Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on September 1st 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure
Amazon | Book Depository | Angus & Robertson
Add to Goodreads
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.
What a cracking Western! I’m not usually a fan of the Western setting, but Vengeance Road captured it perfectly – the quickfire gun draws, the sprawling Western setting, and a cracker of a heroine. It is written in such an authentic voice, with a strong heroine and an exciting adventure, that I ended up absolutely loving it.
Written in a Southern drawl, the book tells the story of Kate as she poses as a boy in her quest to avenge her father. Kate is an absolute cracker of a heroine; she’s brash, feisty, daring and totally driven. She answers to absolutely no one but herself, and isn’t afraid of going after what she wants. I loved her smart choice of words, her bold moves and her reckless disregard for safety. Kate shows us that you can do anything that you set your mind to, which I found inspiring.
Hellbent on her mission, Kate has absolutely no time for anything but her mission, but she does find some accomplices – the broody Jesse and the easygoing Will, who are cowboys with demons of their own. I loved their banter with one another, and how they related to Kate firstly as a pretend boy, and later when they discover she’s a woman. Her cautious friendship with Will and constant bickering with Jesse presented an interesting contrast to the story’s grittier interior.
“Who’s got time for reading when there’s crops to tend and herds to drive? It’s a luxury, Jesse. It ain’t nothing worthwhile.”
The secondary characters were fantastic, as Will, Jesse and the Apache girl Liluye had personalities that leapt off the pages. Will’s easygoing humour, Jesse’s stubborn nature and Liluye’s quiet assertiveness were all well fleshed out. I loved their dynamic with one another, and how each and every one of them had something to add to the journey. Jesse’s prejudice against Liluye did however, rub me the wrong way at times, highlighting how ignorant people can be of one’s culture.
Vengeance Road is filled to the brim with adventure, as the trio travel through jaunty saloons, dusty old plains, rocky outcrops and superstitious gold mines. There’s lots of shootouts and danger as they’re being chased by the murderous Rose Riders. Everyone in the wild west is motivated by gold and riches, which are hidden in a superstitious gold mine in Apache (Indian) territory. The story is fast paced and flows really easily, as Kate and the gang constantly try and escape each other. The adventure was exciting, full of twists and turns and I was glued to it’s pages.
I wanna start living again without this boiling, vile blackness inside me, this scar that feels like it’s never any closer to healing. I wanna move on.
I liked how there was a slight romance that didn’t take over the story. Kate and Jesse have an antagonistic relationship, and they don’t form a romantic connection until much later in the story. I liked how they took the time to get to know each other, both focused on their mission before taking an interest in anything more. They’re both incredibly stubborn and set in their own ways, and only after they recognised their commonality did it start to mean something more.
I absolutely loved Vengeance Road with it’s strong driven characters, authentic Western setting and gritty quest for vengeance. From the quickfire shootouts, saloons, goldmines, cowboys and their horses, there’s so much to love here and I binge read it in two days. It’s also a refreshing standalone that doesn’t drag out unnecessarily, and I loved getting that closure and satisfaction after reading it.
Rating: 5 out of 5