and read with an open mind.My reviews of the Cora Oglesby series:← The Dead of Winter
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  • Abhinav
    January 1, 1970
    You can find the full review over at The Founding Fields:http://thefoundingfields.com/2013/03/...This is part of a double review.Shadowhawk reviews two of Angry Robot’s recent releases, one the sequel to a (late) 2012 sterling debut, and the other a brand new novel from an author who has mostly written short fiction to date.On She Returns From War: “I thought it would be tough for Lee Collins to build on the success of his debut, but with this book he has proved me wrong.“On Between Two Thorns: You can find the full review over at The Founding Fields:http://thefoundingfields.com/2013/03/...This is part of a double review.Shadowhawk reviews two of Angry Robot’s recent releases, one the sequel to a (late) 2012 sterling debut, and the other a brand new novel from an author who has mostly written short fiction to date.On She Returns From War: “I thought it would be tough for Lee Collins to build on the success of his debut, but with this book he has proved me wrong.“On Between Two Thorns: “Two words I would use to describe the book – charming and fairy tale. This is a fantastic urban fantasy novel, carrying on the publisher’s trend in putting out some great genre fiction.“Lee Collins arrived on the publishing scene late last year with a novel set in the wild west where the protagonist was both female and a badass vampire hunter, or spook hunter as she would call herself. The Dead of Winter was one of my absolute favourite reads of 2012, and also made both my “Best of the Best Part 2″ list, as well as my “Best Debuts of 2012″ list. It was that good, as far as I’m concerned. Reading such a damn strong debut always makes me wonder if the author can live up to the expectations built in by that success for a sequel, or a debut book. Angry Robot’s other 2-book 2012 debut authors I’ve read – Adam Christopher, Anne Lyle, Chris F. Holm – have all been impressive, and I wondered the same about Lee Collins. When it comes to genre fiction, Angry Robot authors definitely set a very high bar, and with his latest book, Lee Collins has proved that, because She Returns From War is a most excellent novel, and lives up to the promise of The Dead of Winter.With She Returns From War Lee Collins takes quite a different approach to the one he used in The Dead of Winter. The core difference is that the book is told mostly from the perspective of a new character, Victoria Dawes from England, who has had some supernatural trouble in her home country, trouble which has already caused the deaths of her parents. Now she travels all the way to the wild west looking for someone to help her, that someone being famous spook hunter Cora Oglesby, on the suggestion of James Townsend, a spook scholar of some note and a friend of Cora, from what we saw in The Dead of Winter. Victoria, or Vicky as Cora insists on calling her, is faced with getting Cora to return from retirement and help her. But as it turns out, she gets involved in a plot to kill Cora and must, by needs, help the hunter solve her problems before going back to England.SheReturnsFromWar-144dpiThe change in character perspectives was striking, and I was none too happy with it since I love Cora as a character. However, in Victoria I found a much more sympathetic character. From the get go in The Dead of Winter we are presented with a protagonist who is supremely capable at what she does and is strong and experienced at the same time. But with Victoria, we are presented with a protagonist who is in over her head, is naive, clueless and inexperienced. She is also someone burning with a desire for vengeance against those who killed her parents and that’s her central motivation. Seeing her character grow over the course of the novel was a fun ride. There are some tropes involved in the process, easily likened to how Antonio Banderas’ character grows in The Mask of Zorro. By the end, she is well on her way to becoming a capable spook hunter herself.I really wish that we had gotten to see a lot more of Cora from her own perspective, despite the fact that the scenes we do get are completely kick ass scenes, and not just in terms of action. Cora is by now a retired spook hunter and has finally opened that printing press she kept talking about to her husband Ben in The Dead of Winter. When not working, she is up to her usual tricks in the adjacent bar, drinking and gambling, and living the high life of a comfortable job and no one but herself to take care of. To put it simply, she is content with her life. Then Victoria arrives on the scene and while initially resistant, the old Cora soon returns, and we get the action heroine we loved in the first book. Lee Collins does an excellent job of portraying an “old” Cora, a story element he introduced in the first book, and one that contributes to Cora’s decision to retire from spook hunting. She is no longer as spry as she once was and this comes across quite a bit in the book, but never overwhelms any of the scenes. Lee has balanced that quite well.
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  • Deniz
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars The Sequel of The Dead of Winter, could just as well be read as a stand-alone. While it is a continuation of the first installment to a degree, it is written mostly from Victoria's point of view. The new main character. We get to meet some of the old cast like G. Townsend and Father Baez and naturally Cora again. There are vampire and other critters , Saloon and Gunfights like in the first book. But actually this one is better. Not as many twist as in the first book and I was never cau 3.5 Stars The Sequel of The Dead of Winter, could just as well be read as a stand-alone. While it is a continuation of the first installment to a degree, it is written mostly from Victoria's point of view. The new main character. We get to meet some of the old cast like G. Townsend and Father Baez and naturally Cora again. There are vampire and other critters , Saloon and Gunfights like in the first book. But actually this one is better. Not as many twist as in the first book and I was never caught by surprise at all. But this book is more rounded, the writing is even better and the characters are good. Collins managed to mesh the western and paranormal genre in such a way, that it feels totally real. As if during Victorian times there were paranormal creatures roaming the American frontiers. I was impressed with Collins's ability to convey that time and space in his first book, this time he did and even better job. He nailed the Victorian English characters! The contrast in their speech and behavior to the people in the wild west is done well but not too excessively. Just enough slang but not so much to leave one bewildered. The main character is totally new to the series, and I really enjoyed her point of view. A young woman, who on her search of vengeance, travels across the ocean to find help to get it. Victoria is probably the best written character of the series. I was surprised that Collins chose to mainly go with her POV. Especially since I really liked Cora. But retrospective I think it is also a clever move, it disconnected the book to a degree from the other one, and also give one a totally new perspective. This isn't Cora's story after all. It really is Victoria's.As I said in my opinion Victoria is the best written character so far. Collins created a round and believable young Victorian lady, her inner dialogues are interesting and it is actually amazing to watch her change and grow. Even though it's written from her POV, the recount of the story is actually in many ways quite neutral and matter of fact, which allows one to see how much Vicky grows, without much frill around it. Saying all that I have to say, I missed Cora's POV. She is definitely my favorite character. And despite of the fact that this can be read as a stand alone, I think it would be a total shame if one would choose to do so. Because one would only get one side of Cora. Her character development in this book is much more subtle. One gets to see her from another perspective. And especially in the beginning its not very much in a good light. Just as in the first book there were some stereotypical characters, the Saloon brawl - straight out of classic western 101. But it was much less pronounced than last time, more of a detail and for some reason this time around it didn't bother me in the least. Its been a few months since I read The Dead of Winter, but I do remember that the descriptions were really good. I liked the way Collins wrote- and the feel they gave me still clings with me when I think about it. She comes from War is written in the same wonderful language, but most of the things I found lacking in the first were eliminated in this book. As mentioned before the story line is much more straight forward than in the first. No shocking twists and way less action scenes. It still has a good pace to it though and does boast plenty of action. The emphasis in this book is more on the relationship between the two woman rather than the unfolding adventure. I really enjoyed watching Cora's and Vicky's relations evolve and really loved the end. ( way more than in the first one)I am not sure if Collins is planning on another book. But the way he finished this one, was extremely clever and I wouldn't mind seeing what he has install for Victoria and Co. I am definitely looking forward to read any new books of him, should that be another addition to this series or a new one all together!ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you!
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  • Larry
    January 1, 1970
    From 42webs.comHave I ever mentioned I love westerns? I’m pretty sure I have. So when I found The Dead of Winter, the unholy love child of Clint Eastwood and Eric Kripke, I was over the moon. Then I got the sequel. Now I’m exiting the Sol system and heading onward.She Returns from War is the follow up book by Lee Collins staring his female gunslinger Cora Oglesby. The first book talked about Wild West cowboys hunting supernatural monsters and the second book picks up right where that left off.Th From 42webs.comHave I ever mentioned I love westerns? I’m pretty sure I have. So when I found The Dead of Winter, the unholy love child of Clint Eastwood and Eric Kripke, I was over the moon. Then I got the sequel. Now I’m exiting the Sol system and heading onward.She Returns from War is the follow up book by Lee Collins staring his female gunslinger Cora Oglesby. The first book talked about Wild West cowboys hunting supernatural monsters and the second book picks up right where that left off.This book takes places four years after the first one, and after the horrific ending of Dead of Winter, we find that Cora has done the unthinkable; she’s quit hunting. So when a young woman from England, Victoria Dawes, comes looking for Cora, as a solution to the creature that hunt her, she find Cora unwilling to help. She’s retired. Try as she might she cannot convince the hunter to help her.But what does happen is that Victoria Dawes’ arrival sets into motion a series of events that pulls Cora from retirement and pits her against Anaba, a Navajo witch bent on taking revenge for the atrocities committed against her people.I expected this to be a bit of a straightforward deal. Dawes comes looking for help, Cora eventually gives in, and the two run to England to cause havoc and mayhem. Like taking Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson and thrusting them into England to save the Queen. But what I got was something different. This wasn’t a damsel in distress pulling the retired gun back into the game; this was more of an evolution of Victoria Dawes. She goes from rich girl meant to be wed off but being haunted by monsters to the next Cora; a booze drinking, gun swinging, vampire killing some bitch.This does bring up one of the faults of the book, albeit somewhat minor. Victoria Dawes. This book is about her, Cora is just along for the ride. Almost everything is about Dawes. It even takes a couple chapters until our leading lady shows up. We have to sit through a lengthy intro into Dawes, the passing of her parents, and her descent into darkness that forces her across the pond in search of Cora. At times it feels like I just put in Metal Gear Solid 2 into my PS2 and instead of getting to play as Solid Snake I have to play as Raiden. That being said Raiden proves himself worthy of the title.While Dawes wasn’t who I picked up the book to read I am sure glad I did. She is a well flushed out character; she is strong willed and eventually grows into a strong huntress. It’s a true testament of what happens when you throw a kid into the deep end of the pool. Either they sink or they swim. Dawes is a swimmer.One of my major pluses for Collins work is that he writes a western that stays a western. In recent years most westerns (or earlier) involving monsters or bad guys each all fault to the need to bring modern weapons into the past. Van Helsing got a machine-gun crossbow. Jonah Hex got a Dynamite crossbow and Hansel got a double barreled crossbow with alternating methods of firing, a razor whip, and street cred from the Avengers. Collins stays true to the era. He doesn’t try to build a computer for a cowboy or give him a ‘fancy flying machine’ to soar with. Cora uses six shooters, silver bullets, a blessed knife, and that’s about it. Thank you Collins.
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  • Kristin Taggart
    January 1, 1970
    I don't use star ratings, so please read my review!(Description nicked from B&N.com.)“Four years after the horrific events in Leadville, a young woman from England, Victoria Dawes, sets into motion a series of events that will lead Cora and herself out into the New Mexico desert in pursuit of Anaba, a Navajo witch bent on taking revenge for the atrocities committed against her people.”This book is quite different in tone from its predecessor, and I think this works to its advantage. This tim I don't use star ratings, so please read my review!(Description nicked from B&N.com.)“Four years after the horrific events in Leadville, a young woman from England, Victoria Dawes, sets into motion a series of events that will lead Cora and herself out into the New Mexico desert in pursuit of Anaba, a Navajo witch bent on taking revenge for the atrocities committed against her people.”This book is quite different in tone from its predecessor, and I think this works to its advantage. This time out our main character is Victoria, a proper British young lady who finds herself in the wilds of frontier America on a quest for help avenging her parents’ death. While Cora, the main character from the first novel, does play a major part in the story, she’s not front and center as much as Victoria is. Cora is an abrasive character, and a little of her goes a long way. Not being stuck in her head as the point of view character was, for me, a plus.It’s also nice to see how these two extremely different personalities play off of each other. They’re at the opposite ends of the spectrum in how they think and behave, and it’s Victoria who bears the brunt of changing to adapt to circumstances. Given that she’s the one who is out of her element, this makes sense. It also allows some of Cora’s personality to come through, anchoring readers to how she was portrayed in the first book.The plot of She Returns from War pulled together its supernatural elements much more smoothly. The New Mexico setting provides the perfect backdrop for the Native American skinchanger, and she’s written such that her association with a creature from Cora’s past is logical. The plot also relies more on action and backstory than on a plot twist, the way the first novel did. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the twist in Dead of Winter, but it’s not something an author can pull twice in a row without feeling gimmicky. Letting this story run straight through without any tricks was a wise choice. And this novel’s plot is strong enough that it doesn’t need to play with its readers. All the various threads are woven together quite well and tighten into a fully formed tapestry at the book’s climax.The only problem that I had with this story is that it seemed to end rather abruptly. The professed aim of Victoria’s trip isn’t dealt with by the book’s end, because it was sidetracked into a quest that involves Cora more than Victoria. I’m hopeful that Collins will write another book to tie up those loose ends.She Returns from War melds the stark and brutal beauty of the American West with some of its most tragic and shameful episodes and then adds in a dash of the fantastic. Definitely not your typical “vampires and weird things” novel, Collins’s Cora Oglesby stories should appeal to those who like their fiction to take chances and strike out in directions not usually seen.This review originally appeared on Owlcat Mountain on May 29, 2013.
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  • Beth Cato
    January 1, 1970
    I received this eARC from the publisher via NetGalley. This book, a sequel to Dead of Winter, will be released on January 29th, 2013.I read the first book a few months ago, also as an advanced release copy. While not a flawless book by any means--it grated with its reliance on old west cliches--it also brought a fresh paranormal bent to a Colorado pioneer town. The dark fantasy mood was brooding and psychological, and its heroine, Cora was a big part of that. Most urban fantasy-type heroines car I received this eARC from the publisher via NetGalley. This book, a sequel to Dead of Winter, will be released on January 29th, 2013.I read the first book a few months ago, also as an advanced release copy. While not a flawless book by any means--it grated with its reliance on old west cliches--it also brought a fresh paranormal bent to a Colorado pioneer town. The dark fantasy mood was brooding and psychological, and its heroine, Cora was a big part of that. Most urban fantasy-type heroines carry a lot of physical and mental scars, but Cora's were particularly deep, to the point where most folks (rightly) deemed her crazy.Cora is still true to herself in this book, but it was much harder to deal with her from a different point of view.That's because this second book is from the perspective of Victoria Dawes, a young English heiress. When her parents are killed under supernatural circumstances, Victoria hears words of Cora's exploits and sets off for America so she can hire the woman gunslinger. Victoria is naive but not in a generally too-stupid-to-live way, though she does come close to the latter a few times. Really, how many times does she drop a crucifix in this book? But I do like how she develops in the end.However, there were two aspects to the book that really irritated me.First of all, there's Cora. As I noted, she's not easy to like from another point of view. I'm okay with having an unlikeable main character, but she's pretty extreme here, to the point where she practically lets Victoria die and be raped. The rape issue was really the worst thing here. Everyone wants to rape Victoria. It's frustrating, it's insulting, and it's a lame way to force her character to grow up. Certainly, there were rapists in the 1880s New Mexico Territory, but it's dealt with a heavy hand here, especially since men living and dead are openly lined up to rape her. It annoyed me so much I almost stopped reading. If I had bought the book, I probably would have thrown the book aside in disgust, but since this is an ARC, I felt like I had an obligation to the publisher to carry through to the end and give a fair review. I'd glad I did. The book did become better in the end, but I remain very disappointed in how it developed.I did like Collins' fair treatment of the Navajo, though I didn't feel like Albuquerque was really explored as a setting. The prime city of the first book, Leadville, came alive as a mining town in the grip of winter. Here, Albuquerque felt too much like a cliche-old-west-town. I would like to have understood more about the villains in the book, as there were still some things I was unclear about.If Collins does continue the series with Victoria, I might be willing to keep reading--so long as her growth is instigated by more than her own rape-ability. As it is, my support for the second book is tepid.
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  • Dragana
    January 1, 1970
    She Returns From War is a sequel to The Dead of Winter , a book that I have fond memories of. The Dead of Winter is one of the first review copies I requested (and was approved for) and one of the first books reviewed on this blog. Sentimentality aside, it really is a shame it took me so long to read the sequel.LIKES * New characters. Victoria Dawes is a proper English lady who came to ask for Cora Oglesby for help. The clash of Wild West and Old England is described trough Victoria's refreshin She Returns From War is a sequel to The Dead of Winter , a book that I have fond memories of. The Dead of Winter is one of the first review copies I requested (and was approved for) and one of the first books reviewed on this blog. Sentimentality aside, it really is a shame it took me so long to read the sequel.LIKES * New characters. Victoria Dawes is a proper English lady who came to ask for Cora Oglesby for help. The clash of Wild West and Old England is described trough Victoria's refreshing point of view. * Strong capable female characters who cooperate (kinda) and get the work done, even in the dusty frontier town like Albuquerque. * Native American Mythology is still rare in paranormal novels. Vampires are pretty standard and Lee Collins didn't make them different by any way. Appearance of the monster from Native American myths makes story unique (similar to the plot of The Dead of Winter).DISLIKES * I missed Cora's narration. It feels weird to admit this fact, since Cora annoyed me with her bitchiness in The Dead of Winter. With her penchant for alcohol and hallucinations, Cora is not the most reliable narrator on the best of days, but she adds another deeper layer to the story. * Unbelievable premise. Sheltered young lady from England, driven by vengeance, travels alone to small frontier American town. I just could not believe this would ever happen in real life. I think Victoria would have given up before reaching the final destination.IN THE END…She Returns From War is a nice conclusion to Cora's and a start of Vicky's adventures. Although some thing I could not believe, western setting and Native American mythology make [book-series] series a break from the usual urban fantasy novels. I would not be opposed to read more (sadly there are none).Disclaimer: I received this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. This review is also posted on my blog Bookworm Dreams in a little bit more styled edition.
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  • FiresOfAnarchy
    January 1, 1970
    Where to begin with this book? It's another book I had no idea was the second book in a series for one thing. It also sat around collecting dust in my to-read pile for a couple of years. I ended up liking it though so it all worked out in the end. Here we have Victoria Dawes a young woman whose family is murdered by werewolf type creatures. She's grown up in the British upper class and has no idea how to fight such monsters so she looks for help in getting her revenge. This leads her to the Amer Where to begin with this book? It's another book I had no idea was the second book in a series for one thing. It also sat around collecting dust in my to-read pile for a couple of years. I ended up liking it though so it all worked out in the end. Here we have Victoria Dawes a young woman whose family is murdered by werewolf type creatures. She's grown up in the British upper class and has no idea how to fight such monsters so she looks for help in getting her revenge. This leads her to the American west and a famed monster hunter whose reputation precedes her, Cora Oglesby. She's decidedly retired and initially doesn't want to help Victoria out with her problem an ocean away, but a series of events will bring them both into conflict with monsters much closer to home. Victoria and Cora have drawn the ire of a witch and her flock of vampires and have to work together in order to stop them from unleashing hell on the unsuspecting local populace. From there it sort of becomes your typical jaded veteran and inexperienced rookie story just with monster hunting. Cora's likeable enough, but it's really Victoria's growth that steals the show. By the end of the book she's a strong woman who is more than capable of looking after herself. You never see her actually get her revenge on the monsters that killed her family which was admittedly a let down, but you're left with the feeling that she's definitely going to succeed at doing so. A good supernatural western that's a good mix of both genres. Worth checking out for sure.
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  • S.M. Blooding
    January 1, 1970
    The story that I got was not the story I thought I'd get. I thought I'd be in the head of Cora, the mc from the last book, which to be honest, I haven't read yet. I have, however, been stalking it for awhile. I was like, "Hey, you could jump into book 2 here, and miss all the world building stumbling." Not that every author stumbles in this area. What I got was an English heiress. Once I got over that surprise, and we got out of England, the plot really picked up, but I never did manage to sync The story that I got was not the story I thought I'd get. I thought I'd be in the head of Cora, the mc from the last book, which to be honest, I haven't read yet. I have, however, been stalking it for awhile. I was like, "Hey, you could jump into book 2 here, and miss all the world building stumbling." Not that every author stumbles in this area. What I got was an English heiress. Once I got over that surprise, and we got out of England, the plot really picked up, but I never did manage to sync with Victoria. So because I couldn't bond with the mc, the plot was just...plot. I will say that the world Ms. Collins created is fantastic!! And the action was GREAT, which are the two big things for me when reading a book. I look forward to reading book 1 so I can return to this world. This series is exactly the kind of world/story that I've been craving.
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  • PopcornReads
    January 1, 1970
    When we reviewed The Dead of Winter by Lee Collins last Fall, I could hardly wait for the sequel to be published. Cora is one of those characters who just grabs you, and I needed to know what happened to her after she left Leadville. Thankfully Angry Robot didn’t wait a full year to publish She Returns From War, its follow-up. This is a paranormal Western and those are such fun! Although you don’t absolutely to have read The Dead of Winter to enjoy She Returns From War, I strongly recommend read When we reviewed The Dead of Winter by Lee Collins last Fall, I could hardly wait for the sequel to be published. Cora is one of those characters who just grabs you, and I needed to know what happened to her after she left Leadville. Thankfully Angry Robot didn’t wait a full year to publish She Returns From War, its follow-up. This is a paranormal Western and those are such fun! Although you don’t absolutely to have read The Dead of Winter to enjoy She Returns From War, I strongly recommend reading it first. I think it will result in a much better reading experience for you. Combining the Wild West with demons, vampires, shape shifters and all the paranormal has to offer makes for a winning combo you’re going to love! Read the rest of my review at http://popcornreads.com/?p=5380.
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  • Tasula
    January 1, 1970
    This is the sequel to The Dead of Winter (which I loved) about a pair of "critter" hunters in the old west. Cora Oglesby (sometimes with husband Ben) hunts vampires and other supernatural creatures. But in the sequel, instead of a dedicated hunter, she is a bitter, older retired hunter, content to run a saloon and drink/gamble her days away. Until genteel British Victoria comes to town, asking Cora to come to England to kill some black dogs/shucks (supernatural dogs) who caused her parents' deat This is the sequel to The Dead of Winter (which I loved) about a pair of "critter" hunters in the old west. Cora Oglesby (sometimes with husband Ben) hunts vampires and other supernatural creatures. But in the sequel, instead of a dedicated hunter, she is a bitter, older retired hunter, content to run a saloon and drink/gamble her days away. Until genteel British Victoria comes to town, asking Cora to come to England to kill some black dogs/shucks (supernatural dogs) who caused her parents' death. I still liked Cora a lot, but the story was just not exciting enough and the writing not interesting enough for me- a disappointment since I liked the first book so much.
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  • Yvonne Boag
    January 1, 1970
    When Victoria Dawes' parents are killed by supernatural means in front of her, she seeks vengeance. She is told that the only person who can help her is a woman living in the New Mexico desert. So Victoria sets sail from England and arrives to find that Cora has retired and wants nothing to do with her quest. When Victoria is attacked by a vampire that Cora has killed five years ago, she makes a deal. Victoria will help Cora with her problem if Cora will help Victoria with hers.This is an epic w When Victoria Dawes' parents are killed by supernatural means in front of her, she seeks vengeance. She is told that the only person who can help her is a woman living in the New Mexico desert. So Victoria sets sail from England and arrives to find that Cora has retired and wants nothing to do with her quest. When Victoria is attacked by a vampire that Cora has killed five years ago, she makes a deal. Victoria will help Cora with her problem if Cora will help Victoria with hers.This is an epic western where vampires are neither sparkly or romantic. It's a shoot out that is very compelling and leaves you seeing both sides of the equation.
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  • Joseph
    January 1, 1970
    We begin in a scene straight out of a gothic romance or Universal horror film -- a carriage pursued across the countryside by spectral hounds. But soon enough we (and one of the carriage's occupants, young Victoria Dawes) are in the dusty streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the company of now-retired monster-hunter Clara Oglesby, most reluctant to be cajoled back into the old game.This is a different book than its predecessor -- for one thing, it's told mostly from Victoria's point of view, w We begin in a scene straight out of a gothic romance or Universal horror film -- a carriage pursued across the countryside by spectral hounds. But soon enough we (and one of the carriage's occupants, young Victoria Dawes) are in the dusty streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the company of now-retired monster-hunter Clara Oglesby, most reluctant to be cajoled back into the old game.This is a different book than its predecessor -- for one thing, it's told mostly from Victoria's point of view, which is very different to Cora's. But it's still quite good, with old friends & foes returning and new ones introduced, and an excellent sense of place & time.
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  • Matthew Galloway
    January 1, 1970
    The characters in this series, while they may be realistic, are very prickly and not characters that I easily like (but they manage to make it there somehow) so that cuts down on my enjoyment of the books. This, the sequel, was pretty well written and had a lot of interesting plot twists. I enjoy Collins brutal take on vampires and the way he delves into somewhat less common antagonists used in fantasy novels. I look forward to seeing where Collins writing goes next.
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  • Ron
    January 1, 1970
    This was an interesting (if you are willing to suspend your belief that a Victorian young woman would travel alone) tale of Vicky and Cora fighting vampires and Indian witchcraft in the Southwest of USA. Tis a quick and tragic tale that feels incomplete, so Vicky may show up in future episodes. Enjoy where appropriate. Read as ARC from NetGallery.
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  • Tyrannosaurus regina
    January 1, 1970
    Really mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, I appreciate that all three of the main characters are women (and very different women) and the plot was well executed. On the other hand, the new POV voice didn't really gel with me, and the period-accurate but unexamined racism and sexism (it was a little bit rapey) got under my skin.
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  • Becky Day
    January 1, 1970
    It just didn't work for me. I liked the world enough to maybe read the next book in the series in hopes it improves, though.
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