If You'd Reckoned It'd Be Worth A Bag Of Gold To Go Hunting The Outlaws Who Killed Yer Pa You'd Be Right - Vengeance Road (review)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
TITLE: Vengeance Road
AUTHOR: Erin Bowman
RELEASE DATE: September 1st, 2015
PUBLISHER: HMH Books for Young Readers
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“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.”


When I first saw Vengeance Road, I reckoned it would be my kind of book. There is just something about the wild west that has captured my heart for as long as I can remember. After all, I was practically raised on a steady diet of westerns since I was a babe.

There was never any doubt I wanted to read this book.

From the first page of this book, I was in love. This wasn't just a book set in out west in the appropriate time period to be considered a western. Oh no, the world building was so much more in depth than that. "Yer." "Ain't" "Reckon." Every single word out of Kate's mouth or thought in her head pulled me right into the story. 

Reading Vengeance Road was just like watching a western movie play along in my head.

Paper Bindings - Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman - 4/5 Stars
One sentence was all it took me to fall. 

Kate was a badass. 

Oh sure, she was just a girl who'd lost her father in a violent way, and came to terms with it the only way she knew how: killing the gang of outlaws responsible to satisfy her need for revenge. And sure, she wasn't thinking, and was letting her grief push her in a direction she might never have gone otherwise. But there was not one second in this book where I question her ability to ride long distances, track the Rose gang, out shoot the boys, or anything else she accomplished in the 300+ pages.

I'm a bit torn on the boys. On one hand I liked 'em.

Both Will and Jesse were interesting characters. They're opposites in just about every way they can be, except their loyalty, I never once questioned their drive to protect each other. They have this sort of sparing/teasing relationship that kept making me laugh, which made the bits with Kate posing as a boy extra fun because they treated her like an extension of the family. 

On the other, I didn't like them much at all.

I really cannot say why either. But somewhere along the line, my feelings towards both boys changed quite a bit. I cannot blame them for their actions, because I cannot really fault them for their reasons, but the two lost a bit of my favor about mid-way through the story.

Romance wise...

I do think that Jesse and Kate are perfect for each other. They have the right blend of similarities and differences to keep the relationship balanced and fun. Who else is going to keep each other in check anyways? Plus, I'm a big fan of frienemies to lovers trope. 

As much as I liked the idea of them together, I think I liked the individuals the two of them became at the end of the book more. I loved the promise the ending set up, the promise of who they could be.

Did it matter if they ended up together and rode happily ever after off into the sunset on horseback? Not a bit. They could be great together or they could be great apart. It really kept the book from forcing us to believe they had to end up together because just there was a romance plot line in the novel. And I shipped them all that much more because of it.

My biggest issue with this book...

...was that the entire time I was reading this book, I felt as if I already read this book.

I've never read a YA western before, or any western really, so I knew it wasn't that. Vengeance Road was just released and I haven't read any previews that might exist in the world (are there any?) so it wasn't that either. 

But very early on I knew a certain scene/bit of plot was going to occur. And if you've read the book, I can guarantee that it is probably not what you're thinking since the scene was relatively minor compared to those around it. But with enough unique details that I shouldn't have had this deja vu feeling. 

Maybe the plot was just that predictable, because I was able to guess a few of the stories major turning points without much thought. But then again, there was that one bit at the end that took me by surprise. So maybe not.

All I know is I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if that nagging thought would have left me alone.


I loved Vengeance Road. I'm sad to say that it is a standalone novel because I would love to have more in this world. The characters were fun and real, and I had the adventure of a lifetime leaning about the cost of vengeance with them.

"Life don't care 'bout sorry's. "Bad things happen, and you can't let 'em harden you." (Will)

"Money’s supposed to fix problems, not give you more, but I guess life ain’t that straightforward."

"When I were first learning to shoot a rifle, Pa told me that nearly every battle people face is in their heads."


  1. This looks really interesting, but I'm not usually a fan of the 'girl pretends to be a boy' trope. Do you think I'd like it anyway?

    1. It's not so much as she's pretending to be a boy, just that she doesn't tell them she's a girl and lets them believe she is a guy. More out of self-preservation for the time period. So I think you'll like it.

  2. I loved this book, and was able to read an early copy earlier on in the year. I agree that I was hooked from the first sentence, but I didn't feel like it was anything I've ever seen before. I haven't read any westerns either, YA or otherwise, but I do get that some bits were a bit predictable. I'm glad you still enjoyed it though.

    Sophie @ Sophie Reads YA

    1. Maybe it was just me feeling like I already read it before. (Hope so.) But if could have been that, like you said, it was predictable at times. Still was a wonderful book though. Glad to hear you loved it as well.

      Thank you for stopping by.


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