Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman
Published: November 7th, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Western, Adventure
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.
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“How foolish to believe that bad men would outwardly declare themselves as such. How painstakingly naive to think they would wear bandannas over their faces and ride only with equally vile creatures. Some bad men, it turns out can wear smart business suits and fine silk scarves and be respected within the community.”
Retribution Rails was just as nasty as the first. This was such a rush and a wonderful companion novel because we got to see some old faces like Kate and Jesse and some new ones. This story is set 10 years later and we follow Reece and Charlotte. I really love this author and how she writes. Her writing really feels authentic to the genre and I especially love that since we got the dual point of view we saw two different dialects and it felt natural. The dialect flowed in and out easily. The romance of this one was super lowkey and under the radar, because it went from extreme dislike to the promise of something more. But, it wasn’t the focus at all just like in the first one and stayed true to all the viciousnesses that I loved about these books. You need to read book one to understand this one.
“It’s the folk that don’t feel the hard stuff—regret or guilt or doubt—that you’s got to watch out for. They’re the real demons. You remember that.”
Ten years after book one we are now following the paths of Reece Murphy and Charlotte Vaughn. Reece Murphy is an 18-year-old boy haunted by his demons as the “Rose Kid.” He is apart of the Rose Riders that were thought to be all dead but little did we know Wylan Rose had a brother just as evil as himself. Trying to get himself out of the riders by trying to find the cowboy who gave him a coin owned by Wylan. This all brings him face to face with Kate and Jesse. Charlotte Vaughn is a 16-year-old aspiring journalist who is stuck on the train that the rose riders attack. She gets caught up in a wild ride of vengeance, gold, and bloodlust. The story was just as thrilling and fast-paced. We see gunfights, robberies, train jobs, blackmail, stagecoach chases, and outlaws. It is a wild ride from start to finish.
“Secrets are like bullets. Ditto the dark, personal stuff. Folks say they’ll take ’em off yer hands, share the burden, but really they just load ’em into their own weapons so they can use ’em against you later.”
The setting was just like the first one. We are welcomed back to the “expanding and lawless” wild American west. Everything was just as rugged, ruthless and the stakes were high. I love how vivid Erin Bowman writes her story from the plot to the setting. Like some people said you can breathe in the plains, feel the train beneath your feet and seek the revenge yourself. And just as I stated above that good ol’ western dialect and proper city girl dialect.
“I used to think Luther Rose didn’t have no foible, but he does. Despite the legends and stories and infamous tales, he’s human. He’s got a weakness, and it’s me. I’m the son he never had, but he ain’t my boss no more, and I will be his undoing. I smile, and it hurts like hell.”
First of all, these characters from this duology are so vivid and vivacious. The main characters, the secondary characters, the antagonists are all so well thought out and play major roles in how the story plays out. Reece Murphy is a complex character. He is not all bad but not all good either. He was forced to ride with the Rose Riders and has done what he had to do in order to survive. Charlotte Vaughn was a city girl who just wanted to make a living in a “man’s job.” She may not be smart with a gun but she was smart in the head and did what she had to do to survive as well. We got to see our favorite couple Kate and Jesse who are now expecting and they were just as wild and amazing as before. In this story, we had two antagonists which were Luther Rose and Charlottes Uncle. They were both really good antagonists. The first one showed a lot of history with the Native Americans and Americans but this story had the invention of railways as the main historical plot point. As I said in number one I really love how the author made perfect use of secondary characters that were more skilled than the main ones (mainly Charlotte since she doesn’t know how to shoot) to make kill shots because that is more realistic.
“Kate’s arm is extended, one of her twin Colts smoking while William cries in the crook of her other arm.”