Book Review: An Oath of Wintersteel by JM Guillen

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What a hard week this has been for some odd reason. My anxiety just decided to kick in a lot this month, along with a lot of things going on with the family. If you are inclined to prayers, they are most welcome.

But right now I have my coffee, my hellion is eating breakfast and I am in a decent mood! Which means it is time to talk our favorite thing: books. And seriously, I got a good one for you this week. It is a new book by JM Guillen. I’ve had another one of his books on my to-read list for awhile now, but I’ve had some other books I needed to read first (ones that were in exchange for reviews, which reminds me…there will be a review for Jeffrey Cook’s First Light coming up this week also!). Then I got the chance to pick up this book in exchange for a review, and damn.

And it took me forever to pick a quote to post with this. The one I really wanted might have given away too much…as it is, this book is super freaking quotable.

Eso ci que eso.” He shrugged, his last word on the matter. That one phrase summed up so much about Domingo: Whatever shall be, shall be.


An Oath of Wintersteel is the first book in a new series by JM Guillen called A Sojourn Into Twilight. When I first read the premise, I had to tilt my head slowly and go “What….the…Hell?” A western fantasy? Do what now? So of course I just had to check it out.

Seriously…western fantasy is the best way to describe this. A Lovecraftian western thriller fantasy with a touch of dystopia.

It follows gunslinger Sierra of the Even Hand, apprendiz to Domingo, as they make their way through the Vast on the trails of the Harridan to bring Isanor’s justice to her. The Harridan is a rather evil monstrosity, but beyond that she knows the location of Teredon, The Last City of Man. A place Domingo has been searching for for quite some time.

The weird west is filled with strange monstrosities that they must make their way through, attacked and tested at every turn. They have to stick together through the physical and mental assaults as they get closer to the Harridan.


Guillen’s writing style was rather enjoyable. I never thought I would say I enjoyed a western, but I guess when you take the rest of the book into account…I will say it did take me about a chapter, maybe two, to really get into the ‘flow’ of the book. There was a few rereadings to make sure I understood what I just read, but once I got farther into the story it was easier to wrap around the Spanish and gunslinging in this multiverse story. I mean, not only that but this world…well, his worldbuilding is amazing. There is always something new and everything fits together, especially when you hit those twists of “Ooooh snap.”

Then there is Sierra and Domingo themselves. These are complex characters. They, in absolutely no way, fall flat on the page. The more you read, the more they stand up off the pages, banter and camaraderie tangible. And as they face off against hobbes, duariin, and fungus, they need to be able to depend on each other because this journey is going to change them forever.

Honestly, I could keep  rambling on about this book and why it was amazing. I feel like the more I ramble though, the more you are going to tilt your head and go “What are you even talking about anymore? Now there is steampunk!?” (Oh yes, in case I forgot to mention, it has a touch of Steampunk). So I’m going to have to cut off here with an easy “check list” of sorts.

Writing: Fantastic
Wordbuilding: Amazing
Characters: Complex. You will care. You will feel their pain.
Monsters: Creepy.
Ending: Where is the next book?





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