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Blood Binds the Pack Mass Market Paperback – February 6, 2018
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“THIS. WAS. MAGNIFICENT. An absolute riot of a SF/fantasy alt-Western, set on a remote desert world where a greedy technology corporation is coming up against both magic and the power of unionising. Also biker witches and female friendships. This book *rocks*.”
– KJ Charles, author of The Magpie Lord
“It is a rare thing, when a second book from an author surpasses the excellence of the first. I did not expect to be so swept away, but Blood Binds the Pack is a tremendous story. Everything you loved about Hunger Makes the Wolf is here – the weird west setting, the charming characters, the fight for lives and loves. But everything in Blood Binds the Pack elevates all that came before.”
– E Catherine Tobler, author of the Folley & Mallory series
“Creative, angry, and joyous in equal parts, I can’t wait to see what Wells serves up next.”
– Binge on Books
“At the risk of sounding like I’m gushing, I properly loved this book!”
– Helen Lindley
“Blood Binds the Pack will take you on a high-octane ride across the sands of Tanegawa’s World with Hob’s misfit band of mercenaries. It’s a lot of fun to read and stands out as something a bit different. Recommended to anyone that likes sci-fi based future fun and action.”
– Helen’s Bookshelf
“This is an action-packed thriller, but it also explores issues of those who seek equality and justice from those who control in an impossible situation.”
– Strange Alliances
“Blood Binds the Pack is a fantastic follow up to Hunger Makes the Wolf.”
– The Illustrated Page
“Combine vivid characters undergoing moral dilemmas, add intense dangers in well-described action sequences, and you get a very enjoyable read.”
– Templeton Gate
“If you’ve been looking for something like the Colorado Coalfield War IN SPAAACE WITH EXTRA ADDED PSIONICS! then this may be what you want.”
– James Davis Nicoll
“Gritty and engrossing, I definitely want Hob on my side when the revolution comes.”
– Mur Lafferty, John W Campbell Award-winning author of The Shambling Guide to New York City
“It has a wonderful weird west vibe and some of the phrasing is simply delicious. Hob is a wonderful character to follow – hers is a solid journey and I got a bit choked up when Hob stood up for what she wanted. Alex crafts a host of fascinating characters here – the Weathermen, the Bone Collector – and I reckon you’re going to love their adventures.”
– E Catherine Tobler, author of the Folley & Mallory Adventures
“Take a dash of Dune, a bit of Fury Road, and a whole lot of badass female characters and you’ve got Hunger Makes the Wolf – a really, really bloody awesome debut from Alex Wells.”
– Emma Maree Urquhart, author of Dragon Tamers
“This thing drips with tension – between characters, within the story itself – that makes it impossible to put down. I needed to know what would happen next, what would Hob do. Tanegawa’s World may be a desolate and uninviting terrain, but it provides fertile ground for the characters,who truly blossom on the page.”
– Shana DuBois for B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
“It’s a science fiction Western thriller, and it is great, and I’m really, intensely, eagerly looking forward to the sequel. This is the sort of thing I really like. UP WITH THIS SORT OF THING.”
– Liz Bourke, for Tor.com
“The story is a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat space opera, tied together with the characters’ struggles, adventures, and mishaps. If you’ve ever thought, “You know what Dune needed more of? More magic and a biker gang!” then this book was written for you.”
– The Canary Review
“I was expecting a fun, quick space adventure read, but this story is so much more than that.”
– Helen Lindley
“This one definitely makes it into my ‘Highly Recommended’ stack. I’d pick this one up for sure if you’re looking for a fun action romp with some unique and amazing female characters.”
– All Booked Up Blog
“I’m always excited when I find a new book that makes me stay up all night reading because I simply can’t put it down. I’m doubly excited when that book is the first in a brand new series. Hunger Makes the Wolf is both those things. Needless to say that I’m absolutely in love.” 5/5*
– Elena Linville’s Tower of Winds
“This is a very cool novel. Hunger Makes the Wolf is a fun, fast, gripping read.”
– The Irresponsible Reader
“Hunger Makes the Wolf is an entrancing addition to any science-fiction lover’s collection. The clever prose alone is enough to grab your attention, but what really makes this novel shine is how immersive it is. The worldbuilding is meticulous, the characters are multifaceted and original, and the present themes are timely and inspiring.”
– RT Book Reviews
“I have to commend Alex Wells, this book was a genuine pleasure. Just goes to prove, irrespective of genre, you can’t go wrong with well-rounded characters and a plot that zips along at a good pace.”
– The Eloquent Page
“Grab any science fiction book and you’ll see they all have the exact same thing in common: the plots and devices of the stories are all predictable and never stray out of bounds. They hardly even push the envelope and, with great joy, I’m glad the author never got that memo. Here’s why: Wells adds magic to the mix. It’s a stroke of genius I’ve been waiting for Peter F Hamilton or Alastair Reynolds to pull off to no avail.”
– The Splattergeist
“It’s a well-conceived, smartly plotted, enthusiastically fast-paced sci-fi adventure with some cool ideas and a couple of excellent lead characters who’ve got plenty growing still to do in future books.”
– SF Bluestocking
“This is one gem of a story you shouldn’t miss out on.”
– Smorgasbord Fantasia
“I will be picking up future volumes.”
– James Nicoll Reviews
“Sharp, honed, and brilliant.”
– Skiffy & Fanty
“Obvious parallels to Frank Herbert’s Dune will draw readers into this action-packed tale of tyranny and rebellion, but Wells’s character developments take the plot in new directions, leaving the possibility of a sequel.”
– Library Journal
“Hunger Makes the Wolf is a great bit of sci-fi with a dash of fantasy, all cleverly disguised as a brutal, kick-ass western. I want more!”
– Michael Patrick Hicks
“Angry Robot has really upped its game lately; this is one of their best recent releases. Strong debut and I hope for a sequel to start answering a few more of my questions.”
– Fantasy Review Barn
“2017 seemed to be the year of specfic and sci-fi for me, and holy hell, Alex Wells was a crowning glory with Hunger Makes the Wolf. Down-and-dirty space biker witchery with a messy female lead, diverse characters, found families, excellent world building, and unexpected moments of beautifully crafted prose. I’m interested to see if Wells can top Hunger, which as a first novel was pretty dang flawless.”
– The Coil
About the Author
Alex Wells is a writer, geologist, and sharp-dressed sir. They’ve had short stories in Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Daily Science Fiction, Shimmer, and more. Alex is a host on the popular Skiffy and Fanty podcast, where they talk about movies and other nerdy sci-fi and fantasy things.
Author hometown: Denver, Colorado
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This second book in this (apparent) duology keeps the focus on Hob, "witchy" leader of a mercenary biker gang on a desert planet lightyears away from Earth (and government oversight), and on Mag, equally (but differently) "witchy" organizer of a labor movement trying to help the miners who've been oppressed by the TransRift Corporation - owners of the planet and virtually everything on it. Two very different women with very different motivation, yet their friendship is a central focus of both characters. I liked that - female friendship isn't often a guiding factor in a sci-fi novel.
The supporting cast is interesting, ranging from a biker whose grip on himself/reality has recently become rather tenuous, to a woman whose witchiness has led her to elective muteness because she's afraid of the scream that will come out if she tries to speak, to an inhuman creation little understood, even by those who had a hand in his creation, to a smooth government functionary who thinks almost solely of the duty he was bred to carry out, with several other interesting characters rounding out the pages.
I don't want to give away any spoilers here, so I won't give any details about the conclusion that the plot rockets toward at the speed of a space bike on the salt flats, but I found it mostly satisfying. It fits the characters and their story. There's wiggle room left to continue, to give us more Hob and Mag and Coyote and Bone Collector, if Wells should choose... but the story stands complete to this point. And it was a fun ride to get there.
All in all, an enjoyable book and a fitting sequel for its predecessor. I'll be on the lookout for other things by this author. He's got a knack for writing stories that are just plain fun to read.
Note before I dive into the review — this will contain spoilers for Hunger Makes the Wolf. Also, the books are best read in order and I don’t recommend reading Blood Binds the Pack first.
Hob and Mags have dealt a blow to TransRift, destroying one of their Weatherman. Of course, the next one is now bound for Tanegawa’s World along with orders from corporate HQ to throw everything they have at obtaining more of that strange blue mineral found by Mags’s father. And as always, TransRift sees the miners as tools to be used and disposed of in pursuit of the profit margin. Hob and Mags may have won the last battle, but the war is just beginning.
However, they may have some possible help. Shige’s received word that a government inspector is being sent to Tanegawa’s World for the first time ever. His orders are to make this as bad as possible for TransRift… of course, Shige’s general approach is “the ends justify the means,” so it’s questionable whether or not he’ll be helping or making things a heck of a lot worse for Hob, Mags, and the workers.
At the beginning of each chapter is a number counting down how many days until the inspector is supposed to arrive on the planet. As the number drops, tensions rise. About half way through the book, I was having serious trouble putting it down. Mags and the miners start organizing a strike and TransRift is NOT taking it well.
Labor rights is an issue threaded through the book. While science fiction takes place in the future, it of course tends to reflect the problems of our present and past. The dire future laden with corporate abuse Wells creates is hardly unimaginable (or even that original when it comes to sci-fi futures), but Wells gives it an unique flavor. For one, mercenary bikers! Hob’s biker crew is pretty great, ya’ll.
I want to reiterate how much I love Hobs and Mags. Hobs is that tough-to-the bone sort of female protagonist, no nonsense, a straight forward badass. It’d be easy for her to be a stereotypical Strong Female Character, but Wells gave her enough development to be well rounded and distinct. It helps that Hobs (and the other characters) all have such distinctive voices. Mags is a quieter sort of character but no less memorable or powerful. Something happened to her in the TransRift labs last book, and she’s beginning to experiment with her own witchiness. Also, I was totally right! Mags gets a romantic subplot with another female character. I was thinking it would happen, and I’m so glad Wells proved me correct.
I don’t think I talked about it enough in my review of the first book, but I love the strength of Hobs and Mags’s friendship. It’s undoubtedly the most important relationship in a book, which makes a nice change from the preponderance of romance being put on a pedestal about friendship. It’s unfortunate that female friendship is so rare in science fiction and fantasy, but I’m planning to recommend Hunger Makes the Wolf to counteract that.
Blood Binds the Pack is a fantastic follow up to Hunger Makes the Wolf. I think there’s room for a third book if Wells ever wants to write one, but the two books could also stand alone as a duology. Regardless, I’m going to read whatever Alex Wells writes next.
I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review.