The Silver Bullets of Annie Oakley

DAW. (Elemental Masters, Bk. 16). Dec. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780756412173. $28. FANTASY
This 16th book in Lackey’s “Elemental Masters” series focuses on the American icon Annie Oakley as she tours Europe. The story combines a shadowed piece of Oakley’s real life, her abusive childhood as a bound servant to a couple she refers to only as “The Wolves,” with the slightly sideways world of the series, where magic and monsters are real and “Little Miss Sure Shot” has been unconsciously using magic. Once Annie learns that the demons of her childhood were werewolves, and that she has the power to save others from evils that only those gifted like herself can see, Annie throws herself into the training she needs to master her elemental gifts—just in time to get revenge on the one who terrorized her childhood. This fully realized world takes real history and slips it sideways into a gas lamp fantasy where evil walks the night and magic exists to combat it. Taking Oakley and throwing her into training in magic grounds the story in the real and fascinating world of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show while allowing new readers to the series to get up to speed. That Annie straddles both worlds makes her a heroine to follow.
VERDICT Readers looking for fictionalized tales focusing on historical figures, historical-ish fiction featuring women with agency, and lovers of gaslamp fantasy will find that Annie’s silver bullets hit their mark.
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