My review of The Wolves of Winter will follow the publisher’s blurb.

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.

Debut novels are something I love to read. Although perhaps not an official genre, I do read quite a bit of them and when I discover a new voice that I enjoy… well, it would be a crime not to share.

I read The Wolves of Winter during the Christmas break and could not put it down. Packed full of adventure and treachery, the post-apocalyptic world that Tyrell Johnson created is a frightening reminder of what our future could look like. That aspects of the book was the hook for me — this could happen. Wait, this probably will happen. And what if it does? Would my choices be similar in order to survive? What would it take for me to turn on someone in order to ensure my own survival?

I love where Johnson went with this novel. Interestingly enough I wasn’t drawn to the characters as much as to the overall story. Sometimes I latch on to a specific character but with The Wolves of Winter, the post-apocalyptic Yukon and the struggle to survive was what took hold of my attention. Don’t get me wrong, Lynn, was wonderful to read. Her character struggles with many things, sexual desire, childhood memories, and her ache for something more.

One thing I’d like you to watch out for when you read The Wolves of Winter (and I hope you do !) is the lack of a lot of color in the book. There is a lot of white, splashes of red – some blue and the basic colors of a barren northern landscape. When I close my eyes and imagine a specific scene in the book, those splashes of red against pristine snow really make an impact. I love the way Johnson uses this as a theme throughout the novel, it’s excellent!

At times, the novel did feel a little on the YA side. After reading the opening chapter, I expected it to be a little grittier. I can definitely see a comparison to Hunger Games. Just like Katniss, Lynn is also a gutsy girl wielding a bow but let’s face it, in this primitive landscape where ammunition is a rare commodity, the bow would be the perfect choice.

There are a multitude of avenues Tyrell Johnson’s thrilling new voice could extend this into a sequel of books. The set up is perfect for a series. The Wolves of Winter is a cracking first novel and I’m curious to see what other stories are in that brain of his. Do pick it up if you enjoy Action, Adventure or Thrillers within the same vein as The Hunger Games.

The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson
published by Simon & Schuster
320 pages
ISBN 9781501155734

*** A galley of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for my thoughts and review.

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