Vermilion

Vermilion Gunslinging chain smoking Stetson wearing Taoist psychopomp Elouise Lou Merriwether might not be a normal year old but she s too busy keeping San Francisco safe from ghosts shades and geung s

  • Title: Vermilion
  • Author: Molly Tanzer
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 195
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Gunslinging, chain smoking, Stetson wearing Taoist psychopomp, Elouise Lou Merriwether might not be a normal 19 year old, but she s too busy keeping San Francisco safe from ghosts, shades, and geung si to care much about that It s an important job, though most folks consider it downright spooky Some have even accused Lou of being comfortable with the dead than theGunslinging, chain smoking, Stetson wearing Taoist psychopomp, Elouise Lou Merriwether might not be a normal 19 year old, but she s too busy keeping San Francisco safe from ghosts, shades, and geung si to care much about that It s an important job, though most folks consider it downright spooky Some have even accused Lou of being comfortable with the dead than the living, and, well they re not wrong When Lou hears that a bunch of Chinatown boys have gone missing somewhere deep in the Colorado Rockies she decides to saddle up and head into the wilderness to investigate Lou fears her particular talents make her better suited to help placate their spirits than ensure they get home alive, but it s the right thing to do, and she s the only one willing to do it On the road to a mysterious sanatorium known as Fountain of Youth, Lou will encounter bears, desperate men, a very undead villain, and even stranger challenges Lou will need every one of her talents and a whole lot of luck to make it home alive From British Fantasy Award nominee Molly Tanzer comes debut novel Vermilion, a spirited weird Western adventure that puts the punk back into steampunk.

    One thought on “Vermilion”

    1. When boys from Chinatown vanish mysteriously, psychopomp Lou Merriweather gets drawn into the mystery, leading her into the Colorado mountains, to the sanatorium of the mysterious Doctor Panacea. What is Doctor Panacea's connection to the missing Chinese men and what is his true goal?I've made no secret to the fact that I have a weakness for fiction from the strange wavelengths of the spectrum. When I caught wind of a weird western mystery featuring a half-Chinese psychopomp passing as a man, I [...]

    2. Earlier this year, I read an advance copy of Elizabeth Berg's The Dream Lover, which is a novel about author George Sand. In it, Sand says "I find I don't wish to be either man or woman. I wish to be myself."I found Molly Tanzer's heroine, Elouise Merriweather, reflected this idea, too, as people Lou encounters regularly and often mistake her for a boy. Lou dresses in trousers and (to the chagrin of her ma) wears her hair short, and (oh good gosh) smokes cigarettes (after rolling them!). But Lou [...]

    3. This book is bizarre. The first third is fun, engaging, and provocative. The story is infused in interesting ways with issues related to gender identity. The settings (SF and its Chinatown in the late 1800s) are great, the supernatural stuff is silly and entertaining, and the protagonist is competent, interesting, and charismatic. Some spooky stuff happens, which itself is ghoulishly cool, and then the protagonist sets off on her adventure. The introduction of bears and other creatures as part o [...]

    4. There's so much to say about Vermilion, and I am in the grips of a summer cold right now, and so probably can't do it justice. When I learned that Molly Tanzer's debut novel was coming out, I was already suitably excited, as Molly is a friend and one of the best writers working in our field right now, but when she described it as "taking place in past of Big Trouble in Little China," I was all kinds of hooked, and the end result didn't disappoint.Other reviewers have certainly covered most if no [...]

    5. This book started out really strong. Loved the protagonist, the world, psychopompery. Then we left San Fran. It seemed to me like everything after leaving slowed the book down. Which, in most books, that is the start of the adventure. I would have been perfectly happy to stay in town with Lou and follow her around while she worked. I'm not sure if it was the introduction of too many characters and too many storylines, but the book just couldn't hold my attention. I kept reading hoping that a poi [...]

    6. Firstly, I want to say that I'm not of Chinese descent. So, I can't say anything about the correctness of the portrayal of Chinese culture in Vermilion. Of course, diversity in books is very important, but I find it a little weird when an author from one culture tries to represent someone from another culture. As you can read in the acknowledgements and other notes at the end of the book, Molly Tanzer did a lot of research on Chinese culture. However, I just can't believe she'd ever get the "fe [...]

    7. I feel really uncertain what I want to say about this book. On the one hand, there's a great deal that delighted me about it. I never felt sure where the story was going to end up, which I love. It was interesting, character-wise and in world-building and if Tanzer makes it a series--as I hope she will--I'm definitely on-board. But, for as much as I enjoyed the book, it falls short of being completely satisfying, so I liked it a lot, but I don't love it. If pressed to a number, it's a 3.5. There [...]

    8. Original review:This sounds too good to be true?After getting through about 30% of the novel: I liked the book, but I can't seem to really get into it. The premise is absolutely amazing and unique, but it doesn't live up to my own hype. The seemingly random racism towards Chinese people annoyed me to no end, and it bothered it me a lot. I like it enough, and may come back at another time, but I just can't read it right now.

    9. A fun, full-of-heart, imaginative, smart, romp through a steampunk west with talking bears, undead, and more. You'll want to follow Lou Merriweather, psychopomp, to the very end.

    10. Vermilion is such a strange, odd, bizarre, unique novel and that’s what I absolutely loved about it. Lou Merriweather is unlike any character I have read about before and the aspects of Chinese culture and pyscopomp work was so interesting.I loved the beginning of the book set in Chinatown in San Franscio during an alternate universe in the 1800’s. The middle of the book when Lou leaves to begin her journey I still liked but there were less elements of pyschopompery and that’s what I reall [...]

    11. I wanted so much to love this book - alt history, Chinese zombies, not to mention the wonderful attempt to bring the word 'pscyhopomp' back into everyday use. It starts off well, but that heroine Lou - sheesh, none of her motivations and decisions made any sense once she left San Fransisco. I had no idea why she did anything that she did, and really, I was just hanging about for the last half of the book waiting for the talking bears to come back. And I admit to actually getting angry when (slig [...]

    12. I am a sucker for interstitial characters: those literary beings who work the borderlands and thresholds, guiding other characters and the reader from one state of being to another. In Vermilion, her first novel, Molly Tanzer introduces us to Lou Merriwether. Lou is half Chinese and half English; she is a female who dresses as a male and she is a psychopomp, a magical artisan whose skill is to guide spirits of the dead across the threshold into the afterlife — even if they don’t want to go. [...]

    13. A true 3.5 stars, in that I really can't decide whether to round up or down, and I change my opinion based on the day, the alignment of the stars, etc etc. The prose here gets the job done: Tanzer's pacing is a little slow, since the five days I spent reading Vermilion felt a bit longer. I said this in comments, but it's less like action-packed urban fantasy, and more of a sedate Western, meandering its way onwards throughout the plot and a vivid setting. The humour isn't laugh-out-loud funny, b [...]

    14. I read Elizabeth Bear's _Karen Memory_ before I read Vermilion. The comparison stuck in my head. Both books are set in a fantasy analog of the American West in a fantasy analog of the late 1800s. Both feature a woman protagonist who is unconventionally employed and transgressive. Both books are aware of the systematic erasure of people of color, women, and queers from the actual history of the actual American West.Bear's book is better-written, tighter, cleaner, with better pacing and a better a [...]

    15. Out of the large stack of books recently sent to us by horror publisher Word Horde, Molly Tanzer's Vermilion is the first full-length novel of theirs I've gotten to read (the rest so far have been story anthologies); and it certainly does not disappoint, a sprawling and epic steampunk tale with supernatural elements and lots of strange little details in its world-building (such as the intelligent bears who live in the Rocky Mountain region, who like Native Americans have negotiated a territory-b [...]

    16. Enormous fun. Tanzer couples excellent research (and great tongue-in-cheek Shaw Brothers references) with smooth, sharp humor, a flip distrust of systems, and occasional bits of gut-clenching gore all the more outstanding for how smoothly they fit with the rest. After the prologue Lou comes into play and the narrative rolls beautifully along, in a third person so molded to the main character's head that it feels like first, but with more flexibility. The back cover copy says "puts the punk back [...]

    17. I loved this book, it's just so crazy! It is a wild genre-mix with Steampunk elements in it as well as ghosts and vampires and Psychopompery and Chinese-undead-what?-zombies? and it is like sci-fi, but simultaneously an alternate history with western elements in it and I don't know what else. It is weird and interesting and so much fun to read.There are some parts where I thought "Okay, maybe I didn't get something, but why exactly is she talking and smoking cigarettes with a knitting bear on a [...]

    18. "I’m very glad to have met you. I never knew there was anyone like you in the whole world."I loved this book. Anything this unique makes description difficult but here goes: Early Anita Blake set in an unfamiliar paranormal post Civil War America with a je ne sais quoi of The Sky Is Yours.I never had any idea what would happen next. That is so rare.This book was fluid and erotic, violent and intelligent.This was one of one.Vermilion was part of the December 2017 Nocturnal Readers Book Box.On a [...]

    19. Lou Merriwether is a psychopomp ,someone who helps put ghosts to rest before they turn into wrathful spirits.Since her mother is a chinese woman and her father was an englisman she is part of both worlds and yet stuck between them.When she is told her estranged mother Ailien has requested her help she has no choice but to go and visit her.Her mother tells her that several young chinese men has vanished after being offered work in Wyoming. After a gruesome package is delivered to one of the missi [...]

    20. tl;dr version: Read this book. If you love the places where speculative fictions overlap, this is the place for you. A lil weird west, a lil steampunk, a little alt-history, entirely delicious read. It really took me back to that place of the essential joy in reading.Excerpted from my blog @ jenna-bird:Vermilion is the story of Elouise Merriwether - Lou for short. Lou is half-Chinese and lives in San Francisco in the late 1800s, but on an alt-Earth. Here, alchemy is real and ghosts are a problem [...]

    21. Okay okay okay. So here’s the thing: Vermilion sounds excellent, but it’s even better in reality. I was completely blown away by this story, by Lou Merriwether as a protagonist, and by how author Molly Tanzer went about it. This book is a wonderfully diverse steampunkish paranormal adventure that was a delight to read—Tanzer really nailed everything here.So, firstly, our protagonist, Lou Merriwether. Lou is a half-Chinese woman living in San Francisco in 1870. She dresses like a man, smoke [...]

    22. This book is a bit awkwardly pieced together, although it was entertaining to read. It's divided into three parts. In the first, we are introduced to Lou and her occupation of psychopomp in an anternate 1800's San Francisco. Lou is part Chinese and part white. She often passes as a man, dressing in trousers and letting those she meets make their own assumptions. I enjoyed this part of the book- we got to see Lou doing her job, setting spirits of the recently dead to rest. She has a lot of cool g [...]

    23. Great protagonist, highly entertaining writing, fascinating setting, absorbing mystery. This was an enjoyable adventure with many surprises along the way (animal races!), in a wonderfully rich and complex world, spearheaded by a strong, (kind of) competent, foul-mouthed, yet vulnerable and consciouss female heroine who was absolutely fun to read about. I initially misjudged a lot of things about this book, but Lou was just how I imagined her to be and that was a wonder. To be honest, though, I h [...]

    24. The book takes place in the late 1800s american west. And the main character is half Chinese, half English. Who is a girl disguised as a boy. Who performs exorcisms of dead bodies. Unfortunately there are also talking sea lions. And talking bears. And werewolves. And vampires. And magical elixirs. Along with all the aspects of racism and the Wild West and all the rest. And the book just spends so much time bouncing around introducing you to these random things that it just doesn't click with wha [...]

    25. Actual Rating: 3.8 This book was surprisingly entertaining considering I had never heard about it before. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of LGBTQ+ characters represented. The protagonist was a Chinese American non-binary individual with no preference for pronoun, Lou’s character also kind of reminded me of Mulan (which is always a plus, #amiright?). The character Dynamics were refreshingly new and often developed in a way that I did not expect but was still realistic to their backg [...]

    26. “I beg you, do not judge Tom too harshly for his melancholy thoughts, or for his fear. Changing from one thing into another is never easy. Ask any butterfly.”I loved this book so damn much! I seriously think it will be my book of the year! I received my copy of Vermilion from a book subscription service, The Nocturnal Readers Box, and I am so grateful that it made its way into my hands! I rated the book 5 stars (obviously) for its well-developed characters, witty dialog and exciting storylin [...]

    27. A TOP SHELF review, originally published in the March 20, 2015 edition of The MonitorDone well, Weird West is one of my favorite sub-genres of speculative fiction, blending the look and feel of the Western with all the enchanting, bizarre and supernatural trappings of fantasy. When you pile on Chinese mythology and Daoist magic, I’m hooked. Molly Tanzer, acclaimed author of the short story collections A Pretty Mouth and Rumbullion and Other Liminal Libations, has done all that with a splash of [...]

    28. Vermilion by Molly Tanzer is an amazing book. It was the one I have spent years looking for. I read a crazy amount of mystery novels, but as I mentioned in my review of the Red Princess Mysteries by Lisa See, when it comes to historical mysteries, the protagonist is always the same – a white widow of means. I even read two mystery series set in San Francisco this year, and in both of them, Chinese characters are relegated to the sidelines, if they are present at all. Vermilion finally breaks o [...]

    29. Vermilion is an amazing first novel, especially given the risk taken in the early portion of the book. Tanzer puts so much effort into creating such a well realized alternative nineteenth century San Francisco that when, early on in the story, the protagonist, Lou Merriweather leaves San Francisco for Wyoming and Utah I worried that it was a mistake to leave this rich setting behind. Fortunately this just expands the magic of the world building before the onset of the main action. As Merriweathe [...]

    30. I really enjoyed my previous read by Molly Tanzer, so I was very disappointed when I read Vermilion - a book that had the bare bones of a great plot but in the end was let down by its uneven tone and pacing and a slightly flaccid protagonist. The first third of the book was great but around the time when the action and mystery really should have started ramping up it felt like Tanzer lost her way and started meandering and never got into the groove of things, so to speak.It doesn't help that as [...]

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