Reviews

Retribution Rails – Erin Bowman (ARC Review)

“Ain’t it interesting,” he goes on, “how when the Law fails people, they always turn to the outlaws.”

In the companion novel to Vengeance Road, ten years have passed and Reece Murphy – AKA “The Rose Kid” – has been roped into traveling with Luther Rose, brother of the infamous late Waylan: the very same man Kate Thompson killed with the help of Jesse Colton. Reece has been told he’ll never be free of Luther’s grasp until he can lead Rose to the gunslinger who killed Waylan, but all Reece wants is to start a new life, free of the killing and thieving.

→ reece & charlotte ←

So much for things always looking better with a smile. Perhaps what Mother meant is, men like women best when they smile.

I somehow managed to avoid the knowledge that this was a companion novel, and not necessarily a sequel, so you can imagine my surprise when I was introduced to this new pair of characters, with chapters alternating between each of their narratives.

I really love Kate as a narrator, and unfortunately, neither Reece nor Charlotte lived up to my expectations. Reece was decent enough, but Charlotte was so incredibly self-absorbed throughout most of the story that her perspectives were grating, at best. There was a solid 10-15% of the story in which I skimmed her chapters because they were superfluous and boring.

You can gather from the very beginning that there’s going to be a blossoming romance, but it feels so forced and I never found myself rooting for it to go anywhere.

→ what i liked ←

“He best hope he can run faster than his demons.”

As you can gather from the synopsis, Reece is hunting down Kate herself, so I won’t consider it a spoiler to tell you that she’s present for part of this story, and I loved spending more time with her. She was such an enjoyable, tough young woman, and she’s even better as an adult. She’s only burrowed further into her feminism and her values, though time has taught her how to look for the good in people.

As was the case with Vengeance Road, the shootout scenes are fun and easy to follow, and you feel transported right onto the set of a western film every time.

→ what i disliked ←

“Is that all it takes? One misfortune in your life, one act done out of desperation, and suddenly you’re a criminal?”

I could easily devote this entire section to Charlotte’s character. She’s pretentious, haughty, self-absorbed, and completely incapable of looking past her own privileges. Even when she’s called out, she finds a way to turn herself into the biggest victim in any given scenario. She wasn’t the worst character ever by any means, but man, does she warrant a lot of eye-rolling.

My only other complaints were: 1) Jesse felt like a background character that we didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with, and 2) I had the same problem as I did with Vengeance Road in that it was so tough to genuinely connect with any of the characters or to care about any of them.

→ final thoughts ←

That devil could crawl from the deepest pits of Hell itself.

If you’ve already read Vengeance Road and are dying for more of the universe, pick this one up, but if you’re like me and are hoping for a sequel and to spend more time with Kate and Jesse, I’d recommend just trying to find yourself a copy of the Kate & Jesse novella and leaving it at that.

Content warnings: violence, death, implied rape, abuse

All quotes are taken from an unfinished ARC copy and may differ from the final publication. Thank you so much to HMHTeen for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review!

3leaves

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6 thoughts on “Retribution Rails – Erin Bowman (ARC Review)

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