Title: The Wolves of Winter
Author : Tyrell Johnson
Publication Date: 01/02/18
Dates Read: 01/08/18 – 01/11/18
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Winner, winner. Chicken dinner.
We have another five-star super-star.
I am very impressed by this debut novel and I am not above begging for a sequel… and sooner, rather than later (You listening to me, Tyrell Johnson?). I am attached to the characters, I am invested in the story line, I am ready for more.
“Snow can save you and sustain you, crush you and kill you. Snow is a fickle bastard.”
The Wolves of Winter follows a young woman named Gwyndolynn McBride, who, as much as I love her full name, insists on going by Lynn. She is 23 years old and lives in the Yukon Territory of Canada with her mother, brother, uncle, and family friend. Following a war on terror and a massive flu epidemic, this post apocalyptic setting forces Lynn’s family to live in seclusion, surviving off of the land and bearing every precaution possible of those outside of their tiny community.
When Lynn meets Jax, a fellow survivor, everything for her and her family begins to change. The group’s survival skills are put to the test and their trust in one another is tested. Safety is threatened, secrets are told, promises are made, and lives are taken. And it all boils down to one common thread–survival.
There are so many things that I loved about this novel. It brushes the surface of so many different themes and topics. On one hand, you have a well-crafted wilderness survival fiction. Mixed in, we have a little post-apocalyptic, science fiction, and a little morsel of romance (just the perfect amount!). Johnson explores the bonds between a father and daughter, the strength of a mother, the resilience of humans, medical ethics, unexpected romance, and even the loyalty and bond between man and dog. This book has it all folks.
I saw many reviewers comparing this novel to The Hunger Games. I didn’t really see that. Yes, it’s a post-apocalyptic setting–but it’s completely different. Yes, the main character is a young woman who is trying help her family survive and uses a compound bow. But Lynn is her own unique character and The Wolves of Winter is it’s own, set-apart story. Lynn is an incredibly strong female character. She is headstrong and brave and has absolutely no filter. I love the way that Johnson wove in her memories of the past and her memories of her beloved father–the things that were integrated into who she is as a person and the woman she has become.
“‘You’re gonna do fine, Lynn.’ He rested his hand on my arm.
He wasn’t supposed to. ‘You’re a survivor.’
Turns out, he was right.”
There is a lot of foul language in this novel.. that’s one thing I have seen people a little irritated about on review boards. However, I found that it really added to the main character’s personality. I mean let’s be real… they experienced a war on their country, survived a massive flu epidemic, lost people that they loved, had to flee the United States to live amongst the snow and freezing temperatures, are living off the land, and have no hope of life ever going back to the ‘normal’ they once knew. I think I would be throwing around some cuss words too. Lynn is a little raw and unfiltered, and that’s just who she is as a character–and I loved that!
I strongly recommend this novel! The first half beautifully sets up the backstory, establishes character presences, and introduces the setting. After that 50% mark, this novel morphs into the story you were not expecting, in the most fantastic way possible! Get your hands on a copy of this soon (and I recommend the hard copy because it is absolutely stunning. Just say no to a digital copy on this title).
**Trigger Warning: This book does contain both a sexual assault and a rape scene. The sexual assault takes place in the first chapter of the book and would be easy to jump over if you choose to read and avoid at the same time!
**Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the provision of a digital galley of this title. Thank you to Tyrell Johnson and his agent for my beautiful hardback copy of this novel (ya’ll, this cover is amazingly beautiful.. one of the most visually appealing I have seen). Both copies were provided in exchange for a honest review. All thoughts and opinions presented in this review are unbiased.