Hello, beautiful people!
It’s been quite a while since I wrote any review on my blog, because let’s be honest, reviews are the types of posts which get the less views (I’m guilty of not reading that many blog reviews as well, oops). However, I read an ARC of Retribution Rails a few months ago and as I absolutely adored it and it comes out today, I really wanted to talk to you all about it! Besides, I wrote a review for Vengeance Road, the first book in this companion duology, two years ago (!!), so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to start writing reviews again.
Retribution Rails (Vengeance Road #2) by Erin Bowman
Publication date: November 7th 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Genres: young adult, historical fiction, adventure
Number of pages: 384
Goodreads summary: REDEMPTION IS NEVER FREE
When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist. But when Reece’s path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.
In this thrilling companion to Vengeance Road, dangerous alliances are formed, old friends meet new enemies, and the West is wilder than ever.
“So you can either be scared yer whole life or you can try to enjoy it. I suggest the latter. Otherwise yer gonna blink and find yerself old and weary, talking yer last breath and regretting that you passed yer years tense and worrisome.”
I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All the quotes used in this review might have changed in the final copy.
Before I actually start this review, here is the quote that might be enough to convince you to read it:
“Reece Murphy was a boy who became a man while riding with the devil.”
From the first few pages, I fell in love with Retribution Rails. Truth be told, I hadn’t read any summary of it, but as I loved Vengeance Road, I was confident I would enjoy it. What I hadn’t expected was to fall in love with the story, to the point that I loved this companion novel even more. Once again, Erin Bowman did a lot of research to recreate the setting of that time, and I was transported all the way there, alongside the characters.
It’s been a long time since I read a book with two points of view, but I thought it was so well-done here. Sometimes, the characters take a long time to meet and you don’t understand how they’ll come together, but in this case, Charlotte and Reece’s paths were intertwined from the first few pages and I loved how Erin Bowman did it. Reece was that boy who had been given no choice, who seemed to be a villain from the outside, when the truth was so much more complicated than that and the lines between right and wrong were blurred. On the other side, Charlotte was this badass girl through her words, who wanted to be a journalist and to be independent. Their backgrounds were so interesting and I liked that we still got subplots involving Charlotte’s family, as the main plot drifted away from it. Their dynamics were so well-developed, because it started with prejudice, mistrust and fear, and it was so interesting to see them change their minds. Besides, old characters from Vengeance Road played an important role in Retribution Rails, I loved to see what they had become.
Now, when it comes
to the plot, I loved how it was linked to the events taking place in Vengeance Road. The novel started as Reece and Charlotte’s story, before the reader discover that the stakes are so much higher than that. Would I recommend you to read Vengeance Road before Retribution Rails? I do, because it’s awesome and it makes a lot more sense when you have that background, but you can understand without having read it. In short: it’s up to you.
Anyhow, the plot was so gripping, I read this book in a few sittings and there weren’t any dull moments. Retributions Rails is a page-turner with amazing action scenes and such an interesting historical background. Moreover, my feelings got all over the place. “Why would you do that to me?” Is all I ask. I’m sorry, but I need to recover from everything that happened in the end. I just need more from these characters and I’m totally up for another companion book (but sadly it won’t happen)(please do it though), for I want to see everyone again.
Overall, this book was absolutely amazing and I loved it even more than Vengeance Road. I thought that the two points of view balanced the book perfectly, I was so attached to the characters that I don’t really want to let them go (I’m still in denial) and the plot was so gripping. If you think you don’t like historical fiction, please reconsider. Vengeance Road and Retribution Rails might change your mind.
That’s all for me today, folks. Please let me know if you’ve read Vengeance Road or anything else by Erin Bowman, or even if you’re planning on doing so!
Lots of love,