Publishing Info: September 1, 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 19, 2015
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’ve never read a Western before — honestly not one Western that I can recall — so I was both nervous and excited to read VENGEANCE ROAD! The extent of my Western pop culture knowledge pretty much comes from Back to the Future Part III, so that about sums up my tangles with the Wild West. VENGEANCE ROAD was a fun and fast-paced read that quickly dissolved and qualms I had about reading something so different for me in the realm of historical fiction and I’m so glad I was able to read and enjoy!
The book took off for me pretty quickly. Right away, there was a little bit of action and I immediately took to Kate’s character. She was spunky, determined, and tough as nails and she made a great heroine for this revenge story! I honestly loved how ruthless she was and I don’t normally root for people to seek out revenge but the atmosphere of the Wild West just totally demanded that Kate got her vengeance. There were also some really nice twists in the book! Some I could see coming but others were just a total surprise! I really enjoyed how Erin Bowman put this story together and brought readers on the journey right alongside Kate.
The setting was just excellent. I really could picture myself with the characters the whole time and Erin Bowman did a great job at really making this world come alive! I definitely picked up the desert-vibe as well as the time period and it was so fun to envision myself going on a journey with these characters (although thankfully I didn’t have to endure the peril that they did)!
One of the great things about this book is that is that for a non-historical fiction person like me, it felt more like a book full of action in a specific setting. I shy away from a lot of historical pieces because I’m just not a history person so I don’t usually enjoy all of the implied references, historical settings, and characters based on actual people. I supposed it’s not that I don’t enjoy them but without the extensive historical background, I’m not able to appreciate them as much. VENGEANCE ROAD certainly does have all of those things but if you’re not a history buff, you don’t feel like those things are going right over your head. It was also a very different time period and physical location than I’m used to with a lot of historical fiction so it was definitely fun and fresh for me!
If you’re unsure of VENGEANCE ROAD for any reason, I don’t think you need to worry. It was a truly picturesque book with some excellent action and a really stand-out heroine to boot. I think readers will really enjoy!
“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Kate // Character Obsessions: Revenge, family, survival.
I really loved Kate. Right away I connected with her and I sort of loved how cold and ruthless she was. I also think I’m a sucker for any character who starts out cold and full of hate and softens a bit. I love that she never gave up her mission though she did learn to compromise. She was so strong and just really fun to read about.
Kept Me Hooked On: Westerns. Heyyyyy, I like Westerns? Well, maybe. This book opened the door to other ones though and made me feel comfortable to try them!
Left Me Wanting More: Emotion. I’m not sure if it was because Kate was so hell-bent on her revenge mission (which I enjoyed) but I felt like I could have connected JUST a bit more emotionally. Sometimes it’s me and a book or me and a character but I was left wanting juuuust a bit more to really pull me in!
This was a lot of fun! It was quick, well-written, and had some really nice characters. A really fun read for me.
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(Click the cover to see my review!)