GunKnight, the first part of The GunKnight Chronicles by Cynthia & Scott Green, is a quirky sci-fi story set in a world where guns are sacred tools which the desperate and the proud alike must live by. Colt, the only known surviving GunKnight – a technoreligious warrior clad in a powerful suit of biotech armor – wakes up in a dusty crater, alone, with only a crippling pain and a flickering heads-up display to jog his memory and guide his path through what may be a dead Earth.
As his memories return, his “mission” becomes more and more clear, and Colt must find a way to endure his red, lit-up path. GunKnight is a truly unique story in that I doubt anyone has ever considered such an odd concept beyond the age of 13. That isn’t to say the book is silly or immature, as once you actually take your first steps into the world of GunKnight you realize that it has had great thought put into it.
There’s a strange mish-mash of the silly and the solemn that at times seems off-beat, but for the most part actually works extremely well, as odd as it may seem when giving it thought. The world lives and breathes with a certain logic that can be easily accessed, once disbelief is lifted, giving a sort of alien edge to a life and culture that isn’t too unrecognizable.
Truly the book feels like a sort of niche video game swimming amongst the Bastions and Fallouts that take a similar tone of not-quite-silly, not-quite-sober. The book itself is reasonably well-paced, with regular flashbacks that piece the narrative together to form a whole after some time. At times the bizarreness of the former world can clash a bit too much with the otherwise somewhat solemn “future” story that leads to occasional instances of the bends as you resurface from a memory, but both sides are quite enjoyable regardless and it fits together reasonably well.
Characters are believable, and soon become quite interesting, though sometimes talking in ways more awkward than you could believe are normal, especially in early chapters with some small jokes that really miss the mark and awkward colloquialisms jar the believability. However it shouldn’t take long for a reader to accept the notion of gun religions and gun cities full of people named after guns. Outlandish as it can seem, the book really shines with its creative concepts and designs that are more often than not beautifully described in exactly the bizarre and beyond-belief ways that befit them.
Just try to imagine “a hot molten gold wall slowly flowing sideways” from some of the first pages and you’ll see what I mean. Such descriptions gleam in memory and give the book an intense sense of life and credit to the far-future setting. If regular firearm and munitions puns with a technologically-updated pulp sci-fi about vagrant warriors and post-apocalypses are as up your alley as they are mine, do yourself a favor and give this book a read, even if just for a few chapters.
Hopefully the rest of this series fleshes things out even more, and with the ending of the first and the title of the second (“GunLord”) you can count me as glockin’ finger on the trigger for the next.