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Review: Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto (@jessicadhaluska, @ellemodesto)

Review: Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto (@jessicadhaluska, @ellemodesto)
Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto
Published by Balzer + Bray
Published on: February 2 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic 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.
This thrilling novel is a remarkable tale of danger and discovery, from debut author Michelle Modesto.

youngadult mystery horrific magical pageturner

SO. The good news is that it only took an afternoon to read REVENGE AND THE WILD by Michelle Modesto. The other news is . . . meh.

In all fairness, several of the contributing factors to the MEH are personal preference issues.

Like I find too few gadgets just as annoying as too many gadgets in steampunk. Dollface has a bionic arm, NOT-brother has a Bane-like face mask, Guardian is building a big ol’ machine out of copper that amplifies magic, and that’s pretty much it.

Oh, there were a handful of throwaway mentions, but altogether it didn’t feel very steampunky.

There was also some of EVERYTHING, and I do mean EVERYTHING: vampires, trolls, werewolves, leprechauns, elves, undead, shamans, CANNIBALS . . . Too many things for any of them to make much of an impact. Except the cannibals.

Ye gods, the cannibals.

Once again, rules for fashion are excellent rules for writing: before you leave, look in the mirror and take off the last three accessoryies you put on.


Once I adjusted to the cadence of Modesto’s writing style, it was highly engaging. I flew through the middle 70 – 80%.


When we got to the wrap-up 15%, the unraveling of our mystery was very . . . basic. The clues Westie found didn’t link back to earlier planted threads, making the whole cohesive. It was more like a scavenger hunt, and scavenger hunts do not tickle my clever bone.

And all that middle I flew through . . . not really memorable.

ALSO, I did not buy View Spoiler »

However, there was one very excellent plot twist that shocked the hell out of me. Especially b/c it was one of those where you know you’ve figured it out, and you did (b/c you can count), but BOOM that’s not all, sucker!

So HOORAY for that.

Ultimately, REVENGE AND THE WILD by Michelle Modesto was entertaining enough to pass a pleasant afternoon, however, for me, there were a few preference-based misfires. BUT. If you like creature features and steampunk überlite, I’d say it’s definitely worth a shot. And BONUS, it’s a standalone, so no pesky wait for the next installment. Recommended with qualifications.

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My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.



  1. Sounds like an interesting book, to bad it was just meh for you.

  2. Hmm. Not sure this book would be for me. It’s interesting that it’s billed as steampunk but then has so few gadgets. And then I got a little worried over the rather large assortment of creatures. I’m not necessarily a big reader of steampunk but I do like my supes. It just seems like an awful lot packed into one book…without enough *glue* to hold it all together. I’m glad you spent a pleasant afternoon with it, Jessica.

  3. I do love creature features, but I think the pseudo-steampunk world might irk me. Also the spoiler. Guess we’re still not over that trend yet. I may still check this one out from the library.
    Samantha recently posted…Review: Inu x Boku SS, vol 1 by Cocoa Fujiwara

  4. I just started this one so I skimmed the review, but I did see where the ending wasn’t up to the rest of the book. Darn. Still, as long as it isn’t a horrible ending, I think I can deal. 🙂
    Melissa (Books and Things) recently posted…Tough Justice Blog Tour!

  5. Cannibals and all the rest, heh, oh well
    blodeuedd recently posted…The Pagan Night – Tim Akers

  6. Aw well. Steampunk and I don’t really get along well, so this one is probably going to be a skip for me.

  7. I planned to read this tonight but changed my mind last minute. I looked it up in GR and saw Steampunk, not in the mood for steampunk. But after the things you mentioned, maybe this isn’t steampunk just good ‘ol sci-fi fantasy? Oh well, I’ll have to experience this for myself. I like some of the parts you mentioned and you finished this in one sitting is very attractive too. We’ll see…

    Thanks, Jessica!

  8. Looking forward to this one, I’m a sucker for fantasy westerns. I’m not expecting too much from it, all I want is a fun time so it sounds like it delivers. And who doesn’t love a stand alone?!

  9. I actually don’t mind the lite steampunk elements because I haven’t read any heavy steampunk books. I’m glad that while the twist was predictable, it kind of hit you with an impact still! Lovely review Jess!
    Jeann recently posted…Chatterbox: The Casualness of Death

  10. I actually think that this sounds super interesting? I really want to read it but I also see where your rating is coming from. Thankfully, even though I’ve become a lot more visual reader, I’m still not quite there so I don’t think the lack of gadgets would bother me especially since sci-fi-esque tech isn’t really my thing as far as descriptions go. However, I’m a little worried about all of those creatures lol! That’s…. A LOT. I’m super glad to hear that you managed to enjoy yourself somewhat though and that you were surprised by one plot twist 😛 Sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much as you hoped, but I’m glad it wasn’t a waste of your time entirely. Great review, Jessica 🙂
    Siiri recently posted…Review: Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

  11. Great review and I enjoyed this one. I think that this book had everything in it but the kitchen sink lol. It seemed steampunk but with fantasy mixed in. I totally agree with you about the spoiler too. I wasn’t shipping him anyway. It was a fast read too, but it seemed to work for me 🙂 Great Review
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  12. I hadn’t heard of this one before but it does sound interesting.
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  13. Since too much steampunk is not my kinda thing, lite steampunk if perfectly fine by me… and well, I’m quite curious about this one! I’ll probably go into it with not as high expectations and hope I’ll like it!
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