Wednesday, 6 December 2017

ARC #Review - The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

The Wolves of Winter

Author: Tyrell Johnson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Published: January 2, 2018
Page count: 304
Genres: science fiction, speculative fiction, dystopian fiction, feminist fiction
Date read: November 3, 2017
Number of times read: 1
eARC kindly provided by NetGalley


Station Eleven meets The Hunger Games in this ruthless, captivating story of a young woman’s survival in the frozen wilderness of the Yukon after the rest of the world has collapsed.

As the old world dies, we all must choose to become predators. Or become prey.

The old world has been ravaged by war and disease, and as far as Lynn McBride is concerned, her family could be the last one left on earth. For seven years, the McBrides have eked out a meagre existence in the still, white wilderness of the Yukon. But this is not living. This is survival on the brink.

Into this fragile community walk new threats, including the enigmatic fugitive, Jax, who holds secrets about the past and, possibly, keys to a better future. And then there’s Immunity, the pre‑war organization that was supposed to save humankind from the flu. They’re still out there, enforcing order and conducting experiments—but is their work for the good of humankind or is something much more sinister at play? In the face of almost certain extinction, Lynn and her family must learn to hunt as a pack or die alone in the cold.

Breakout debut novelist Tyrell Johnson weaves a captivating tale of humanity stretched far beyond its breaking point, of family and the bonds of love forged when everything else is lost. Reminiscent of Station Eleven and The Hunger Games, this is a classic and enthralling post‑apocalyptic adventure and a celebration of the human spirit. -- via NetGalley


When I read the description I was expecting the usual trope-riddled YA dystopia that we've become used to with the likes of The Hunger Games, Divergent and their ilk. This is not that. And I couldn't be more pleased by that. I enjoy those YA series (well I have issues with the endings of both of the aforementioned series but that's another matter entirely), but I really like that Wolves of Winter was different. I've never read another dystopian novel quite like this one, and I have read my fair share of dystopian novels. In my experience, it's rare to find a non-romantic, female protagonist in the 18-35 age range, and Lynn, at 24 falls squarely in that range. As a 31-year-old, I find that really relatable and pleasing. Sure there was a small bit of romance but it was incidental to the point of being inconsequential, which is another refreshing change from the usual love triangle. This is set right after the collapse of civilization - and it's such a realistic and plausible collapse that you can totally see something like Johnson's scenario actually happening - which makes it somewhat terrifying in my opinion. I also really love that it's set in Canada, but you know, personal bias there.

So if you're looking for dystopian fiction without some of the usual tropes (don't get me wrong, it still has LOTS of the tropes), or you're interested in a new adult character instead of a young adult, or even if you just want to read more Canadian genre fiction (the author lives in BC) then I would say you should consider checking this book out. It was a really fun read and I can't wait to get a physical copy when it comes out.

I'm undecided on whether or not I hope it becomes a series. It ended openly enough to have at least one sequel, and it definitely has series potential. But I also think it just ended really nicely to act as a stand-alone leaving the reader hopeful that everything will work out for Lynn, Jax and the rest of the world.

If you're looking for a dystopian novel with a 20-something protagonist instead of a teenager, and you like post-apocalyptic survivor stories, this one is for you!

Overall Rating

5 bolts

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