Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Reading on a Theme: The Wild West

This Reading on a Theme was so much fun. The books are full of danger, revenge, girls shirking societal norms, and hidden treasure. And, although westerns have, of course, been around for many, many years, the wild west setting felt like a fresh and new type of historical fiction for YA.

Steampunk Wild West:
Westie lives in Rogue City, a place where humans, creatures, and Native tribes freely mingle. It's a rough town, but it suits Westie just fine. There she has the freedom to pursue her one goal: find the cannibals who killed her family. Revenge and the Wild is a fun combination of urban fantasy and steampunk.
Michelle Modesto created a really interesting alternate wild west. Westie is a pretty single-minded person, and I appreciated her spunk and grit, even as she kept bungling things. I quite liked many of the side characters, as well, especially Alastair and Costin. The cannibals are pretty creepy, making for a heart-stopping conclusion. Out February 2nd, 2016. Review copy from Edelweiss.

Digging for Dinosaurs:
Rachel and Samuel are the daughter and son of two famous, dueling paleontologists. Both as driven as their fathers, Rachel and Samuel scheme their way out west hoping to uncover the bones of a gigantic carnivore. Although their fathers can't stand each other, Samuel and Rachel are drawn to one another as two young people who share an obscure passion often are. I am strangely fascinated by the Bone Wars and paleontology, and I really enjoyed Kenneth Oppel's book. The setting, the characters, the conflicts on the site and with the Sioux were so well drawn. The romance was, at times, a bit heady for me, but, in the end I was fully on board. This book made my nerdy little heart so happy. Every Hidden Thing is out October 11th, 2016. Review copy from NetGalley.

Samantha and her father are the only Chinese people in their tiny village and many are none too happy they're there. So when Samantha's father dies in a fire, her life is put in jeopardy. With the help of a runaway slave, she heads west. She and Annamae disguise themselves as boys and join a group of cowboys on their way across the country. Stacey Lee is a beautiful writer. The images she paints are incredible. I really appreciated the friendship between Sammy and Anna. They take great care of each other throughout the book. Under a Painted Sky is an excellent historical fiction that captured the struggles and triumphs of life on the Oregon trail. Out March 2015.

Seeking Revenge:
Disguised as a boy, Kate Thompson rides out to bring vengeance down on the heads of the gang that murdered her father. Along the way she picks up some unlikely allies, uncovers her father's buried secrets, and has to face her grief and the dark consequences of revenge. I really enjoyed Vengeance Road. Erin Bowman conveyed the atmosphere of the dry Arizona landscape quite well. I especially like how Bowman incorporated the legend of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine into this story. Kate is a strong character, but I also like that Bowman gives her leading lady a softer side as well. And, I was not expecting some of the reveals at all. At all. Out September 1st, 2015. Review copy from NetGalley.

Sensing Gold:
Lee is an independent girl who does more than her share keeping the family farm afloat. Her ability to sense gold has been a great help to her family, but when tragedy strikes, she knows she needs to flee. Disguised as a boy, she starts the long journey to California. Hopefully, sensing gold will help her make a new start. This book is a combination of historical fiction and magical realism. I love the subtlety of the magic Rae Carson includes in this world. I love Lee's tenacity and the people she meets on her journey. Walk on Earth a Stranger is such an interesting and fun read; the perfect blend of history and fantasy. Its sequel, Like a River Glorious, was out September 27, 2016. Review copy from Edelweiss.

Revenge and the Wild, Every Hidden Thing, and Vengeance Road reviewed by JoLee.
Under a Painted Sky and Walk on Earth a Stranger reviewed by Paige.

1 comment:

  1. These do like fun! I didn't know Kenneth Oppel had this one out, either. I'll have to do some digging at my library!


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