Book Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman


Book Review: Vengeance Road by Erin BowmanVengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 1st 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance, Action & Adventure, General, Historical, Lifestyles, Girls & Women, JUVENILE FICTION, United States, 19th Century, Farm & Ranch Life, Westerns
Source: ARC from Publisher

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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 so full of hate.      In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.


Let me start off by saying I grew up watching westerns. My dad is such a huge John Wayne fan so I have seen every one of his movies at least twice! True Grit was always my absolute FAVORITE. It included a young girl who wanted vengeance for her father’s murder. I can’t even tell you how many times I watched that one. So when I saw VENGEANCE ROAD was coming out my western fangirl side seriously emerged. Now I will say I was a bit nervous, would this be an over done romance, cutesy western? That’s not what I was here for, not with a title like Vengeance Road. I was in major need of dark, gritty, blood filled, full of wrath story. Bowman did not disappoint. Not one bit. 


This book fed my every need when it comes to this being the type of western YA novel I was hoping for. Kate is kick ass. She is tough, gritty, and just basically takes no shit. She sets her mind to something and could care less what anyone says or thinks about her doing it. She is completely loyal to the people who are important to her. She does things for them no matter what could happen to her or if they even deserve it. I reallyyyyy love her character!


She ends up taking her journey to carry out her vengeance with Jesse and Will Colton. Will continuously cracks me up. He seriously has some of the best scenes and I found myself laughing a few times. He does infuriate me a few times, but his reasoning for being the way he is makes sense, I just wanted him to go along with my way of thinking. LOL. Jesse…..oh my how I’m smitten with Jesse. He is the definition of a cowboy. He carries such an enormous weight on his shoulders throughout the book that really drives his decisions. I really like how he is also written as a flawed character; he is in no way perfect, but I really liked that about him. I really like the relationship that forms between Jesse and Kate. There is a little romance mixed in and it was a slow burn, and I ate it up.


Another worry I had was that the pacing would be slow going. Sometimes when books have a lot of travel in them it’s hard to keep a good pacing and not get in little slow ruts along the way, there was none of that here. I was fully engrossed the entire way through. There is a ton of action and it was actually really dark at parts. I really love this! Also to make things even better the book is written in western terms. So it just makes the book even better!


Overall, this book was the complete package. It definitely delivered for me and now I have the urge to binge westerns all day!


About Erin Bowman


Erin Bowman used to tell stories visually as a web designer. Now a full-time writer, she relies solely on words. She lives in New Hampshire with her family and when not writing she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter.

Erin is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger. She is the author of TAKEN, FROZEN, and FORGED (4/14/15) from HarperTeen. VENGEANCE ROAD is forthcoming from HMH (9/1/15).


How excited are you for this book? Are you typically a fan of westerns?


  1. Carina Olsen says:

    Yay 😀 I’m just so glad that you loved this book Crystal. <3 Stunning review. I gave it four stars; liked it a lot too 😀 Just had issues with the romance :p but the rest was amazing :)

  2. Veronica says:

    I am so excited to read Vengeance Road!!! I feel like Western YA isn’t that big of a thing, so it’s awesome to see a new book exploring new territory. Get it: the west, new territory. I crack myself up. 😀

  3. Bekka says:

    I was seriously worried that the pacing would be slow for me too. I’m not into books that feature the kind of travel that happened in Vengeance Road, but I was so so pleasantly surprised that that wasn’t the case. VR was a wild ride from start to finish. And even though I’m not a western fan like you are, I loved that it was gritty, bloody and action-packed.

    • Crystal says:

      The pacing was one of my biggest fears!! I’m glad you love it too! Though I’m convinced if you love the book you would probably like the movie True Grit ;P

  4. Jennifer Y. says:

    Like you, I grew up watching westerns…and my dad absolutely loves them. As a kid & teen I read anything western from kids books to romances…still do. I was so excited to hear about this book and cannot wait until I can read it for myself,

  5. Emma @ Miss Print says:

    *claps* I totally agree. I was similarly concerned about this one as a long-time fan of old western movies and TV shows but this one so didn’t disappoint. I also loved that Bowman was able to deliver a nuanced and thoughtful story without falling into the stereotypes that are so damaging in some older westerns.

  6. Kj says:

    I have been so reluctant to pick up this book – western just screamed red flag red flag run away! But your review has made me rethink it – I’m a sucker for a strong female with some grit and balls! and the only thing i love more is a funny male character. So I’ll defiantly be thinking about adding this book to my read pile!

Leave a Reply