Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: September 1st 2015
Genres: 19th Century, Action & Adventure, Farm & Ranch Life, General, Girls & Women, Historical, Lifestyles, Love & Romance, United States, Westerns, Young Adult
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.
A few months ago I read and loved WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER, which I thought had spoiled me when it came to YA Westerns. I was totally wrong, because not only did I enjoy both WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER and VENGEANCE ROAD, the two were pretty different from each other.
“When I were first learning to shoot a rifle,
Pa told me that nearly every battle people face is in their heads.”
First I have to talk about the setting. It takes place in 1877 Arizona Territory and guess who has lived and/or been to more than half the locations on this trusty map? Yours truly. Needless to say, this book was extra special to me and incredibly fun. For those of you unfamiliar with the setting, I think you will be just as entranced as I was with Bowman’s vivid presentation of this gritty and wild environment. I wish it was summer here so I could take the book out and get some cool pictures with this in some actual Arizona settings. Fun fact: View Spoiler »The Lost Dutchman really is big in AZ, people do still go looking for it and die, usually due to not preparing for the 115 degree heat. « Hide Spoiler
Another huge positive was the incredibly past pacing. This is my second try at the book, I had started it before but was tripped up by the dialect (think Blood Red Road) but once I got past the first few pages I didn’t want to stop reading. There were absolutely no lulls in the story and there were twists that I didn’t predict at all; this book really did keep me on the edge of my seat while always being one step ahead of my predictions.
“Life don’t care ’bout sorry’s,” Will says.
“Bad things happen, and you can’t let ’em harden you.”
Kate is one hardcore heroine-in the best way possible. How refreshing it is to have a heroine who knows what she wants and goes after it, and Kate is after vengeance. She’s a total badass but we get to see the more vulnerable sides of her as well, so it’s easy to relate to her and understand her motives.
I do have to mention what I didn’t like about the book though, and that would be the other characters. While they were interesting, they lacked the depth Kate had and didn’t feel as authentic. Also, while I liked the idea of the romance, I don’t think it was executed well, and didn’t seem completely genuine.