Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on September 1, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Western
When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.
In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.
**I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
I gotta admit, when I first picked up Vengeance Road, I was pretty skeptical. I’m not a fan of Western stories but I just had to see what all this hype surrounding it was about. I dove in expecting some YA love story sprinkled with light, fluffy Western elements, but boy was I wrong! Vengeance Road is a gritty, action-packed story that’ll keep you turning it’s pages until the very end. It is the story of a young girl’s unforgiving quest for vengeance.
Kate Thompson, A.K.A. Nate Thompson, comes home one day to find that her father had been hanged and the house burned down by a gang of notorious cowboys called the Rose Riders. She buries her father, cries, counts to ten, then wipes away her tears before saddling up and arming herself to go on this vengeance road – as a boy. However, along the way, she makes some unexpected ‘allies’, uncovers secrets about her father, and gets swept up in an intense and possibly treacherous quest for gold.
The storytelling here was fantastic, although – at first – I did get thrown off a bit by the Western dialect. Gradually, I eased into it and reading the story became a breeze!
Another thing I loved about this story, was Kate. Her lust for revenge felt very real, unlike other YA heroines who usually lost track of what they were doing as soon as a male came strollin’ in. She felt neither guilt nor remorse for murdering her father’s killers; she was tough and I liked it. And in the instances when Kate actually cried? Give her 10 seconds and you’ll find her wiping her tears and already scheming her enemy’s downfall.
Everything about the romance in this story was just perfect – especially it’s pacing. It crept in slowly, weaving itself into the story by building their relationship from witty banter to something else. All without detracting anything from the story. It was gradual, not too fast and not too slow, which was ideal.
If you like a vicious Western story filled with conflict, then Vengeance Road is the one for you. It’s very unique and it’s bound to make you snort once or twice somewhere along the way.
Rating: 4 fish!