Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Wolves of Winter

Lynn and her family moved from Chicago to Alaska when she was twelve, before the nuclear bombs fell. They thought they'd be safe there. Until the flu pandemic began. When her father succumbed to the deadly outbreak, Lynn and her mother, older brother, and her Uncle Jeryl, headed for the Yukon.

I was sixteen when we left Eagle, Alaska. When things got bad, when everyone seemed to be leaving, we up and left too. We headed into the Yukon Territory. To the trees, hills, mountains, valleys, rivers, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow. The vast wilderness of nothing.....It really was a beautiful place. You just had to get over the freezing weather, the darkness, the loneliness, the cabin fever, the boredom--oh God, the boredom--the shitty food, and the repetitive routine.

Now Lynn is 23, and her boring routine is unexpectedly interrupted when she meets an enigmatic stranger in the woods while she's out hunting. His name is Jax and he's got a dog with him he calls Wolf. And he's hiding a dark past.
Something was off about this man. I knew the potential danger I was in. Alone with a strange man, in the middle of nowhere, too far away to call for help. What a stupid idea it was to invite him back to the cabins. Why had I done that? God, it was so exciting.
Jax is not the only stranger who's come to the Yukon. Immunity, the government group from before the war, is searching for Jax. But he's not the only one they're interested in. Soon, Lynn and her entire family find themselves fighting for their lives.
What had happened to the world had made animals or monsters of us all. Survivors or murderers. Sometimes the line between the two was blurry....
MY THOUGHTS:  Compelling characters, lyrical prose, and Lynn's poignant relationship with her dad are three of the reasons why I liked this postapocalyptic novel by Tyrell Johnson so much. The two twists at the end weren't completely unexpected, but they worked. And I liked how Johnson wove pieces of Lynn's past throughout the entire novel, including her grief for her dad and snippets of the Walt Whitman poems he loved so much.  It made her feel like a real person. I also really liked Jax and Wolf. For me, The Wolves of Winter, is a 4-star read. The fact that I got to read it along with Melody made it even better. Be sure to check out Melody's review of this awesome book, too.

Happy Reading!

P.S. Whenever Melody and I do a "buddy read" she always asks me some questions at the end. Here they are, along with my answers:

Q. With the war and the flu pandemic, do you think Lynn and her family, as well as Jax, would be happier living on their own even if it means they have to hide forever?
A.  They might be safer hiding and living on their own, but even before they met Jax they didn't seem very happy in their isolation. I mean, look how excited Lynn got when she saw Jax just because he was someone new. And Jax didn't come across as a super happy person out there on his own. I think people need love and friendship and other people to laugh with in order to be truly happy.

Q. The author has painted a scary world in The Wolves of Winter. What do you think is the scariest in this story?
A. For me, the scariest part is the fact that almost everything bad that happened in this story--the nuclear bombs, the flu virus, the fires--were all engineered by humans. It's scary to think about how good people are at destroying one another.


23 comments:

  1. Great review, Lark! I enjoyed reading your thoughts and all our book talks via emails. Can't wait for our next buddy read already! :)

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    1. This was fun! And I'm excited for our next buddy read, too.

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  2. I'm in two minds about this one which has just been recommended to me. I like the sound of it for the most part but I'm just not decided yet!

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    1. It's good, but not completely unexpected. I did really like it, but more for the characters (especially the relationship between Lynn and her dad) than for Tyrell's dystopian world.

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  3. Since I like dystopian novels, this one was already on my list. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and I hope I'll get a copy soon!

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    1. Let me know what you think of this one! I'd love to get your take on it. :)

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  4. Lark, I enjoyed reading both of your reviews. Love the fact that you and Melody do this. How fun! I'll watch for your next 'buddy read'.

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    1. Books are always better when shared with friends. :)

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  5. Awesome review! I love these types of books, so I'm definitely gonna add this one to my wishlist.

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  6. It sounds good but (*shudders*) a little too anxiety-inducing for me. I'm glad you enjoyed it, though!

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    1. Books should never be a source of stress or anxiety...that would defeat the whole purpose of reading. :)

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  7. I'm with Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hord! Just your review made me anxious, I don't think I could handle an entire novel. Have you ever done a top ten dystopian novels list on your blog?

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    1. I haven't, but that's a really good idea. Thanks! :D

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  8. I love post apocalyptic novels and this sounds intriguing. I also love that the setting is in Alaska. Great review!

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    1. I liked the Alaska setting, too. :)

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  9. I'm glad you liked this one. It wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, but I still found it compelling. I liked the Alaskan setting and the lyrical prose, too :)

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    1. I think it's rare when a book lives up to all our expectations. I find myself liking a lot of books these days rather than really loving them. :)

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  10. I liked this one a lot, maybe one of my favorites of the year so far? I think a lot of that had to do with the remote setting and the family relationships, which fascinated me. Great review- the isolation and the toll it takes on them was key, and I think you captured that in your review!

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    1. Thanks, Greg! I loved the remote setting and the family dynamics, too. :) And thanks for commenting!

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  11. We read a lot of the same books. I read this one a few months ago and loved it as well.I love that your friend posed questions to you when you were finished - cool idea!

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    1. I wish I could take credit for it, but the questions were all Melody's idea. Thanks for commenting! :)

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