Saturday, February 6, 2016

Revenge and the Wild: An Impressively Ambitious Debut

Title: Revenge and the Wild
Author: Michelle Modesto
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Paranormal Fantasy, Steampunk
Source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

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.
Review by Nara

I'm actually really disappointed that this is only a standalone, because it's one of those books where the world and characters and story could be taken so much further. I don't say this because the book felt incomplete in any way; it's more because I loved it so much that I wish I could read more about these characters.

Main character Westie is one of the most unique characters I've come across- partly because of the type of character that the odd mix of steampunk/fantasy/Western requires, and partly because she's so headstrong and foul-mouthed and to put it plainly, awesome. She's not completely without flaw- she struggles with alcoholism and has pretty bad manners (to put it lightly), but these negatives help her become a more rounded and realistic character.

The story is completely gripping as well. Basically, Westie's family was murdered by a family of cannibals, and she's therefore on the hunt for revenge and justice. They turn up in an unexpected way, and Westie has to come to terms with how she's going to take them down. So many things happen on her journey towards justice, with many of the other characters taking on interesting roles. It's rather awesome- the book has all sorts of mythical creatures. Vampires, zombies, trolls, chupacabras, clockwork creatures- you name it, this book probably has it in some form or another.

Basically, you need to read this book. It features so many different things that you're bound to love at least one of them.

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 4.5/5
Romance: 4/5
Writing: 4.5/5
World Building: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 3/5