Revenge and the Wild
By: Michelle Modesto
Release Date: February 2nd 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Print ARC
A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.
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.
I really had no clue what to expect from Revenge and the Wild. I assumed with “wild” in the title I’d get some wild west but I did not expect all the fantasy and paranormal elements. It was a really wonderful inclusion and so unique. Modesto was able to weave together a wild west setting with vampires, cannibals, magic with a dash of steam punk. How was this even possible?
Had I known that all these elements would collide in one story I think I’d have been pretty hesitant because wow….that’s just so much to throw into one setting and story. But Modesto somehow succeeded in having me believe that her world was plausible and that all these characters could all be inhabitants. Rogue City was actually pretty easy to visualize and imagine.
I really loved Westie, the main character. She was so incredibly flawed and yet so heartfelt. She struggled with addiction and insecurity and these elements made her more intriguing to me. I found it easy to love her and hurt for her past and the pain she dealt with presently. This poor girl really had it rough. As a child she lost her family to cannibals and barely made it out alive. Yes. Cannibals. And somehow it all works. I’m not entirely sure how!
The secondary characters were beautifully executed for the most part. I found the vampire, Costin, to be a particular favorite as well as Westie’s adopted family- Nigel and Alley. Each character had depth and I could easily understand their point of view and motivations. The interactions between the characters and dialog were great and each character had their own voice. And there was chemistry! I fully shipped Westie with two folks in this book. That might lead to the question- was there a love triangle? Hmm, I guess technically yes but it worked for me. I think Westie’s emotions were explained well and completely understandable.
Where the novel sort of dipped for me was in the development of the bad guys. I felt the majority of them (yes more than one bad guy) were flat and though a motivation was given I didn’t exactly feel it.
This book was fast paced and the writing easy to read and digest. I felt it was straight to the point and Westie’s voice, in particular, was beautifully done. I found the very ending of the book to be lacking some. With the crazy mixture of genres I expected an ending that would blow me away with how strange it was but instead it was rather cliché. It wasn’t overly predictable but at the same time it was a bit of a let down. I felt the novel was strong enough not to suffer too much with the lackluster ending though.
I found Revenge and the Wild to be a riveting and incredibly unique book. I’ve yet to see all the elements Modesto threw together work in one book but somehow it did in this one. I loved the main character and felt that this was an immensely entertaining read.