GoodReads Summary: Eight teenagers escape imprisonment at a work camp to brave the wilderness. Tested to their limits, they struggle to survive their terrifying dash for freedom.
After the total collapse of the world economy, the United States could not stand together. So they failed separately. In the small region-state of Winnkota, poverty and greed are turning the idyllic Northwoods of Minnesota into a barren wasteland of clear-cut forests and over-fished lakes. Every able-bodied teenager is conscripted into a labor force and sent to work in harsh, prison-like conditions. They are enslaved young so they never learn to think for themselves. But Penn is different. He’s determined to win back freedom-for himself, his friends, and someday for his homeland.
On a cold autumn night, the group makes their dash for freedom north of the border. The fugitives endure a series of difficult wilderness challenges while pursued by the ruthless camp guards. They weave through dense forest, scale cliffs, swim through the bitterly cold lakes, and otherwise try simply to survive. Pushing his friends to the breaking point, Penn guides the fugitives through a harsh, but ironically beautiful, backdrop of amazing Northwoods scenery. Adversity and loss abound, all while an unexpected physical attraction leads to a burgeoning love story.
Should any of them survive to reach the border, will the freedom found equal all that they expected?
(I received a free audible copy in exchange for an honest review.)
I am all about free books for two reasons. One, it’s FREE. Two, sometimes I actually get exposed to new authors, new genres and new ideas that I actually like. It’s been pretty eye opening for me to branch out into areas I never would have traveled. For instance, I never would have picked up Fugitives from Northwoods if the author himself hadn’t offered a free audible version for a review.
It’s worth it to note that the narrator, Eddie Frierson, is pretty darn good. He adds a dimension to the story that readers might miss on the page. I have another book narrated by him on my wish list and am looking forward to the moment I get to hear him again. I think Mr. Frierson was a very good choice to read this book to me.
Also, I am always doing something else when I’m listening to books. I just can’t sit still during daylight hours. Sometimes, when listening and doing something else the story or the narrator keeps droning on in my ears, but my thoughts have traveled elsewhere and I have to rewind. If that happens a few times, I give up on the audio and turn back to the page for my own immersion reading. That never happened with Fugitives from Northwoods, not even once.
Now, about the story:
After I finished and the credits rolled, my first thought was: That’s it? And not in the I need the sequel kind of way. It was that there wasn’t enough. There wasn’t enough character development for me to cry when I was supposed to cry. There wasn’t enough description of the dystopic world. There were brief instances that clarified. They seemed to end too soon. It feels like my peripheral vision didn’t exist. I couldn’t see the whole picture.
Because Chris Bostic creates the immediate setting so very well, I kept expecting a similarly rich description of the greater world even if it was just dropped in conversation the way the backgrounds are.
Aside from a few passive voice instances that stood out to me in the last ¼ of the book (I usually don’t notice those easily when listening rather than reading.) The writing is solid and descriptive. The voice of Penn is consistent. He felt like a kid learning to be a man. He is the strong silent type of man not willing to show weakness, especially in a leadership position in such a dangerous situation. At the same time, he can draw strength from Cesswi without thinking of it as weakness.
I usually read other reviews before I delve into a book. This time I did not. Now, going through what others have said there is, as usual, one point on which I do not agree. Some say that the beginning is slow. I did not find that.
The beginning starts with a daring midnight escape. How is that slow?
The imagery is fantastic. The pacing is just right for an escape. I’m actually thinking about the sequel, but will probably wait ‘til it hits Audible.
I can’t wait for my boys to listen to it and tell me what they think.