Revenge and the Wild
Author: Michelle Modesto
Publication: February 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk, Historical Fiction, Western, Paranormal
Read: February 2016
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.
Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
It was a very slow moving plot but also had a lot of different elements of genres working together. It had paranormal, steampunk, historical fiction and some western aspects all over. It was very unique in it’s premise and execution but kind of dragged at times. There was revenge, death, travel, action and mystery. There are a lot of things that contradict each other and make the story feel messy.
Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
This is the part that I had the most trouble with. The book is short but the writing made it feel very long and dragged out. It’s very descriptive and detailed which in general is great, but it kind of felt like too much at times. It was really slowed paced and there were some parts that I found really boring, kind of mudding through as I wait for the action to start. But at the same time, it was easy to read and understand.
Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I’m a huge fan of the characters in this book. There’s a lot of them which felt overwhelming and sometimes as little bit extensive. Our main character Westie is quite awesome but also a huge contrast within herself. She’s really rough and tough, tomboy kind of girl with a drinking problem. She’s badass and stubborn and decisive even when those decisions were not going to be helping anyone, not even her. She bothered me sometimes because she was so frustrating but I really liked her character development. I felt like I could see the difference between her in the beginning and the end. Her growth was great and natural, it didn’t feel rushed at all. There’s also a lot of supporting characters, quite a huge assemble cast. While there’s some of them that I really liked and were very well developed, there were others that were there just to be there. They were necessary to the plot but by the smallest degree and felt like there was absolutely no motivation for their existence except to cause trouble. There was also quite a number of love interests which unfortunately took more of a center stage than I was expecting. I would’ve liked it more if it made sense to have so many guys paying attention to our heroine but it felt forced most of the time. I felt like if there hadn’t been a romance a lot, I would’ve enjoyed this ten times more.
I’m still a bit confused on my feelings about this book because it’s like a walking contradiction the whole time.
The plot is full, there is no other way to describe it. We follow Westie, a girl with a machine for an arm who lives in a Western-like town full of creatures and humans alike. She has been trying to find the cannibals who killed her family for her entire life when they show up in her town. And you bet your ass she’s hell bent on getting her revenge. There were a lot of different facets to this story and I feel like the author tried to do too much in this standalone. It made the book feel a lot longer and dragged out, when it was actually quite short. There were so many aspects and genres incorporated into the story and while unique, it was a bit overwhelming and a little full. I wanted and expected non-stop action from a premise like this one but it ended up feeling very slow. There was a plethora (yes, that’s the only word that fits) of characters and plot lines that somehow managed to all connect in a weird way but the messy writing style made them feel like separate entities for almost the entirety of the book. I honestly did not think that a connection was going to be pulled off and even when it happened, it was a little convenient and far fetched though very imaginative. There’s no mystery because we already know who the awful people are and the characters spend the whole time trying to catch them in the act. The romance wasn’t concrete and I had no idea how it would end, but it wasn’t as exciting as you’d think. There were too many love interests and too many *girl is swooning her heart out* moments for you to figure out who the heck was going to be standing at the end. And to be honest, it distracted from the awesome *catch the killers* plot and annoyed me. But the ending was perfection and the majority of the characters were quite awesome.
Westie was amazing. She’s a real badass. I loved her spunk and her take no shit attitude. She gave as good as she got and her mechanical arm definitely helped her keep bullshitters and shit starters at bay, which you can imagine there’s a lot in a Western full of magical creatures. She spoke her mind and cared little about lady like type of things, though girls who enjoy that aren’t any less badass. But she was kind of selfish and stubborn. She was dead set on doing things on her own and the way she thought was best. Most of the time her choices and actions ended up making the plot a lot more complicated than it had to be which was so frustrating since I already felt like it was dragging and long. She made things so much harder for herself and for the people around her. She has a lot of personal issues, and yes it’s not only that her family was killed by cannibals, and I really enjoyed her personal growth. It was thoroughly and believable and I feel like it made her a better protagonist overall because of it.
There are also quite a few side characters (read: A LOT) and while I enjoyed most of them, there was definitely a divide between them. There were some that were well developed, thought out and essential to the plot and it’s progress. And there were others that were weak, temporary or lacked good background and motivation. So I was really torn on that which is why this book got a four star. The contrast was very confusing in general but with the characters the most. Some were too simple and others felt overly complicated. There were some scenes as well that weren’t needed and looking back did nothing to move the plot or the character’s development, main or side both.
Overall, it was a very entertaining read and I enjoyed myself, but there was a lot going on and it felt really long. Either way, I am going to try other books from this author.
So that’s it for this review! Let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought. Let me know what you think of my thoughts. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!