Vengeance Road

Vengeance Road

Book - 2015
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When her father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers--and justice.
Publisher: Boston ; New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2015]
ISBN: 9780544466388
0544466381
Characteristics: 327 pages : illustration ; 22 cm

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AL_LAURA Jul 30, 2017

A hidden gold mine worth murdering over. A daughter set out to avenge her father. Raw and rugged, I couldn't put it down

AL_KATI Jun 26, 2017

Bloody, gruesome and fun with a bit o' treasure and lots o' bullets. If you liked the spunky attitude of Mattie in "True Grit," you'll find a kindred spirit in Kate.

a
akzfineart
Dec 02, 2016

What do you get when you combine the West with revenge? Erin Bowman’s Vengeance Road. I don’t think I’ve read a better Western-themed novel in a long time. Her combination of fiction and fact to create this Western-set world is stunning and finishing it gave me that feel-good moment, like watching Old Yeller or reading Little House on the Prairie. Laura Ingalls was one of my favourite authors growing up, so it was great connecting that with Vengeance Road. This novel has tough, gritty characters that are neither black or white, but grey and fast-paced writing that leaves you stunned at every turn of the page. Erin Bowman presents us with the memorable work that is Vengeance Road.

The main character, Kate Thompson has been shaped and formed by the world she lives in, giving us this rough character bent on revenge. Kate might even be considered the anti-protagonist, determined to kill the ones who killed her father in cold-blood, aka the Rose Riders. Yet, the reader is still rooting for Kate because her morals are better than the Rose Riders, who don’t care whether the people they hurt are innocent or not. Not only that but Kate grows to have a lot of regrets about her actions, so we see she doesn’t take things lightly. As the novel progresses, Kate reveals more of herself to her companions, Jesse and Will Colton and Liluye, and we see a softer side to this incredibly grey character. I think the most surprising part about her is her love for an edition of Little Women, given as a gift by her father, which ends up being her most treasured possession. Other characters in turn reveal things about themselves. We have Jesse who tells about how he watched his mother die, and how that effected his relationship with his father. Bowman’s characters carry themselves with this hard shell, necessary for surviving, but character development is huge and the cast learns a lot about each other and themselves.

Getting to the writing and voice, this was probably one of the strongest parts of Vengeance Road. I was totally and completely inside Kate’s head. This was due to Bowman having the diction represent Kate’s voice and how she’d sound if you had the chance to speak with her – which would be awesome, unless of course you’re a Rose Rider! Kate was taught to read and write by her father so she’s not completely uneducated, but she never went to school (the school having been built when she was 12). Bowman create’s a balance of improper and proper grammar, fitting with the environment Kate’s grown up in. Furthermore, the action is fast-paced and there’s never a dull moment. The plot twists are real, ripping open both the characters’ heart and my own in ways we never saw coming. This heartache and despair is the sort of thing that makes a good Western book or movie – with it we know we’re living in the real world! There was one plot twist that took me by complete surprise, I was hoping the author would come in and say, “just kidding!’. Bowman’s writing captures both Kate and the West extraordinarily well.

There were a few things I disliked about Vengeance Road. In the beginning of the novel, after Kate sets out on her search for the Rose Riders, she’s in search of a man called Abe. I was originally confused with this because I thought he was a member of the gang, but it turned out he was a friend of Kate’s father, and if anything were to happen to him, Kate was to find Abe. Something else I’m conflicted about are the ghost stories surrounding the Superstition Mountains – where the gold the Rose Riders are seeking is said to be. My first impression was that we’d hear about it earlier on and more frequently. I did enjoy the way the author set it up, but I am a huge fan of myths and legends so I’m at odds.
I received a free eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

s
silentmelody
Jul 28, 2016

I really enjoyed the plot line of the book, and the personalities/emotion of all of the characters. I would definitely recommend this book on your summer reading list, or just a simple reading list in general. A must-read!

s
sophiahart3
Jul 11, 2016

This book is all about revenge. In the beginning Kate finds her father hanging from a tree in front of her burning house. From then on she goes to find the men who killed her dad.
This story is about grit and determination and it is a real page - turner.

KateHillier Apr 15, 2016

It's 1870s Arizona. Kate Thompson finds her father hanging from a tree in front of her burning house. From that moment onward Kate has one thought on her mind: revenge. If this sounds a bit like True Grit to you you're probably right except Kate is all too happy to do the dirty work herself.

Just because it's a YA book do not assume this subject matter is dealt with gently. As I said, Kate has no qualms about what she has to do and how she has to go about it to get the men who murdered her father. She does meet allies along the way but everyone is using each other for their own purposes even when they really aren't. There is a bit of a love story that does show up but I really like how it's handled.

I also really, really loved Kate as a character. The whole book is written in dialect (which worked very well here) and it really helps you get into the spirit of the book and into her head even without the first person perspective.

Another great point: a lot of characters learn a lot of lessons and it doesn't come off trite or moralizing at all. People start to change and make different choices before the book announces it, which is big bonus points for me.

All in all, loved this one.

b
BobStutz
Dec 10, 2015

Unlike the previous reviewer I found this a delightful book full of twist and turns that you never quite expected. A real page turner that kept me up till the wee hours of the morning. Although it is starts out about revenge it ends up following a different path with a reassessment of values and hope for the future.

b
Blue_Crow_2
Nov 14, 2015

I don't like when books are written in dialects (is that how you say it?), when it's written the way it's spoken, with improper grammar. It makes it hard to read.

The book started off pretty intense, but I kinda lost interest halfway and by the time I was 2/3rds of the way in I just started skimming very, very quickly. I wouldn't say I completely lost interest, because I still finished the book and wanted to see the ending, but I was no longer really interested in what the main character had to say (she started blabbing a lot towards the end.) Anyway, I guess it was good in that it didn't support moral absolutism? Main characters stayed racists throughout the whole book, which sounds really bad put that way, but I guess that's how things were back then. It would have been unrealistic for their minds to have been changed completely, but their opinions did change, so I think that was handled pretty well.

It was average. Pick it up if you'd like, you may enjoy it more than I did!

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akzfineart
Dec 02, 2016

akzfineart thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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