Audiobook Review: WOLVES by D.J. Molles (Narr. Christian Rummel)

WolvesWritten by: D. J. Molles
Narrated by: Christian Rummel
Length: 18 hrs and 18 mins 

Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:08-30-16
Publisher: Audible Studios

Synopsis
They took everything—killed his wife, enslaved his daughter, destroyed his life. Now he’s a man with nothing left to lose … and that’s what makes him so dangerous.

Ten years after the collapse, Huxley had built a good life again. He had a loving wife, a farm with fields of golden barley, and a daughter with a strange and wonderful gift. Then the slavers came. Working out in the fields during the attack, Huxley returns too late. His daughter has been taken and his wife is bleeding out, her last whispered words about a man with a scorpion tattoo on his neck.

Where do the slavers go? Huxley has no idea. He only knows that they headed east and so will he. But eighteen months later, dying of thirst in the open desert, he doesn’t expect to see another day.

Then a man appears out of the desert and offers Huxley water from his canteen—an unheard of kindness in these savage times—and he gives Huxley a new purpose. Together, Huxley and Jay carve a path of destruction across the remains of a once-great land. The slavers are brutal, but they have no idea what’s coming for them. Huxley has found something to live for again: blood and vengeance.

Review:
I came into this book a fan of D.J. Molles’ The Remaining, zombie post-apocalyptic thriller. I admit that I prefer zombies in my post-apoc fiction, or at least some kind of monster. The trope of humans are the real monsters is good to a point, but if too often gets tired. I don’t really care as much about the post-apoc stories where people are all bad because what else are they going to do to survive? There’s quite a bit of that in this book, with our main character crossing some lines that even for him makes him wonder if he can ever get back. I get it, though, his life has been really hard. The story starts out with his wife killed and his daughter taken by slavers.

Even with this setup where he’s lost his family, it took a long time for me to really care. That could be because the book, for a long time, is a kind of depressing, grimdark static. I doubted early on if I could finish, because hour after hour was our main man Huxley crossing the desert from one town to the next, crossing new lines of revenge against those who harbor the slavers. The plot of revenge with each chapter a new multiple of the previous events got old right away, and didn’t get much better until well toward the end.

In the end, Molles rewarded the effort with some strong emotional scenes, and while I’m surprised I stuck with it–mostly out of curiosity for if there would be a payoff, and there was–I think I would still read another book in this series. I don’t know if there is enough there for that, but the place we find ourselves in the end is a much better example of what I like to see in my post-apocalyptic stories.

This story has me questioning what exactly I look for in post-apocalyptic fiction, because this plays out very closely to what I can see happening. It’s not some glorious adventure of Wal-Mart shopping with a shotgun, but rather seeing loved ones hurt and killed, possibly killing simply because you want their beer…not that I would, but one character does, and in that moment Molles convinced me that yes, people could turn into that kind of monster.

Maybe this book was a little too real for me. And for too long. As I said above, there is a payoff. I just wish there wasn’t so much time spent enduring the struggle before the release. As I wrestled with three versus four stars, with three being justified by the 18 hour book where I really enjoyed only a small percentage…but it’s written well, and the feeling is authentic, and the way he punched in the climax deserves at the least a four star.

The narrator is one of my favorites, and certainly fits with the feel of a man becoming a wolf in a world full of wolves.

About Timothy C. Ward

Timothy C. Ward is a former executive producer and Hugo Nominee of Adventures in SciFi Publishing. He has been broke and lost on the other side of the world and now dreams of greater adventures from his keyboard in Des Moines, Iowa. This summer, he released his second Sand Divers book, Scavenger: A.I., where two parents use an ancient technology to fight a reproducing A.I. while trying to resurrect their deceased infant, and a new series that begins with Godsknife: Revolt, an apocalyptic battle for godhood in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss. Sign up for his newsletter for news, sales, giveaways and more: http://www.timothycward.com/newsletter/.

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