Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Welcome to the Wild West! | Revenge and the Wild

Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

Published: February 2nd 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Genre: young adult, historical, western, fantasy, steampunk

Goodreads summary: 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.


Western books seem to be a trend in YA fiction since last year, and I can’t say that it bothers me, as I’ve now read all of them (Walk on Earth a Stranger is still my favourite <3). Michelle Modesto crafted a unique western novel, though, because it included some aspects of the Wild West I hadn’t seen in the previous books published, but also because there were so many paranormal aspects.

The world was complex, because it was, of course, set in the Wild West and we could find all the tropes that go along with that, it even had cannibals, but also every paranormal creature you can think of (even leprechauns!). While this aspect intrigued me and made sense because of an aspect of the plot, it felt a bit too much at times, because there were too many plotlines for a standalone book, in my opinion. Nevertheless, Michelle Modesto built an interesting and unique world.

Moreover, it had steampunk elements, which intertwined with the fantasy aspects and I loved that! I was excited because of that, and it did not disappoint. Indeed, Westie had a mechanical arm, but there also was Alistair, who had a machine in front of his mouth to be able to speak, and a machine that could help magic.

Westie was a great heroine, she was very flawed and struggled with addiction. I could understand the choices she made, because of her past – well, cannibals ate her family and her arm, after all – even though it was quite questionable at times. She was a strong and badass character most of the time, but I was quite annoyed when she kept blushing whenever one of the love interests said something, it didn’t actually fit with her personality. The secondary characters were all very interesting and I liked that we actually had a cast of diverse characters. Of course, it would feel weird not to have that in a western setting, but I still appreciated it. It feels like YA western authors get this.

This book was entertaining and had many plot lines, like I mentioned earlier, so I didn’t have the time to get bored. However, I was disappointed in the fact that from the beginning, Westie knew who the antagonists were, but had to spend the whole novel assembling proofs against them in order to do something. There wasn’t any surprise in the identity of the antagonists because of that… Not even with the plot twist, as I had guessed it. Moreover, I would have liked the villains to be more fleshed out, because in the end, they felt a bit flat.

What really bothered me in Revenge and the Wild was the romance. It felt like Westie had three love interests, she was blushing way too much, and it was so obvious who she would end up with. At the same time, yes, it showed that despite her mechanical arm, men could still be interested in her – when so many were scared of her – but it felt a bit too much, as every “interesting” man liked her. Nope.

Overall, Revenge and the Wild was a promising debut with great characters and a unique setting. However, I wasn’t entirely convinced by the antagonists and felt like the romance was a bit too much. I will probably read Michelle Modesto’s next work, because she has so much potential.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Do you like YA western novels? What's your favourite?


  1. Ooh, I think you're right - now that you mention it, I have heard of a couple of YA Westerns recently! Pity that this probably wasn't the best - any other recommendations for YA Westerns for me though? ^_^

    1. Yesssss! Walk on Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson was my favourite, it's a trilogy and you might find the first book slow - as they're just traveling - but I'm sure it'll be worth it! Also, look at the covers on Goodreads, you want them, I swear! <3 I also read Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman, which was great, quite violent and in a total western spirit! Finally, there is Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee, which had such a diverse cast of characters (I loved that aspect!), but it was a standalone and they were mostly traveling, so I expected more. But anyway, here are the three that I read so far! :D