Monday, July 4, 2016

Book Review: The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

I received a free physical arc of this book from The Reading Room and Crown Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion or review.

Title: The Wolf Road
Author: Beth Lewis
Publisher: Crown Books
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Genre: Adult Post-apocalyptic Thriller
Length: 352 pages
Source: Reading Room

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True Grit meets The Road in this post-apocalyptic psychological thriller--narrated by a young girl who has just learned that her adopted father may be a serial killer, and that she may be his next victim.

In the remote wilds of a ravaged land, Elka has been raised by a man who isn't her father. Since finding her wandering in the woods when she was seven, he has taught her how to hunt, shoot, set snares and start fires--everything she needs to survive. All she knows of the world outside is gleaned from whispers of a cataclysmic event that turned the clock back on civilization by a hundred and fifty years and reduced governments and technology to shambles, leaving men at the mercy of the elements--and each other.

Everything changes when Elka learns that the man she has been calling father is harboring a terrible secret. Armed with nothing but her knife and her wiles, she decides to escape his clutches and sets out on a long journey to the frozen north in the hope of finding her long-lost parents.

But as the trail of blood and bodies grows in her path, Elka realizes that daddy won't be letting his little girl go without a fight. If she's going to survive, she'll have to turn and confront not just him, but the truth about what he's turned her into.

My Thoughts: 

All Elka knows of her parents is memorized from a letter. She still has her mean old Nana but when a thunderhead rips through their shack, drops a tree on Nana, and carries Elka deep into the forest, she is alone in the world at the young age of seven. Elka stumbles upon a cabin inhabited by a tattooed man that she dubs 'Trapper' that takes her in, raises her, and gives her her name. Trapper teaches her to hunt, skin animals, and survive, and in exchange she isn't allowed to ask him questions. But ten years later when she travels to the nearest settlement to trade furs, she finds a Wanted poster with Trapper's tattooed face on it. Disgusted by the fact that she's been living with a killer, Elka takes off into the wild, heading north to find her parents. But Elka has gone from being the hunter to being the hunted.

Set in the unforgiving landscape of BC and the Yukon territory, The Wolf Road takes place sometime after what the characters call the 'Damn Stupid' in which bombs were dropped across the country. Some of these bombs fell in the far north, sparking a gold rush that Elka's parents rushed off to when she was a little girl. This post-apocalyptic bombing has set the world back a hundred or so years and made life hard and the people harder. In the North, nature has taken over and you have to be tougher than tough to survive.

Luckily for Elka, she has spent the majority of her life hunting and surviving in this harsh environment. She has learned to be tough and this gets her out of (and sometimes into) plenty of difficult situations. She can do it all on her own and doesn't need anyone, at least until she rescues a girl in distress and they spark up a slow-burning friendship that turns into an 'I save you, you save me' sort of situation. Because of this interaction with a decent human being after living so many years in isolation, Elka undergoes a sort of transformation that changes who she is, knows herself to be, and who she wants to be.

The character development in this book is phenomenal. Elka is the voice of this story and we see her start out as a spitfire seven-year-old, turn into a tough and capable teenager, and grow as a person as she makes friends, finds herself, and learns to lives with her mistakes and bad deeds. It was easy for me to love her despite all her flaws. Elka is the kind of character that you want to hug and tell her that everything's going to be okay, but at the same time, you know you have to keep your distance because she isn't the hugging type and has a pointy knife that she isn't afraid to use. 

The Wolf Road is a grim and gritty survival story with a tough-as-nails, anti-hero main character that I will not soon forget. I loved every moment of this book. I was surprised to learn that this is Lewis's first novel because it is so very, very good. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more from this author in the future!

My Rating:
5 stars

1 comment:

  1. This book sounds so good! I love apocalyptic novels so it's great to see another great book added to the genre. Thanks for the detailed review!