Genre: Young Adult, Western
Year Published: 2015
I received an advanced readers copy of this novel courtesy of the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.
A young adult Western novel, Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman follows 18 year old Kate Thompson in 1877 Arizona. Seeking revenge for her father’s murder, Kate goes on a journey and picks up some friends along the way that help her take revenge on her father’s death. Along the way, Kate and her companions encounter love, friendships, and a shoot-out or two, all the while uncovering secrets about the Thompson family past
This was my first Western novel, let alone my first young adult Western novel. As far as I know, there aren’t that many like it on the market. Western doesn’t seem to be a popular genre in the young adult medium, but I think Erin Bowman has done quite a good job in introducing this genre to a younger, yet still mature, audience.
Kate is a very strong and willful character. I was especially surprised of her resilience after her father was murdered and how she immediately knew what she wanted to do: go after the men that killed him. I really appreciated her in that way, and I wish I could be as strong a person as she is. I do wish that her world was built a little bit more before the story of her journey to avenger her father began. The story pretty much jumps right into it, and although her life before her father’s death is alluded to throughout the novel, I still wish there was a little bit more background to her and her family before the main events of the book began.
All of the other characters in the novel—Jesse, Will, Liluye, etc.—were enjoyable and each of them served their plot purposes quite well. I wish I could have seen a little bit more of Liluye, as she was quite intriguing, but at the same time I am content with the amount of presence and importance she held in the novel. Jesse and Will were a pleasure to read, and I believe that everything that happens to them is tastefully done and there is no overkill in their individual fates.
I did see the plotwist at the end of the novel coming just a few paragraphs before it happened, and to be honest I could have done without it, but it was still an interesting twist. Overall, Vengeance Road was quite enjoyable and I am glad it was my first Western. If you are interested in young adult and are looking for something to introduce you into the world of Western, Vengeance Road will introduce it to you quite well!