Vengeance Road
by Erin Bowman

published on September 1st 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers
young adult | historical | Western | romance

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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 full of hate.

Book Review

I received a free digital copy of this book from Harlequin Teen for review. This did not affect my review in any way.


Vengeance Road is pure blood and grit. This may sound like a cutesy I-wanted-revenge-but-now-I-just-want-you romance based on the synopsis (and were you thinking, Love triangle alert! like I was?), but this book is just full of badassness and kickassery. It’s all about revenge, murder, and deception… with a hint of romance.

The action scenes, in particular, were superb. I have huge admiration for authors who don’t shy away from all the blood and gore–in which Erin Bowman excelled in doing. She wasn’t afraid to kill off characters need it be. I also liked how the characters in this book weren’t particularly moral–they were the “shoot now, apologize later” types, which I totally applaud.

Kate Thompson was a sassy but totally respectable character, although I didn’t have any strong feelings towards her. I liked her enough most of the time, but there were some parts where I couldn’t care less and might’ve even been slightly annoyed. I have a feeling most readers will love her cheeky attitude.

While Kate’s repetitive thoughts on revenge may have slightly bothered me, the actual plot made up for it. I’m one of those readers who enjoy characters going on long journeys and discover shit along the way, which is just what Vengeance Road gave me.

Oh! And I totally loved the dialect, too. I’m a huge fan of those historical books where the narrator uses old-school English with weird grammar. It definitely built up the mood of the whole book for me.

Since I mentioned the main aspects of the book being favorites mine, we can finally go on to discuss my qualms. *clears throat*

I didn’t like the romance. OKAY, WAIT, STOP RIGHT THERE. Put your tomatoes aside for now, please.

I know I mentioned on Twitter how I wanted my ship to kiss so bad, and I did. For about the first half of the book. After a while, the love interest’s hot-and-cold attitude (by hot-and-cold, I mean sometimes he was shy and sweet, then oddly flirty, then occasionally an ass) made me stop giving a crap. I was just nodding my head and not really caring if they got together or not.

So that’s two things I didn’t like about the book. There’s also the fact that there were a tad too many stereotypical tropes and characters, such as the portrayal of the Indians and the random-man-who-lives-in-the-middle-of-nowhere. It’s mostly understandable, though, since we don’t really have a wide selection of YA Westerns… yet. Also, they’ll probably go unnoticed since they aren’t really the main main characters.

But back to the positives! I really loved the ending as well. It was the kind that made you go, “Whaaaa?!” while possibly jumping off your chair and pointing an accusing finger at the book. It was definitely shocking, even if it was sort of abrupt.

Vengeance Road is a book with backbone, recommended for anyone looking for a spunky heroine, lots of action and a hint of romance.

Skulls 3.5



About Aimee

Aimee loves being a little bookworm (okay–she doesn’t like being little). She also loves chocolates and sweets but is freaked out by the thought of possibly getting diabetes.

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24 thoughts on “Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

  1. Eee I am glad you enjoyed this one even though you didn’t love it, I have HIGH hopes for this book. I am on a book buying ban but I plan to purchase this one. If only for that totally awesome cover, my fingers itch to make graphics based on it haha. I love me some blood and gore, yes please! The love interest sounds like a jerk, but since the romance take a backseat in this book, I will be happy regardless, I think. REVENGE. MURDER. YES.


  2. I am really excited for this book! I love revenge books that actually focus on the REVENGE not in the TRU LUV. Plus, I’m a fan of blood in my books! (Not in a literal sense.) Great review, Aimee!


  3. REVENGE BOOKS, HELL YEAH. SO looking forward to this one. I also love authors that aren’t afraid to get a little gory — or just generally go into the nitty-gritty that most authors gloss over. On first glance I don’t think Westerns are My Thing, but I’m still going to give this one a chance.:) Lovely review!


  4. I started it but I put it down because it needs a very specific mood for me, otherwise I’ll hate it. xD I enjoyed what I read so far, but I don’t feel like reading more at the moment. XD


  5. Wonderful review! You’ve definitely convinced me that I need to pick this up VERY VERY soon! It sounds is good. I love when an author has the guts to go in this direction with a novel.
    xoxo 💋


  6. I loved this one personally! And that cover <3

    While I definitely notices the stereotypical Western tropes, I really don't know how else you could deliver a Western without them? Well, I do but I think it's what readers expect when they hear "Western". I know I expected some of those tropes and I think I would have been disappointed if some of them weren't there though I could have done without others.


  7. I SO WANT TO TRY THIS. Mostly because I looove gritty books. And I really haven’t read many (any?!? Like I read one magical one once…Relic by Renee Collins, but it was magicy so only half counts. XD) so I need to read a good one!! I didn’t like Taken, though, so it’s made me hesitant. But, pfft, I like to read multiple books by an author before I decided if they’re not for me. :D


  8. This sounds cool, but I’m not much of a western reader. Actually, I’m not sure many are. Lol. Strong heroines are my alley, though. So perhaps, maybe?


  9. Kind of sad that there isn’t much romance because while I’m okay with it not being central, I still enjoy the story more with this added element. I’m not a western reader and this will actually be my first one so I’m excited to try VR and see if I like it. Also I can’t wait to see what you mean about the ending. Some people say that the twist wasn’t necessary. But I can’t wait to read it for myself.

    ~Karina @ A Reader Under The Sea


  10. I’m really looking forward to reading this! I think it’s good to have a gritty YA novel to read once in a while that really packs in the action – so Vengeance Road definitely sounds fantastic! I love shock endings as well so now I’m definitely curious to see how everything plays out. Thanks for sharing a wonderful review :)


  11. I’m glad you liked this for the most part! I thought it was so much fun. The romance could have been better, I agree, but I did love the story and the characters. Kate is fantastic! Loved her thirst for revenge but also her hidden vulnerabilities.
    Great review, lady!


  12. First of all, a huge HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY TO YOU AIMEE!!!!! *throws confetti* *does a spastic flail I call dancing* WOO HOO!

    Second, I’m really excited for this book. I’m bummed the romance fizzled a little for you as it went with the hot and cold nonsense, but everything else sound fantastic. I think I’m really going to enjoy Kate! Plus, now I’m more than a little curious about that ending!


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