Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Publication date: Sept 1, 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Category: Young Adult - Historical/Western
Source: Borrowed from Alexa
Summary: 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. (

The Good
Man, Vengeance Road seriously sucked me in from the first page. We’re literally thrown in the harsh circumstances of Kate Thompson’s life and the pace never falters. When she finds her father has been killed, she immediately sets out to find out why and by whom. It doesn’t take long to find answers: it was the Rose Riders and because of a journal that held the secret location of a gold mine. But it soon becomes clear that there’s more answers to be found and of course, justice to be had. She disguises herself as a boy and sets to do just that.

I was amazed by how quickly Erin Bowman was able to set the stage for Kate and her journey. There was such a strong sense of urgency, anger and determination. Kate is no wilting flower who’s figuring how she can take these men down. No, she’s someone with an unfaltering goal, who’s been trained by her father to protect herself and has a spine of steel that leaves no question that she can track and kill these men. It had me holding my breath many times as I both wanted her to get her revenge and wanted her to find peace in another way. But it’s definitely all about the Wild West in this book and we all know how brawls are settled there. Along the way, she discovers more about her past than she ever expected to and finds two (initially unwanted) travel companions. Together, she and these brothers, continue forward even though the odds seem against them. There’s a bit of romance with one of the brothers (no surprise!) and it was a nice complement to the darkness of the overall story. Although, her travel companions weren’t without their own set of drama. Bowman expertly weaved everything and everyone together and I’m looking forward to reading more of her work.

(No) Reservations
None that I can think of it!

Do I recommend?
I do! It was my first Erin Bowman book and I enjoyed it immensely. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newbie like me, I would recommend checking this out.


  1. So, so, so fun to read about Kate and her journey spurred on by vengeance! I really also love that Erin incorporated some real historical facts and lore into her tale; it added that extra touch of awesome for me.

  2. I agree that this was a really fun western. I appreciated the research that went into it and the imagery Bowman used to bring the Arizona settings to life. I do wish the story had been a little less white (and I'm still not sure how I feel about Liluye's treatment in the novel--I kind of wanted more in that respect?).


with love,