Title: Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves
Author: Meg Long
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Adventure
Published: January 11th, 2022 (Wednesday Books)
Synopsis: After angering a local gangster, seventeen-year-old Sena Korhosen must flee with her prize fighting wolf, Iska, in tow. A team of scientists offer to pay her way off her frozen planet on one condition: she gets them to the finish line of the planet’s infamous sled race. Though Sena always swore she’d never race after it claimed both her mothers’ lives, it’s now her only option.
But the tundra is a treacherous place, and as the race unfolds and their lives are threatened at every turn, Sena starts to question her own abilities. She must discover whether she’s strong enough to survive the wild – whether she and Iska together are strong enough to get them all out alive.
Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Tundar is a frozen planet with hostile terrain and wildlife, and the only remotely interesting thing that happens is the annual, very dangerous sled race. Racers compete for the chance to mine a valuable mineral and get rich, but the trail is long and treacherous. After her mothers died in the race, Sena Kohorsen vowed she would never enter it and her only goal is to make enough money to get off Tundar. But when she gets into more trouble than she can handle with the local gangster and flees with his prize fighting wolf Iska, the race might be her only way out. In exchange for getting them to the finish line, a team of scientists offers her a way off the planet, and Sena, determined to do whatever it takes to leave, agrees, returning to the one place she promised never to go again.
This book started out rather slow, with what I felt was an unnecessarily long time spent on showing the reader the city and Sena’s situation. The setting of this book was an interesting one however, and I really enjoyed the world-building. The contrast and conflict between the rich corporations and the scavvers, people who prefer to live off the land, made for an intriguing backdrop. The race itself took quite a bit of time to start, but once it did, it was pretty much non-stop action. It was also refreshing to read a book with no romance after such a long time and just focus on the adventure. I liked the narration style and it worked very well for this type of story, showing rather than telling and allowing the reader to visualize everything that was going on. The combination of sci-fi and adventure/survival story was very well done, and with the cool advanced technology hinted at here, there is a lot of potential for this world to be expanded further.
Sena was a character who was rather frustrating to follow at the beginning when all she seems to be doing is making terrible and reckless decisions, but as she begins to get closer to the research team and build friendships with them, she became a much easier character to root for. Out in the frozen tundra, all the knowledge she has from her mother became excellent tools for survival and it was fun to watch her navigate the many challenges that the race trail posed. Her developing bond with the wolf Iska was one of my favourite parts of this book and it was so beautiful how they slowly grew to trust and protect each other no matter what.
While Sena became easier to like as the story progressed, I felt like she didn’t actually grow much as a character despite her long journey and building trust with Iska and new friendships. There were several side characters who seemed promising but they weren’t developed enough and ended up being rather two dimensional, making it hard to connect to them in any way. Apart from that I hope the pacing is improved in the final version and that the race is expanded to take up a little more of the story too.
Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves was an easy read, fast-paced and exciting, and I’m glad I started my 2022 reading year with it. The ending, while a bit abrupt, wraps up things rather well, but it does leave room for a sequel which could be interesting if it explores the other planets. I would definitely recommend this for sci-fi fans.
Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves releases on January 11th, 2022.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!