Thursday, June 24, 2021

Tyrell Johnsons: The Wolves of Winter

Tyrell Johnson, in his debut novel, takes reader to a small family group living in the Yukon after the collapse of civilization:
Forget everything that you knew before, as it will not help you survive in this new world. Civilization has collapse. Everyone who had Nukes used them and now Lynn and her family forge ahead, learning how to hunt, trap and grow their own food in order to survive. But everything is about to change when Lynn happens upon a stranger, it starts a chain of events that no one could see coming and the life that Lynn knew is about to change forever.
Really enjoyed the book (though I will say that I found the middle a bit slow) and it did not read like a debut novel as I found the plot, world and characters really fleshed out. I liked the atmosphere that Johnson created in this book, it was one that was all about survival and what it takes to survive and I think many people would be shocked to realize what we can live on and what we can live without. I liked that this book was all about nature and elements that one needs to survive not only in the forest by in Yukon (think way northern Canada, so long winters with lots of snow and -40 temperatures). I was on the edge of my seat each time Lynn decided to venture into the forest as you never know if she was going to return if nature or the elements would be the thing to take her, and trust me there are a few times where you do know if she will make it.
I enjoyed that Johnson took sometime to set up the past as to why Lynn and her family are now living in the forest, away from big cities and what caused everything to fall. Without these tidbits we would really be left wondering what was the point of it all. I like that Lynn does not know everything as this does leave some elements of surprise along the way as the book unfolds.

Lynn is a great character, that you really feel that you know right from the start. I could feel her struggle of trying to come to terms as the what her life is like now (she remembers, cell phones, TV and all the conveniences of modern life) but she really does excel at it. I find it funny that even in the need for survival and feeding the family, there were times when Lynn was told she was not allowed to hunt even though she was great at it. Lynn has an adventurous streak about her, and wants to know more about what happened to the world, though this does get her in trouble, but it is this that has helped her fight and survive this long.

One thing that was very interesting in reading this book in 2021 is that we learn along the way that civilization collapsed due a virus that was started in China which caused a pandemic. There are some other revelations around this aspect as well but I will leave them for you to discover when you read this book. If was just interesting foreshadowing on Jonhsons' part.

I will say that overall I did find the twist and overall layout of the plot a bit predictable, this did not take away from my overall enjoyment of the book, but I felt that the book followed a fairly standard formula, but I will also forgive part of this as this is his debut novel.

Although this book does not need to have a follow up or sequel, I would enjoy the chance to return to this world and Lynn as a character. I enjoyed the world, atmosphere and characters that Johnson has created here and I look forward to reading more books by him.


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