The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson reviewed

The Wolves of Winter Book Cover The Wolves of Winter
Tyrell Johnson
Simon and Schuster
January 2, 2018

Station Eleven meets The Hunger Games in this ruthless, captivating story of a young woman’s survival in the frozen wilderness of the Yukon after the rest of the world has collapsed. As the old world dies, we all must choose to become predators. Or become prey. The old world has been ravaged by war and disease, and as far as Lynn McBride is concerned, her family could be the last one left on earth. For seven years, the McBrides have eked out a meagre existence in the still, white wilderness of the Yukon. But this is not living. This is survival on the brink. Into this fragile community walk new threats, including the enigmatic fugitive, Jax, who holds secrets about the past and, possibly, keys to a better future. And then there’s Immunity, the pre‑war organization that was supposed to save humankind from the flu. They’re still out there, enforcing order and conducting experiments—but is their work for the good of humankind or is something much more sinister at play? In the face of almost certain extinction, Lynn and her family must learn to hunt as a pack or die alone in the cold. Breakout debut novelist Tyrell Johnson weaves a captivating tale of humanity stretched far beyond its breaking point, of family and the bonds of love forged when everything else is lost. Reminiscent of Station Eleven and The Hunger Games, this is a classic and enthralling post‑apocalyptic adventure and a celebration of the human spirit.

The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson is Lynn’s story. She is currently living in the Canadian Yukon with her brother and her mother. There are just two other people in their immediate community. They are there because the world has been affected by apocalyptic events, first nuclear war and then a flu pandemic. Their existence is fragile and is about to become dangerous. A new person – Jax – arrives.

The scene is set. For me it is well set. In the first chapter we meet Lynn and the others there – one of the people from just outside their community is not pleasant. The setting itself quickly becomes an important part of this story. It is almost a character in itself and has a major influence on the whole book. The writing makes that setting vivid and real.

Lynn is now 23 but left the “old world” at 16. Time with her father excepted her memories of the old life are fading now.

I found this rather a “slow burn” initially. Lynn reflects on their situation, her old life and particularly time spent with her father. He was a biologist and died of the flu in Alaska after they had left the USA. By half way through at the latest I realised I had become completely engrossed in this story. There is a lightness of touch in the writing and even some humour in the dark situation. Lynn herself is an excellent character. Feisty and powerful at times, unsure and thoughtful at other times. Jax excepted she was the stand out character. Jax is someone we only get to know slowly but is certainly interesting.

The story gets progressively deeper and more satisfying too I guess. It also became steadily more and more gripping as well as more action packed. Not flawless maybe however I felt this was well written. Simple really – I really enjoyed reading this story. Lynn is a good character, the setting is good and the story is well told. I really would love to read another by this author

Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review