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.
Revenge and the WildFeatured
REVENGE AND THE WILD is an intriguing blend of the supernatural and the lawless west, all topped with a heart-pounding chase for revenge.
Westie is a highly flawed character, which made me like her and feel invested in her story. Her family tragically died at the hands of a group of cannibals when she was young; she lost her arm as a result of the attack. She's dedicated her life to hunting down the cannibals and bringing them to justice, but it hasn't been easy. She becomes an alcoholic, and loses her credibility when she falsely accuses someone of the being the cannibals she hunts. Her setbacks don't stymy her dedication to revenge, though. There's an intriguing struggle between her own personal vendetta and the consequences of her actions for the city she lives in.
What Left Me Wanting More:
There's a lot going on in this story: a variety of supernatural creatures, cannibals, a western setting, zombies, magic, and steampunk elements. It felt overwhelming, especially at the beginning of the story, and like there was just too much packed into the world-building. I didn't feel like any of the different elements really meshed together particularly well; it often felt like several different stories being told at once. That said, because there's so much to offer, I think most readers will find something to their taste in the story.
The Final Verdict:
REVENGE OF THE WILD is an action-packed, page-turning story filled with danger at every turn.
I wasn’t quite sure what this book would be like going into it. It sounded, at first, like a paranormal western, but the more I read, there were also some steampunk elements thrown in and it ended up feeling a lot less western than I expected. There were a few times when it felt like the plot was trying to be too many things at once and a lot of things got touched upon but never really felt completed. It was slow to begin with but once Westie became determined to investigate, the action picked up.
Westie was a great character. I wanted to scream at her to have come sense just as much as I wanted to be her friend. She was stubborn and could be infuriatingly narrow-sighted but she also cared about her friends and I could definitely understand her wanting revenge against the people who’d stolen her whole family away from her. She was definitely an action now, think later type of girl, another thing that made me want to scream at her. She had to learn to let other people in and to trust them, that they could help her instead of holding her back. She was entertaining and her loud-mouthed comments had me laughing at times then she’d turn around and make me tear up as she lost herself to alcohol to numb herself.
My main complaint of the book would be that all the secondary characters felt underdeveloped. There were many, and there were quite a few that interacted a lot with Westie and there was a lot of room to give them more depth, but it never happened. The character that got the most depth and attention outside Westie was Alistair, one of the love interests and a boy who’d grown up with Westie after also being adopted by Nigel. I liked his character and was glad he got some development but it felt like all the other characters barely skimmed the surface of who they were.
The plot started slowly and kept a pretty steady pace for the first half of the book, baring a few scenes here and there that had some action. It was all about setting up the world, Rogue City, and the stakes at Westie was facing trying to prove such a wealthy family of cannibalism. There was a lot of information to absorb: all the different magical creatures, the magic used to sustain Rogue City, the Undying and how they became that way, Westie’s backstory. Once Westie started to put her mind on moving on so she could be clear-headed enough to get the Fairchilds, the action started to pick up. There were a lot of twists and turns in the last quarter of the book. I was able to figure out one of the big ones but one caught me totally off-guard. I love when plot twists are able to surprise me.
REVENGE AND THE WILD has an incredibly fascinating premise, and I knew I was going to be in for a ride once I started reading. This novel follows the story of Westie, who is a fearless main character who will go to the ends of the Earth to find and kill the cannibals who killed her family.
Modesto does a fantastic job with world-building and characterization of Westie and the other characters of Alistair, James, and my ultimate favorite character, Costin. I absolutely adored the fact that Westie was so badass and determined to catch the people who killed her family; we can’t forget her amazing metal arm (hence the steampunk theme in the novel) which can basically kill anything. (Doesn’t the arm remind you of Bucky Barnes?)
To add on, let’s talk about the amazing mashup of young adult genres! Modesto includes themes of magic, supernatural, fantasy, western, historical, adventure, and probably some more that I haven’t thought of. It’s so freaking amazing how Modesto was able to capture all these aspects of each genre, and if you’re worried about whether it affects the reading experience, it doesn’t. It only heightens it. And the plot twist at the end! Oh my goodness. It was so freaking good.
TW// rape: On the other hand, the only aspect of this novel that made this a 4.5 star novel instead of a 5 star one was the normalcy and prevalence of rape culture. I understand that many books want to make the world-building realistic and common, but it was more the little mentions and aspects of normalcy of how “boys will be boys,” etc. that really irked me.
Nonetheless, I wholeheartedly enjoyed this novel, which was complete with a badass main character, a wonderfully-crafted plot and characters, and fantastic world-building. Definitely add this book to your TBR! It’s not a book you want to miss out on.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars