Dystopia (Teen), Science Fiction (Teen), YA Fiction

The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

I really really like dystopian novels. It’s both frightening and exciting to think about what the world would be like if society as we know it collapsed and we were left in an extreme condition and had to survive. Any chance that I get to read a dystopian novel, I take it. And I got the chance with this one through NetGalley. Here is my review:

Synopsis (Goodreads): Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive. Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As memories of her old life haunt her, she has been forced to forge ahead in the snow-covered Canadian Yukon, learning how to hunt and trap to survive. But her fragile existence is about to be shattered. Shadows of the world before have found her tiny community—most prominently in the enigmatic figure of Jax, who sets in motion a chain of events that will force Lynn to fulfill a destiny she never imagined.

Review: I really wanted to like this novel. But I didn’t. It wasn’t terrible by any standards, but it just wasn’t as gripping or unique as I wanted it to be. The story was pretty much like your average dystopian tale: there’s a girl who is learning to survive in a new environment and through a turn of events discovers that she is different and could potentially save the world. And there’s the love interest that conveniently comes along and becomes a part of the adventure. It’s something I’ve already seen so many times so it was hard for this book to hold my interest.32920273

Now, not everything was the same. For instance, Lynn is older than your usual teen protagonist – she is 23 years old and is no longer a child. But for some reason, her voice didn’t show the maturity of someone her age. I understand that she has been living only with her family for a number of years and has been isolated from others her age, but that doesn’t mean that she should have the maturity of a 16-year-old. The age factor might have been a unique feature of the story but since the author didn’t give her a mature voice, Lynn resembled every other teen protagonist from a dystopian story. It also doesn’t help that Lynn was bland. Even though the story is written entirely from her perspective, and the author tried to include snippets from her past to give her a more defined personality, I didn’t really get anything from it. She bored me and it was really hard for me to get through the novel.

The story was also different in that there were two parts to it: not only was there nuclear warfare that turned the world into a wasteland, there was also a disease that led to the deaths of many people. This was interesting … but perhaps not necessary. Only one of these conditions really mattered and got carried through in the story.

I also had an issue with the relationship between Lynn and Jax. There didn’t need to be one. There was no chemistry to be detected between the two and their exchanges were awkward and cheesy. I got no satisfaction from seeing them thrown together because they were both such bland characters. It didn’t help that all of the other characters in the story were also stereotypically portrayed. There was no nuance or depth to it at all and it made it really hard for me to enjoy this story.

In the end, I just didn’t enjoy this dystopian story. There were too many stereotypical elements to it for it to be unique and all of the characters had a one-dimensional personality. I’m pretty sure there is going to be a sequel to this story based on the way it ended, but I’m probably not going to check it out. Unfortunately, this book gets 2/5 stars from me.

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