The first part of the book is worth four stars, but the last two parts caused me to not like it as much.
Fifteen-year-old Willo was born into a new Ice Age that began after the snows of 2059 where everything is frozen, including the oceans. Everywhere you look outside England you see ice and snow.
Willo’s dad, Robin, has chosen their rugged existence because it keeps them away from the government’s prying eyes and being forced to live in the city in cramped, unsanitary shanties. Plus, the government requires everyone to have identity papers to enter or leave the city and only those with special licenses can live outside the cities and make a living selling what they grow or hunt. Unfortunately, Willo’s family has no such papers or permits so they are forced to deal with a local farmer who is able to legally sell the furs and meat he gets from Willo’s family.
Willo’s dad, Robin, says their family and other stragglers like them are beacons of hope for others trapped in the shanties who need to believe that another type of life is possible. Of course the government doesn’t want anyone to know that people are surviving on their own out in the wilds.
Willo marches to his own beat and answers the voices in his head that belong to the dog spirits who guide him. His appearance is a little bizarre too: a dog fur coat and a dog skull on his head with rocks for eyes. He is happiest when he is outside snaring hares in his traps or getting firewood. His life changes when he comes home one day to their house hidden in the mountain and finds everyone gone; he can see the tracks of government trucks that have taken everyone away. Willo loads up his sled and heads off to find out what happened to his family. Along the way, he ends up helping an orphaned 13-year-old girl and encountering more dangerous adventures.
Willo’s narration of the story was frustrating at first because it is almost stream of consciousness with little regard for proper grammar. The way he hears and answers the dog voices in his head are a little strange too. I’m not sure who to recommend this book to as the description I’ve given you is really just for the first part of the book. There are two smaller parts of the book that are very different and, unfortunately, not as riveting or realistic as the first part as some plot actions are contrived.