Written by: Beth Lewis @BethKLewis
Published by: Harper Collins UK @HarperCollinsUK
“Trapper was my family even though I didn’t know a sure thing about him… Trapper was the kind a’ family you choose for yourself, the kind that gets closer’n blood.
He was what I chose and I chose wrong.
Lost in the harsh forest as a child, Elka was taken in and raised by the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who taught her all she knows. So when Elka sees the Wanted poster in town, her simple existence is shattered. Her Trapper – Kreagar Hallet – is wanted for murder. Even worse, Magistrate Lyon is hot on his trail, and she wants to talk to Elka.
As winter sets in, Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her real parents. But Lyon is never far behind, and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move. Soon Elka must confront the darkest memories of her past- and end Trapper’s killing spree for good.”
Post-apocalyptic books are my jam. They just hit a note within me and I’m not even sure why. I like to think of myself as a pretty upbeat guy. By their very definition books about a world after a cataclysm has struck are bleak and depressing. They are supposed to be, but something about them just makes me gobble them up.
The Wolf Road is one of the very best I’ve ever read.
We aren’t given too much information on what has happened in the not too distant future to literally bomb the world back to what feels like the 1870’s. All we know is that the “Big Stupid” happened and civilization in the “BC”, the area that the main character Elka lives in resembles to me a Wild West period like that of Deadwood or the Yukon Gold rush. What I can tell you is the it feels real. It feels like Beth Lewis spent some time with her heels resting on a hitching post outside a saloon and she is just documenting the goings on in the entirely made up town of Halveston. I believe every word of world building in this book.
Elka is a character it’s impossible not to love. Lewis has written this book entirely from her perspective and she writes it in Elka’s voice. Her speech patterns immerse you fully in the story in a way I haven’t experienced since I read Trainspotting. It takes a while to get into this use of vernacular but once you do it’s a stroke of genius on Lewis’s part. You feel like Elka is living, breathing and telling the story directly to you.
Elka is one of the strongest characters in any book I can think of, but it’s not forced or far fetched you fully believe her talents and shortcomings. It’s exceptional writing by Beth Lewis. All the characters even minor ones are fully fleshed out even if we only meet them from the briefest of moments.
These characters keep you guessing. Especially Kreagar is he as innocent as he first seems? Or is he as villainous as you are led to believe as the story goes on? Is Elka for that matter? This book twists and turns, keeps you guessing and just when you think you know whats coming you are sold a pig in a poke… or is it a pig?
Surprisingly charming in places and perhaps even surprisingly there are moments of real humour. There’s horror lurking too though. A sense of dread and of danger is never far away just behind a tree or the crack of a pine cone.
It’s a book about redemption but not necessarily finding it. It’s a book about secrets especially the ones we keep from ourselves, but not necessarily how having them discovered is a good thing.
As post-apocalyptic books go, especially as we hurtle towards the conclusion The Wolf Road is as bleak as they come. Right up to the final paragraph I was crying out for something good to happen – and it does and it made my heart sing with joy. It’s not the ending you hope and yearn for, the deus ex machina to make everything alright but its a great ending and the book is so much better for it. When I think about the book and I have a lot since I finished it, the ending and the character of Elka will stay with me for a long time to come.
One final note. The Audio book version which I listened to directly after I finished reading this is just phenomenal. Amy Mcfadden’s reading on the Audible recording is one of the best performances that I’ve heard and it and this book are the perfect introduction if you are new to the world of Audio Books.
The Kindle version at the time of writing this review is just 99p and is available HERE
The Audio Download is available HERE