Borough Press 2016
One of my first Goldsboro Books ‘Book of the Month’ purchases, shortly after joining their fantastic book club. Not a book I had seen or heard much about and not one that I would have necessarily picked up. It has sat on my bookshelf since June 2016 but I am making an effort to read my purchased books and this one had been tempting me for a little while, since I posted a picture of it on Instagram and some trusted bookish friends commented how good it was.
Trapper told me once that your head can protect you if something truly bad happens. It can make black spots and empty places what should be filled with horror.
Since the Damn Stupid turned the clock back on civilisation, 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 – Kraegar 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.
Set in an undefined time with a post apocalyptic vibe, this story is part coming of age, part crime, possible thriller with a dose of dystopia and a touch of Western. But in a sense all of that is in the background because as Elka tells her story, in her own unique dialect, this is her struggle to come to terms with the fact that the man who raised her from aged seven, is a murderer. This is also Elka’s enlightenment, as she searches for her birth parents and reaches a realisation that she knew more than she realised about the man she calls Trapper.
This book is also about the characters accompanying Elka on her journey of discovery and struggle for survival, pursued by Magistrate Lyon a brutal upholder of the law with a personal grievance with Elka. And this is about Elka’s steps away from Trapper into the world, alone and using her survival skills learnt in the forest, but with no real experience of interacting with others. She makes her first friend and in doing so she learns to trust and love. Her journey is thorough the forest – the only road she knows and living off the land Elka avoids bears but finds a friend in a young wolf, also alone who accompanies Elka for part of her trek.
Tenderly written, this book explores Elka’s relationships as she moves away from Trapper. She is literally fighting for her survival and as the reader I was absolutely routing for her. This book really captures Elka’s sense of being alone, she has a primitive feel to her reflected in her language and in how she feels and I found myself desperate for a happy ending for her. The journey she takes has a supporting cast of mostly unpleasant characters which kept me engaged in a story which felt dangerous for Elka whenever her world collided with other people. Written in the first person narrative, I found my feelings aligning with Elka’s as the book progressed and her relationships changed.
Not the easiest book to review and I have struggled, this is a book I have enjoyed and would recommend! If like me you are not a fan of post apocalyptic fiction, please don’t let that put you off, because it this book it really doesn’t matter.
P.S I nearly forgot to mention the stunning cover, can you see the wolf? Go on, go back and check it out!!