This book was a wild ride from start to finish, and I enjoyed every moment! Right off the bat you hear Kate’s thoughts with an unmistakable Western accent. It really sets you up for the mood of this book, and what can I say? I want more Western YA books in my life.
Our main character Kate Thompson is on the road to revenge after seeing her father hanged from the very first chapter. Instead of curling up in a ball and crying like I would, Kate bottles up her rage and focuses it on getting retribution from the Rose Riders who did it. I adore Kate’s character and loved seeing her transform throughout the book. She was gritty and determined, but towards the end she also learned some unforgettable lessons that she took to heart.
Following up on that is the fun cast of characters that Kate sees in her travels. The Colton brothers, Will and Jesse, have awesome interactions with her and starts following her with their own goals in mind. We also see an Apache girl become a guide for these travelers, which proved a catalyst for some growth in certain characters. What I love most about this ragtag group, however, is that they’re not perfect. We have conflicts and disagreements going all over the place, but in the end it’s totally worth it to see our characters develop and overcome those obstacles.
Bowman writes the Wild West atmosphere of this book with perfection. The accents help a lot, but overall I was really immersed in the whole Western feel of the book. There were some actual familiar characters from history mixed in with fictional ones, which was pretty awesome! I love it when authors can incorporate real people into their historical fiction; it certainly gives off a nice, realistic flourish. I felt as if I were the one playing cards at the table, or walking down the streets of a dusty town, or cocking a pistol at a cactus.
There was an unexpected plot twist towards the end that I really don’t have any feelings about. I kind of wish it was expanded on rather than have everything introduced and ended with one scene, because then I’d care a bit more. In the end, it helped our lovely characters develop and realize that although revenge is justice in one’s eyes, there’s a point where it stoops you to as low as the person who did wrong in the first place.
So saddle up cowboy, because you’re in for a wild ride with Vengeance Road! From dynamic characters to a grand adventure to a setting that you just want to dip your toes in, this book will not leave you disappointed.