Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: Vengeance Road

Erin Bowman
Young Adult/Historical
336 pages
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Available Now
Source: BEA

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When hers 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.

Vengeance Road is gripping from first page to last, sucking us immediately into Kate’s story as her world burns down and revenge rises from its ashes. From the moment she finds her father’s body we’re taken on a darkly beautiful journey, the richness of the setting and the authenticity of the dialect drawing us even deeper into Kate’s life as she seeks to return the brutal favor bestowed upon her father.

Kate is a young woman who could have made it exceedingly difficult to really like her, revenge having a way of casting a character in so many shadows and shades of gray that it becomes nearly impossible to find the real person they mask. Instead, what we find is a girl who sets out with dark purpose but who isn’t so blinded by her need for vengeance that she literally rides in with guns blazing without the benefit of any kind of plan or forethought. While she might have done just that without the Colton boys there to intervene, she listens to them and allows their logic to filter through the haze of her anger until she sees reason.

The romance between Kate and Jesse is woven beautifully into this story, the two of them at odds for majority of the book (due in large part to the fact that both Jesse and his brother Will believe Kate to be a boy when they first meet her), but while they take verbal swings at one another on a daily basis, their relationship never comes across as frustrating. Rather than drama for the sake of drama or a couple that runs hot one day and cold the next, Kate and Jesse feel utterly genuine, caught up in a number of emotional and physical conflicts that never once act as a reminder that we’re reading a piece of fiction thanks to the over the top nature of what unfolds.

Overall, Ms. Bowman delights with Vengeance Road, giving us a heroine to root for with every fiber of our being, a villain to hate with gleeful intensity, and a subtle romance to keep a dopey grin plastered to our faces just when we need it most.

Rating: 4.5/5

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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.


  1. Kate looks like a great heroine to discover and I confess that I want to know more about the romance now.

  2. Ohh I love a girl who comes in guns blazing! Damn, this sounds good.

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed VENGEANCE ROAD much more than I did! I have to say that it's nice that Kate wasn't impulsive with her revenge - she was indeed a very thoughtful girl! The romance personally didn't work for me, but I'm happy you liked it. Beautifully written review, Jenny!

  4. Great review Jenny, I love how the world here is really well built and I really love the sound of the spark behind Kate's character.

  5. Fantastic review Jenny! I also adored this one! At first the dialect took me a lil to get used to, but once I did, I couldn't imagine the book written any other way!
    And that ending with Little Women? *swoons*

  6. A YA historical??? I'll have to check this one out! :)

  7. Wonderful review, Jenny! Books dealing with revenge often don’t work for me, glad to hear that the author managed to create a likable heroine.

  8. Aaahhh! Jenny so many people have loved this. So happy you did as well. I can tell this will be a must read for me this year! Hopefully I can add it to the pile and actually get to it soon!

  9. Yay, Jenny! I'm so glad that you enjoyed this just as much as I did. I loved that Kate was so smart too and I 100% agree with you on the romance. I definitely shipped it hard. :)
    Fantastic review, Jenny!

  10. I can't wait to read this one and am so glad that it lived up to all the hype! I've been worried about reading it after so many gushing reviews but I think I'm just bound to love it. Also: romance! ;) Great review, Jenny!

  11. I really loved this one too especially since I have always lived in the Wild West. I love a good western. I wish there were more of these out there.

  12. I'm starting this right now, Jenny, and while a lot of things sound amazing, I think I'll find the dialect to be the most interesting part. Linguist, you know? What can you do? I did just finish Walk on Earth a Stranger and loved it, and since I understand that there are some similarities, I'll probably love this one as well.

  13. This sounds fantastic, and I love the cover! Great review. :D

  14. This was sooo so good, I just finished it a few days ago and I loved it!

  15. I am loving all these westerns that are hitting YA right now, and this one is at the top of my pile. ALSO, I almost always like vengeful heroines, LOL. Great review, Jenny!

  16. I wasn't so sure about reading this one, Jenny, but your review has me second guessing!

  17. ANOTHER GREAT review for this one?! Oh I need this and I need it bad! I love how you described how it completely sucked you in and how the characters and their ship shined something fierce! Gah! I must get my hands on this little gem :D Fantastic review as always Jenny xxxx

  18. I have been really curious about this book, the praise has been wonderful but I'm not a huge fan of historicals or westerns - it does sound unique though and I like the sound of Kate and the romance.

    A great review! Sharon - Obsession with Books