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9.16.2015

Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowen

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowen
Notes: ARC received via Amazon Vine.
Young Adult, Historical, Western, Romance
Ebook/Print (336 pages, MHM BOOKS)
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. Author Site: website

Squandered Potential (3 stars)

I'm going to blame the phenomenal graphic novel PRETTY DEADLY for giving me really high expectations when I pick up a western read with a female protagonist. Or maybe I'll blame the cover artist who made VENGEANCE ROAD so dang pretty that I expected too much from it. Either way it was one of those books that started out promising but wound up dragging for chapter after chapter and then gave one way-too-obvious clue as to the climax.

My overall disappointment with the story aside, it wasn't bad just not quite as exciting and mysterious as I had anticipated. I love stories where a young woman disguises herself and has a great adventure and Kate was pretty awesome. The Colton brothers were an enjoyable contrast to one another and the way they interacted with Kate both before and after she gets revealed. Not everyone will love the way the writing is done but I love a first person novel that has an accent or dialect that gives it a voice. Additionally, there's an enjoyable set of author's notes about what inspired VR and how she researched the setting and era that I loved.

While I found VR wasn't what I thought it had the potential to be I'd still recommend it. As long as you don't go in expecting lots of horseback chases and shoot-outs, and a somewhat lighter western than the True Grit comparison implies I think you'll find it enjoyable. Especially if you like seeing a young woman on the path to revenge.

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