Title: The Bear
Author: Andrew Krivak
Narrator: Eric Jason Martin
Genre: Science Fiction / Dystopian
Publisher: HighBridge Audio
Read: February 2020
Length: 4 Hours
Rating: 4 Caffeinated Stars
Trigger Warnings: Death, Hunting, Survival
In an Edenic future, a girl and her father live close to the land in the shadow of a lone mountain. They possess a few remnants of civilization: some books, a pane of glass, a set of flint and steel, a comb. The father teaches the girl how to fish and hunt, the secrets of the seasons and the stars. He is preparing her for an adulthood in harmony with nature, for they are the last of humankind. But when the girl finds herself alone in an unknown landscape, it is a bear that will lead her back home through a vast wilderness that offers the greatest lessons of all, if she can only learn to listen. A cautionary tale of human fragility, of love and loss, The Bear is a stunning tribute to the beauty of nature’s dominion.
Please note that since this is an advanced copy of an audiobook, I will not have quote graphics in this review.
It’s been a few days since I finished this book, and I still don’t know quite how I feel about it. I picked this up as part of Libro.FM’s influencer program, and I was immediately drawn to the cover. Seriously, look at how pretty the cover is. I also enjoy post-apocalyptic reads. I figured I would give this book a chance.
I think it’s important to state that this book was not character-driven. You never even know the character’s name. You only know them as The Girl, The Man, and The Bear. I am such a character-driven reader that this honestly threw me off. Without having a character to focus on and connect to, I focused on the plot & the descriptions. The plot was incredibly simple, and the descriptions complex. The narrator also added something to the book. Through his narration, I was able to connect to the book even though I didn’t connect to the characters.
This is my first Andrew Krivak novel, but based on this book, his descriptions are spectacular. Where he skimped on character development, he made up for it in his vivid portrayal of the surrounding. Everything was so striking that I felt like I, too, was walking alongside the characters. I will say, my one takeaway from this book is that I would never survive in a hunter/gatherer situation.
It was genuinely fascinating to see the world through simpler times, where the primary stressor of the world was just survival. This post-apocalyptic read showed us how the world was before civilization. There are no stores to get supplies, and you truly live off of the land. There are no other humans, all you have is The Girl, The Man and the animals of the forest. The entire plot was survival, which was straightforward yet intriguing enough for me to read.
All in all, I enjoyed this book for its simplicity. I enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t a book I would typically pick up. The one thing that I don’t like is that I’m left with more questions than answers. If you’re a reader who needs to know the why of a situation, I would recommend you skip this book.
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