Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on August 31, 2015 | 6 Comments

Review: Vengeance Road by Erin BowmanVengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Published by Houghton Mifflin (9.1.2015)
Genres: Historical Fiction, Western, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 336 pages
Source: NetGalley

2.5 Stars

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.

My thoughts

Gold makes monsters of men.

Hmm. This review is hard to write, because I’m not exactly sure how I feel about this book. It’s not the kind of story that I would typically even consider picking up, because I’m not really into westerns or anything remotely historical. But, I was in the mood for something different from my usual sci-fi or fantasy novel, and this one sounded interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed Rae Carson’s Walk the Earth a Stranger, and this one sounded similar.

And it was. I cringe to compare any book to another, but after reading Carson’s western, this one seemed kind of like a watered down version of it. Girl’s family is murdered over gold, girl dresses like a boy and sets out for revenge (and finds romance along the way).

In a book like this where there’s not much happening plot-wise, and little to no world building necessary, there has to be a big emphasis on characterization and relationships. I feel like that part of this book fell short.

Not that I didn’t enjoy this book, because I did. There’s something about Bowman’s writing that hooks you in and keeps you reading. I liked how the speech was fitting for a western, too. And surprisingly it wasn’t hard to read.

The twist at the end was interesting, but maybe a bit overplayed, or farfetched, even? Something about it irked me, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. Somehow that twist just didn’t work for me.

While I mostly enjoyed this book while reading it, I’m sad to say that it probably won’t make a lasting impression.

Favorite quotes

[…]Pa told me that nearly every battle people face is in their heads. If you think you can’t do something, you won’t. If you believe you can, it’s only a matter of time before you will.

I never quite understood the purpose [of poetry]. Poetry don’t make yer crops grow better or keep Apache from raiding yer land. It’s just a bunch of flowery words that could mean any number of things depending on yer interpretation. I think it’s a heck of a lot less trouble to just say what you mean.
Lmao, yes! This is how I feel about poetry, haha.

One blasted wink and I got knots in my stomach? A wink from eyes that ain’t never been opened properly to begin with! Maybe it were a twitch, a squinty flinch or something. Maybe a bug flew in his eye.
I think up more theories as I try to find sleep, ‘cus I ain’t fond of it. I talked with Morris plenty in Prescott and never felt like my stomach were in my boots. Something’s wrong with me. I gotta drink more water tomorrow, watch how much sun I get. This rough land’s doing something to my head.

Overall Assessment

Plot: 3.5/5
Premise: 3.5/5
Writing style: 4/5
Originality: 3.5/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 4/5
Feels: 1/5
Cover: 4.5/5
Overall rating: 2.5/5

Jessi (Geo)

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6 responses to “Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

  1. I’ve been seeing talks about this book everywhere, and while it might be hyped, I feel like I’m the only one not interested in reading this book. I do love it though that the author’s writing managed to make the book a little bit better. :)

  2. I really enjoyed this one but I’ve never read another YA western before so I really enjoyed the unique (at least to me) concept. I’ll have to check out Walk the Earth a Stranger!

    Loved the dialogue in this one and the twists were fantastic!

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