Vengeance Road – Erin Bowman
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.
Review: When I found out that young adult westerns were a thing, I knew I had to read this book. Immediately.
Eighteen-year-old Kate comes home to find her father hanged and her house burned to the ground. She knows that this is the work of a gang called the Rose Riders, and she sets out to murder every one of them. Along the way, she gathers a band of friends to help her. But, getting revenge turns out to be much more complicated than they expected.
This is going to sound super messed up, but I love it when YA protagonists seriously try to murder people. So many of them set out to get revenge, but they never even attempt to kill anyone. It’s disappointing. This book is different because Kate doesn’t play around. She’s shooting at people within the first few pages. It is a western, after all. Kate is one of those unpredictable, morally gray characters that I love.
The action starts right away and never slows down. If you like thrillers, you’ll probably enjoy this book. There is also a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming.
I’ve spent my entire life in the western US, so I really like the setting of this story. The author does a wonderful job of describing the desert and the mountains.
There is some romance in the book. I’m usually not a huge fan of that stuff, but I didn’t mind it in this story. It’s a slow-burn romance that doesn’t take over the whole plot. The story is definitely about vengeance, not love. I found the relationship realistic and believable. Some of the banter between Kate and her love interest made me laugh.
I don’t have much criticism of this book because it’s pretty solid. I found a few inconsistencies in the western dialect, but that didn’t really bother me. I do wish that there had been more character development. The characters are interesting to read about, but I don’t feel like I got to know them very well. A few of them—especially the Native American characters—are too stereotypical for my tastes. I think the ending would have been more impactful if I had felt more connection to the characters.
This is a quick, entertaining read that is different from the usual YA book. It didn’t blow my mind or anything, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Also, that cover is amazing. I think I spent as much time staring at the book as I did reading it.