I honestly couldn’t tell you why I requested a review copy of The Wolf Road, as it is WAY outside my reading comfort zone. Was it the cover? Maybe. Was it the thrilling book description? Possibly. For whatever reason, I hit that request button and was approved a copy for review. Later I looked back and wondered what I was thinking? A post-apocalyptic thriller? A survival type story that takes place in the wilderness? Definitely not my typically read…. Despite my reservations, I’m so glad I gave this book a chance! I have no doubt in my mind that this book will be among my top reads of 2017…
Author: Beth Lewis
Genre: Thriller • Post-Apocalyptic
Publisher: Crown Publishing (July 5, 2016)
A debut literary thriller from an incredible new voice. What do you do when the man who gave you everything turns out to be a killer?
Everything Elka knows of the world she learned from the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who took her under his wing when she was just seven years old.
But when Elka sees the Wanted poster in town, her simple existence is shattered. Her Trapper – Kreagar Hallet – is wanted for murder. Even worse, Magistrate Lyon is hot on his trail, and she wants to talk to Elka.
Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her true parents. But Lyon is never far behind – and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move. There will be a reckoning, one that will push friendships to the limit and force Elka to confront the dark memories of her past.
What would you do if the man who has been your father figure for the past 10 years turned out to be a cold blooded killer? The man who has taken you in from a harsh and lonely world and raised you… Who has taught you to hunt & how to survive in an unrelenting world? What if that man started hunting you… With a unique setting, strong female main character, and an intense “edge of your seat” plotline, The Wolf Road completely drew me in and captivated me until the very end.
This was a very unique post apocalyptic book and unlike any I had ever read before. If you think the post apocalyptic genre has been way overdone, then I would encourage you to pick up The Wolf Road and let Beth Lewis change your mind. While this is a post apocalyptic setting, the post apocalyptic elements are not the focus of the story. We actually never truly learn what really happened to bring about the current situation, only that an event (referred to as “The Damn Stupid”) was then followed by a second event (the “Second Conflict”) which brought about the current world. These events are briefly mentioned, but not much detail is given, so we are just kind of thrown into this world. We don’t know much about this new world but we do know that the climate is now treacherous at times and prone to violent storms, and life has lapsed to earlier times. The setting actually felt more like a reversion back to 19th century “Wild West” era: people live in more isolation on farms & ranches, but still have to travel into town for supplies; food is obtained by hunting & farming; travel is on foot, horseback, or by boat, etc. etc.
You ever seen a bear jump off a cliff ’cause life handed him a few rough draws? No, you haven’t. The wild keeps going till it don’t have strength in its muscles and bones. The wild don’t give up; it’s forever, and so was I.
Elka was such a complex character. You really see her growth over the course of the book from her sheltered life with Trapper, to where she has to navigate the wilderness and life on her own. We really get a sense of her strength and determination to survive. We also get to see the more human side of Elka as she struggles with her internal conflict over Trapper. How can she just stop “loving” the man who has raised her from the past 10 years? How could he be the monster she now knows he is? Lewis chose to tell this story through Elka’s perspective, but since Elka has been raised in the wilderness, she was not formally educated. The narration and dialogue is not exactly grammatically correct, which I would have thought would have bothered me, but in reality it made the story feel more authentic.
One a’ them rules is don’t go trusting another man’s path…People do it, they do what their mommies and daddies did, they make them same mistakes, they have them same joys and hurts, they just repeating. Trees don’t grow exactly where their momma is; ain’t no room…I weren’t following no one up through life.
This book has more of a “survival thriller” feel where the focus is on Elka’s struggle to survive not only the treacherous wilderness & unforgiving climate, but also the man that is hunting her. To say that I was on the edge of my seat for the majority of this book is an understatement. Never in my life have I felt such tension while reading a book. This book also 100% side swiped me with the twist. I never saw it coming. Looking back, I cannot believe the thought never crossed my mind, as the author did leave hints, but it all went way over my head. Kudos to Lewis for completely knocking me on my ass and making my jaw hit the floor.
I would like to mention that certain situations in this book may be triggering to some. I am a huge wuss when it comes to gore and graphic violence… The thought of blood often makes me queasy. I would be lying if I didn’t say this book was a struggle for me at times. I often had to take a break and compose myself while reading, but I was so engrossed in the story that I just HAD to continue on despite my discomfort. Needless to say there are a few graphic parts, and some of the subject matter (particularly the big reveal) may be a little much for some to handle. This book isn’t going to be for everyone.
Since this book spans genres, I think it appeals to a wide variety of readers. If you enjoy thrillers, sci-fi (post apocalyptic), westerns, or wilderness survival stories, then I would highly recommend this book to you! HOWEVER if you don’t typically read within any of these genres (like me) and are looking for something “different,” I would still highly recommend this one to you.