Thursday, April 23, 2015

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

They burned down her home and hung her father.  When she found out they were the Rose gang, she vowed to bring them all down.  They took her father's life and she was going to take theirs...

HMH Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 1st.  It's meant for ages 9 and above, but don't let them read it if mean circumstances and death will disturb them.  There's plenty in this book about the old west.  Times were mean in general then.

When Kate sets out, she knows where she has to go first.  Her father drilled it into her that she had to go Abe's place if anything happened to her.  She goes, only to find out that Abe died a year ago.  His two boys are there, though.  She only stays long enough to read the note her father left for her, then she sneaks out and takes off on her search.  She never expected the two boys to be right behind.  Jesse is determined to take care of just like his father was supposed to.

She has an idea of where they are going as soon as she finds out they took her father's journal.  The journal showed a route to gold and they intended to cash in on it.  She and her friends try to waylay the Rose gang and force their hand in a tavern, but that backfires.

This is a long road for vengeance.  Jesse and Kate are both burdened with the guilt of lost parents.  Jesse's brother Will notices they are getting fond of each other and he warns Kate off.  Kate doesn't even know if she can love anyone after what happened.  And much more will happen before the story ends.

Nobody is nice in this story.  The Apache girl she saved from the tavern fire is nicer than the white folk even if her people could be vicious trying to protect their land.  Kate is tough and determined.  She's going to stand up for what she believes in and she knows how to shoot.  The ending is a kicker.  It was totally unexpected and threw me for a loop.  It's also really ironic and I liked it.  It's not pleasant but it's appropriate.

This western could be read by adults, too.  It's a western written in the style of the old classics.  You don't last long in the old west unless you were tough.  Kate was tough.

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