Written by: Michelle Modesto
Published: February 2, 2016 by Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.
Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.
But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now. This thrilling novel is a remarkable tale of danger and discovery, from debut author Michelle Modesto.
This was one of my most anticipated debuts of 2016. It sounded like such a "me book." And while there were some really great elements, it fell a little short for me and ended up just being a "meh book."
One of the things I liked most about this book was the world. I've been absolutely loving the YA western settings lately and this book is just one more example. There was so much drama just built into the world that was created here and I loved being immersed in it. But this took all of that a step further with some great steampunk vibe and dark creatures. No, I don't mean vampires and werewolves, or anything supernatural they were there but they seemed a little superfluous or just background for the world. I mean the cannibals. It was such a creative concept and they were dark and pretty gruesome additions to the Western-esque world that fit so well. I've seen some reviews that mention just how much is going on with the world but for me it worked. Yes, it is a lot and I would have liked there to be a little bit more about the actual magic at play here but I think it would have lost something if it didn't have the supernatural aspects.
But what didn't work for me was the character development. The characters in and of themselves were fine. I liked that Westie is not your typical female protagonist. I appreciate that she's vulgar, swears, drinks, and generally doesn't take crap from anyone. It fits with the Western vibe of the book. But I didn't like her development, or lack there of. A lot of it just seemed kind of basic. The reasons she changes her behaviors and gets others to listen to her is both forced and full of quick fixes. None of it seemed to come organically and it wasn't like she learned anything about herself or how she relates to others. Her changing was just the way to succeed. Because of that it pulled me out of the larger story. And because her development felt forced, the way the others treated her got in the way of my enjoyment of them. The relationships, especially the romances, felt just so generic. It was a case where every single male of a certain age being in love with the main character and they gave her a pass when she messed up and wanted to believe the best in her. Even those who didn't take her at face value changed their opinions with little provocation. The characterization on the whole just didn't work for me.
On the whole, Revenge and the Wild is an interesting read despite a disjointed plot and characters I didn't really connect with. It had a really interesting world with a great Western setting and creatures that added to a gory and action packed plot.
Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. I had high hopes for this book and while it didn't really blow me away, I liked it. It's a short and fast read which was nice. I think I would recommend this one to anyone looking for another YA Western and if you like your books with a lot going on.
Have you read Revenge and the Wild? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!