Book Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman


Image courtesy of Erin Bowman’s newsletter.

The more that people publish YA westerns, the more YA westerns I end up reading. There’s something about the Old West setting with its gold prospecting, shoot outs, and saloons that bring out awesome characters and classic stories. This is the case in Erin Bowman’s Vengeance Road, the story of a girl named Kate who disguises herself as a boy in order to seek revenge on the outlaws who killed her parents in the name of gold.

Reasons YOU Should Be Reading Vengeance Road

  1. The Wild West, Y’all
    Kate’s world is one where the law isn’t always around to help you out, one where gold and guns make the rules. There’s danger in both nature and man, and the characters constantly have to think about their surroundings in order to stay alive. It’s not a setting often seen in YA novels, so it makes for a more unique reading experience.
  2. Kate is a Fierce, Flawed Heroine.
    Kate Thompson is a badass lady I can get behind. After her father is murdered by the Rose Riders, she takes matters into her own hands by masquerading as a boy to go after her father’s murderers. She’s determined, reckless, and ruthless in her quest. On the flip side, Kate is impulsive and brash; quick to throw herself and others into dangerous situations in order to get her revenge.
  3. Slow Burn Romance
    Romance is the furthest thing from Kate’s mind when she (re)meets Jesse and his brother Will at their homestead. Her constant bickering with Jesse eventually leads to a spark, but it’s their ability to understand each other’s grief that ends up truly bonding them together. It’s a deeper relationship than I was expecting.
  4. A Good Old Fashioned Revenge Story
    It’s a classic for a reason. The simplicity of vengeance driving the entire force of the story was refreshing.
  5. Truly Dangerous Villains
    Rose and his Riders are far from the over-the-top or cartoonish outlaws one would expect to see in a western. These men were ruthless, violent killers with a cruel streak a mile wide. Their unwillingness to let anyone stand in the way of their gold (even each other) brought a real sense of urgency and danger to the story.

Watch the book trailer here:

Overall, I found Erin Bowman’s Vengeance Road to be a unique, fierce story. The only drawback for me was the language; while I found Bowman’s ability to consistently use vernacular impressive, it was rather alienating for the first half of the story or so. Regardless, a solid story that I’d recommend to fans of historical fiction, fierce ladies, and books like Stacey Lee’s Under a Painted Sky.

Rating: 7/10.

Read the first three chapters HERE.

Buy Vengeance Road from your choice of bookstore HERE.

Bri is a 25-year-old born and raised in the swamps of Jersey. Just kidding, she lives at least twenty minutes from those swamps. She’s a publishing professional that moonlights as a writer. She enjoys going to concerts (anything from Rooney to Springsteen to NKOTBSB), roadtripping, and complaining that she truly belongs in the 1950’s, the 1920′s, or the 1980′s depending on her mood. She definitely owns more books than she should and reads every chance she gets. If you stop hearing from her, it’s because the book piles have fallen over and smothered her to death in the night. You can contact her at Twitter: @bri_lockhart
  • I got my hands on the ARC a few months ago, but I sadly couldn’t get past the first chapter. I felt like it read like a parody of western fiction.