Review: Vengeance Road

Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

To say I loved this book – and I surprised my self by the passion as well – would be an understatement. I really, really adored this, and it is so out of my typical genre, that I was genuinely shocked. I was not expecting to dislike this book, but it wasn’t one I would typically be drawn to. Yet, I devoured it in a matter of hours despite my crazy mid-semester schedule. Once I started it, this book was a priority. TL;DR – read it.

This book was girl-power driven in the same way Daughter of the Pirate King was. The main character is a girl, who is very much contradicting the norm for her demographic at the time. She kicks off the stereotypes, and does comment on the societal issues at the time. However, that is not the focus of her mission. Instead of getting the feminist message flat out, it is given to the reader subvertably. Kate constantly proved she was just as capable as any of the men she was encountering, and she was driven by her own forces. She was not driven by a desire to prove her society wrong – she was driven by her own motives, and it was pretty BA.

That being said, the characters in general were gorgeous. The way it the dialogue and Kate’s thoughts were written perfectly illustrated the lilt of their voices, in a Mark Twain-eque move. This Western type novel is very uncommon on the YA shelves, and this use of dialogue and realism is even more so. The uniqueness of both aspects really drew me in and added to the already fantastic writing and story.

I am not one who is typically drawn to Western, sci-fi, or dystopian (or, I should say, I am not in my current reading patterns). Although I do read them, they are never my first choice if given a variety. However, I have been dying to read this, as Erin Bowman is one of the authors I watched “rise to fame” as I started blogging, and she was always incredibly sweet. So, I picked it up… And I was so surprised. I was really captivated – in a genre that can seem very slow and repetitive, this Western was upbeat, captivating, and immersive. I really couldn’t put it down once I started. I am conflicted as to whether I should try and other Westerns while I wait for the companion novel to come out… I am very much a convert.

This was a wonderful surprise of a novel for me, and I cannot recommend it enough. Definitely on my top ten reads of this year.

4.5 out of 5.



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