Review: Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto
Author: Michelle Modesto
Publisher: Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Format/Source: eARC/From publisher 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. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)
You guys, I LOVED Revenge and the Wild. It was one of two 2016 releases that I HAD TO HAVE, and I was ecstatic when HarperCollins approved me to read it early via Edelweiss. I mean, just with that synopsis, I knew it was going to be something completely different from anything I had ever read.
And it was different. I’ve read some steampunk (not much, I’d like to read more!), and I’ve read lots of YA fantasy and sci-fi, and I love Firefly, which is a kind of sci-fi western steampunk TV show. But the way that this book was all rolled together, with the steampunk aspect, plus all the magical creatures like elves and vampires and ogres, plus magic that was mostly wielded by a tribe of Native Americans, plus zombies, plus the whole cannibal aspect, just made Revenge and the Wild into a fantastic force to be reckoned with.
I loved all the worldbuilding and the history of this world. Westie’s adoptive father, Nigel, has an old injury from the Creature War, which I think is just a lovely anecdote. And I love how the Creature War finds its place in this world’s history along with the Gold Rush, and other events that actually took place in our own history. It kind of reminded me of the magical world in Harry Potter, how it exists alongside our own world. I also loved the fact that there was animosity between the humans, the Wintu native tribe, and the magical creatures. It just added more of a genuine, realistic feel to the world.
There were some extremely heart-wrenching scenes, some heart-pounding suspenseful scenes, some spine-tingling creepy moments, and a wonderfully jaw-dropping ending. The characters were all so well-developed and equally complex, from the main characters to the villains, to the side characters. And Westie had a pet chupacabra. I mean, come on! How cool is that?
The only minor issue I had with this book was the love triangle. Or square? There were at least 3 people who seemed to be interested in Westie. Granted, it is more like a Twilight-type love triangle because Westie seemed to only be interested in one of them, even though she didn’t deny a bit of attraction to the others. There were also some pretty graphic and gory scenes, and I usually do NOT like gore, but I was able to kind of get over those scenes because I think those scenes were necessary, and because the rest of the book was just so good.
My rating for Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto:
5 HUGE stars. As I was sitting with my laptop, reading my notes and writing this review, I was wanting to read this book again. That’s how good it is.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way for this review.