A Novel Where Hope Comes to Thrive | Review of ‘Wolfen’

By Cynthia Ayala

Wolfen by Alianne Donnelly Smashwords
Wolfen by Alianne Donnelly

The quest of genetic perfection has led to the creation of a new subspecies. The Wolfen. The pinnacle of scientific achievements. But they weren’t all what man made when they played God. Their counterparts, those who developed more beast to man, the Converts, grew into the ultimate predator, unstoppable in their need to breed and destroy.

They are the ones that brought the world down to its knees.

Two decades later, humans are on the brink of extinction, those who survive, have become as brutal as those who hunt them. But Sinna – Sigma Nine – one the brink of death is saved by the two Wolfen brothers, and together, they can change the course of the war.

If they survive…

Published December 21, 2014 by Smashwords, Wolfen by Alianne Donnelly is a dystopian young adult novel about the world gone to hell by the hubris of man.

Alianne Donnelly has put together a very thoughtful post-apocalyptic novel. This novel doesn’t lose readers in a world that they may be unfamiliar with. Instead is uses the modern world in order to build the dystopia up from the ground up to create a very strong emotional response for the reader. From the very beginning, the novel shows what happened, the event that meant the doom and then it shoots forward and records the destruction. This works to ground the story, preparing it and the reader for construction. That is one the key elements that makes this story very strong and captivating.

What Donnelly has put together is an interesting and captivating story about the evolution of man and the interference of man while also psychoanalyzing man kind. No longer are they at the top of the food chain, but that’s no longer true. However, their savagery knows no bounds. This takes a very studious approach at what humanity is, what they are capable of when push comes to shove. And it’s written thoughtfully. The structure and violence between the character fits within the realm of the story. These aren’t just characters that have turned malicious because that wanted to or had to, they made the choice to let loose those moral constraints they had to live by before the world went to hell.

So together this novel has a lot of world building and don’t think that just because this is an ebook that it’s going to be short. No. This is a long novel. But that is the charm of it. There is so much world building in the novel that holds the novel together without drowning the reader in useless material. What is also amazing and what makes the story so good is that it’s not about undoing the tragedy that has befallen Earth as most dystopic novels like to play with. But that doesn’t mean there doesn’t have to be hope. And that is what the novel is about, that even when the world is burning all around, that there is a spec of hope around the world, one that shouldn’t get lost because without it, there is no life within surviving.

That aside, the characters were also very well written. These were not the typical caricatures within a survival story. Some of them fit the bill – most notably the villain – but the others have their own unique identities that set them apart. Alpha and Beta especially are two sides of the same coin. And Sinna, she’s not perfect, but she’s caring, she’s hopeful. What’s better is that there is no sordid love triangle to get in the way of the characters building their dynamics with one another.

This novel is unique and it is must read because it is a novel with no clichés. Donnelly took a stab at creating a psychoanalytic story about of adventure and survival set within a dystopic universe. There is a lot of depth in her characters and the in the world she has build. And that is what makes it a strong novel and one worth reading. (★★★★☆ | B+)

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