PURCHASE:Amazon | Book Depository
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 this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
You know what makes me happy? That YA Westerns are finally becoming a thing. One of my favorite (and most anticipated books of the year) was a YA Western and as soon as I heard that Vengeance Road was a YA Western (AND SAW THAT BEAUTIFUL COVER), I was sold. I ached with the need to read this book. I could already see I would fall head over heels for this tale of revenge and was so excited to dive in. This book was amazing but the reason I cannot say that this book is the best thing ever is because of the few minor issues I had. BUT LET ME TELL YOU, this book does the genre justice.
I am going to start off with my few criticisms and then move on to why this book was flipping amazing.
My no.1 problem with this book was how Native Americans came up in the book. There was a lot of distrust between Native Americans and the Caucasians at the time and the author does a good job in portraying that distrust. The problem is that I wanted something more, something that would go beyond just acknowledging the hypocrisy and would go into the details of the injustice being committed. Especially since one of the secondary characters in the book happens to be Native American. But some of the things the MC said were from a place of privilege and I wanted to see another side of her that acknowledges these privileges and that there was a LOT of injustice committed by her people.
My other problem was that sometimes the cowboy slang (idk what else to call it) being used grated on me. Now, I won’t say that I am a huge stickler for proper grammar because I make mistakes all the time, but after a while the Is get annoying. That being said, I think that for the most part, Bowman nailed the language aspect and the fact that it grated on me doesn’t really speak on whether or not I thought Bowman made a good choice. Personally, I think it actually brought the story to life and made me feel like I was right there in the wild west.
Moving on to the good bits, Kate is an AMAZING female lead. She is someone you cannot help but root for and I had so much fun watching her go on this adventure. After her father is brutally murdered, she is out for blood. She wants revenge and her blood is filled with this need for vengeance. So our adventure begins. Along the way, Kate meets two men and one of them will come to mean a lot to her.
My favorite thing about Kate is how strong she is despite her loss. I love that she is able to hold her own and is just as badass as any other cowboy out there. She may not always realize when having other people around is a good thing but given that she was disguised as a boy, one can imagine why she would go out of her way to avoid hanging out with people. But she also develops over the course of the book and learns what is really important and I loved being there with her and enjoying the journey with her.
Then we get these amazing secondary characters that join Kate on her journey but they don’t seek vengeance, they seek GOLD. Jesse and Will are so much fun to read about. Will may be someone who comes off as immature but he managed to surprise me when it came down to important stuff. He was never naïve and was always aware of the risks, perhaps even more so than Jesse. Jesse could sometimes be too ambitious but he was also sweet, closed off and SO ADORABLE.
One of my favorite things about this book, besides the characters is how fantastically Bowman brings this historical setting to life. With her choice of words, her choice of scenes, everything. There are gold hunts, gun fights, running away in the dark, and just good ole riding off in the dusk. Everything in this book screams western and I LOVED it.
There is this one twist towards the end that I didn’t necessarily enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very interesting twist and I didn’t see it coming but I also saw no need for it. It didn’t really twist my mind the way one would expect something like that would. It just seem like something that was thrown in but never fully explored and thus I felt as though the book would have actually been better off without it.
Never the less, this was a very good read for me and one I won’t fail to recommend because who doesn’t love them some cowboys and a good ole fashioned adventure?
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