Review: Among Wolves by R.A. Hakok

Gabriel is one of the Chosen Ones, a group of children saved when the world faced apocalypse. They now live in a bunker and he’s responsible for venturing out to find supplies but something’s lurking in the still, snow-covered ruins of the world. Everything changes when he discovers a body, but it’s only the very beginning of his problems…

amongwolves

Among Wolves takes place in a dystopian future where an out-of-control virus started contaminating metal and humans alike, turning them into aggressive monsters. To stop the virus, bombs were dropped on what is now known as the Last Day.

Gabriel and his class mates live deep inside a mountain, in a bunker called Eden, with the President of the United States and a few of his old employees. The President runs a tight shift in the bunker and everyone has their assigned duties and daily schedules, which include a lot of praying and religious sermons.

They’ve been there for ten years and Gabriel is one of the few who have ever visited the outside world. He and Marv, an old gruff soldier, are responsible for re-stocking Eden’s shelves but it’s getting harder every year. Supplies are low and the world shows no signs of thawing out.

He’s used to seeing bodies as people had little time to prepare for the Last Day but the one he founds in an abandoned clinic finally gives him a pause. The body is someone he recognizes and the implications are dire, threatening the life of not just Gabriel but his friends as well. He needs to figure out what’s going on before it’s too late, before winter comes and they’re locked in the bunker until next spring.

Among Wolves was mostly an enjoyable read. It’s the first part of the Children Of The Mountain series, which could explain the slow pace of the story. There was a lot of description and Gabriel’s thoughts, and also repetition. It worked to set the mood and convey the creepy silence in the outside world, but it also made me put down the book more than once. Reading about Gab and Marv setting up camp, eating and sleeping several times in the matter of a few pages or chapters got a bit boring.

The story still managed to give me the creeps. Some sections were really tense and I couldn’t wait to know what happens next, so the author knew how to set a darker mood. I just felt the book was too long, so the few thrilling moments weren’t enough to save it completely.

I liked Gabriel’s character, although Claus (the name Gabriel has given his fear) seemed completely underdeveloped and served no purpose to the story. I understand the idea behind Claus but it’s “show, don’t tell” all over again. It makes no difference whether the author writes “I was scared” or “Claus didn’t like the darkness” as it still doesn’t help the reader feel the emotion.

Other characters in the book were fairly stereotypical and one-dimensional, though to be fair Gabriel spends a lot of the book alone and in his thoughts. Everyone was either black or white on the moral spectrum, and I would’ve hoped for more character development moments instead of another scene where Gabriel eats.

All in all, I liked the story and the premise, although the execution didn’t quite work. If you’re into dystopian YA novels, you’ll probably enjoy this as well.

∗3/5∗

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