The Wolf and the Rain by Tanya Lee book coverTanya Lee headshotHere’s our spoiler-free review of The Wolf and the Rain by Tanya Lee. Get your copy by becoming a member today and then join us in the member portal to get your questions answered by Tanya!

In a post-apocalyptic world, a utopian country called Seira has risen from the ashes in the south. But in the north, chaos reigns. Why, then, would a soldier from the south flee to the north?

Not offensive to women = 1/1 pt, Features a woman as the main protagonist and/or supporting character = 2/2 pts, Passes the Bechdel-Wallace test = 3/3 pts, Artistic and/or Entertaining = 4/4 pts

We’re pretty big fans of genre-bending books at F-BOM, and Tanya Lee’s blend of dystopian and mystery hooked me immediately. Main character Sam is new to the northern city of the Barrow. Luckily, she’s been taken under the wing of a northern woman named Ava. When Sam learns that Ava’s daughter has gone missing, she sets out on an investigation into her disappearance. But life in the Barrow is hard, and Sam has no end of suspects–former boyfriends, gang members, secretive compounds and skeevy loners. I love a good mystery, and Sam’s voice and characterization will have you curious to know more about her and more about the mystery.

Longtime fans of dystopian will find the genre highlights here. Scenes that take place in Seira are recognizable as the standard “Utopia” of dystopian novels–a highly-conformist culture created through indoctrination, and the young person destined to break their chains. But the book never falls into tropes, and the I personally couldn’t wait to get to know the cast of intriguing characters better. Sam befriends a group of young people, including a variety of women. I enjoyed how Lee breathed life into each of her characters. Conversations and scenes directly related to “women’s issues” (forgive the catch-all, more on this below) never felt forced or cliche.

Above and Beyond General Media = 5/5 pts

Of course I won’t get into spoilers here, but suffice to say gendered violence runs through Lee’s world as much as in ours. Despite the apparent equality (or equal subjugation, as the case may be), when the world is dangerous and chaotic, women are vulnerable, and preyed upon in systemic ways. Saving individual women is good, but breaking down the system is the only real way to enact change. Lee weaves male violence against women throughout her world, touching every life. 

There is a lot of conversation about how to represent hard topics like rape in media, and I know for myself, a mishandled rape scene will make me set the book down immediately. Tanya Lee handles all these topics in respectful ways, preserving the dignity of women characters.

Score: 15/15

Her Story Arc Scale of Inclusivity image, a yellow number 15 inside of a pink Venus symbol

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