Review for the “Wolf Road” by Beth Lewis
In a post-apocalyptic western-like world 17 year old Elka is raised by a killer in the wilderness. She runs away when she discovers his identity, and in her way to find her parents she acquires the friendship of a wolf and another young woman. However, the man that raised her and the enemies she created because of him will hunt her until she confronts them.
The actual review:
+ The voice. It’s all about the heroine’s voice. It grabs you from the beginning of the book and it doesn’t let you go until the end. It’s gritty, gravelly, but also a strong female voice that starts from a little scared girl and ends up being an intimidating huntress.
+ The narrator of the audiobook. Actress Amy McFadden, really gives justice to the book. Gives life to all characters and makes everything more realistic.
+ The world. A world similar to the American West in the 18th century. You will visit the towns, the countryside, and walk through the dangerous woods. It doesn’t have that gray color that you might have noticed in McCarthy’s the Road. (Check the book’s similar title – I can only see it as a tribute). But you can feel the desolation.
+ The main characters. Especially, the chemistry between Elka and her new friend. Elka being an uneducated woman, is proficient in using a knife or a gun and knows about nature better than the upside of her palm. Her friend is highly educated, and has the charms along with the “letters” (as Elka would say). It’s not an original mix of course, we have seen it in other fictional works. One has the muscles and the other the smarts. But what is interesting here is their hidden attitude in life and decisions in the face of death.
– It’s not sci-fi. I have heard that a true sci-fi book is a sci-fi book when if you remove the sci-fi part of it it cannot stand by itself. Well this book, it can. It could be read perfectly as a Western book since everything that is used feels old. Heck, you could remove electricity if you wanted to.
– Absence of strong character goals. Specifically, at the first chapters I wasn’t sure that Elka had any goals, thus not providing strong motivation to the reader (me) to continue reading. After a while she would repeat her goals to herself, making it sure for me that there will be a high climax point when reaching that point but at the same time I felt forced to have that anticipation.
– Too much into her head / Repetition. You see using the first person can be tricky because some times the writer may try to describe the character’s psyche in more words than they would have in other point of views. Specially, those times where thoughts were repetitive.
– Chapters without progress. This is the result of not having strong character goals. At some points the character would stay at a place and just do nothing vital. It was like reading Thoreau’s book “Walden”, on how to live in the wild.
Nevertheless, if you are into westerns, first person narration, strong female characters. Then this book is for you!