Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Robbing the Pillars by Kalen Vaughan Johnson

Star Rating : 2 out of 5

Content Rating : NONE

Description :
Gold Rush California’s notorious “Legislature of a Thousand Drinks” launches a secret consortium of frontier barons, triggering the collapse of independent mines throughout Sierra Nevada.

James MacLaren, a fugitive from Scotland, embarks on a new life in California, escaping his secrets but not his hatred for the upper class. He is a man always on his guard, leery of the entitled and wary of his own temper. While raising a beautiful, headstrong daughter, and denying his love for a woman he cannot have, he champions miners in their fight against the Coleridge Sierra speculators seeking to maneuver a mining industry monopoly.
San Francisco’s Judge Dandridge sees himself as a man of vision. But when retributions fail in his courtroom, reparations are administered in the back rooms of vigilante justice. His venal and mercenary machinations tie him to the powerful Sam Brannan, the Chinese Tong and a shadowy control of the governorship of California.
Robbing the Pillars is a story of the working class fighting for legitimacy against a legacy of gold and all it seduces – a tale of hidden pasts, love and betrayal, and the fulfillment of dreams against incredible odds.
Robbing the Pillars is the first book in The Empire Barons series.”
My Thoughts :
This story takes place in 1850’s. It mainly follows one family and the development of Nevada City. Johnson speaks a little bit of gold, life in town, and a little bit of farm life. I had a hard time finishing this one to be honest. It wasn't for me; but, maybe it's right up your alley. Let us know your thoughts.

I gave this a rating of NONE. There was no strong language, violence, or sexual references.

What I liked :
  • The Idea – I really love historical fiction. I like to be taken to another place in time, and live it out through the characters. Who doesn’t like the Wild West and Gold rushes? I thought there was a lot of potential in this book.

What I didn’t like :
  • The Wording – Johnson used several mining terms without really explaining them. This left me a little confused at times. Her word rhythm also seemed to vary. Sometimes it was overly simple and then others it felt like she had really worked hard in that section to find the right words and structure.
  • The Flow – I thought the transitions were lacking. You felt like you were jumping around in the story a bit, which made it hard to follow the timeline. The story opens up with a mining collapse and then jumps back in time with the rest of the story leading up to this event. However, I was about half the way through the book and I still didn’t understand how the events where leading up to this big event or any event at all. Nothing really seemed to be going on at all actually. Turns out the big event of the mine collapse was only maybe a page and a half once it got there and then the story moved on. There was a second event that happens after the mine collapse, in which a main character is hurt, I felt would have made a better opening chapter and gave a better focus to the book, as I felt it was more closely tied to the book's plot of the Empire Barons of Nevada City.
  • The Ending - I also didn’t realize this was the first book in a series until after I had finished the book. The ending just ends. I didn’t feel left hanging; instead I read the last sentence and was confused again. It just abruptly stops just when you feel like maybe something is starting to happen.

What Others Are Saying :
"A sweeping look at personal idealism and autonomy pitted against the forces of greed and manipulation, Robbing the Pillars is an emotive family saga solidly rooted in the American dream." --Chanticleer Reviews

"In telling the story of James's life, Johnson not only gives us a fascinating portrait of a man determined to carve out a life for himself despite every obstacle, but she also presents a richly detailed vision of part of America's past. – San Francisco Book Review

Reviewed by Shayna Hinshaw

I received a free copy of this book from the author, for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Pick up your copy at Amazon.

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