Monday, February 12, 2018

The Wolves of Winter

The Wolves of Winter

The Wolves of Winter is a book that surprised me a little bit. I was expecting it to be a bit slow, maybe tedious, after all some reviews calling it literary dystopian made me a little hesitant. I needn't have worried. This book flowed just fine and read like a mix between a YA and an adult dystopian. Seriously, I think it could be classified as either. Lynn (short for Gwendolynn) lives in the Yukon wilderness with her family, some years after an apocalypse has ruined most of the world. Her father died before they left Alaska and they live a very rustic life, staying off the grid and living a subsistence lifestyle. Everything changes though when Lynn comes across a stranger in the woods, and invites him back to their home for a meal. 

First of all, I couldn't believe she did that. As you can imagine that's a pretty foolhardy thing to do, given the nature of the world at this point. But we wouldn't have a story if she hadn't! It turns out the stranger, Jax, is on the run from people who will do anything to catch him- and the reasons why have to do with the flu pandemic that devastated the world after the nuclear apocalypse. Needles to say her family are not happy about this turn of events, but they all have to come together when the proverbial you know what hits the fan. 

Like I said earlier, I thought this was going to be a more literary read but as it progressed it felt more like a YA to me. That's not a criticism though, I liked this book a lot. It's a standalone, so there's no cliffhanger or continuing story, which I liked. Lynn though I had a hard time with at times, just because she's so impulsive and makes very bad decisions. But at the same time I liked her. I also liked her family, especially her uncle Jeryl, who kind of takes care of everyone since her father's death. The story starts out as a fairly plausible dystopian, but as it progresses it does get perhaps a little less realistic? I can't say more without spoilers, but I will say in spite of that I highly recommend this one. The intensity and action really pick up towards the end too, and I liked the choices they had to make. All in all this is a book I took a chance on, and I'm so glad I did. 

FURTHER DISCUSSION/ SPOILERS

A couple of further thoughts. First of all- Lynn. The fact that she invited Jax back to their home floored me- I was like really? She seemed so grounded and realistic up to that point- clearly strangers are a threat- and also her constant desire to leave, and see the world. I mean as a twenty-three year old I get that, she's stuck in a very primitive lifestyle and wants to get out- but the world is wrecked and it's not like she can just go to college or go see the world, you know? So I found that a little iffy. And the fact that her personal history dovetails with Jax' later in the story- her dad's involvement with Immunity- seemed farfetched. I mean, what are the odds? 

In spite of these things though it still worked for me. I loved the imagery, the sense of place- deep in the wilderness, where snow and the cold and even the loneliness are the enemy. I liked the ambiguity of Braylen as well- whose side is she on? She dies trying to save Lynn, and her advice for Lynn to go to Vancouver and seek out someone she doesn't know- can Lynn really trust her? That's up to the reader to decide. I liked Jeryl too, although the way his story ended- I was not a fan. But overall, this was a great read. 

43 comments:

  1. I would agree, bringing a stranger back home would be not so smart but this story sounds like it had potential.

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    1. This was really good, in spite of that rather boneheaded move. :)

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  2. It's interesting too when you expect something from a book but that it's something else. I wouldn't have expected the YA vibe.

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    1. Right? It surprised me a bit but it didn't read literary to me.

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  3. Oh I just ignored the part that went "of all the wilderness places in all the world what were the chances that Lynn and Jax would cross paths." But I understood Lynn's behavior a little bit. She was lonely and isolated. When they left Alaska, she was a little too young to totally understand what they were running from. Still, I know, there were some bad survivalist decisions that I didn't get. Still I too thought it was a good read and I'm still thinking about it.

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    1. Me too! I loved it on balance, and even though it kinda drove me nuts she wanted to leave, I think you're right, it is understandable. She's never really seen much of the world.

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  4. Glad you still liked this despite it not being quite what you thought it would be.

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  5. I would never think from the cover that this was YA, it's a very adult cover. I'm very curious after reading your review, I don't see many stories set in Alaska and I'd love to read one😀

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    1. It's actually set in the Yukon, but they come from Alaska. Close enough though. :) And I wouldn't call it YA per se, but with the age of the protag and some of her decisions I did think it could work as YA as well as adult.

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  6. I love ambiguity in books (when its done in a thought provoking way versus a WTF way). This definitely sounds like its worth a read

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  7. It's always hard for me when the plot hinges upon the main character making a decision that seems so totally unlike them or weirdly ridiculous in general, but this still sounds like a good read. I love the setting, and I enjoy post-apocalyptic stories.

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    1. I loved it, and even though I was surprised she did that it was still a great read. and she's young, so it's not like an adult making that decision.

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  8. I knew this was a good one! I'm adding it to my TBR list. I like dystopian stories and this sounds like a good winter read, you know, with all that snow we've been getting.

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    1. It definitely fits all the snow we've been getting. And one of the better post apoc books I've read in a while...

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  9. Yeah that was a pretty dumbass move to get the book started! I generally prefer books that show the apocalypse happening rather than joining afterwards but that's just personal preference!

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    1. Yeah. And this was definitely after the apoc, although TBH it was sort of still going- like they were debating whether they could return to civilization and the impression I got was everything was a mess.

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  10. This one sounds really interesting - thanks for the review!
    PS Behind on Riverdale :(
    Jen Ryland Reviews

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    1. I loved it, hope you get a chance to try it if it appeals to you- and I'm behind on Riverdale now too. :(

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  11. I get let go of a lot of things if it's a stand alone and gets wrapped up. There are so few dystopian stories that aren't series so this one appeals to me.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I loved that it was standalone!! And such a good read...

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  12. Sure invite him wont ya, lol, but the story must go on

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    1. Yes, I was like what are you doing girl???

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  13. Glad you enjoyed it! I'm off Dystopians at the moment, but seeing that this is a standalone it's a title I will keep in mind. ☺

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  14. I don’t know. That M.C. sounds awfully annoying. ;) The plot intrigues me, though.

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    1. She gets better. and she's young so I think the author did a good job showing how younger people might make different decisions that older adults. Having said that, some of her decisions did bug me, but it was still good.

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  15. This sounds really interesting. But, you're right. Why on earth would you ever invite a stranger back to your house?! I mean I guess she had to to forward the plot, but still.

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    1. Right? Nothing would have happened if she hadn't, probably, but still.. not the smartest move! Although it did set a lot of events into motion...

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  16. Wow this actually sounds really awesome!

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  17. Literary dystopian makes me curious. That does sound like a terrible decision lol, but like you said, there wouldn't be a story if she hadn't done that. I also have an issue with things that are too coincidental in books. But I guess we just have to let things slide sometimes...

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    1. I haven't read a lot of literary dystopians, and I was afraid I'd be bored but I wasn't bored a bit. One of my faves of the year so far. And yeah those two things I definitely had to let slide- but the rest was awesome.

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  18. I've never even heard of this book but it sounds good. I love when a book doesn't fit firmly in adult or YA fiction. I was a little put off at the prospect of it being classed as literary fiction (too often literary fiction is just not as enjoyable to read) but you saying it reads a bit like YA means I'm definitely interested in checking this out.

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  19. This sounds like it has a lot going for it - being a standalone and reading like a mix between YA and adult are what get me. Plus that cover. Great review!

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  20. Oooh a standalone, I didn't know that! I think that's a good thing, I have been involved in way too many series lately. This makes me want it even more. I also love that it straddles the line between adult and YA- I feel like if I could pick a range, that would be the perfect one for me. This just sounds so good all around, I MUST obtain it soon. Great review, I am so glad this was such a win!

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  21. This sounds interesting! I'm glad you took a shot with this one and ended up enjoying it. I love when that happens!

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  22. I've been seeing some great reviews for this. Finally caved and added it to my wishlist. I think it was the fact that it was YA and a dystopian that made me hesitate before, because the genre's pretty saturated. But I love wintry settings and I think this sounds pretty good!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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  23. Yay for stand alones! Glad you enjoyed it.

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  24. This sounds like a great read, although I think I probably would have been screaming at the book when she invites the stranger back to her home for dinner, lol.

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  25. I agree with Beth -- I think she was just so shocked to see another person after SEVEN years and one her age at that that she acted impulsively. Like a teenager would. Even though she's 23, her maturity has been stunted in a lot of ways. Plus, you know, if she hadn't done that there would be no story.

    It's interesting that you say this one felt YA. In retrospect, I agree. Other than the MCs ages, it definitely could have been a teen book.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  26. I think I'd have a hard time believing that anyone - unless it was a historical - would invite a stranger for a meal! That would seem a little jarring but I like how the world and the story itself sound.

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