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Publisher's Summary

Owl Dance is a weird Western steampunk novel. The year is 1876. Sheriff Ramon Morales of Socorro, New Mexico, meets a beguiling woman named Fatemeh Karimi, who is looking to make a new start after escaping the oppression of her homeland. When an ancient life form called Legion comes to Earth, they are pulled into a series of events that will change the history of the world as we know it. In their journeys, Ramon and Fatemeh encounter mad inventors, dangerous outlaws and pirates. Their resources are Ramon's fast draw and Fatemeh's uncanny ability to communicate with owls. The question is, will that be enough to save them when airships from Czarist Russia invade the United States?

©2014 David Lee Summers (P)2017 Sky Warrior Book Publishing, LLC

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Wild weird steampunked west!

Set in the 1870s, this Wild West steampunk adventure is full of surprises. Ramon Morales and Fatemeh Karimi make a great pair of heroes as they travel from New Mexico to California. Gun fights, dirigibles, steam-powered mechanical wolves, a Russian plot to take a chunk of the US, plus an unexpected alien influence called Legion provide a dangerous playground for our main characters – and plenty of entertainment for us.

I read this book back in 2011 and it was great to see it come to audio! I enjoyed it more in this medium as the narrator did it justice. If you love your Wild West and you like it weird, then this is a great series to get into. The story includes several different ethnicities and I love that about this book. The frontier West was a very diverse place and having that reflected in this work is worthy.

Our Persian healer, Fatemeh, has traveled far from home and she’s a bit vague about why. I love that we have this little mystery about her. Also, she talks to owls… or does she? She claims that she only understands their nature but to others it looks like she is actually communicating with them. While I felt the romance between her and Ramon sparked a little too easily, I also feel they make a great couple. Fatemeh is of the Baha’i faith while Ramon is Catholic and this sets up a dynamic to explore not just culture clash but also these different religions.

Meanwhile Ramon has recently had a big shift in his life. He was a sheriff in Socorro, NM and then things went south.. and so did he while he fled with Fatemeh (who was about to be executed for witch craft). Their search for work takes them all the way out to California. Along the way they meet the eccentric inventor, Professor Maravilla. He’s got a thing for steam-powered mechanical beasties. I loved his owls!

Then there’s the bounty hunter Larissa who I look forward to hearing more about later in the series. She’s got plenty of gumption and loves her independent life but she’s drawn into this bigger plot as Russia starts making moves to invade the West coast.

Now lets talk about that alien influence Legion. We come across it early on but it’s not clear right away if it’s something supernatural, man-made, or from outer space. Whatever it is (and yes, we do get that cleared up in this book), it has a hive mind and can communicate directly with humans as well as influence them. So we got the Wild West (yay!), steampunk (awesome!), and now this unknown big picture influencer. The author does a great job of pulling this all together.

My one real quibble with the story is that sometimes it’s a little too easy for Ramon and Fatemeh to convince a ‘villain’ to assist them. It seems like everyone is really a good guy at heart and was just simply misunderstood or was acting under some false or incomplete data. I think the story would have benefited from a real villain or two.

The Narration: Edward Mittelstedt did a really good job. His Spanish accent was consistent throughout the story. Now, his Spanish pronunciations were sometimes different from what I expected. Living in New Mexico, I expected a certain accent (like for Chavez or Maravilla). Mittelstedt’s pronunciation isn’t wrong but it’s not the local dialect either. I believe it’s the difference between high proper Spanish and the Southwest Hispanic accent. Besides that, he was great with keeping all the characters distinct and also with the various emotions throughout the story. He also gave Fatemeh a consistent Persian accent. His female voices were believable.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan
  • United States
  • 10-03-17

Fun!

weird, western, steampunk, aliens, alternate-history, action-adventure, audiobook,
What a fun ride! Spent a very hot and humid day enjoying this fantastical tale. It's got everything: ornithopters, Russians, aliens, bigotry, greed, philosophy, pirates, underwater craft, western setting in 1877, other historical figures, and lots more. Yet it would appeal to male or female, and anyone over nine.
Edward Mittelstedt has a very interesting audio performance. I like it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I loved this book.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.
I'm always wary when a book seems perfect for me, so this one raised some red flags right from the description, but I loved it. Steam punk, frontier life, a love interest, over bearing religious constraints, and it is a story about nothing in a way. It's not really trying to change your mind or get you to endorse a way of life. It's just a story and I really recommend it. I'm looking forward to more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Reg
  • McKinney, TX
  • 11-20-17

Promising

Ramon is a law man with a sense of honor. Fatemeh is an emigrant running from a woman's fate in a muslim country. Together, they have adventure after adventure, leaving behind a tangled web of friends and enemies culminating in a last stand to avoid a Russian invasion. The adventures begin with Ramon saving Fatemeh from a fate worse than death and move on to Fatemeh saving Ramon time after time. In the meanwhile, an ancient and alien life form known to itself as 'Legion' takes an interest in earth and, after a time, takes direct action by inhabiting the mind of the Russian general in charge of executing the invasion of America. What will happen when this life force meets the dynamic duo of Ramon and Fatemeh?

This book was a fun adventure. Fatemeh is a force in herself and an exhilarating character to get to know. My only wish was that her past be more clear and fleshed out and openly discussed. Also, her affinity and ability to communicate with owls was never really fully explained. Ramon is a complicated character, mostly because of his want to always do the right thing. He is not always sure how to get there although Fatemeh is willing to goad him in the right direction when she needs to. Together, they make an entertaining pair during an exciting time in American history.

The narration was on the dry side for me. Mittelstedt speaks slowly so I did speed up the audiobook to 1.5 speed and this improved the quality of the narration. There was a clear distinction between different characters' voices and although the accents weren't the best, they were consistent; however, the narrative sections were done in a somewhat monotone voice which took me out of the story more often than not. I'm hoping book 2 was more developed as to story, plot and narration.

I received this book for free through Audiobook Boom! in exchange for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Thank You for Bringing Me Back to the Weird West

I got a promo code in exchange for an honest review, and I'm so glad I did. Owl Dance took me back to the Weird West, that lovely subgenre where gunslingers are prone to meeting aliens, dinosaurs and the like. Here, in this first book in a series, we get a sheriff, a healer from Persia, steampunk mechanisms, an alien presence from afar studying Earth, political cat and mouse games, an invasion and several subplots. I was hooked, and listened in every free moment I had. I took a shine to Ramon and Fatima, the two protagonists, but there are many characters in Owl Dance to get to know and appreciate. I am definitely adding the series to my MUST READ list. If you enjoy westerns, steampunk, good characterization and a broad story which encompasses not only a large tract of the Wild West, but also other nations, get this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Western Steampunk

Enjoyable romp through the old west, steampunk style. Since I live in New Mexico close to the settings in this book, I especially enjoyed it.

The inclusion of historical figures such as Czar Nicholas & Billy the Kid added to this book.

I was provided a copy of this audiobook by the narrator & chose to review it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Give it some time

Any additional comments?

Well I didn't know what to expect from the start and I am not sure how old got there, but I liked the book overall. I like the steam punk western element and found the story entertaining. It meanders through and held my attention at times by sheer curiosity. The characters are original and varied and the theme...well it is something. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Different but enjoyable

Any additional comments?

I have never read a book quite like this one before. It was a mixture of Western, steampunk, fantasy and history all rolled up with a bit of romance and philosophy. I was fascinated with the strange and changing story and became interested in the fate of the 2 main characters. <br/>The narrator's skill with varying the characters' voices and accents made the characters come alive for me and held my interest.<br/>I voluntarily received a review copy of this book from the narrator in return for an unbiased review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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It's Unique


I liked it. I had no idea where the story was going until it got there and that is a good thing. The narrator has a good repertoire of voices and accents.

"This audio book was gifted to me by the narrator at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Mess of a story

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

If it had a better woven story.

Any additional comments?

The story felt very mediocre and was all over the place at the same time. It didn't interest me even after listening for 2 hours. I quit it after that.<br/><br/>I voluntarily received a review copy of this book from the author / narrator / publisher in return for an unbiased review.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amy
  • 05-28-17

Really am very excited for book 2!here's why...

What did you like most about Owl Dance?

The story is gripping and exciting and very good escapism while ,I believe,teaching a good lesson.I love steampunk and the world,characters and story were quirky and wonderful.I got a lot more than I expected from listening to this book.I recommend It for steampunk fans who like a tale with a slight whimsy to it.The addition of historical figures (I wont spoil the surprise) was pretty awesome and made the experience just that little better .I really enjoyed listening to Edward Mittelstedt narrate this book and hope he will be narrating the rest of the series to follow.

Any additional comments?

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • 04-27-17

A interesting weird western steampunk book.

Own dance gets most of the important things bang on right. The characters are believable with understandable motivations, they are well written and narrated. The setting has lots of potential and it feels like many more interesting things could happen in it. The pacing is good and as events unfold want to find out more and keep you happy to listen until the end of the book.

David Lee Summers has crafted an interesting world and characters that will keep you listening until then end and Edward Mittelstedt does a wonderful job breathing life into the words giving each character a unique voice and letting their emotions and personalities shine.

I can recommend this book wholeheartedly but I am not sure I will remember in in a few years time. It is ultimately it is an interesting journey, enjoyable to listen too yet does not quite become a truly memorable story despite it’s best efforts. That being said I would be very interested to find out what happens next to the world and the characters as time moves on from the events near the end of the book. In my opinion, this could be the start of an interesting series of books.

All and all this is well worth a listen.



“I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.”

1 of 1 people found this review helpful