• Wake of Vultures

  • The Shadow, Book 1
  • By: Lila Bowen
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (397 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Supernatural creatures create chaos across an unforgiving Western landscape in the first book of a propulsive and cinematic fantasy adventure starring ever fearless Nettie Lonesome.

Nettie Lonesome dreams of a greater life than toiling as a slave in the sandy desert. But when a stranger attacks her, Nettie wins more than the fight.

Now she's got friends, a good horse, and a better gun. But if she can't kill the thing haunting her nightmares and stealing children across the prairie, she'll lose it all - and never find out what happened to her real family.

The Shadow:

  • Wake of Vultures
  • Conspiracy of Ravens
  • Malice of Crows
  • Treason of Hawks
©2015 Lila Bowen (P)2015 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"I don't care what else you've seen in the bookstore today. Buy this book because it's the thrilling, delightfully written, and important one you've always wanted to read." (Kevin Hearne, New York Times best-selling author)

"Wake of Vultures is, quite simply, brilliant. A mind-bending mix of history, fantasy and folklore, it's a wild bronco of a read that'll leave you breathless for more." (Rachel Caine, New York Times best-selling author)

"Nettie Lonesome kicks major ass. There is something strange and wonderful going on in Lila Bowen's head. It's the weird west fantasy that I never knew I've always wanted to read. Now I need more!" (Wesley Chu, New York Times best-selling author)

What listeners say about Wake of Vultures

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Quest for Self in a myth-infused old West

The questions "Who am I? Where do I come from? What is my purpose in life?" are as old as humanity. Nettie Lonesome is an abused and exploited orphan who wants to discover her history every bit as much as she wants to find her rightful place in the world. She's been told all her life that no one wants a half-black, half-native girl around. For her own self-protection, Nettie's taken to wearing boy's clothes. People are far less likely to mess with you if they think you're a boy. Plus, women seem to have only two fates open to them: marital servitude or prostitution. When Nettie gets the chance to hire on as a horse trainer, she changes her name to Rhett and hopes she/he won't be scrutinized too closely.

Wake of Vultures is set in an alternate West populated with the monsters of mythology, pop culture, and the all-too-human varieties. The story is engrossing with plenty of thrills, adventures, and battles.

I'll admit I may be biased. I read a lot of books about Joan of Arc as a child. When I discovered Mary Edwards Walker in my family tree, I was over the moon. So reading about Nettie/Rhett warmed my heart more than a little.

13 people found this helpful

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QFW

Queer fantasy western. If those three words together mean something to you, go get this book. Yes the inner monologue can get repetitive, yes the MC is as dumb as a sack of rutabagas, yes there's something questionable about the author saying the the afterward she wanted to write a transmasc character but never once using masculine pronouns in the narration. But despite all those things: Queer fantasy western. And it did a fine job.

11 people found this helpful

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This novel will speak to your heart!

"Wow!" Yes. That is the fist thought I had, after finishing this book. Delilah S. Dawson (writing under the pseudonym of Lila Bowen) has created an innovative Supernatural Old West atmosphere in Wake of Vultures. The themes she covers are as real today as they were in 1800s Texas - racial tensions, sexism, the journey to find oneself and one's place in the world, and freedom from whatever/whomever oppresses those they find inferior. One of the greatest lessons that I found in Nettie's story is that a person can be their own oppressor, but can learn to free themselves with the love of compassionate allies, who seek to help them achieve their endeavors.

Nettie Lonesome is a young woman with mixed heritage-Black and Native American-in a small (primarily Caucasian) town in Texas in the 1800s. Mam and Pap found her and took her in as a baby "when nobody else had wanted her but the hungry, circling vultures.", a line that has obviously been repeated to her throughout her life. She is, also, treated as a slave by the only parents she has ever known. Having shown this early on in the story, "The last fourteen years of Nettie’s life had passed in a shriveled corner of Durango territory under the leaking roof of this wind-chapped lean-to with Pap and Mam, not quite a slave and nowhere close to something like a daughter."

She, also, prefers to bind her chest and dress as a boy, in order to keep from attracting unwanted attention, and has a talent with gentling the most difficult horses and broncs. Although, soon we learn that she is not as "useless" and "ordinary" as Mam and Pap believe her to be.

And, then her journey begins. As she hunts the evil plaguing Western Texas-stealing children in the dark of night-she learns more about herself and becomes more self-assured. She gains and loses friends and allies during her quest, but her strength and determination see her through the hardships she experiences. And she soars!

Ms. Bowen has written, yet, another book with a message. In fact several messages that will speak to your heart, if you read and experience Wake of Vultures fully. Hopefully, at least one of those messages takes root in your heart and stays with you forever.

9 people found this helpful

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This is everything I want in a book

Firstly, it's a fantasy set in the Old West, which is a subgenre that is woefully untapped. Think Buffy The Vampire Slayer meets Unforgiven and you'll be pretty close. Nettie is an organic, layered character with a grit that made me instantly love her.

Aside from the fantastic story and writing, which stands well on its own, I also have to applaud the author for writing a protagonist who is diverse in not only race, but also gender identity and sexuality. As a person who is also a mixed Black and Native -- and thus shares Nettie's heritage and feelings of 'otherness' -- I'm glad to see Lila Bowen step away from the Cookie Cutter White Fantasy Protagonist and write someone whom I could have identified with as a teen (and still do). We need more diversity in fantasy, and A Wake of Vultures is very welcomed.

Robin Miles did an outstanding job narrating the story. Her acting and pacing were perfect, and I hope she continues to narrate the rest of the series. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

11 people found this helpful

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Needs an editor, but a story that pulls you in

The setting is a way out there version of the wild west where life is spartan but can have nice moments too.

The hero has been held in slavery and ignorance and has had no experiences outside that, so she is very knowing about some things (beatings, verbal abuse and the threat of sexual abuse) and innocent in others. Despite this our hero is able to learn there is more to the world than she thought good and bad, and that she has the right to make her own choices. this gives the book the feel of YA, but more if it's a prequel for a regular adult series about to start.

for the YA feel with adult content and the doubled descriptors ( night deep purple flowers, high sharp cheek bones...) I'm giving it 3 stars for the story but 4 overall with excellent narration. it's an interesting new world the authors created and the characters are people you want to get to know better. I look forward to hearing the next book in the series.


WARNING: There are no graphic sex scenes, but the heroines experience that being a woman is inherently dangerous and makes you an object is based on the women she has seen around her choosing to use sex as a commodity/weapon, or having it stolen as a commodity by men. There is also a rape scene halted just before the worst happens that is chilling and handled well by the author but may be triggering. Definitely would not recommend this book for tween or early teen readers.

9 people found this helpful

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Love this!

This is a wonderful story and I look forward to the rest of the series! As a huge fan of any story dealing with magic, monsters, vampires and demons this one does not disappoint. The narrator is fantastic and does a phenomenal job! Consider this review my personal recommendation.

2 people found this helpful

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Refreshing

I love myself a good weird west novel and this is certainly an interesting one. I was pleasantly surprised by the main protagonist, who is not only coming of age, but is really trying to discover who and what she is. This novel is definitely for the more open minded amongst us. (If you’re a bigot I definitely suggest you pass on this, because you won’t have a good time reading, and that has nothing to do with the quality of this novel, but more with the quality of you) I definitely recommend this. I’ve been reading a lot of western themed novels lately, and this is one of the better ones.

1 person found this helpful

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wasn't my style

I didn't like lonesome dove, and maybe that is why I don't like this story much. I appreciate the diverse protagonist but did feel that her diversity was more important to the author than the story at times.
tldr: not terrible just not my favorite.

5 people found this helpful

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Great start to a new series

What did you like best about this story?

Robin Mills brought the characters to life. Loved the Buffy-esqe Western take. The words and language are very apropos of the time.

1 person found this helpful

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Not very original

It is apparent that everything the author knows about westerns came from Lonesome Dove and everything they know about the monster genre came from Sookie Stackhouse.
I found it sad that multiple elements of this book were lifted directly from the pages of Lonesome Dove. Even the name of the town, is a piss poor rip off.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lulu
  • 10-11-17

Amazing and Distinct

This was was such an amazing and distinct experience that the book has left a last imprint on my memory! It has the character of and edgy Wild Western story with a touch of red Indian culture and magic!! I absolutely enjoyed this book which by the way is so captivating that you’ll be hard pressed to finish it in one sitting!!