I'm a sci-fi writer and reader, although, let's be honest - I'll read just about anything that moves me, regardless of the genre.
After I read McCarthy's Blood Meridian, I swore never to read another McCarthy book again. Then I saw No Country for Old Men and thought, I'll read that book. I liked the movie better - the cinematography was great - and once again I swore off McCarthy books. Then there I was, and All the Pretty Horses shined at me from a 25 cent shelf. I thought, 25 cents? I guess.
Well, this was the best McCarthy book I've ever read, and I can tell you why. The characters weren't sociopaths. In fact, I liked the characters! I found them worthwhile and engaging human beings, and I wanted them to get what they desired. I actually cared about them because they weren't sociopaths.
This is going to sound crazy, but All the Pretty Horses is a love story! Who would have thought McCarthy capable of imagining a world where love existed and cold, calculating, murdering, rapists were only a side note? You want bloody and violent? McCarthy's mid-nineteenth century Mexico certainly qualifies, but still, it's a love story. What a weird world he must have been living in to write this book.
Overall, this book is beautiful and even funny at times. Don't think though that it's got a Disney ending. It certainly doesn't. People die and get maimed and lives are ruined, but still, for McCarthy, its practically a book of rainbows and sunshine.
I recommend this book, but only if your version of sunshine and rainbows involves Mexican prisons and desert executions.