Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves
Author: Meg Long
Publisher: Wednesday Books (January 11, 2022)
Hardcover, 368 pages
Fantasy, YA Fantasy
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.
Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves reads like Star Wars if Anakin was a cynical thief girl who grew up on Hoth instead of Tattooine. There are even a few moments later in the book where I went “Is that an intentional Star Wars reference?” I can’t tell! Anyway, the Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves is very the Iditarod meets pod racing. Mobsters included!
The entire first third of the book is just: This planet focuses entire on racing, I hate racing, I need to get off planet, all anyone cares about it racing and I hate everything about racing! ‘Sena, why don’t you race?’ I hate racing, why doesn’t anyone understand that?! I need to get off this planet. I hate racing, the only way to make money is racing and that’s why I’m a thief, because I refuse to have anything to do with racing. Sena, why don’t you just race? UGH, I hate racing, I need to get to a different planet! …Lather, rinse, repeat.
I almost DNF’d, but WOO, I’m glad I stuck with it because right at the 30% mark the plot picks up and takes off and the book gets way better. Basically, methinks the lady doth protest too much (especially since the blurb already let us know she ends up racing…) This would have been a better book overall if the opening third didn’t have so much complaining about the planet and the racing culture and how much Sena hates everyone and everything.
Once she actually starts working with the fighting wolf, Iska (another thing that bugged me about the blurb, it’s not really accurate to say “her” fighting wolf…) and with the science team, the pace picked up somewhat and it became a lot harder to put the book down. There’s a plot-twist/reveal I saw coming from 100 miles away, but it was still a really enjoyable read (after getting past the initial slog). I love the world building, and I hope there’s another book about the continued adventures of… well, read the book and then you’ll know who, I don’t want to spoil anything! I was originally going to give this book 3 stars but I liked the ending enough that I bumped it up to a solid 4 stars.
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.