Sena lives on a frozen planet with one rule, no racing. After losing her mothers to a sled race, she’s vowed that she will never be involved with the race or the wolves. But, when she gets on the wrong side of a crime boss, she’s thrown into the race with the wolf that she rescued from his fighting rings. As Sena and her team make their way to the finish line, they face deadly obstacles that will test their spirit and separate their team. Can Sena and her wolf Iska survive the brutal course?
Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves is an action-packed, fast moving science fiction novel with a unique premise. The book is set around this sled race on the frozen planet of Tundar, which draws in many tourists hoping for the chance to mine exocarbonat the end of the race. In order to get to the exocarbon, people must race across the planet with teams of genetically engineered vonenwolves. It’s like the Iditarod but with a futuristic twist. I was immediately hooked by the premise and thought that the world building was excellent and atmospheric. It was easy to envision the world, the characters, and the creatures that they encounter.
I loved the relationship between Sena and the wolf Iska. Their relationship begins in an antagonistic way, when Sena tries to heal Iska and Iska is not receptive to her care. Then, Sena frees Iska from her cage and in return Iska saves Sena’s life. After that, the two are inseparable and willing to risk anything for each other. One of my favorite things about this book is that there is no romantic plot. Instead, the focus is entirely on building the relationship between Sena and Iska. Secondary characters add humor and heart to the story, but the plot moves forward through Sena and Iska.
As far as the writing, I thought it was just ok. There were a few language things that bothered me, including the use of “friggin” and “hella” which I refuse to believe will still be a part of our language in the future. I also thought the pacing was a little off, with the beginning of the novel dragging a little as we wait for the inevitable race to start and then the end of the novel moves at a breakneck speed. I would’ve liked to see the pacing be a little more even.
Still, I thought this was a fun novel and unlike anything I’d read before. It’s intense and suspenseful, while still being thoughtful and heartfelt. I’d recommend to readers who love stories of survival and dangerous games like The Hunger Games and The Testing.
CW: death, death of an animal, graphic injuries, gun violence