I received a copy from Netgalley.
As soon as I first heard about this book it immediately went on my Want it Now and Wishlist shelves. I've never really been a fan of westerns, but after watching the remake of 'True Grit' a few years ago and really liking it, I've had my eye out for YA themed westerns.
I started reading this one as soon as I got the approval email from Netgalley. (After putting in a request and not hearing anything for weeks when I finally got an answer and approval I so desperately wanted for this title I did a happy dance moment)
It did take a while for me to get into this one. Usually I do not like things in dialect and it was some time to get to grips with the style of the writing. It was fast paced, exciting and surprisingly brutal.
I've not come across a heroine as blunt as Kate in a while. And I loved her no nonsense, no bullshit attitude. She's got her mind set to revenge for her Pa's murder and absolutely nothing is going to talk her out of it. Her sheer determination is incredible. She thinks with her heard and tries not to let her emotions get in the way, other than the burning anger that fuels her.
Which leads to a lost gold mine and a whole host of secrets. Help comes in the form of two brothers who she reluctantly teams up with and an Apache girl who she saves (somewhat inadvertently) from a fire. Kate's only thoughts are chasing down the outlaw Waylon Rose and his notorious band of cowboys, the Rose Riders, the ones responsible for her father's death. She's not thrilled at the thought of accepting help and is more than willing to go the long haul alone but at least as the novel progresses she comes to the conclusion she may need a bit of assistance after all.
Of course, there are some surprising twists that comes along the way with the boys who come to help. Certainly at a few points, twists that made me quite angry, like I could not believe after everything, that this would happen.
Fantastic action scenes, the novel is faced paced and in parts beautifully descriptive though at the same time without being flowery or over the top. There are touches on religion and Apache beliefs filter in as well. Again well done without being preachy in the slightest. Kate's not a religious person but at least she can open her mind to the possibilities of a greater force when faced with a few terrible incidents.
The romance is barely there and quite moving when it does happen, its like a blink and its gone thing. What I particularly liked about it was it didn't change Kate into a simpering idiot when she finally started realizing she might actually have feelings for one of the boys who is helping her along the way. She still is smart enough to keep her wits about her and her head on straight even though the thoughts are there, adding some fantastic depth to her already amazing character.
The end had a few surprising twists I never some coming and was quite emotional after the action and things had wound down.
All in all, a fantastic read.
Thank you to Netgalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for approving my request to view the title. I loved it.
Free Square crossed off for Bookish Bingo Summer 2015 challenge
YA Historical crossed off for Story Sprites Round 1 challenge