About the Book
A debut literary thriller from an incredible new voice. What do you do when the man who gave you everything turns out to be a killer?
Everything Elka knows of the world she learned from the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who took her under his wing when she was just seven years old.
But 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.
Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her true parents. But Lyon is never far behind – and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move. There will be a reckoning, one that will push friendships to the limit and force Elka to confront the dark memories of her past.
352 pages (hardcover)
Published on July 5, 2016
Published by Crown
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This book was sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Wolf Road was a book that came out of left field and really blew me away. It’s completely different than anything I expected, and absolutely unique in just about every way, from its narrative form, to its structure, to the story itself. This one is dark, and surreal, and incredibly unusual, but it sort of sticks to you like glue. You can’t really get rid of it, because somehow The Wolf Road gets under your skin and lives there for a while.
The Wolf Road takes place in an apocalyptic world, but it’s so far future, so different from our own world that only hints of it will remind readers that it’s really rooted in the world we live in, just a different version of it. The story is told through the first person perspective of our protagonist Elka, a young woman who hasn’t had a very lucky streak in life.
At the age of seven, Elka finds herself alone and at the mercy of someone named Trapper. Trapper is an interesting fellow with plenty of secrets, but the relationship between them that forms is genuine, if a bit twisted. There’s something off about it, but Elka is a unique snowflake, and it’s obvious that a typical guardian/child relationship wouldn’t really work for her in the first place. So this relationship forms, Trapper shelters Elka and teaches her. She grows up in the woods, part girl, part wild animal, and all hunter and tracker, just like her guardian.
Well, Elka notices things are a bit off about Trapper, but she kind of lets it go, and then one day everything changes. She notices that these things that have been off about her guardian are part of this huge secret he’s been hiding, and everything after that point sort of explodes. Elka goes on the run, but she’s been so sheltered, so away from it all that she really is sort of lost even though she’s completely scary knowledgeable in the woods. Trapper has kept her ignorant despite herself, and this ignorance doesn’t really help her when she interacts with other people, though it keeps her one step ahead when she’s alone with herself in the woods.
Anyway, Elka is on the run and Trapper is following her, and then there is the law that gets involved and she gets in and out of weird situations and the whole thing is so surreal and so overflowing with tension that you’ll be as unable to put this book down as I was. The narrative style brings Elka to life. Her voice is so completely true to the character, and her view of the world and how she navigates through so many things that would cause such incredible trauma to any person is admirable.
My one drawback regarding this novel is the fact that it opens up with one of the final scenes, and while I spent most of the book wondering how exactly Elka got to that point in the novel, I did feel like some of the wonder was gone because I sort of already had an idea about how the book would end.
But really, that’s small potatoes. This is, hands down, one of the best books I’ve read this year. The writing is superb, the story is completely addicting, and Elka’s voice is incredibly remarkable. Everything about this book shines. If you are looking for an unforgettable thriller, look no further. The Wolf Road will punch you in the gut, and you’ll keep asking for more because damn, it just is that good.
Your description of this book is reminding me of a film I saw called Hanna. Its main character is also a girl raised in the woods by a guy with a shady mysterious past.