Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Vengeance Road by Erin BowmanVengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Series: Vengeance Road #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children on September 1, 2015
Genres: Adventure, Historical, Romance, Western
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
AmazonThe 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.

You know, I always thought of western as one of the genres I didn’t like. If you asked me what genres I avoid, I probably would have told you mysteries, religious, and western. Well spit on my neck and call me Pardner because apparently I DO like westerns. Who knew! The problem apparently isn’t so much the genre itself but what westerns generally entail. A bunch of dudes duding it up on a ranch dudely is so not my jam, unless maybe the dudes also fall in love, but even then I don’t know. However, give me a badass heroine, some romance, and some genderbending, and I adore westerns. Vengeance Road proved to be a delightful surprise that I couldn’t put down.

At the start, Vengeance Road reminded me heavily of Walk on Earth a Stranger. The heroine’s father is murdered for gold, leaving her alone. Then she dresses like a boy and heads out on the road. From that point on though, everything else was different, which I very much appreciated. See, all Kate wants is vengeance, which shouldn’t really surprise you based on the title. Kate’s going to kill every single one of the men who strung up her daddy, even if they are some of the scariest outlaws in the west. You don’t fuck with Kate.

Kate’s one of those heroines who doesn’t really have interest in most of the ladylike qualities. She works hard. She’s skilled with a rifle and not afraid of pain. Also, she’s sassy as hell and doesn’t let anyone boss her around. She’s also fiercely independent. Basically, I loved her because duh. Underneath her gruffness, though, there’s a softer side to Kate, and she’s a good person to anyone who doesn’t wrong her.

Often books about vengeance have this really huge moral: vengeance doesn’t help. Well, one thing I love about Vengeance Road a lot is that it’s not that kind of moral, preachy book. Kate wants vengeance and the whole book is about her trying to get it, without wavering. Sure, vengeance won’t solve the problem of her dad being dead, but also it’s not like she had anything else to do after being left alone. The journey’s good for her, even if her motive is a dark one.

Vengeance Road doesn’t shy away from the darkness or the death at all actually. Kate actually does kill a bunch of men in this book. And, you know what? She doesn’t feel guilty at all. Except about the one man she’d hoped to scare off and not kill. But any man in the crew that killed her dad, she murders with a free conscience. Generally women aren’t portrayed so hardened in fiction, and I love that Kate’s able to go out and shoot em up like this.

As you might expect, Vengeance Road is a fast-paced adventure, and I raced through it. There are a lot of shoot outs and attacks and also some sexy swims and abs. So yeah. It’s some pleasant reading time all around. As always with genderbending, there’s also a lot about being a woman in the past and how it sucked. Bowman includes diversity as well, with a positive Apache character and Kate herself being half-Mexican. I am all for this trend of historical fiction centered on women and minorities. More of this stuff please.

The romance is super excellent and a nice contrast to the intensity of the rest of the story. For those who aren’t romance fans, it’s not overwhelming to the plot at all, so don’t worry about that. Kate’s actually super hilarious with a crush, because she’s sort of like wtf is my body even doing STAHP. She and Jesse don’t hit it off from the get go and do a lot of fighting before admitting their feelings. I’m a big fan of them. It’s hard not to ship it when it’s hate to love in a historical and the dude is supportive of the girl’s quest for murder. I mean.

So yeah, Vengeance Road is awesome. You should totally read it.

Favorite Quote:

“Now for the love of God, lower that damn pistol.”

“All right,” I says.

And I do.

Right after I shoot him through the skull.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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2 responses to “Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman”

  1. fakesteph says:

    This is the second review of this I’ve read today and it sounds right up my alley! I think I’m going to have to see if my library has it and get them to order it if they don’t.

  2. The fact that this reminded you of Walk on earth a stranger is enough for me. This book is going on my wishlist. A kick-ass heroin who wants vengeance and dresses up as a boy? Oh yes! It’s good to hear that the romance doesn’t overpower the story 🙂
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