Kate Thompson has just discovered her father dead. He was killed by the notorious gang, The Rose Riders and now Kate is out for revenge. As it turns out, her father was keeping secrets from her and the reason he was killed was for a journal in his possession which leads to a hidden gold mine. Teaming up with some unlikely allies, Kate takes to the plains, but how much is she willing to sacrifice to satisfy her thirst for vengeance?
Oof, this one flopped for me. And it hurts so much to be writing this because my expectations were SO high!! The reason for this being that, earlier this year I read my first of Erin Bowman’s books, Dustborn, and it easily became one of my favorites from the entire year. So obviously after finishing that one I couldn’t wait to read more from this author! However… I had a lot of problems with this one.
Where to start? Well, the most glaring issue was with the representation, and this is what ultimately made me lower my 3 star rating to a 2. It started out strong and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Kate was bi-racial due to her being half Mexican! But any hopes I had of this being explored were dashed as it is never brought up again until the very end of the book and the author makes a point of stating that Kate takes after her father’s looks. I don’t want to spoil the ending but the note the book ends on portrays Kate’s mom in a very negative light that rubbed me the wrong way. All in all, I get the author feels obligated to tick the representation box but this is just not the way to do it.
But that wasn’t all folks, next we come to the Indigenous representation. Now, I do come from a mixed race Mexican-American family so I feel like I had more liberty to point out my thoughts on that side of the representation but, even without a Native background, the way that the author portrayed the Apache felt very wrong. Nothing about the culture was ever presented in a positive light and the way Kate showed zero respect for Liluye (as well as no remorse for her actions afterwards) disgusted me.
The story itself was okay. I didn’t like the characters of Kate or Jessie so their romance in the second half of the book really didn’t do it for me and the dialogue made me laugh as I found it would constantly go in and out between beautiful and cringey.
Overall, the first half of this book was a lot of fun but in the second half, the romance and negative representation ruined my enjoyment of it as a whole. I don’t have any interest in reading the sequel to this one, Retribution Rails, but I haven’t given up on this author altogether! Happy Reading 🙂