Gosh, I can’t believe it’s November already! It only seems like yesterday that I was away on my hen do, and now we are another novel further down our book club track. This time, Nikki selected a tense thriller in the form of ‘The Wolf Road’ by Beth Lewis.
Luckily, I had a loyalty stamp card for Waterstones, which saved me £10 off the price of the hardback (RRP £12.99) - great, as the paperback isn’t due for release until next spring. Lesley managed to pick up her Kindle copy for £7.99, so unless you are a fan of eReaders, you may want to wait until the mass paperback release early next year.
This story is set in what is thought to be a post-apocalyptic British Columbia, sometime after a lengthy war with Russia. The world appears to have been sent back to the ‘Wild West’ era, with the only difference being access to antibiotics and electricity. Crime is difficult to police, and many local sheriffs have taken to barbaric enforcement as a deterrent to any ‘would-be’ criminals. People live in poverty, and the only hope is panning for gold in a landscape ripped apart by nuclear bombs.
In a similar way to Maestra - the first instalment in ‘The Readers’ series - we are introduced to scenes from much later on in the story, as a taste for what the book has to offer. We begin in confusing wilderness, with the main character being stalked by a killer who is familiar to her. After watching the drama unfold, we are then transported back in time to uncover the events which led to this final confrontation.
After the relatively short chapters of our last book, I was initially hesitant to start this one – work has been getting a little busier and I hate not having the time to properly sit down and read large sections uninterrupted. The initial use of language is also difficult to understand, as the story is told through the first person viewpoint of Elka, our main character, who was raised, uneducated, in the wilderness. Once I got through the first few chapters however, the style became much easier to read and I couldn’t put the book down! One thing I especially enjoyed, was the various clues as to the outcome of the story hidden throughout the text – I was particularly pleased when I guessed the true outcome of a character early on! There are various other little titbits dotted throughout the story, so I’m sure others will also be able to guess the things I did.
Despite the fun guessing game, and my general love of anything post-apocalyptic, this is definitely not my favourite story so far. All of us seemed to enjoy the majority of the text, but a couple of us agreed that the ending was a let-down and didn’t really do the rest of the text justice. There seemed to be no closure for Elka and we commented that this would maybe lead on to a sequel. If this is the case, I can’t say I’m particularly a fan of the idea, as I believe every book should stand alone and be able to tell a story completely, before leading you into the next instalment. At this point, my usual dilemma is not wanting to rate anything as perfect, but it’s not a problem in the case. I enjoyed the majority of what I read, but didn’t feel particularly gripped by any of it. The best I can rate this as, is a solid 3/5 – I’m still glad I read it, but it’s not high on my list of future recommendations for others.
Our next book was a group decision in favour of an easier read over the festive period - ‘The Christmasaurus’ by Tom Fletcher. Join us again in late December when we’ve all read the next one!