COLD THE NIGHT, FAST THE WOLVES, by Meg Long, Wednesday Books, Jan. 11, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves, by Meg Long, is a dystopian adventure with family and survival at its core.
On a frozen wasteland of a planet, a girl is on the run with a wolf who is born to be a killer but bound to be her guide. As they fight to escape ice goblins, giant bears, and a ruthless leader intent on trapping them both, one question drives them relentlessly forward: where do you turn when there is nowhere to hide? —Synopsis provided by Wednesday Books
Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves takes place on the Tundar, a frosty planet run by crime syndicates that didn’t take well to terraforming. Despite its less than Earth-like conditions, greedy corporations have found a use for it. Each year, tourists, adventurers descend on the planet for a deadly dog-sled race. The goal, mine the precious metal exocarbon and try to stay alive while doing it.
Sena is a race orphan just trying to get off Tundar by picking pockets. But when she crosses the wrong gang boss, she finds herself in the same position of her late mothers — caring for a wounded wolf and racing for her life.
Though not specifically designated as such, Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves reads as a book in two parts —before the race and the race. While this sort of setup can sometimes feel tedious, it truly sets the tone here. Author Meg Long deftly sets the scene, allowing readers to not only get to know Sena but Tendor long before the race begins. This treatment sets the stakes and fully immerses readers in a world akin to Siberia but with crazier creatures.
The ebb and flow of pacing is strong throughout and Sena is a strong protagonist. Some of the “bad guy” action is predictable, but there are enough surprises around nearly every corner to balance that out. What set the story over the top for me was the lack of romance. Yes, themes of love are stitched throughout, but romance is not the motivation. It’s a refreshing take that leaves room for a different type of relationship growth.
Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves stands alone, but there’s room for more books in this world. Fingers crossed Meg Long delves into more.
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