Book Review: Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman

rr.jpg  Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman

Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on November 7, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Western, Historical Fiction

Pages: 384 – hardcover & ebook

Format Read: eARC

Rating: 4 stars

Source: NetGalley

Previous Books in Series: Vengeance Road


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When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist. But when Reece’s path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.

In this thrilling companion to Vengeance Road, dangerous alliances are formed, old friends meet new enemies, and the West is wilder than ever.


After Vengeance Road, I didn’t think I’d really enjoy any follow-up novel to this series. Boy, was I wrong. Retribution Rails was just as good as, if not better than, Vengeance Road, IMO. If you’re reading this book just for Kate and Jesse, you definitely won’t be disappointed, because there’s plenty of them to go around in this book. Although this is just a companion novel to Vengeance Road, I advise reading the first book to really get the full story.

Erin’s ability to write tough-minded, strong young women of the west truly never ceases to amaze me. Charlotte has such a vivacious character that you just can’t help but root for from the very beginning. Throw in her determination and quick wit? You’ve got yourself a helluva character! Oh, and don’t get me started on Reese Murphy. His character really brings in a certain kind of complexity that was not present in the first book. Haunted by his actions, he struggles to reconcile who he is versus how he views himself. He tries to right his wrongdoings every chance he gets, and is constantly at war with himself. When Charlotte and Reese collide, they slowly change each other’s perceptions of themselves and of the other. Their interactions were something I constantly looked forward to!

The writing, as always, was top notch! Erin has such a vivid writing style that immediately transports you to the Wild West, infusing your imagination with exciting train robberies, gunfights, and showdowns. The world is very impressively well-built and immersive. It’s really unlike anything I’ve ever read — very refreshing!

I truly can’t recommend Vengeance Road and Retribution Rails enough! Before VR, I never would’ve thought of myself as someone who would pick up a book from the Western genre, but I’m a changed woman now! Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

From the well-written vernacular to the complex characters to the immersive world, Retribution Rails is a wild ride from start to finish. So buckle up!

*Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

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Rating: 4 fish!

4 fish

Book Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

vengeance roadVengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on September 1, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Western
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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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!

4 fish