Since the Damn Stupid turned the clock back on civilization by centuries, the world has been a harsher place. But Elka has learned everything she needs to survive from the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who took her in when she was just seven years old.
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.
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.
This is the second novel in the space of a few weeks that I’ve read with the same premise. Like the book I recently reviewed, A Desolate Splendor, this is a post-apocalyptic novel that’s written in the “hick-speak” that I found completely off-putting, but that’s where the similarities stop.
I was expecting a lot from this novel because the premise sounded so intriguing. I love the idea of a young woman forced to confront all of her realities and go on a grand adventure to figure out the truth about her life. While the plot of this book was adventurous and exciting, I couldn’t enjoy this novel at all due to Elka’s terrible style of speaking and her personality. I understand the purpose of Elka’s way of talking since she was supposed to be poorly educated, but the hick-speak fully repelled me. I’ve read Winter’s Bone as well, and while it didn’t annoy me at all in that novel, it really did in this one. It was just too overdone. This novel also has my least favourite literary device where at the end of each chapter, the narrator foreshadows what will happen next. It completely takes me out of the story.
I also had a hard time warming to Elka. In some ways, she was so knowledgeable, tough, brave, smart, and resourceful, and in other ways, she was unbelievably naive. I only had sympathy for Elka in one scene, and her personality just turned me off the majority of the time. I will admit that all of the characters were well-developed, even the secondary characters. I loved Magistrate Lyon, she was by the far the character I was interested in the most. I’d love to read a novel about her and her experiences, but Elka as a main character didn’t do anything for me.
The one thing I will admit to really liking in this book was the strong female friendship. While Elka and her friend (I won’t mention anything about her due to spoilers) had secrets from each other, the way they supported each other and worked together even while being from different backgrounds was really rewarding to read. I loved the way their friendship was written and developed. It was the one thing that redeemed this book for me.
As things stand, I’m in the minority with my opinions about this novel. Most people who have read it have enjoyed it a lot, and I can understand why. It’s full of action, it has a capable and strong protagonist, and a really solid cast of supporting characters. Personally, I just didn’t connect with this novel, but I recommend anyone who is interested in this book to check it out.
I received this novel from Blogging For Books and Netgalley. This has affected my opinions in no way.