I wrote an essay on Goodreads and I will try to pare it down. Where do I even BEGIN? This book has everything: vampires, some steampunk, magic, cannibals, pet chupacabras, child psychopaths, weaponized parasols, werewolves, a sweaty and foul-mouthed heroine with a mechanical arm. Also, pretty dresses. I’ve read a few books that try to cram a lot of “stuff” into one setting, and it rarely works well. “Revenge and the Wild” somehow seamlessly blends all of the above elements into a believable world. The magic is straightforward: there is magic, the Wintu control it, and everything that is magical or needs magic ….. contains or uses the existing magic. Simple. No more on that, because spoilers, but I promise the creatures fit into everything and don’t clutter the narrative. The steampunk elements really only surface in Nigel’s inventions: Alistair’s mask, Westie’s arm, some airships, Emma, etc. You don’t get the feeling that, crammed in with everything else, there’s also a giant steampunk theme underlying the narrative. And then Westie herself: a foul-mouthed, mechanical arm-wielding, cannibal-hunting, recovering alcoholic. She’s pretty damn great, I guess. I’ll let her speak for herself. Also, lots of cannibals. So many cannibals. Cannibals equal parts terrify and interest me, and I shouldn’t have read this as late at night as I did.

~Allison Senecal