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.
Genre: Science Fiction – Dystopia
Page count: 312
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.25/5)
(Yes, I am aware it’s April but still)
“It’s amazing how little we need to survive. And not just survive, but live”.
This book is all about surviving. But what does it take to survive? Less than we imagine.
The first time I read about this book I wasn’t exactly sure how to feel about it. It looks like a book I would totally read one day, but not so soon. How I managed to start reading it? Well, just as I finished another book, I was wondering what to read next because I have so many books on my TBR list. So I just closed my eyes and picked a title without knowing what it is and I said to myself that it doesn’t matter which book it is, I have to read it next. So the Faith picked for me this book: The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson.
I told myself that it is a very accurate pick because, well, it was winter outside when I read it. January, to be more precise. So, this is how I started reading it. Random, on my way home on a train ride. I couldn’t then exactly remember what it was about, but I did remember that it was about some post-war society scene so, yay, the perfect book at the perfect time (side note: the train was crowded, the lights were dim and the dude in front of me couldn’t stop extending his spidery legs in front of him – and me – so yeah, it was a perfect time indeed).
I can’t remember the last time I read this type of book so I was quite excited to start it, but also quite worried that I might not like it and maybe that it could even depress me. But I gave it a shot. And it was a great decision.
Set in a dystopian environment, after a nuclear war and the devastation of Asian flu, in a world struggling to stay alive and keep it going, Lynn and her family, the McBrides, try to do the same as everyone who was left. The family lives in Yukon, Canada, where the circumstances are tough, human interactions are less usual to be seen and everything considered normal in the past is now a dream or a luxury. Even more interesting, it seems like the world tries to complete a full circle and considers normal the future as it was way back in the past. The involution of the evolution.
Lynn doesn’t seem to care much about her new life. She lives it as it is. She is strong and well prepared to confront anything and everything. She’s not bothered by the cold winter, she’s not afraid to hunt wild animals and to meet face to face with wolves and also she is a hot-headed girl who is not afraid to start a fight, even though she is fairly aware that her chances of escaping from it are low. All those things are the product of the different life she picked up in Yukon, combined with everything the interesting and bodily absent figure of her father taught her through the years.
She keeps living like that with her family (mother Mary, brother Ken, uncle Jeryl and Ramsey, the son of Jeryl’s best friend, John-Henry, who died) until the interesting character of Jax makes his way into Lynn’s life by mistake.
Once out in the snow, Lynn sees an interesting white crow, which she follows until the crow vanishes and in front of her stands a silvery-white silhouette of a Husky dog, Jax’s Husky dog. Jax intrigues Lynn with his icy-blue eyes and with his presence, a human presence, other than the one from her family members. Lynn is connected to Jax from the very moment they laid their eyes on each other without realising.
From that moment, Lynn starts discovering things, important things about Jax’s life and her own and, in the depth of her heart, she finds them exciting. Exciting is a weird word when you’re afraid though. It makes you look like a freak. But don’t insane thoughts have the most electric power of making you feel the world?
The word that describes this book best is a word the author himself uses countless times throughout his novel: raw. The plot, the scenery, the characters, the descriptions, the dialogues, everything about this novel is pure and raw, with dashes of harshness, but also with dots of simple moments of comfort. Perhaps this book is a page of possible history in the future of humanity. A pessimist future. The world is shattered, nothing is as it used to be, valuable things have no value anymore, human relations are twisted and humans in general are not trustworthy. The world as we all know is gone because of the vanity of people. Because vanity is what tears everything apart.
But even through the darkest clouds, the sun can shine. This book shines through Lynn McBride herself. Her stubbornness and toughness, very fabulously unlady-like, make her beautiful in her own uniqueness. She gets her hands dirty (and bloody) in order to make her way through and succeed. Through the wicked conditions, she finds a new way of looking at things. Looking with hope. Because she is hope. Like the ancient Greek myth of Pandora, when the chaos is released on Earth and you think everything is gone for good, take a breath and look one more time in the box. You might find there Hope. Because Hope always is the one that comes last but lasts forever. And Lynn McBride is the Hope from the latest Pandora’s box.