Review: The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman (& Giveaway!)

My latest read is Felix Gilman’s The Half-Made World, a “weird west” kind of steampunk that takes weird to new levels–in a good way. Author Stephen Donaldson says Gilman “writes like a modern-day Dickens drunk on rich invention and insane war,” and that bit of hyperbole is as apt as anything I could come up with. So, here’s the scoop on  The Half-Made World…and at the close of the blog, a GIVEAWAY.


A fantastical reimagining of the American West which draws its influence from steampunk, the American western tradition, and magical realism. The world is only half made. What exists has been carved out amidst a war between two rival factions: the Line, paving the world with industry and claiming its residents as slaves; and the Gun, a cult of terror and violence that cripples the population with fear. The only hope at stopping them has seemingly disappeared—the Red Republic that once battled the Gun and the Line, and almost won. Now they’re just a myth, a bedtime story parents tell their children, of hope.
     To the west lies a vast, uncharted world, inhabited only by the legends of the immortal and powerful Hill People, who live at one with the earth and its elements. Liv Alverhyusen, a doctor of the new science of psychology, travels to the edge of the made world to a spiritually protected mental institution in order to study the minds of those broken by the Gun and the Line. In its rooms lies an old general of the Red Republic, a man whose shattered mind just may hold the secret to stopping the Gun and the Line. And either side will do anything to understand how.

THE AUTHOR:  Gilman’s 2007 novel Thunderer (published by Bantam Spectra) was nominated for the 2009 Locus Award for Best First Novel and also earned him a nomination for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in both 2009 and 2010. The Half-Made World was released in November by Tor Books. Born in London, he now lives in New York and practices law.

MY THOUGHTS: If you’re looking for a quick, easy, read-in-a-couple-of-sittings kind of book, this isn’t it. It’s hard to get into in the beginning because the worldbuilding is packed into the opening chapters. Stick with it through the first hundred pages, however, and you’ll be rewarded with a truly unusual, rich and engaging story in a world where the culture clash between the coming of the railroad, the outlaw Wild West, and the mysticism of the Native Americans is reimagined in an amazing way.

THE GIVEAWAY: I’m running out of book space, so I’d like to pass my hardback copy of The Half-Made World along to someone else! As always, extra entry for comments, blog followers, followers on Twitter @Suzanne_Johnson, and an extra for Tweeting the contest. Drawing will take place on Christmas Day.
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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

17 thoughts on “Review: The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman (& Giveaway!)

  1. Oh my goodness…if there’s any book I’ve been dying to read it’s this one! (Yes, I could buy a copy but money is tight as to hardcovers.) Good to know to stick with it for the first 100 pages though. So, fingers super-crossed for this one!

    +1 comment
    +1 blog follow
    +1 twitter follow
    +1 retweet (!/NooblingsNest)

    Thank you so much!!

    gmail: gelato

  2. Good review, I’d love to win your copy and help free up some book space for you. Plus, I’d really like to read this one.

  3. Hi Suzanne 🙂
    I hadn’t heard of Felix Gilman before but you’ve definitely piqued my interest in him & his “The Half-Made World”.
    Merry Christmas!
    Love & Best Wishes to you & yours,

  4. I like stephen Donaldson so if he recommens it I think it must be a good read.

    If the giveaway is open worldwide I would like to be included.

    Thanks and have a merry Christmas.

    Carol T

    +1 I am a Follower via GFC
    +1 For comment

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  5. Commented, retweeted, and blog-followed! This book is high on my to-read list and I’d be delighted to be honoured with your copy. 🙂
    Happy Christmas!