This is a web serial novel following Annabelle Duniway, an undercover agent in a mining town. The plot is detailed in the trailer below:
Now that I don’t have to explain the plot, let’s talk about why this is so good. For staters, it’s very well written. There are actually two styles of writing: one where the grumpy narrator is telling the story and interjecting his opinions (which is mostly used to make infodumps entertaining; I definitely liked it), and one where his granddaughter is transcribing his version of a story in a more fluid way for reading. This is very interesting in combination with the web serial novel format, because sometimes the narrator will actually snark (good-naturedly) at the comments left by readers.
The setting is fascinating, the characters are interesting, and the plot is compelling. The story manages to present old world sensibilities in a way doesn’t put off modern readers, which can be a bit of feat sometimes. And it does it without ruining the main heroine, which is even more of feat. Yes, Annabelle is a more tough variety of heroine in an old school society. But she doesn’t come off as unrealistically rebellious or overly pushy of her tough status, the way that many similar characters do. I would barely call her rebellious at all–she certainly doesn’t have to be. She fits into her world, and is smart enough to know what she should act like in any given situation (you know, undercover agent, and all that). She doesn’t feel the need for anyone to know what she’s good at and what she isn’t (mostly). In short, she’s actually competent and realistic, which is refreshing in a historical setting.
Sorry about that rant. Sometimes the tendency to create tough but dumb characters these days frustrates me, because I prefer seeing at least some characters that get by more on intelligence. And especially in certain historical settings, too much rebelliousness is asking for the kind of trouble you’d have to be seriously naive to ask for.
But anyway, Scryer’s Gulch. It’s fun, it’s awesome, check it out if you like science fantasy or westerns.