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Rogue City is a lawless place with saloon brawls, gun fights, monsters, and magic around every corner, but it's home to the tough-as-nails Westie, adoptive daughter of the local inventor, Nigel. When Westie was a child, she lost her family and her arm to cannibals. Those memories haunt her every day, and the mechanical prosthetic arm Nigel built for her is an inhumanly strong constant reminder of her past. She is determined to find the cannibals that killed her family and make them pay for their crimes. Alistair, Nigel's young assistant and Westie's best friend, can sympathize since he has also lost his family to cannibals and the ability to speak due to his wounds, but can still talk with the assistance of a mask Nigel built for him. Westie stops her search when a family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel's latest machine. This machine, called Emma, can harvest and amplify magic drawn from gold which is absolutely vital to the town as the magical wards cast by the nearby Wintu tribe surrounding it begin to fail. There's only one problem: these investors look exactly like the cannibals who murdered Westie's family.
Michelle Modesto's debut Revenge and the Wild is a fast-paced, action-packed YA western steampunk that has a little bit of something for everyone. There's magic and fantasy creatures like vampires, werewolves, and elves, alongside sci-fi technology and inventions, and a bloody good revenge story with just a dash of romance on the side. The characters are pretty great - from Westie, Alistair, Costin (a vampire ally), and Nigel - and each has their own moment to shine with Alistair and Costin managing to steal their respective scenes.
Westie is a fascinating leading (unladylike - in the best of ways) lady. She reminds me of a combination of Mattie Ross from True Grit and Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride.
What with Westie's arm and Alistair's mask, I also can't help but think of Bucky from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I expect that their mechanicals are in a way inspired by that character, except with a steampunk-esqe twist.
Overall, I had quite a time reading Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto. It was so much fun to be immersed in the world of Rogue City. I'd like to learn more about the wider world and more about how all of the creatures fit into everything. If you'd like to dive into a bloody good YA western set in a world reminiscent of that of Gail Carriger's The Parasol Protectorate, you've come to the right place. I'm definitely interested in seeing more by Michelle Modesto.
I read this book from February 19 - 29, 2016 and my review is also on Goodreads.