I stayed up until 6am to finish this and right now I feel like my head has been run over by a herd of cows.
I was never that interested in cowboy and indian stories, or about the Wild Wild West with men running around on horses, but I'm glad I read this one as I did very much enjoy it. However, I just couldn't really connect with it as much as I'd have liked.
It is a slow burner but it does keep burning all the way through. I sometimes felt like it would slow to a trot and then suddenly gallop off... and then slow to a trot again. I guess that is what life was like for them - riding along slowly one minute and then the next having to deal with impending doom. I felt I would have enjoyed this a lot more had it been a bit shorter. Whilst I was never bored at all throughout - I did feel like I was just waiting sometimes.
I'm probably not going to read the sequels which is a reason for the 3 1/2 because despite enjoying Lonesome Dove - I just don't feel compelled to read more. Had the sequels followed on directly from this book I may have but they are only prequels which I can't say I'm that interested in. (Edited: As it appears 'Streets of Laredo' is a direct sequel so I might read that one if I come across it.)
For the first 500ish pages it rolled along and could be very amusing. The rest alternated between amusing and sad but for me, it never really got past skin deep until more towards the end. I cried floods for Deets and Gus.
One of the main problems for me, was that they were always coming out with smart or amusing remarks - even those who were about to be hung or when they were in middle of danger. It felt a little too overdone and as if it was inserted just to amuse the reader and keep me entertained.
I would say it was a more character orientated book - but I can't say I grew that attached to many of the characters. By the end I did because after 945 pages you can't help it. I loved Gus - how can you not? And Call intrigued me. My overall favourite was probably July for some reason. I also really liked Newt and Dish and I wish we got to see more of these characters. As I said above, if there had been a sequel that featured all of these characters then I would definitely be reading it.
I would have given it a full four stars had the ending not been so disappointing because I really started to enjoy it after the third part started (page 600 and something) it felt a bit hurried and unresolved.
I don't mind endings that stop whilst the book is still running. It gives you the feeling that the story is still living and ongoing rather then neatly wrapped up with everything resolved how you'd want it. However I felt that the ending in Lonesome Dove was a little rushed and a little too loose to be truly satisfying after almost a thousand pages.
Unfortunately everyone else seems to be head over heals in love with this book. I feel like the odd one out not being in love with it - I definitely enjoyed and more then liked it and would recommend it even if you don't like the idea of westerns. It's definitely worth a go.