I’ve been very excited to read this novel. Ever since I read Wake of Vultures and Conspiracy of Ravens, I’ve become more interested in the idea of reading novels with an American West style. This novel presented me with the opportunity to explore this as well as just having a super interesting premise.
Elka was rescued by a solitary hunter when she was just seven years old. He took her under his wing and taught her everything he knew about surviving in the wilderness. She called him Trapper, and he was her daddy in all ways but by blood. But when Elka sees a Wanted poster with his picture on it in town, her life is destroyed. Her Trapper – Kreager Hallet – is not who she thought he was; he has been accused of murder. Even worse, Magistrate Lyon has noticed Elka and wants to talk to her about Kreager. Elka flees the town and the home she has lived in with Trapper in search of her real parents. But the wilderness that surrounds her is a cruel place, and no one can be trusted. With Lyon on Elka’s heels, it will take everything Elka has to confront her past and move on towards an unknown future.
I finished this book in the span of a few hours, it was that good! I loved the pacing, the way Elka talked, and most of all, I loved Elka! She was spunky and damaged and perfect for the world that she inhabited. This story took me on an adventure that I could never have imagined. Right away, in the very beginning of the novel, we are told what happens to Trapper. This took me by surprise, because I thought that was the whole point of the story. Instead, the author takes you on a crazy journey where the character encounters danger in both nature and in areas of “civilization”. This novel definitely makes you reconsider thinking of humans as rational and moral beings that are on a different plane than animals; for the most part, the humans in this story were more dangerous than anything in the wild! The struggles that Elka deals with are formidable and I was constantly in awe of her ability to get through any difficult situation. That isn’t to say she was perfect; she was clearly shook up by each bad turn, and the author did a great job reflecting that through character development. I also liked the introduction of other characters, be they villains or friends. They brought their own depth to the story, and supported the growth and development of Elka’s character. I definitely was not expecting the final ending; it was horrific and shocking and perfectly suited for the gritty nature of this story. The author did make mention of an apocalyptic event that had occurred many years ago, which had changed the environment considerably, but this event had only indirect impact on the story and was perhaps not necessary. Or maybe it was. It didn’t hurt or help, so it doesn’t really matter either way. Overall, a great debut that combines many genre elements perfectly to create an astounding story that will keep you hooked from start to finish!