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The Wolves of Winter

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Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive.

Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As memories of her old life haunt her, she has been forced to forge ahead in the snow-covered Canadian Yukon, learning how to hunt and trap to survive.

But her fragile existence is about to be shattered. Shadows of the world before have found her tiny community—most prominently in the enigmatic figure of Jax, who sets in motion a chain of events that will force Lynn to fulfill a destiny she never imagined.

312 pages, Hardcover

First published January 2, 2018

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Tyrell Johnson

2 books398 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,166 reviews
Profile Image for  Teodora .
307 reviews1,644 followers
April 5, 2023
4.25/5 ⭐

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

"It's amazing how little we need to survive. And not just survive, but live".

This book is all about surviving. But what does it take to survive? Less than we imagine.
Set in a dystopian environment, in a world struggling to stay alive and keep going, Lynn and her family try to do the same as everyone. The conditions in the Canadian Yukon are tough, human interactions are less usual to be seen and everything considered normal in the past is now a dream or a luxury. Even more interesting, it seems like the world tries to complete a full circle and considers normal the future as it was way back in the past. The involution of the evolution.

Lynn doesn't seem to care that much about her new life. She lives it like it is until the interesting character of Jax makes his way into Lynn's life. From that moment, Lynn starts discovering things and, in the depth of her heart, she finds them exciting. Exciting is a weird word when you're afraid though. It makes you look like a freak.

Both bloody and 'raw', as the author himself says more than a couple of times, the book is a page of possible history in the future of humanity. A pessimist future. But even through the darkest clouds, the sun can shine. This book's shine is Lynn McBride herself who gets her hands dirty (and bloody) in order to make her way through and succeed. Through the wicked conditions, she finds a new way of looking at things. Looking with hope. Because she is hope.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,298 reviews35k followers
January 22, 2021
4.5 stars

"I exist as I am, that is enough."

Lynn McBride is surviving in the stark Canadian Yukon after society collapsed after a nuclear war and the onset of disease. She is not alone, her Mother, her brother, her uncle and others live in a small settlement relying on their hunting skills to survive.

One day she comes across a young man, Jax, and his dog named Wolf while out hunting. Jax appears different from others she has met. He is mysterious, and she is intrigued. She brings him back to her tiny settlement and their entire world changes forever.

"Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive."

Lynne thought she was struggling to survive before, but now she is really in a struggle to survive. This newcomer is not the only change in her life, his arrival triggers a change of events that threaten their way of life.

I really enjoyed this post apocalypse tale of survival. I also love how the landscape and climate feel very much like a character themselves. I could almost hear the crunch of the snow under their boots and feel the chill in the air. I found this to be a nice touch to setting the mood of the book. Winter is not coming - Winter is here in this book! Another thing I appreciated was how fast paced this book was. I found it to be a riveting, chilling, and suspenseful read. It's part coming of age tale (even though Lynne is in her early 20's), it's also about family secrets, learning who you really are, learning what you are made of, bravery, hope, fear, desperation, violence, redemption, and starting over. This book is atmospheric, thrilling, and a page turner.

Thank you to Scribner and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

See more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com
Profile Image for karen.
3,979 reviews170k followers
September 14, 2018
an aftermath novel set in canada where a family protects their seeeecrets and struggles to survive in the snowy wasteland with no way of knowing the state of the wider world, the number of remaining humans, whether the sickness that kicked off the apocalypse is still a threat… the only way this book could have courted me harder would have been to have made all the survivors also be red pandas.

although endangered, we survive, wheeee!

this lists and is priced as an adult title, but there’s definitely crossover appeal for a YA audience: the POV-protagonist is a crossbow-wielding 23-year-old woman named lynne (née gwendolynn, but that’s the worst name you can have in a wilderness survival novel - it's a long dress getting caught on things) and there’s a romance angle that’s full of complications, which is another tick in the “teens’ll dig it” column.

it’s a post-apoc survival story with a SF filling, but its closest genre-pal is the western; lone man drifts into a town of people suspicious of lone men, wounded but too manly to accept assistance until the womenfolk insist on nursing him back to health, attracting the interest of the fetching young daughter although he is aloof and taciturn and hints about his dark past and things seem to be settling into a routine until, you know, it turns out that hell followed with him. reckoning commences.

but of course in this case, the “town” is only five people (and one ‘cross the way), and the fetching young daughter is blood-related to two of the three men, so her interest in the mysterious jax is partially rooted in the serious lack of romantic or even sexual options at the end of the world. (because the one ‘cross the way is a unappealing in every possible way) and jax may not have a horse, but he does have a dog, named “wolf,” because he did not know it was a dog. and he has never tasted strawberries. which spotlights both a lack of imagination and an oddly sheltered past, but again - lynn’s not looking this gift horse in the mouth, and as it happens, jax has other attributes of the badass variety that are going to come in handy when the uneventful but safe life her family has enjoyed for seven years is compromised, secrets are exposed, lives are at risk, and the “town” is suddenly under siege in the most spectacular western-y fashion.

lynne is herself medium-badass - she’s good at killing animals with her crossbow, setting traps, and other assorted wilderness skills her late (and sorely missed) scientist father taught her. but she’s fairly sheltered herself, physically small, and she reads a lot younger than 23 on the page. a lot of it comes down to her never having been tested in particular ways, so she never had to develop certain skills, and as the book progresses, she comes more into herself, but she can be a frustrating character at times for a reader who wants her crossbow-heroine to kick ass and take names on every page.

my one other complaint is that the ending was a little too tidy.

still - it’s a fine book, and my complaints are really just the personal preferences of someone who reads a lot of stuff like this and has seen pretty much every variation on the theme. this one is particularly strong in its descriptions and atmosphere-building of the natural world; the silence of the wilderness and the isolation and just the nothingness is great. there’s a real presence to it that’s profoundly haunting. honestly, you write like that, you don't need the bells and whistles of the world ending to flesh out a harrowing survival story. nature's already scary enough if you're unwary.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for LIsa Noell "Rocking the Chutzpah!.
579 reviews163 followers
August 8, 2022
Dang, I loved this story and really hated to see it end. I'll confess that I wasn't expecting too much from it, as I usually like my post-apocalyptic fiction to be filled with zombies/aliens/supernatural beings. This was about as real as it gets. The setting in the Yukon was gorgeous! The best thing about this story were the people. Sometimes you just run across a character and they take on a life of their own. Gwendolyn will be added to that list of fictional characters who I'll remember on certain days and wonder what she been up to. Then I'll probably have to read this book again and spend a few days visiting. This is a fully self-contained novel, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want a sequel. Please...
Profile Image for Annet.
570 reviews723 followers
September 10, 2018
In the end, it's funny how little we need to get by. Snow, moose, potatoes, carrots, the company of a few good people. It's amazing how little we need to survive. And not just to survive, but live...

An apocalyptic read, quite enjoyable, easy & quick to read, good storyline, atmospheric scenery as a background. About a family moving into the wilderness of Yukon, to get away from the flu which is killing the world population, surviving and ultimately fighting a movement called 'Immunity', who seems to have dark motives.
It's a genre I like and read a couple of books about each year. Some more grim and dark than others. This book, a good addition to my apocalyptic list. Say 3.8 rating. Yes, very enjoyable (if you can say that about a book about the end of the world as we know it ;-))
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,739 reviews14.1k followers
December 27, 2017
Society as we know it has collapsed. The big powes have nuked each other to near oblivion. Many have tried to escape, but then came something with no escape, no cure, trying to finish off those who were left. Lynn, and her remaining family members escape to the Yukon, form a small settlement, hunting and fishing to survive.

As Lynn thinks back in time, "And really it didn't matter anymore --the lines we drew for ourselves, the differences we created, the fear and hatred we felt simply because there were oceans and deserts and forests between us. The fear of the unknown. The fear that the other guy had a bigger stick. Once the flu hit none of it mattered." It was the one thing confronting society that the bigger might couldn't conquer.

One day a stranger appears St their settlement. A young man, different, but who is he, what does he want? As in our world now there are people who will exploit people's fear, to gain power. Chaos and tragedy always brings out the worst and the best in people. There are people that desperately want what Lynn has, something she doesn't know herself has. A big force is moving in, and once again her world will change.

I found this book chilling, not just because of the location, but because it all seems so very possible. There is plenty of action, and the pace is quick. Loved the scenario, and really rooted for this small settlement and those who settled there. A worst case scenario that I hope never comes to pass.

ARC from Netgalley.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,138 followers
January 20, 2018
4.5 Stars.

OKAAAY......SIGN ME UP for the next Tyrell Johnson novel! THE WOLVES OF WINTER is a super-fine debut....available NOW!

............."Everyone has something to hide.".............

What you'll find here is a great post-apocalyptic adventure set in a snowy Yukon wilderness....with freezing temperatures....a feisty smart-mouth protagonist....her expanded family....a "fat-face" creep neighbor, a mysterious man, his cool dog Wolf....and a fight for survival....literally.

When the McBride family flee Chicago for Alaska, Lynn's father anticipates what's coming. As a biologist, he fears the worst....desperate, violent people and infection....and he's right.

THE WOLVES OF WINTER is a fresh, but scary look at an apocalyptic future with a reality all too possible.

The story is very atmospheric, well-written and totally engaging throughout. For me (did not seem YA) and was unputdownable. A possible series? Hopefully!

Many thanks to NetGalley and SCRIBNER for the complimentary ebook in exchange for a review.

Profile Image for Gary.
442 reviews187 followers
January 4, 2018
Tyrell Johnson’s The Wolves of Winter starts out as a reasonably well-written, if undistinguished, post-apocalyptic tale – a sort of YA-ish version of Cormac Mcarthy’s The Road (the “ish” owing to the fact that the protagonist, Lynn, is a handful of years older than the usual YA heroine). It quickly turns into a reasonably well-written, undistinguished, YA-ish post-apocalyptic tale crossbred with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a development that doesn’t do it any favors. Lynn is a little bit Katniss (hunts with bow and arrow) and a little bit more Bella (attracted to dangerous men, makes bad decisions, needs to be rescued a lot).
After a nuclear war AND a superflu wipe out most of the planet’s human population, Lynn and some of her surviving family and friends band together in the snowy wilderness of the Canadian Yukon. Their difficult if mostly peaceful existence is disrupted when a mysterious, reclusive stranger named Jax wanders through the vicinity, bringing a dangerous governmental agency known as Immunity on his tail. Lynn, of course, falls for super-strong super-fast Jax, whose most marketable skill is murdering people.
The Wolves of Winter is economical and fast-paced, and Johnson has the basic storytelling skills required to write a not embarrassingly bad novel. Johnson can’t really be blamed too much for the unoriginal setting; your options are limited when you plug “nuclear war and disease ravaged wasteland” into the worldbuilding machine – there’s basically a sliding scale between Station Eleven and Mad Max, which Johnson scoots closer to the former. He can, however, be blamed for all the other trimmings. The characters are rather bland to begin with, but the total lack of chemistry between the romantic leads is unforgivable. Their banter is clumpy and insipid, and Johnson contrives a number of obvious and threadbare excuses for slamming them together (e.g. Jax rescues Lynn from being buried in a blizzard, seemingly only so the old “we have to get naked and spoon to save you from freezing to death don’t worry it’s just science” card can be played). Worse still is the cookie cutter villainy of Immunity; every representative of the organization is a sinister, sneering, underhanded creep lacking any shred of human decency, all the better for Jax to slaughter them indiscriminately and with moral impunity. I kept hoping he would at least hunt down the head of their HR department for their questionable application review process (Are you indifferent to the suffering of others? Yes. Are your employer’s goals more important than basic human rights? Of course. You’re hired!).
A novel only for the most forgiving of readers.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this ARC.
Profile Image for Erin Clemence.
1,057 reviews311 followers
March 30, 2018
Thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada, the author and NetGalley for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review.

“The Wolves of Winter” by Tyrell Johnson is a post-apocalyptic novel, where a young woman has the capacity to save the world. But don’t base whether you read it or not on that statement alone. Comparisons have been made to “Hunger Games” (Suzanne Collins) and this is accurate, however “Wolves” is an entirely novel, creative enterprise worth its own individual praise.

In “Winter”, Gwendolynn McBride and her family are living in a world that has been shattered by disease. After losing her scientist father to “the flu”, she moves with her brother, mother and uncle to the Yukon, hoping the cold will provide some protection from the airborne virus. Virtually isolated, Lynn and her family have found a way to survive. When a stranger comes to their camp and the McBride’s take a chance and shelter him, their life changes quickly. An agency named “Immunity” is on the hunt for their stranger (Jax) and soon Lynn is a target. Lynn begins to question- what does her mother know? What was her father studying? Why does Immunity know who she is and why is she in danger?

This story is not completely innovative- a strong, female protagonist with special skills/powers that could save the world alongside a rough, isolated young man who turns out to be different than expected, and a world torn apart by outside forces. There are some similarities to both “Divergent” (Veronica Roth), and “The Hunger Games”, as well as any of the other immeasurable YA-pocalypse stories out there. However, I can say, I am a huge fan of this genre and really enjoyed “Wolves of Winter”.

Lynn is a great character, with just the right amount of spunk and sass without being snotty or irritating. The cold, white, winter landscape of the Yukon sets the stage for the feelings of isolation that run through the McBride “household”. The story is also told in small chapters, which makes reading this novel a breeze.

Obviously, this novel will have a sequel (if not more), so based on that assumption, I will not evaluate the ending. Although no sequel was directly mentioned, it would be against the rules of this genre to not provide at least two more novels and make it into a series (and then eventually a movie, or perhaps a TV series, or maybe both). I am however, excited to follow Lynn’s journey through the cold Canadian north and see if she succeeds in her quest and if she continues her (predictable) relationship with Jax (but of course it’s predictable, considering he’s the only male she has come in contact with that isn’t her family or directly trying to kill her). This book surprised me and I was impressed tenfold. Please continue this series, oh Great Book Gods!
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,180 reviews618 followers
January 15, 2018
In his debut novel, Tyrell Johnson takes us into a harsh but beautiful post apocalyptic world. After nuclear world war destroyed New York, Lynne McBride and her family fled Chicago for Alaska where they lived quietly for a few years until a flu pandemic swept the world, taking the life of her biologist father. Lynne, her mother, brother and uncle then moved again to a remote region of the Yukon where they learned to fish and hunt to survive. Life is cold and rugged but with plenty of game and even a few vegetables in the summer they have adapted to their new life. Now seven years later Lynne, 23 is an accomplished hunter and loves the beauty of the Yukon but is lonely. They have met no other people since settling in the Yukon until one day a young man called Jax arrives, followed not long after by a group looking for him. Soon Lynne finds herself using all her survival strategies to fight for her freedom from a group called Immunity intent on capturing her at all costs.

Although this is a post-apocalyptic novel, the first half of the novel is more reminiscent of a novel about early pioneers trying to build a life in a harsh, rugged environment. The writing is very evocative and the descriptions of life in the Yukon are vivid with a sense of the extreme cold seeping through the pages. It is not until Jax is running for his life from Immunity, that a dystopian theme becomes more evident and the reason for the family’s flight from Chicago starts to emerge. The plot is clever and not unrealistic, although I did feel the members of Immunity were a little stereotyped as villains prepared to slaughter innocent people in the name of doing good for mankind. Lynne is a well realised character, strong and spirited, trained by her father to be tough and resourceful and will do anything to protect her family and defend her home. Jax is more of an enigma but was emerging as a more fully formed character towards the end of the novel. The ending of the novel leaves enough of an opening for a sequel and I very much hope there will be one.

With many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Harlequin for a copy to read and review.
Profile Image for Tyrell Johnson.
Author 2 books398 followers
January 31, 2018
It's like this book was written for me...I've probably read this novel, I dunno, a hundred times!

(Love to all who've read and reviewed...even if you didn't like it!)
Profile Image for Frank Phillips.
504 reviews250 followers
March 3, 2021
Holy Smokes! What a stunning, unexpected delight this book turned out to be. This might be just the best apocalyptic survival story I've had the privilege of reading. Everything about this novel worked perfectly for me. Thanks to nuclear war and disease that has ravaged and wiped out most of the population on the planet, you have a small group of people struggling to survive in an ice-aged Canadian Yukon. Forget luxuries such as internet and electricity, it's all about survival and survival only, reminiscent of The Walking Dead (my favorite show). Besides the heart pounding action that kept me at the edge of my seat, biting what little fingernails I have left, this book was full of incredibly flawed, human characters that I absolutely fell in love with, especially Jax and Lynn. While this was a somewhat short read at only 310 pages, it felt like the perfect length to me, and I wonder and hope that this will become a series of sorts, if it hasn't already. To those out there that love action-packed thrillers, I simply cannot recommend this book enough! Johnson is definitely on my radar now, and he should be on everyone else's too!
Profile Image for Matt.
3,733 reviews12.8k followers
February 15, 2018
In his debut novel, Tyrell Johnson storms onto the scene with this curious post-apocalyptic piece that pits a rural family against the Establishment. Lynn is a 23 year-old who has seen much in her life. The Wars turned America into a nuclear war zone and forced her family to flee to Alaska when she was still a child. However, along with the bombs came a debilitating flu that knocked out large portions of the remaining population, one of whom was Lynn’s father, not long after she turned twelve. Living now in the Yukon Territory, the remaining family members subsist off the land, forced to forage and hunt when the ground is covered with ice and snow. They are isolated not only because of the drastic drop in population, but also to steer clear of Immunity, a group dedicated to find and annihilate any remaining flu carriers, or use them as test subjects to inoculate the healthy. When Jax appears on their terrain, Lynn and her uncle, Jeryl, take note. They soon discover that Jax is one of the good people, also fleeing from Immunity, but with a number of secrets of his own. As Lynn and Jax get closer, they learn a little more about one another, including things that could jeopardise their safety. Struggling to remain one step ahead of Immunity, they take a chance that could have dire consequences. All the while, Lynn is forced to come to terms with some half-truths her family has kept from her for all these years, at a time when every day could be her last. Steeped in drama and some violent clashes, Johnson’s piece is sure to get people talking for a long time to come. Perfect for those who like a little struggle and angst in a world decimated by political arm wrestling.

I had heard much about this book before I chose to take the plunge. I am happy that I did so, as Johnson’s piece does not read like a debut whatsoever. His attention to detail and wonderful story development is clear throughout, while he provides a social commentary of where the world is headed in the near future. Perhaps one of the great aspects of this novel is that it keeps a few characters moving throughout, rather than forcing the reader to juggle huge numbers, remembering names and backstories. Lynn and Jax develop throughout the piece at an astounding rate, while also pulling their backstories along to add depth to their characters. Both have suffered much in their young lives, but they refuse to lay down and let the world roll over them. Rather, they build on these issues and create an even stronger foundation for themselves. The rest of those who grace the pages of the book serve their purpose, flavouring the narrative with their unique personalities. While some may look at ‘post-apocalyptic’ and see something a little too out of this world, Johnson keeps things realistic as events develop, allowing the reader to wonder ‘what if’ rather than ‘if only’. The pain felt through each revelation is something that can hit home as a young woman struggles to find her own place in a world that is hanging on merely by a thread. The story reads so easily and the narrative flows off the page, with countless incidents of symbolism that speak directly to the reader. While there will be those who gasp at blood and language peppered throughout, those who can handle it will be glad they took the time to enjoy this wonderful novel.

Kudos, Mr. Johnson, for stunning the literary world with something so palatable. I am pleased to see you dropped the odd Canadian mention throughout this piece and hope fans on both sides of the border (and worldwide) discover all you have to offer.

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Janelle Janson.
709 reviews439 followers
February 11, 2018
THE WOLVES OF WINTER by Teryll Johnson - Thank you so much to Scribner for providing my free copy - all opinions are my own.

I am a BIG fan of post apocalyptic reads and this fits the bill! Lynn and her family survive after nuclear war and the plague of disease. They cross the border and make their way to log cabins in the far reaches of the Canadian Yukon. Lynn learns to hunt, protect, and survive in the wild. She then meets Jax and his dog, Wolf, and at that point things really start to take off.

I’m very impressed with Lynn—she’s a strong female protagonist and I love everything about her. Johnson really nailed it with this book; I love the vivid descriptions and phenomenal character development. You feel as if you’re right there in the snow experiencing everything. The imagery in this book plays its own character.

Although it starts off slow and steady, I was completely addicted from page one. It felt like no time had passed, and I was finished with the book. It is thrilling, intense, and mysterious! I highly recommend THE WOLVES OF WINTER and please, please, please let there be a sequel!

I rate this book 4.5 / 5 stars!

For all my reviews, please visit https://shereadswithcats.com
Profile Image for Diane.
1,080 reviews2,656 followers
April 28, 2018
One of my favorite sub-genres of dystopian novels is when society breaks down due to some kind of tragedy, and then a band of survivors figures out how to keep going and rebuild. (See also: Stephen King's "The Stand," Emily St. John Mandel's "Station Eleven," and Jose Saramago's "Blindness.")

So naturally I was intrigued when I heard the plot of "The Wolves of Winter": a flu pandemic and world wars have wiped out much of humanity, but one young woman and her family are trying to survive in the wilderness of Canada.

I was instantly caught up in the story and raced through it in only a few sittings. The plot was thrilling and I liked the characters, but my one pesky comment is that I could tell it was a man writing the heroine Gwendolynn. Several times there were details or bits of dialogue that didn't seemed to fit with her character. This is quibbling, of course, and I still enjoyed the novel.

I think fans of "The Hunger Games" would like this book, because Gwendolynn reminded me a bit of Katniss Everdeen.

Favorite Quote
"Grief never goes away. It just changes. At first it's like molten-hot lava dripping from your heart and hollowing you from the inside. Over time, it settles into your bones, your skin, so that you live with it, walk with it every day. Grief isn't the footprints in the snow. It's the empty space between."
Profile Image for Indieflower.
330 reviews101 followers
March 1, 2020
Lots to like in this book, a ballsy female protagonist, isolation, post-apocalyptic shenanigans and loads of snow (for me, there's nowt like the atmosphere that a bit of snowy isolation brings). The plot seemed fairly realistic, not hard to imagine this actually happening, unstable political climate followed by wars which are interrupted by a flu pandemic. At times it felt a bit YA, the main character is in her twenties but I felt she came across as younger - think Katniss Everdeen with her bow - and though I tend to avoid YA like the plague, I did really enjoy this. Though the book is a standalone there is plenty of opportunity for a sequel, I'd certainly read it, I'd like to see where the characters go.
Profile Image for 8stitches 9lives.
2,793 reviews1,627 followers
May 24, 2018
This novel has a little bit of everything I love mixed into it - a post-apocalyptic/dystopian society with elements of mystery and coming of age of protagonist, Lynn. The setting is the wilderness of remote Canada. The pacing was excellent and the writing was smooth and easy to follow. Johnson knows how to ratchet up the tension and create great atmospherics. I enjoyed the action throughout and even the hint of romance, which I don't usually appreciate, felt as though it fit in with the overall tone of the book. I generally do like a little romance if it is done well and complements the story. The world-building is vivid and the ending is a satisfying conclusion to the tale.

The timing of this release was excellent - there's nothing like reading a book describing beautiful snowy and desolate landscapes when it is cold and/or snowy where you're reading!

I would like to thank Tyrell Johnson, HQ and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest and impartial review.
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books353 followers
August 2, 2020
Trigger Warning:

Full Review: Thank you so much to NetGalley and Schribner for allowing me to read and review this lovely literary debut by Tyrell Johnson. I really loved the author’s prose. I found this book very similar to an old Jack London novel. Very slow-paced for the first half, gorgeous descriptions of the cold and survival in an unforgiving land. There is very little action in the first part of the book. However, about halfway through, things begin to pick up and the writing takes a very cool, dystopian/sci-fi turn that had me on the edge of my seat.

Johnson’s prose is so, SO strong. Every word choice is absolutely gorgeous. You can see every sunset and taste the snow. He absolutely transports you to the Yukon and keeps you there right on the page. I connected with the loneliness of Lynn and wanted to stay with her story. Very much enjoyed this and look forward to more of the author’s work.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author.
Profile Image for Emma.
976 reviews977 followers
December 24, 2017
This post apocalyptic fiction has a definite YA vibe but offers more than enough to keep a reader of any age entertained. It follows the story of Lynn McBride, living in the wilderness of the Yukon with her family, isolated and wary after war and disease brought the world to its knees some years ago. She is what makes the book, the kind of vibrant voice that demands attention, such as we've seen in more and more young female characters over the last few years, from Katniss to Turtle.

Into the dull, repetitive hard work of this new existence comes conflict in the form of a stranger from the outside, kindling revelations that will change the lives of everyone. Here, sharp action and daggered consequences clash with the beautifully rendered environment, bright blood spilled over snow. It is well done and entertaining to boot, a strong first offering from Johnson in what looks like the start of a series.

ARC via Netgalley.
April 20, 2022
I don't normally read post-apocalyptic stories, but after seeing my friend Dorian's review, I found myself intrigued and requested it from the library. Lynn and her family are just trying to survive in the Canadian Yucon after nuclear war and a flu pandemic. Sounds depressing, but it was actually quite hopeful. Like I said, not what I normally like to read about, but this one really made me ponder what we truly need to survive. Lynn is likable and relatable, and I found it so easy to root for her. This book has a little bit of everything. It's part coming of age, part survival, some family drama and secrets, and also very suspenseful in parts. I wasn't expecting to enjoy this one so much, but I gobbled it up in 2 days. I listened to the audiobook and some of the male voices I found distracting, so I wonder if I would have liked it even more in print. Regardless, thank you Mr. Johnson for getting me out of my comfort zone. 4 stars.
Profile Image for Carolyn Walsh .
1,478 reviews606 followers
October 28, 2019
This was a gripping, easy to read, post-apocalyptic novel. Set in the harsh, frozen wilderness of the Yukon, the author in his debut thriller manages to evoke the cold and isolation along with the desperation of the survivors. Much of the humanity in the ‘civilized world’ to the south were wiped out by warfare, some of it nuclear. This was followed by a worldwide flu pandemic which killed most of those who survived the wars.

Lynn is a 23-year-old woman who is now forced to subsist in the rough, unforgiving land of ice and snow in the Yukon. Her father was a scientist who died from the flu when Lynn was aged 12. The family then fled to Alaska while American cities were being destroyed by bombs. In the isolation of the Yukon wilderness, they subsist by hunting, fishing, foraging and a few vegetables they are able to grow for a couple of months. Lynn’s family consists of her mother, a brother, and an uncle with his adopted son of a deceased friend. There is also a brutal neighbor who is not to be trusted.

The family is struggling to avoid an organization called Immunity. Their aim is to exterminate all those suspected of being flu carriers and to use the healthy as test subjects using their blood to inoculate survivors.

Lynn was taught survival skills by her father before his death. She is strong and resourceful and protective of her family. She is also sharp-tongued and has an independent spirit. I have seen criticism that she acts and sounds more like a teenager than an adult woman, but I could forgive her because that is the way she has been treated by family members. One day while out trapping, she encounters an enigmatic man, Jax, who is wounded. He is accompanied by his dog named Wolf. She brings him home, an outsider into her family’s isolated existence. He is resented and not trusted by her family, but they become more accepting when they learn that he is also fleeing the treacherous Immunity group. Their entire group is in danger as Immunity is intent on capturing both Jax and Lynn in particular. The unknown reason that Lynn is to be apprehended begins to emerge as we and the young woman gradually learn about family secrets from her past. The reticent Jax reveals the organization’s urgent need to capture him. Immunity will not hesitate to murder all family members to reach their goals.

The group prepares for an encounter with Immunity, and to fight them. When they arrive in larger numbers, the action is tense and deadly.
I thought this was an atmospheric story, with some compelling characters. I would read further books by the author, and feel The Wolves of Winter leaves room for a sequel. 3.5 Stars.
Profile Image for Paul Weiss.
1,225 reviews171 followers
May 1, 2023
“I exist as I am, that is enough”

Canadian author Tyrell Johnson’s THE WOLVES OF WINTER opens in the Canadian Yukon with the aftermath of the apocalypse already a done deal, a fait accompli. A nuclear war has taken place and subsequently abandoned as pointless because of the spread of a virulent influenza pandemic. The flu virus, initiated by the USA as a biological weapon, proved to be beyond their control and rapidly spread from Asia back into the USA. Society has collapsed and all that is left is a few lucky survivors who managed to dodge the war and the flu plus a few folks who either developed immunity or had a genetic natural immunity. Those people are now the targets of a ruthless far right prewar organization known as “Immunity” who still seek the refinement of their “ultimate weapon”.

The solitude of Lynn McBride and the remnants of her family who escaped to an erstwhile solitude and a bleak hard-working existence in the Yukon is about to be shattered when they encounter Jackson Day, a man with a hidden past who is clearly on the run from something or someone.

THE WOLVES OF WINTER is not a deep or complicated story. But it is a compelling, easy-reading page turner – a coming of age tale of a young woman growing up in a post-apocalyptic environment and the decisions she faces with respect to her own future life and the possible choices that might be made with respect to the building of a new world for herself and her family. And I might add, as a confirmed outdoor lover and experienced winter camper, the descriptions of survival in the Yukon winter added an extra depth of flavor and reality to the novel that I really appreciated and enjoyed.

Definitely recommended.

Paul Weiss
Profile Image for Brittney Andrews (beabookworm).
135 reviews233 followers
December 28, 2017
"I have heard what the talkers were talking,
the talk of the beginning and the end,
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now."




It's been over seven years since 23-year-old Gwendalynn "Lynn" has used electricity, eaten a Fruit Roll-Up, worn a bra—yup, those good ol' days are lonnnng gone. Everything is different now that the world is at war with each other. And just when you thought things couldn't get any worse... well, they do. A massive epidemic known as the Asian Flu is claiming lives faster than the blink of an eye.

Things weren't always this chaotic though. This mess happened gradually. As the days went by, less and less kids started showing up at Lynn's school. Then one day, the teachers didn't show up at all. Food became more scarce. Then it became time. Time to say goodbye to the life she knew in Chicago. Her and her family needed get away from the hell that had broken loose before it devoured them, too.

After traveling from city-to-city, Lynn and her family finally managed to settle in the Yukon, a freeze-your-balls-off territory in northwest Canada. Only, not everyone survived the shitty journey.

"And nothing happened more beautifully than death," Walt Whitman says.
Fucking liar.


Jax isn't quite sure how old he is—27 maybe 28? Here's the thing, you lose track of time when you don't have a watch or a calendar to follow, when the world has gone to shit, no friends to chat with. It's just you and your dog. There is, however, one thing Jax is certain about: do not get caught by the group known as Immunity.

Jax has been taken advantage of long enough, and now he is on the run. With no sense of purpose except to get away as far as he can from the savage people who want to use him as a weapon. Jax is about to cross paths with Lynn and unknowingly help her uncover a secret she's been kept in the dark about for far too long. But here's the thing, Lynn isn't the only one with a dark secret.



Rated PG-13: This book deals with two scenes of sexual assault, frequents the use of profanity and references sex.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. Quotes are subject to change upon publication.

PS. I will be purchasing this book with my own money when it comes out on January 2, 2018. Yes, that's how much I freaking loved it. Watch out for this up-and-coming author because they are on 🔥!!
Profile Image for Dorian.
82 reviews32 followers
March 24, 2022
"It’s amazing how little we need to survive. And not just survive, but live.”

This book was so friggin fun! I stumbled across it by accident, and noticing that it got 5 stars from one of my favourite authors in sir Blake Crouch, I knew I had to read it.

The setting is post pandemic, post world war, isolated way up north (further north than I am) in the Yukon, unsure of how many people are even left in the world, and living off the land. Surviving. Girl meets strange boy and things just kick off from there. I thought the character development in this book was so good, and that’s what really made this story great for me. I was rooting for Lynn the whole way! She was such a badass, and proved that you can do anything you set your mind to, especially when it comes making proud the people you care about the most.

4.5 ⭐️
Profile Image for mich.
650 reviews233 followers
February 19, 2018
So I guess this is marketed as post-apocalyptic adult fiction, but honestly, this book is so YA it couldn't BE more YA. (There's a couple graphic scenes I guess, but still - everything else? totally YA.) Not that there's anything wrong with YA (I LIKE that genre), but you know - it's something you should know going in.

It was a very quick read and the setting was written really nicely, but with cardboard cut-out villains, convenient fixes, and a tacked-on lackluster romance, I can't really say this book was anything great and I'm certain I'll forget everything about it very soon.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Blake Crouch.
Author 82 books45.4k followers
December 14, 2018
If Jack London had written a post-apocalyptic, coming-of-age thriller, it might read something like this. Curl up with The Wolves of Winter by a warm fire, and set aside a day, because this is great, absorbing fiction, with one of the most appealing protagonists I’ve ever encountered. It deserves the widest possible audience.
Profile Image for Emily.
17 reviews18 followers
January 18, 2022
" Grief never goes away. It just changes. At first it's like molten hot lava dripping from your heart and hollowing you from the inside. Over time, it settles into your bones, your skin, so that you live with it, walk with it everyday."

I enjoyed reading this although I did find some chapters slow. overall a great reading experience and I loved the message of the story.
Profile Image for Patricia.
410 reviews83 followers
February 5, 2018
4 solid stars and I might be tempted to go 4.5.

A debut book. Excellent start. A dystopian novel in which the US goes to war with Asia (seems plausible) and the war slowly faded after a deadly flu outbreak ( hmm, again plausible). The McBride family was living in Chicago, moved to Alaska to avoid the epidemic and continued to the remote Yukon once the flu hit Alaska.

Life is quiet, routine and even boring until a stranger enters their encampment one winter and more than one type of wolves follow.

Fast paced, held my interest throughout. A few small complaints but not enough to keep me from recommending this book. In full disclosure, I love dystopian novels and surviving cold climates.
Profile Image for Sheila G.
506 reviews97 followers
January 10, 2018
Read this FULL review along with others on my blog at: shesgoingbookcrazy.com

I received this copy from the publisher via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.

Content Warning! Two scenes of sexual assault (one full rape) under-aged drinking, and lots of profanity.

Set in future, the post-world war world is decimated. Not only have nuclear weapons wiped entire countries out, the yellow flu hit the remaining population and took out almost all of the survivors. When the flu struck, people fleed from cities, traveling to more remote locations away from the populace. Gwendolynn and her family left Alaska for the desolate landscapes of the Yukon. Their small village hadn't heard from the outside world for several years after the migration, until one day when a stranger appears in their territory. The man, later known as Jax, is an untrusted and unwelcomed guest to the hunters. Jax, knowing his place to be out on the frozen tundra alone, knows that he cannot outrun his past, nor evade his future. Staying with them will only bring harm, but is it already too late?

"First you survive here." He pointed to my head. "Then here." He pointed to my stomach. "Then here." He pointed to my heart. "You have to have all three."

When I was into the first 10% of this book, I immediately thought two things:
1) I want some venison steak, right now!
2) I want to go to the Yukon, right NOW!

This is the perfect read for the Winter months, especially if you like your books with a side of edginess.

Look at me and all my food analogies.

The Wolves of Winter is as feral as it sounds.


It's safe to say (for myself as the reader) that the atmosphere is absolutely indespensible. It makes everything more believable, not to mention tangible. This may be the most realistic post-apocalyptic read I've read to date. While these types of books fall into the Sci-Fi/Dystopia genres, it didn't feel like one to me. The overtly technological futuristic setting that I was expecting didn't exist. This book has the ability to cleanse the palate of overly-indulged dystopian consumers. When these (minor) elements did appear, they felt like an intrusion on the plot. Instead of a decimated world (which is still was in ways), wildlife adapted and flourished. It gave the illusion that everything was still alright in the far reaches of the world, untouched by humans and their corruptible ways.
What had happened to the world had made animals or monsters of us all. Survivors or murderers. Sometimes the line between the two was blurry...

Another major part of this book that I appreciated was the complex simplicity each character possessed. The survival they endured each day in the brutal landscape wasn't overdone. The characters may not have loved their situation, yet, they didn't constantly dwell on the past and wishing for it back. They too, adapted. They too looked to the future. Gwendolynn's character was exactly like this. She shares her honest feelings about the past, present, and unpredictable future, without it being overbearing. Putting myself in her situation, I felt as though I'd feel and think similar things. I appreciated how practical everyone's mentality was. It made me feel like I could really connect with most of the characters, especially Gwendolynn.

The only thing I found in Gwendolynn's character that I didn't like were her frequent thoughts of sex, attraction, and reproduction to Jax. Sure, in this setting, it makes sense. I think it's a natural thing to consider at that point seeing how the majority of the world's population no longer existed. Even so, I thought her deliberations we a bit much, and rather brash.

For how much I appreciated certain aspects of this book, I equally disliked others. There is one scene where the main character Gwendolynn is sexually assaulted and then raped in another by the same man. His animalistic brutality is unprovoked and deterring. On top of that, the amount of profanity throughout left a bitter taste in my mouth. If my calculations are correct, I counted 208 words. I haven't seen this book being marketed as Young Adult, but if it is, know that it is not Young Adult appropriate! The amount of detailed violence, sexual content, and profanity are far too graphic and frequent for immature eyes.

I believe this will be one of those reads where the reader either loves it, or hates it. There isn't much room for middle ground. Because some of its traits are so extreme, they may make the entire plot off-putting, or, entirely engaging. While I felt strongly pulled to love this book, I couldn't due to its negative points mentioned earlier.

My Rating: 4 stars.
Profile Image for Faith.
1,850 reviews519 followers
January 19, 2019
This is a post apocalyptic story set in the Yukon after nuclear war and a deadly flu virus have devastated most of the population and caused the collapse of society. It is told from the point of view of 23 year old Lynn McBride who is living in an isolated settlement with her mother, brother, uncle and a few others. They never see strangers, until Jax arrives, soon followed by even more strangers. Since the book is written in first person past tense it telegraphs that nothing fatal is going to happen to Lynn, and unfortunately her thoughts are mostly banal. In fact, nothing surprising happens in the book at all. It’s full of clichés, from the love interest to the government conspiracy. And the ending is sappy. I admit that I’m not a big fan of wilderness survival stories. However, that constituted only about 10% of the book. So that doesn’t explain why I didn’t connect with this book. I think it just wasn’t novel enough. Also, there are no wolves. I don’t know what the title was getting at. 2.5 stars. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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