Hunger Makes The Wolf by Alex Wells
Published by Angry Robot
Publication Date : March 7th, 2017
Available as eBook & paperback – 326 Pages
Source : NetGalley (Thank You!)
Alternately you can see me ramble incoherently on Youtube on the All Booked Up Booktube Channel.
I’m not sure how to describe Hunger Makes the Wolf. It definitely had a Dune (far future, desert planet, science fiction) feel and maybe a feeling of Molly Tanzer’s Vermillion mixed in, but at the same time I was definitely thinking Mad Max through parts of it. The story follows two women – Hob and Mags. Hob is our main character and the bulk of the story
follows her but I feel like Mags was just as important in the long run. Hob is a member of a mercenary style biker gang on the desert, mining planet known as Tanegawa’s World. The planet is run by a corporation, TransRifts Inc. They control everything from the farms, to the mines, to traffic on and off the planet. Like the blurb says, Hob finds the body of her boss’s brother out in the sand dunes, shot in the back. Mag, his daughter and former close friend of Hob’s, is missing.
The story starts with that. The first third of the book we experience flashbacks from before the discover and from Mag’s point of view and back to present to Hob’s till they collide. From there it really picks up pace. Space witchiness is in full swing, We discover Hob has the ability to make fire, we think Nick Ravani can too, and what is this blue stuff the miners dug up!? I can’t say much more without spoilers but safe to say this is a book building a fantastic base for what I hope (fingers-crossed) is a series. Alex Wells gives us a lot of questions by the end of the novel, questions that had the book not left so many (so obviously a setup) I would have been pissed about. There HAS to be a second one, my favorite characters were left in a limbo and I’m surprised even by my own attachment to them.
Let’s do our regular rundown, starting with characters. Our lady leads are without a doubt the best of the batch. Hob is what the ‘strong heroine’ trope we see so often is trying to be. She’s got all the flaws needed to give her general badassery depth. At the beginning of the story she’s been knocked down to ‘pup’ status, she’s done something so stupid she nearly got herself shot. She has to earn her way back into the good graces of the Wolves and of the course of the story we see her do that. I can’t adequately articulate how much I liked her and honestly on the same coin, Mag. Mag is everything that Hob is not but is just as great. Where I expect Hob to shoot someone for betraying her, I’d see Mag sit them down to dinner and slowly destroy them from the inside out. She develops this amazing quiet strength. The two are like a river and a mountain to me. Equally capable of what they want, but very different. The rest of the case definitely stood out to me too. There were miners here and there that were lost to the story, but the Wolves stayed strong. I’m not going to go too far into the cast, as I am still avoiding spoilers, but damn it there is a certain set of characters I’m desperate to find out what happens.
The story itself was super fun. As I stated we start off with a series of flashbacks to bring our characters together and then from there we’re pulled across the planet, from person to person to see the scheme of the thing. The story gradually gets bigger and bigger in scope. Not only in just the literally space of it, but in the depth of questions asked. Again, something I felt was done pretty well considering all the irons in the fire that Alex Wells ended up juggling. The story also forces our characters out of their shells. More and more they have to move, think bigger and better. It definitely kept me guessing on what was going to happen next, I was never sure where it was going till it got there. Just off enough to surprise me, but familiar enough that it didn’t throw me for a crazy loop.
Finally pacing and world building. I think it’s established, I bought into the world. I did have a few questions, mostly about the farming and how it worked since it seemed to me that we were based mostly in a desert environment, but I feel like that’s something we’re going to get later. Pacing is the only thing that let me down even a little. I had a lot of trouble picking up the pace of it and once I did, I’ll admit it felt episodic. There were some clear jumps in time. It was by no way bad but I felt like maybe there was some stuff we could have seen that was either cut or just glossed over. It didn’t hugely affect my reading experience though. I was committed, by the 30 or 40 percent mark for Hob and Mag and their friendship. That was the hooker for me.
I gotta say, I’ve been hitting it out of the park with reading lately. This one definitely makes it into my ‘Highly Recommended’ stack. I’d pick this one up for sure if you’re looking for a fun action romp with some unique and amazing female characters.
Beautiful cover by Ignacio Bazan Lazcano
P.S. NO ONE IS DEFINIED BY ROMANCE AND OH GODS I LOVED THAT SO MUCH. THANK YOU.