Balzer + Bray
Available February 2nd
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.
Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.
But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.
Revenge and the Wild is a dark and twisted tale, one full of blood and horror that won't soon be forgotten, but also one featuring a charmingly flawed heroine who brings a smile to our faces just when the darkness threatens to overwhelm.
Westie is the type of young woman who sends the gently bred ladies of her creature-infested town screaming in terror, a badass mechanical arm the perfect fit for her unapologetic attitude and delightfully foul mouth. She doesn't care what anyone thinks save those who are closest to her, is in possession of quite possibly the thinnest brain-to-mouth filter in existence, and to top it all off fights (and sometimes loses) a daily battle to stay sober. As a result of her addiction she often makes decisions we wish she wouldn't and seeks a magical cure for her alcoholism rather than trying to find the strength to do it on her own, but while those things may sound as though they would be frustrating for us as readers, the way in which Westie is written simply makes her feel human instead. She's a patchwork of impressive faults and inspiring strengths, and certainly one of the most memorable characters to ever strut across the pages of young adult fiction.
In addition to the dual mystery surrounding the arrival of cannibals in town and the major issue of magic disappearing from Westie's world, there's also the development of a friends to lovers romance between Westie and fellow cannibal-survivor Alistair. There are a number of guys who flit in and out of Westie's orbit in this tale, but her heart is Alistair's alone and their relationship is one full of the type of tension and pain that can only come from a longtime friendship on the cusp of something more. The romance definitely takes a backseat to the revenge plot, but it's prominent enough to give those like myself who live for a little swoon in their stories something to smile about.
Overall Revenge and the Wild will likely not be a story for everyone, the gore of the cannibal attacks paired with a protagonist who's a bull in the china shop of polite society a recipe that might turn a number of readers away, but there's something undeniably fascinating about the darkness of this world and its beautifully damaged inhabitants.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.