I’m from Texas, born and raised. However, contrary to popular belief, this state is not a massive desert and we don’t all ride horse or live on ranches. I live in the East Texas and we call this area the Piney Woods because it’s all forest and hills. So no, I’m not too big on Westerns, novels or movies (except for Tombstone because that movie is effing awesome!). But Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman was glorious!
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.
First off, Bowman did a fabulous job writing in the dialect of the Old West. You can actually catch yourself saying the dialogue out loud and pronouncing it just like they do in old Westerns. I loved that she wasn’t afraid to really get into it. She was really able to bring the desert of Arizona to life in this story. I also liked how gritty she made this plot. There was shoot outs, blood, really dirty saloons, and even some prostitutes. There’s no sugar-coating the story that Bowman has created and it’s definitely a bit more mature than I was expecting. When an author isn’t afraid to kill her characters, you know the shit is real.
Kate is what really drives this story. She is the ultimate badass MC! Her quest for vengeance for her father’s death is all that matters to her. I love that she has no moral qualms about what she’s doing. She does what needs to be done, and unlike most YA characters, she doesn’t spend the rest of the novel whining about the choices she made. It’s unapologetic and it’s real. I get so tired of characters nowadays bitching and moaning about their life and what they’ve done. Life isn’t great, people. You’re not perfect, just own your shit! Okay, mini rant is over. But seriously, Kate is the rare MC that you actually take seriously. I never felt myself questioning whether her revenge felt real, you truly felt it! Everyone talks about Lila Bard being this strong female character, but where I felt her to be a bit fake and too much of just a book character, Kate seems so real.
I loved the MC and the secondary characters like the Colton brothers and Lil, the Native American girl. They all had their own distinctive personalities and brought something different to the story. And the villains were pretty vicious. I loved getting to hate them and wonder why they had killed Kate’s father. Bowman did a great job of bringing these characters to life.
I didn’t find too many issues with this book. It was fast-paced, exciting, and had quite the interesting plot twist at the end which I was really not expecting! When I first heard about this book, I was a little worried it would be too cutesy with some love triangle as the actual focus, but boy was I wrong. There is some romance but it’s a slow burn and never takes over the plot, just adds a little something to it. If you’re looking for a new kind of YA novel with an independent and morally ambiguous heroine who loves to read Little Women and shoot up some bad guys, then this book is for you!
Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars
Have you read Vengeance Road yet? What are your thoughts on it? Haven’t read it but want to? Let’s hear it!