This was more cheesy romance than I expected in my sci-fi western, but it ended up being pretty enjoyable.
A group of people from various time periods in the “real” world have woken up randomly in the Wasteland. The Wasteland is full of monsters and not-quite-humans and some creatures sort of like vampires, and one bad dude named Ajani, who is trying to take over. The Arrivals (the folks from our world) don’t know why they’re there or how they got there, but over the years, they’ve banded together, live in the desert in a cowboy camp, and fight Ajani and his minions.
Chloe is the latest arrival, from 2013. She’s there so the exposition fairy can explain stuff, and also so the leader of the Arrivals, Jack, has someone to lust after. Kitty is Jack’s sister, and she’s the only Arrival to ever be able to use Wastelander magic. Jack and Kitty were the first Arrivals, and were originally from California in the 1800s. Kitty has a complicated relationship with Edgar, who was a hired killer back in the real world and still insists on wearing a suit.
Chloe is shockingly blasé about her new situation. She’s instantly recruited by our merry band of outlaws, given a gun and fighting hellhounds right away, and not asking NEAR ENOUGH questions about what the hell is going on. She never mentions a family or anything much about ‘back home,’ and is just like ‘welp, this is my life now, better flirt with Jack.’ I mean. I would have a few more concerns about suddenly waking up in an Old West-style world with vampires.
The action is snappy, the Wasteland is fun, and I think the romances are meant to be steamy. The whole thing is a little thin, though. A few plot threads never go anywhere, and some things I thought would get explained just…didn’t. There are some cool bits, like when the head vampire creature adopts Kitty into his pack, but overall I wanted less of the romantic melodrama and more of the “Egyptian scroll opens portal to the British Empire and magic exists but only for like two people” explanations. Also, I wanted Chloe to ask about ninety-bazillion more questions and do a wee bit more freaking the frak out. Still not a bad adventure for such a weird genre mix, though.