Thursday, 19 May 2016

Review: The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens



THE MOUNTAIN STORY BY LORI LANSENS
2016  320 pages  Simon and Schuster

Wolf Truly comes from a broken home. The tragic death of his mother and the incompetence of his father leave Wolf longing for escape. Seeking adventure, Wolf often hikes up the mountain near his home along with his friend, Byrd – but after Byrd’s untimely death Wolf decides to hike up the mountain one last time to jump to his own death. However, after meeting three fellow hikers – Bridget, Nola, and Vonn – he finds himself stranded in the desolate wilderness of the mountain, leaving the four of them to fight for survival. One of them will not make it back alive.

This is my first Lori Lansens novel and I’m glad to say that I was rather impressed by her writing. The Mountain Story is raw and gritty and as someone who enjoys hiking, I was able to appreciate just how frightening it would be to be lost in such an unforgiving wilderness. It was interesting to see how the teenage Wolf felt connected with the mountain and how he viewed its natural beauty as an opportunity to escape his neglectful home life. While he intends to climb up the mountain one last time in order to end his life peacefully, this final journey inspires Wolf to keep living as his life becomes intertwined with these three women who must now fight for survival with him.

Told from the adult Wolf’s perspective as he writes a letter to his teenage son explaining his mountain experience, the story gradually reveals secrets and neglected memories from Wolf’s past. After initially getting off to a slow start the story builds up considerable tension, leaving you trying to work out who won’t survive the ordeal and how the lives of these characters all connect. As I said, the story is gritty and at times I felt quite emotional as I read how Wolf, Bridget, Nola, and Vonn fought desperately for their lives. This is ultimately a novel about human survival – the desperate longing to keep living. Whilst Wolf is stranded with his fellow hikers he too begins to fight for his life despite his initial intentions, which makes for a very touching read.

The emotional and psychological turmoil of these characters are all different. It was interesting to see how I could guess how each of them would react to a situation and I mean this in the best way possible. Due to the character development I knew the strengths and weaknesses of each of them, which made the characters realistic and ultimately, believable. Its Wolf’s story but Bridget, Nola, and Vonn each have their own to tell and I liked how it focused on their struggles as well as Wolf’s.

This is an engaging and clever read that wonderfully explores the fierceness of human nature as it fights against the brutality of nature itself. The ending was especially rewarding and not one I was expecting which overall led to a charming result.

Overall rating:
3 stars
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