ARC Book Review: The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson
ashley | The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson was marketed as “Station Eleven meets The Hunger Games” with a little classic Jack London thrown in. All of this is what drew me to the book initially, and while accurate, this morphed into a much deeper and darker look at family and humanity than I was anticipating.
This book gripped me right from the beginning. Granted, it started off somewhat slow, but Lynn McBride was such a dynamic character. Imagine being a young girl coming up in a post-apocalyptic new world where the only things around you are your immediate family and a bunch of snow. Lynn is super badass in general, but it’s when you get a glimpse into her inner dialogue, thoughts, questions and feelings, that’s what really drew me to her.
She was very personable and natural, behaving and thinking much like any young 20-something would be – including making stupid, rash decisions that often got her in trouble. There was something so heartbreaking about that, but also so raw. It speaks to human nature and how we really are hard wired in certain ways no matter where we end up.
If I’ve learned anything from books like this, it’s that you never let strangers into your camp. But I couldn’t blame Lynn for opening up to the mysterious stranger, Jax. He was an intriguing character and the tension he created in her family, not to mention the electric chemistry between the two of them – romantic or not – was stimulating. All of this set up a strong and intriguing beginning to what turned out to be a beautiful, heartbreaking and haunting book.
About mid-way through, you start to get the sense that this is more than just an apocalyptic survival story. There’s something deeper woven into the history of these people and my interests were tingling, curious to see where Johnson would take this. It didn’t take me too long to figure out what this something was and while the elements are pretty familiar, I enjoyed where the story took me.
This was beautifully written. I really liked the imagery of wolves that was scattered throughout. I liked the loneliness that the miles of snow gave to the story. I liked that there was a slight focus on hunting and survival, nothing too dominating but enough to give the book a real sense of what living like that must be like, and how we explored that world through Lynn’s eyes.
This book will likely be stretched into a series, which I am okay with, but it did make the ending a little lackluster. The things we find out in the end were kind of already circulating through the book leading up to that point, so I didn’t feel any huge impact from the ending, though I did enjoy that there was an additional bit of darkness in the wrap up. But I really liked the characters and I liked the journey that Lynn sets out for at the end of things. I think that’s enough to make me pick up anything that comes next.
january 2, 2018