On April 21, 2021, the world as we know it ended due to a catastrophic technology and infrastructure collapse.
The Wolves Within Our Walls follows a troubled 28-year-old waitress, Zoe Wilkes, through her internal and external struggles following the attack as she enters a sustainable, off-the-grid, housing community run by leader and former environmental lobbyist, Jacob Malin, and former cyber-security engineer, Miles Kirby. We witness as she pleads with us to take a closer look at their community, and ours, and to accept our limited view of truth, the dangerous lure of familiarity, and the risk that both pose to our individual free will.
L.E. Flinders studied political science, criminology, and sociology at the University of New Orleans. She earned her Juris Doctor from Loyola University New Orleans, College of Law. She has worked as an actress, a waitress, a juvenile diversion law clerk, a cashier, an activist, a paralegal, a barista, a hostess, a Rule XX prosecutor, a bartender, a zine distributor, and a dog sitter, just to name a few. She currently spends the bulk of her days writing fiction, rescuing black cats, and eating excessive amounts of peanut butter.
Not a relaxing read, this debut thriller novel – although it is interesting, and definitely a page turner.
The feeling of unease comes mostly from its setting, a world less than five years (2021) in the future, where 'normal 'society and technology is collapsing. It's not so far into the future as to seem impossible, which makes it a frighteningly realistic and suspenseful story.
Zoe, the main character and narrator, develops as a person throughout the story. While she can comes across as annoyingly naive and uncertain in the beginning, as the story develops, she increasingly make strong decisions and hard choices. Throughout the book, she seeks to answer the questions posed at the beginning: what happened, and why she did what she did.
The story develops within that basic framework, and ranges from Zoe's relief at finding apparent safety in a small, self-sustaining (almost Utopian)community to her gradual realisation of its complex relationships, and hidden dangers, and their cost.
Overall, the story seems to highlight that uncertainty, conflict, emotions and secrets can destabilise any human community – whether small or global. And that it's up to each of us, as aware individuals, to make choices to try to ensure a more certain, less volatile, future.
The attack has changed everything and now is Zoe’s chance to recreate herself with a group of survivors and maybe find a family she never had. But as time passes, fear plays its hand in shaping what her community must do to endure. All her relationships become shrouded in lies and she has to determine what is most important: truth or safety. Flinders writes the story as a journal entry from Zoe’s perspective looking back over her years in this community and gives away every turn and death limiting the anticipation while reading the novel. The premise of the world falling apart as well as ground-level details in the novel are not fully explained, thereby making the actions that ensue unreliable. Flinders also compresses a lot of information into the small book, meaning that a lot of the character development is summarized at the beginning of chapters diminishing the authenticity of her character’s experiences. Though I felt the writing and plotting could use tweaking, I did find myself zipping through the middle curious for more information and found the book enjoyable for a quick and easy read with intriguing characters that I wished developed more naturally.
In a post-apocalyptic world after the attack which destroys our entire grid system, Zoe Wilkes finds refuge and companionship in a secluded community that inevitably is too good to be true. While fictional, this story is a heavy-handed satirical reflection of our own tremulous government and how our leaders influence and even manipulate us. Our leaders may be intentionally deceptive, perceivably for our collective benefit to keep order and peace, but Zoe challenges us to question the boundaries of this chicanery while she debates the ethical quandary of when the truth becomes more essential than survival. The Wolves Within Our Walls is a phenomenal story that will have you questioning the very foundation of your believes and the social and ethical dichotomy we currently face.
Zoe is a 28-year-old who finds herself in the middle of a network apocalypse in 2021. Taken in by a group of survivors, she becomes part of their community, who have several acres of land, houses, running water, food, and everything they need to start over. She befriends Jacob, Miles, and Holly, and their friendship slowly evolves over the next few years, with dark secrets that are unveiled that change the way Zoe sees them and her new community.
This apocalyptic literary fiction is a great read. The narrative is simple and sometimes overly expositional, but the characters are well-rounded and develop in a consistent and realistic way. The story is pertinent to our times and is cleverly set in the not-so-distant future. I didn't see the ending coming, although I'm sure others may pick up on the clues faster than I did. I felt enveloped in the world Flinders had created, and looked forward to picking it up each time. Well worth a read.
Zoe Wilkes is caught in the prolonged adolescence that has entrapped many millennials. A directionless 20-something stuck in a dead-end job and a cycle of drug and alcohol abuse, her life is forever changed when the technology the world has come to rely on suddenly fails. As society begins to collapse, she is rescued by a group of people living off-the-grid in a sustainable society. Communal life is not without its challenges, however, and Zoe soon finds herself grappling with the complexities of human nature and that fine line between good and evil.
The Wolves Within Our Walls is compelling and terrifying, hitting a bit too close to home for comfort in this uncertain time. While the novel is well-written and engaging, it is difficult to enjoy it without an accompanying sense of impending doom — but that’s the point. The world described in this book is all too possible in the near future, and we would do well to heed L.E. Flinders’ warning before it is too late.
An apocalyptic novel about Zoe who is rescued and taken into a sustainable self-sufficient community after a complete technological collapse of society as we know it. It is well written and flows well and I like the fact that I hadn't figured out the ending by the midpoint! The one thing I questioned was the fact that if the apocalypse was caused only by a breakdown in the world's technology (not factoring in other things such as climate change), that people would still be struggling 6 years on in regards to basic surival and food and water - I would hope that more people would be as resourceful as Miles , Jacob and the other members of the community. However to be fair, this novel was set in a small part of the US. I won a copy of this book from the author as part of the Goodreads Giveaways program.
The Wolves Within Our Walls is a post-apocalyptic novel, but rather than the brutal survival stories we're all (perhaps overly) familiar with, it's more to do with the darkness that lurks within us. Our protagonist, Zoe, is a young woman whose life has stalled when an unspecified attack sends the US into a new dark ages. Zoe manages to join a walled commune, set up by a group of people who saw the disaster coming. Life is pretty good inside the compound - plenty of supplies, housing, plumbing, etc. Zoe even begins a relationship with the man who found her, Miles. But that relationship quickly turns abusive and dark. Zoe is trapped within the walls and in the arms of a jealous, violent man - and breaking away only complicates things further.
If I'm being honest, I didn't understand exactly why this needed to be a post-apocalyptic book. I'm not saying that I mind, necessarily, but it seemed ancillary to the plot. A convenient setting, to physically trap Zoe. Zoe's voice was also enjoyable, modern and young, occasionally fairly insightful about her generation. Her abusive relationship with Miles (and to a lesser extent the Koresh-like leader of the commune, Jacob) was well-constructed, and believably messed up. Zoe learns that the people she gravitated towards when there was no one left to trust are people she should never have been anywhere near. It was really interesting to read a post-apocalyptic book that focused almost exclusively on personal relationships as opposed to plot and setting.
What brought me down on the book was the pacing. Like I said, the post-apocalyptic setting ended up being not all that important to the focus on the character's relationships, and the circumstances of "the attack" are never made clear. But there is a lot of time spent talking around "the attack" without ever directly addressing it. For example, none of the characters wonder where the army is, or who actually launched "the attack" - but there's a very in-depth description on the construction of a still for the compound. I was never able to reconcile why certain things were discussed and others were kept in the dark. On top of that, almost all of the action is back-loaded. The first half of the novel is Zoe's experience with "the attack" and adjusting to life at Jacob's commune. Her relationship with Miles turns dark quickly, and last 25% of the book is like an action/survival movie. It was like someone revved the engine on this book right at the end, and it was very jarring and hard to come back from.
Honestly, The Wolves Within Our Walls was an enjoyable read, with interesting, complicated characters. I quite liked it, even if the end didn't seem to match the rest of the book.
At best, the author is earnest in trying to create a novel with immediacy and big ideas and complex characters. Unfortunately, what's on the page feels half-baked and not fully realized, full of implausible action and flighty timelines. It goes from zero to apocalypse in a few days (minor spoiler: the internet did it; it's hacked and somehow even the water supply gets contaminated ). Whole societies (and the breakdown thereof, as well) and fundamental relationships spring up within a week and then the book jumps from one year to year three in a matter of pages. And despite the author's best intentions, the story is riddled with cliches, and not much original to add to the genre. It may have actually been brilliant as a parody, if it wasn't so self-serious and the plot so thinly sketched out.
The Wolves Within Our Walls, by L.E. Flinders, is a psychological suspense about living with a facade, one that hides a horrific monster beneath.
Zoe Wilkes lives an average life, working as a waitress and living with her roommate, Ben. One night, she is awoken by an alarming call from Becky, who urges them to go to her house. Not long after that, Zoe and Ben are evacuated to a shelter, where food and water are in limited supply. She escapes, only to run into a mysterious man named Jacob. Jacob leads her to a safe haven that focuses on hindering conflicts, promoting education and creativity, and allowing people to work together in a safe and productive manner. At first, she is enticed by this world, from meeting her soon-to-be lover, Miles, to becoming fast friends with the elites of this society. However, after finding a bloody knife in Miles’s possession, she realizes that not everything is as it seems. With this perfect illusion on the brink of falling apart, Zoe must confront Jacob, as secrets emerge from a corrupted darkness she hadn’t known had existed.
I enjoyed reading about the relationships between Jacob, Miles, and Holly. There was a certain eeriness to their supposed closeness, and while I kept telling myself they were all friends, there was something about them that didn’t sit well with me. When Miles first approached Zoe, I was taken with his sweetness. However, as the story continued, just like the relationship between Jacob, Miles, and Holly, there was something off-putting about him. When Zoe really did have to run, it was as if I was watching the monsters in each of these characters rise out of them, as if a mask was crumbling away from their faces. Finders outdid himself in this regard, illustrating that even the most perfect of disguises wither away, just like everything in time. It’s reminiscent of movies such as The Crazies and The Stepford Wives, something that I thoroughly liked.
Finders crafted an interesting world where two sides struggles to dominate the other. One side was a perfect utopia where everyone works together and gets along, while the other was an apocalyptic wasteland where people have to scavenge to survive. The fact that this utopia had a parasitic interaction with the outside world is something to be said, devouring others in order to survive. It was as if I was watching the Ouroboros itself consuming its own flesh and blood, trying to thrive in a never ending cycle of pain and suffering. In another interesting note, Jacob is like this. He pretends that everything is fine, that he is only trying to protect the people he feels deserves to live, all the while ignoring the fact that he has to trap them in a society where nothing ever changes. He destroys his own morals, but endeavors to live through them in that same, twisted mindset. Even when he has nothing left, he attempts to continue to do so. It was the very thing that allowed Zoe to kill him in the end.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While I didn’t find the protagonist interesting, I loved the dynamic between the characters. I also loved the corrupted nature of Jacob’s society, as well as the delusions that these characters tried so valiantly to maintain. Because of this, I would give this book a rating of a 4.0 out of 5 stars, and would recommend it to fans of The Feral Sentence by G.C Julien, alongside the video game, BioShock.
This book is a wonderful new twist on post-apocalyptic humanity. Full of suspense and complicated romance, The Wolves Within Our Walls explores the ethics of survival, delivering a thinly veiled message about the divisive state of the world today. The overly self-conscious narrator is a little difficult to follow to begin with, but as the book progresses this becomes crucial to fully understanding the themes of the novel - Flinders provokes a self-reflection that lasts far beyond the end of the book. The story itself is well-written, and a real page-turner. As a dystopian novel set from 2021 onwards, it could easily stray into the absurd, but Flinders has instead used this sense of uncomfortable closeness to the present to make the characters relatable - in their late thirties, most of the characters would have many shared experiences with the reader. Much of the setting also still closely resembles the world we live in today, making the plot seem, if anything, even more realistically plausible.