Book Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

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When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.


This book was ultimately a little disappointing for me, I was expecting something very “Kill Bill” – esque and that is not what I got.

What I Liked About “Vengeance Road”:

  • Kate Thompson, our certifiably badass MC.
  • The action scenes were what they should be, very full of action that keeps you on edge.
  • The authentic Western slang that gave you a good feel for the setting of the book, which is obviously in the Old West.
  • The big reveal at the end of the book, didn’t see it coming and it was really enjoyable.

What I Didn’t Like About “Vengeance Road”:

  • The slow pacing.
  • I pretty much loathed EVERY character except Kate and Liluye.
  • The ending was unsatisfying (for me anyways) and felt really rushed.
  • The (completely unnecessary) romance, good God did I HATE the romance.


It was gritty and more than a little bloody, which is probably the overall BEST part of the entire book. The revenge and the pursuit of revenge. Kate (the MC) is badass plain and simple, she is what drove the story. Hunting down a gang of outlaws to avenge the death of your father? Doesn’t get much more badass than that.

“That sounds real nice, boy,” he says. “Now for the love of God, lower that damn pistol.”
“All right,” I says.
And I do.
Right after I shoot him through the skull.

See? Badass am I right?

Plus the book has quite a few action scenes that play out very well, they’re written how action scenes should be written. With lots of descriptive action and shooting.

You also get all of that authentic Western slang! Yee-haw! (Just kidding nobody says that)

“Life don’t care ’bout sorry’s,” Will says. “Bad things happen, and you can’t let ’em harden you. Whatever happened to yer pa, it ain’t yer fault, Nate, and you gotta let it go.”

I think that the slang talk really adds to the atmosphere of the book and I loved it, although it may get really annoying to some people. Especially people who hate spelling and grammatical errors. You’ve been warned!

There’s also a couple of plot twists, you won’t even see the ending one coming I can guarantee it.

So like I said earlier the best part of the entire book is that it’s a revenge tale, that’s ALL that kept me from DNF-ing this one.

Time to complain, the pacing was so SLOW and monotonous. I mean these characters did more traveling then they did anything else! I wanted to have shoot outs in the streets! And I just got a long trek across open plains! Boring, it was so boring. I could put this book down and not pick it up again, it felt like a chore to go back into reading it.

Plus the ending, oh that ending! It felt very rushed to me, I understand that this book is a stand alone and everything needs to be all nice and neatly wrapped up in the end, but I expected something a little more badass and a little less sickeningly sweet.


Kate Thompson, as I mentioned before, is a certifiable badass. Her Pa gets murdered by a gang of outlaws and the first thing she does is grab a gun and shoot. Then she decides to trek across Arizona to hunt them all down. She didn’t think she just DID. She’s a very strong and complex character, she developed throughout the story very nicely. By that I mean that nothing she thinks or does is black and white, it’s all one big gray area. She kills for revenge but also contemplates the consequences of her doing so, she fears becoming like the very men she hunts.

Kate is pretty much what made the story interesting for me, she’s someone I could read about and not really get irritated with. Which is quite the feat actually.

Then we have Jesse and Will Colton, the pair of brothers who are stubborn enough to follow Kate on her path to vengeance. I wasn’t a fan of them. Will was kind of annoying and Jesse even more so because of the way I felt Bowman (the author) was trying to force him on me as “book eye-candy”. Needless to say it didn’t work, I didn’t find him to be swoon worthy at all. However, they were very necessary to the story but I would have felt better reading about Kate roughing it on her own.

We also have Liluye, or Lil, who is an Apache girl who also follows Kate on her journey for a bit. She was my favorite character next to Kate, she was smart and held her ground on her beliefs. I was disappointed with the overall execution of her character though, she didn’t develop at all really and she was barely in the story at all. She needed more “screen time” as it were. I don’t know if Bowman was shooting for “mysterious Native American girl” or what but we didn’t really learn jack about Liluye. Disappointment.


And last and definitely least we had a whole slew of secondary characters that didn’t do ANYTHING for the story except give supplies in some way to propel the plot forward. Seriously that’s it. They gave Kate and the boys stuff, and then we never see or hear from them again. What’s the point in that? That’s no fun.

We have the “bad guys” and Kate, the Coltons, and Liluye. That’s it, that’s all the characters that do anything. Yes, this is a stand alone book but would it kill the author to give us some other developed characters besides Kate and Jesse?


I HATED IT! Kate was supposed to be hunting down a gang of outlaws to avenge her father’s death! Then she decides she has time to be all silly and fawn over a boy! No thank you! I wanted a badass woman who was going to go out and shoot some bad guys up, I didn’t want her NEEDING a man!

Besides that the romance felt really shallow, it wasn’t anything that’s going to make your heart soar. Plus the fact that it felt completely unnecessary, but that’s just me. I felt that it took away from the tough and gritty atmosphere, Kate suddenly being all moony eyed over Jesse took away from the book for me.

There was, however, no insta-love and no love triangles so I at least can’t complain about that. That doesn’t mean the romance was well done though, usually I can at least be OK with romances in books (even though I can do without any romance) but this one was NOT doing it for me.

in conclusion

The overall story was enjoyable but ultimately disappointing for me, I was expecting so much more badass-ery than I was given.


Do I still recommend it? Yes I do, just because I had a lot to gripe about doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. It’s really quite good, it just wasn’t really for me.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy


7 thoughts on “Book Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

  1. Sabrina Fox November 5, 2015 / 3:12 pm

    I’ve been wanting to read this book butttt most likely I won’t now! Haha. I really dislike books that are focused on romance so I’ll skip it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek November 5, 2015 / 3:15 pm

      The romance wasn’t the sole focus until around the end. It just got annoying for me since I also hate books heavy on the romances. Although I’m glad my review seemed to help you out on deciding!


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