I’m just gonna start of by saying that this was a rather strange review to write as I have some rather conflicting, but strong, thoughts on this story. I admit that I very nearly DNF’d this book, but I am glad that I didn’t for a couple of reasons: I wanted to maintain my streak of not DNFing a book in 2019 (yes, I am stubborn) and because there is a lot to enjoy about this book. I just found an equal amount of things that I didn’t like. I am, however, not really a dog person… So perhaps I just didn’t get this book!
Normally, I try to write my own summary of the story. But this book deserves you going in knowing relatively little, or its twists will be ruined, and so in the interests of this, I’m going to copy the official blurb below. It covers the story without giving away any spoilers, which was harder than you might think!
As I said, there are somethings that I really liked about this story. The premise and world-building that goes with it are probably the biggest part of this. I really enjoyed the setting and Fletcher’s imagining of what the world would look like if humanity all but vanished, both in terms of what happens to the landscape and human society. The capturing of the loneliness and emptiness of this apocalyptic future vision of the world was, in my opinion, Fletcher’s biggest success here. I also really enjoyed the route that the story took and appreciated most of its twists and turns. The plot was, in my opinion, really solid, especially when mixed with the sprinkle of genuinely gut-wrenching and heart-breaking moments.
Unfortunately, while I enjoyed the plot and world-building, I had some issues with the way that the story was written and a lot of Fletcher’s writing grated with me. Firstly, you should be aware that this book is written in the style of a person’s diary or journal, and this took some getting used to. Think along the lines of popular children’s books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or the Adrian Mole series, but for adults. This, as it turns out, isn’t my favourite way of telling a story. Just not for me, really. In keeping with this journalistic style, Fletcher has also made the artistic decision to not include any speech marks and mostly use reported speech. I definitely wasn’t a fan of this. In fact, I did initially wonder if I had a copy that had been printed wrong. But a quick read of some other reviews showed me that no, this was an artistic decision. And finally, Fletcher’s writing had a few really annoying habits; the worst culprit for me was saying that something happened, before immediately saying but actually it didn’t. This grated on me soooo much! There was one scene with some wolves that when this happened a few times in a row, I just put the book down straight away. That was meant to be a gripping and fast-paced moment, but it just pissed me off royally.
Overall, I am not sure if I can recommend this story. I have some issues with the way that the story as told and some of the author’s artistic choices, but can appreciate where he was trying to go, the plot of the story and the world he built. So I’d say make up your own mind as to whether the criticisms I had of this book would really affect your enjoyment.