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Delightfully Odd | Book Review: Revenge the Wild by Michelle Modesto

Revenge the Wild is a delightful new YA genre mash-up!

Book Review: Revenge the Wild by Michelle Modesto

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revenge the wild michelle modesto book review

Title & Author: Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Steampunk, Historical Fiction

Release Date: February 2, 2016

Series: Standalone?

Publisher: Knopf

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magical 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.”

Steampunk/Fantasy/Historical Fiction Mash-Up

I love how some authors completely push the boundaries of what “fantasy” is. Revenge the Wild combines elements of historical fiction, paranormal and steampunk genres.

The set-up: The book is set in Rogue City, a small town in California that’s protected by this sort of bubble thing. It’s magic, and it keeps people safe inside from the Undying, and it also houses weird creatures like vampires, trolls, leprechauns, etc., which are all considered “Creatures.”

The historical aspect is shown through the steampunk gadgets and vaguely Wild West vibe of Rogue City.

The characters: We’ve got Westie, a mechanical-arm wielding heroine with a foul mouth and even dirty manners. As you can imagine, she’s a fun one to follow!

There’s also her best friend and house mate, Alaistair, who wears a metal mask, and who lately has been strangely distant from her.

The book also introduces a first people type of group, of which Westie’s friend Bena is one. While I appreciated her inclusion, Bena’s role was somewhat stereotypical for a Native American-inspired character.

Like I said initially, Revenge the Wild combines a lot of different ideas in a new package that I found weird but engaging. I flew through this book, wondering how things would work play out.

The one thing I did find unbelievable was the romance. At one point, the reader is supposed to believe that three gentlemen are interested in Westie. Between that and some of the dialogue coming off a bit immature, the romance wasn’t my favorite aspect of the story.

The mystery of the magic wards of the bubble starting to fail was a highlight. I liked how I was surprised by certain revelations and thought how things were paced here were spot on.


This book is not without its flaws – a sometimes-unbelievable romantic entanglement and a unimaginative portrayal of a people group – but it does something very special: create something fresh and new and different. I recommend Revenge the Wild for readers for fantasy fans who are tired of the same ole, same ole.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.