Wednesday, October 7, 2015

look at her go: reviewin' reviewin': Vengeance Road

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman



synopsis: Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her 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.


Full review under the cut!

Oh wow, what can I say about this book? I mean, for me, someone who has little interest in westerns beyond reading the Oregon Trail diary from the "Dear America" series when I was 10, I wasn't expecting to love this book as much as I did. The reason I decided to read it in the first place was 50% because of the cover (GORGEOUS) and 50% because I wanted to try something new. And honestly, this turned out to be one of my favorite reads of the year.

We open our story on Kate Thompson, who has just had her world pulled out from under her. Her father has been hanged, her house burned down, and she has nothing left except her pistol and the anger that is inside of her. Thus begins her journey through Arizona, hunting down the men, the gang, who did this to her father, picking up some unlikely friends and getting into a fair few fights along the way. 

Honestly, I loved Kate. She's badass (she literally shoots a man in the head within the first forty pages. which i was so there for), but she's also just a scared girl who has lost everything that she loves. As the book gets started, she just does whatever it takes to get her through the day. Pack up what little she has. Get on her horse. Cut her hair, tuck it under her hat so she looks like a boy, ride. She's so determined and mechanical, not letting her grief truly sink in, because she needs to be focused on getting her revenge. However, she changes a lot through the course of the novel. She goes from acting with wild abandon with no concern for if she lives or dies to being someone stronger who knows how to live and move on on her own. I absolutely loved her character development. 

The people that Kate meets along the way, though not *as* badass as she is, rather grew on me as well. And by that I mean, WHERE are you Jesse Colton please fall in love with me!! I loved the dynamic between Will and Jesse, the brotherly love but also the bickering. It made me smile, and it totally helped that I was picturing Scott Eastwood as I read about them. I loved Liluye as well, though she was still pretty mysterious by the end of the novel. I loved the way she held fast to her beliefs, and that she wasn't afraid & didn't back down to anyone. All of these characters, though I loved them, had moments where I just wanted to smack them and yell "WHAT are you doing??" But I guess that was the point. They're all bad and good rolled into one, just like normal people, and they did good and bad things throughout the novel, but that doesn't make them villains, it just makes them real. 

I got really into the setting of this novel as well. As I said, I haven't read much, if anything, from this time period (except in history textbooks), and so I found myself completely fascinated by the culture and terrain. This book is written in a dialect ("yer" instead of "your" etc.) but if that worries you, don't let it, because I had no trouble at all with reading it. 

**spoiler time** One of my favorite scenes was when Jesse, Will and Kate are in Phoenix, and they're in that brothel that Will takes them to after Kate has been shot, and they find out Rose is in town so they come up with a plan kill him by making it seem like he's cheating at cards. And Kate has to put on that dress and she's like "where's my flannel I miss it oh my god this is way too low cut" and she goes downstairs and jesse is like *GRUNT* "this'll do" meanwhile inside he's really like "BEAUTIFUL GODDESS" (my words, not Bowman's) I cracked up because Kate gets all defensive but she doesn't realize that Jesse is completely in love with her. 

**another spoiler** then liluye comes to the group, spends about five minutes with them and is like "kate, jesse is in love with you" AH i just loved it. It made me smile so much.

So I loved all of this, right? The characters, the setting, the cute, funny parts that were sprinkled in all of the fighting and riding across the desert. But the main thing that cemented this book into five star territory for me were the plot twists. I gasped aloud as I was reading this at least four times that I can remember off the top of my head, and there were other times where I had to close the book for a moment to collect myself. Just when I thought everything was as it seemed, BAM, there was another plot twist that I totally never saw coming. (ESPECIALLY when they finally get to the mine in the very end and see who the ghost shooter was... if you've read it you know what i mean) Y'all, seriously, this book is great. It is very different from anything I've read in a long time, and I absolutely got sucked in on the very first page. 

I would highly highly recommend this book to you if you have even a kernel of interest in it!! 



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