The Wildlands

The Wildlands

From the award winning author of The Lightkeepers comes a page turning new novel that explores the bond between siblings and the animal instincts that threaten to destroy them.When a Category 5 tornado ravaged Mercy, Oklahoma, no family in the small town lost more than the McClouds. Their home and farm were instantly demolished, and orphaned siblings Darlene, Jane, and Cor...

DownloadRead Online
Title:The Wildlands
Author:Abby Geni
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Wildlands Reviews

  • Acacia Ives

    I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review. She’s done it again! This story of family and relationships is solid, beautiful and raw. I thought there was no way I’d like it as much as The Lightkeepers but I’m so happy I was proved wrong. The natural world is described with such love and attention. Absolutely obsessed!

  • switterbug (Betsey)

    “The Wildlands. Uncultivated land. Cultivation—that’s what humans do.”

    Geni’s latest and exciting literary thriller once again examines the liminal space between humans and wildlife, while depicting how compassion can mutate to corruption and danger. In this novel, Geni’s characters are not research biologists and strangers to each other, like in THE LIGHTKEEPERS. In THE WILDLANDS, her characters are four Oklahoma siblings orphaned by a Category 5 tornado, which destroyed their house, massacred t

    “The Wildlands. Uncultivated land. Cultivation—that’s what humans do.”

    Geni’s latest and exciting literary thriller once again examines the liminal space between humans and wildlife, while depicting how compassion can mutate to corruption and danger. In this novel, Geni’s characters are not research biologists and strangers to each other, like in THE LIGHTKEEPERS. In THE WILDLANDS, her characters are four Oklahoma siblings orphaned by a Category 5 tornado, which destroyed their house, massacred their beloved horses and cows, and slayed their father. The trauma to the children have both shared and clashing impacts on their grasp of the future. The slaughter of life—both human and animal--has compromised their trust in benevolence, stripping them of faith in ordinary safety.

    The oldest, nineteen-year-old Darlene, a realist, wants to keep the youngest three together with her, and gives up college plans in order to put food on the table. Tucker, the only brother and second oldest, is more of the dreamer, and finds solace in the wild lands beyond their new and shabby trailer home. The youngest, Cora, age six, worships Tucker, who pays close attention to her and includes her in his forays to the fields and wildlife beyond. When he leaves the family and disappears after an angry dispute with Darlene, Cora is stricken. As in THE LIGHTKEEPERS, we begin to comprehend that our true self is often mirrored or altered by the behavior of the humans and animals that we love, protect, confine, exploit, or liberate.

    Three years later, Tucker returns with a vengeance and vocation against the injustices to animals by the public. He is on a quest to save the animal kingdom, who he believes are casualties of the human war against them. The bonds of family are tested to terrifying depths, while the pace-perfect, page-turning narrative, in Cora’s now mature voice, also explores the thin but overlapping border between man and beast.

    “This is the story of the summer I disappeared,” begins Cora, the first line after the prologue. And, as the pages turn, it becomes apparent that her disappearance is both physical and psychological, under a Svengali-esque influence, as her psyche is subsumed by events that tear the family apart and completely turn her identity inside out. I am hesitant to say more, since I don’t want to ruin even the small discoveries meant for the reader’s eyes.

    Part eco-thriller, part suspense thriller, and part domestic thriller, THE WILDLANDS cuts across genres and keeps you emotionally riveted to the characters and plot. The prose is lyrical and poetic, compelling me to re-read passages and paragraphs just for their force and hypnotic beauty. The description of the tornado alone is harrowing and filled with magnificent terror. There’s no filler in the gust of this novel, not one dull page.

  • Rachel León

    Sometimes it's hard to know how many stars to give a book. Not this time--5 solid stars all the way.

  • JanB

    An easy 5 stars! The author’s writing is beautiful and completely captivating. All the elements come together to make this a riveting read. The audiobook’s narrator, Carol Monda, was excellent and when I wasn’t listening I was looking for a way to do so.

    When a tornado rips through Mercy, Oklahoma, the motherless McCloud children, Tucker, Darlene, Jane, and Cora, are left homeless orphans. Their father is dead, and the home and farm are destroyed. They become known as the saddest family in Mercy

    An easy 5 stars! The author’s writing is beautiful and completely captivating. All the elements come together to make this a riveting read. The audiobook’s narrator, Carol Monda, was excellent and when I wasn’t listening I was looking for a way to do so.

    When a tornado rips through Mercy, Oklahoma, the motherless McCloud children, Tucker, Darlene, Jane, and Cora, are left homeless orphans. Their father is dead, and the home and farm are destroyed. They become known as the saddest family in Mercy.

    At 18, Darlene is the oldest and gives up her dream to attend college so she can work and keep the family together. Cora, at 6, is left with only her sibling’s stories of life before the tornado. The first and last memory of her father was the day he died. And then there’s Tucker. “Darlene pictured the funnel cloud roaring through Tucker's mind, scattering the elements of his personality across the landscape, leaving only chaos in his wake.”  He soon runs off and the family doesn’t hear from him for years.

    On the 3-year anniversary of the tornado, a cosmetic factory is bombed and Tucker reappears, injured and asking for assistance from the now 9-year-old Cora. The impressionable Cora idolizes Tucker and easily falls under his spell when he shares his views on nature and civilization. He has an admirable passion for animals and animal rights but his tactics are extremist and his method of retaliation is eco-terrorism. They go on the run to carry out his mission. Good intentions gone wrong. It's a testament to the author's skill that Tucker is written as a somewhat sympathetic character. It's easy to condemn his methods while sympathizing with his ideology.

    Narrated by Cora 40 years after the event, she tells the story of the “summer she disappeared” from her perspective and also from that of her older sister Darlene, giving us a balanced viewpoint. I enjoyed hearing the story from both perspectives, and both characters were well-developed.

    The wildlands refers to land that is uncultivated or unfit for cultivation, making it uninhabitable for animals. Human’s desecration of the land is a theme. For the McCloud children, it’s an exploration of the sibling bond and how trauma affects them when their landscape, their family, is destroyed.

    Highly recommended!

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    In the prologue of The Wildlands, a family is quickly preparing for a Category 5 tornado. They live on a farm and are working to secure the animals and themselves before disaster potentially strikes. I read The Wildlands as a hurricane was leaving an indelible and devastating path through my home state, and Abby Geni’s adept writing had me viscerally preparing for the tornado with the family.

    The McCloud children live in Mercy, Oklahoma. They lose everything in the to

    In the prologue of The Wildlands, a family is quickly preparing for a Category 5 tornado. They live on a farm and are working to secure the animals and themselves before disaster potentially strikes. I read The Wildlands as a hurricane was leaving an indelible and devastating path through my home state, and Abby Geni’s adept writing had me viscerally preparing for the tornado with the family.

    The McCloud children live in Mercy, Oklahoma. They lose everything in the tornado and wind up orphaned and living in a trailer. These siblings, Cora, Jane, Darlene, and Tucker, are developed in three-dimension. You can almost hear them breathing; they are executed so well.

    Tucker leaves his family behind but reappears years later after a bomb goes off in a cosmetics factory near Mercy. The lab animals are released during the bombing. Tucker now needs nine-year-old Cora’s help, and they set off together on a thrilling mission of violence and retribution.

    Darlene assists the police in finding her siblings at a California zoo. Tucker is committed to saving the lives of animals, and he views his mission as a war.

    The Wildlands is a literary-eco-suspense/thriller. A tension was felt throughout the story that kept me engaged and invested whether it was the tornado or the set-up of one of Cora and Tucker’s acts of vengeance. Geni’s prose is like butter- smooth and deliberate balanced with ample description. I compulsively re-read passages to absorb their radiance.

    I am awe-struck by this smart book and everything accomplished by this talented author, and I cannot wait to read my copy of The Lightkeepers. The Wildlands captures “wild” in every sense of the word.

    Thank you to Counterpoint Press for the invitation to read and review and the physical ARC. All opinions are my own.

    My review can also be found on my blog:

  • Jill

    Some of the best contemporary books in literature teach us how to be human. But what does “being human” mean? Are we elevated from the rest of the animal species by our conscience and our ability to feel compassion? Or are we the most selfish and dangerous predators that ever lived, destined to eventually become extinct?

    This intelligently-written, page-turning novel provides no easy answers but it does provide much food for thought. Four siblings—Darlene, Tucker, Jane and little Cora become orph

    Some of the best contemporary books in literature teach us how to be human. But what does “being human” mean? Are we elevated from the rest of the animal species by our conscience and our ability to feel compassion? Or are we the most selfish and dangerous predators that ever lived, destined to eventually become extinct?

    This intelligently-written, page-turning novel provides no easy answers but it does provide much food for thought. Four siblings—Darlene, Tucker, Jane and little Cora become orphans at the start of the book, when a Category 5 tornado wipes out everything they have, turning them into the Saddest Family in Mercy, Oklahoma. Only Tucker believes that the tornado has provided him with the gift of insight. We quickly learn that Tucker becomes an extreme animal activist, liberating animals from deplorable conditions and becoming their avenger. On the lam, he convinces his nine-year-old sister Cora—who has missed him desperately— to join him in his quixotic quest. And here is where the plot truly takes hold.

    The plot twists of this novel are organic and heartbreaking and I do not wish to spoil them for other readers. I will, instead, concentrate on the themes, which elevate this novel to one of my top books of the year. Abby Geni performs the amazing feat of having us sympathize with Tucker’s goals—to treat other animal species with respect and dignity—while cringing from his methods and his lack of understanding that animals must be true to their own nature. Trapped between the human and the animal world, Tucker does not truly understand either, and puts both worlds at risk.

    What are the Wildlands? Tucker describes it this way: “The old ecosystem was gone. Humans had destroyed it. The Wildlands were something new. ‘Unfit for cultivation.’ That means no people, no civilization. Wild and Tame and Domesticated and Feral—any living thing without a place on the food chain—all the outliers found their way there. All the lost and lonely animals went to the Wildlands.”

    What does it mean to be “a creature out of place and out of sync?” How does any outlier—human or animal—adapt to life with all its uncertainties and all its marvels? The last paragraph of this mesmerizing book brought tears to my eyes. Abby Geni keeps getting better and better.

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    It all begins with a storm. The swirling finger of a vengeful god spins down out of the sky and destroys Mercy, Oklahoma. The

    It all begins with a storm. The swirling finger of a vengeful god spins down out of the sky and destroys Mercy, Oklahoma. The McCloud family has already suffered loss with the death of their mother, but now they find themselves orphans and homeless. They are the unluckiest family in a county of unlucky people.

    Tucker always sees things differently. After the storm, it is as if something tears loose in him that has been held together by slender tendrils of what we call normal. He was always high strung an emotional whirlwind who was cursed with feelings that ran too deeply.

    Darlene is the oldest, and when this storm takes away the McCloud house and their father, it also blows away all of her dreams of what she has planned to become. She sells their story to every news organization that is willing to pay. This creates conflict with Tucker, who sees it as unseemly. All Darlene is trying to do is get enough money to buy a dilapidated trailer and keep the family together.

    I grew up in a small town so I understand the inherent jealousies, the prideful assertions about what is right and wrong, the cliquishness of the church going crowd, and a misguided concept that they are the righteous and all those folks in the big cities are fools on a one way express train to Hell. Small town values, my ass. The town of Mercy might be split on whether Darlene is doing the right thing, but the ones that think it is shameful make sure to let her know how they feel.

    Darlene is stuck in the caldron, trying to keep her two sisters, Jane and Cora, fed and having some kind of normal life. Tucker takes off. The McCloud unit, already destabilized by the missing pieces, now has to adjust to yet another smaller orbit. It is as if a moon has disappeared from the sky.

    If truth be known, Tucker wants to bring down the Age of Humans. He would have fit in fine with Edward Abbey’s

    . He tries to team up with like minded individuals who ultimately disappoint him. Their commitment to saving the Earth is more of a hobby than based on a firm set of convictions. Tucker is untethered from the law. I keep thinking of the American-abolitionist John Brown, who was considered bat shit crazy, but who, through his actions, raised the awareness of the plight of slaves in the South. He forced people in the North, who may have been indifferent, to have to reconsider the issue. James McBride in his National Book Award winning book

    really brought John Brown alive for me.

    Maybe we just have to have a Tucker McCloud or a John Brown come along occasionally who will shake us out of our indifference and have us start to wonder, why is this cause so important to these seemingly insane men? Are they insane or are they the only people seeing clearly? Just by forcing people to ask

    , the needle moves from indifference to an openness to wanting to understand.

    When I lived in Arizona, I knew some people who were members of Earth First! This was an environmental awareness group started by Dave Foreman, who was inspired by Abbey’s book

    to become more involved in the fight to save the environment. They were considered terrorists (before that word took on even more meaning) by the FBI. I guess, if inspiring terror in the greedy capitalist pricks who were clear cutting timber in Arizona is considered terrorism, then yes, they were. It was a doomed organization, just like most environmental efforts have proven to be. The government squashed them.

    Tucker, unable to find the properly motivated partner, finally decides that he needs someone who can be taught his vision of the world. He convinces his nine year old sister Cora to come on his quest to save the world. He can say he needs help, but what he really needs is a witness. He needs someone to observe and understand exactly what he is trying to do.

    Well, Tucker is no exception. They are going to create havoc from Oklahoma to California.

    This was a solid four star book for me until Abby Geni let me spend some significant time with Tucker McCloud. You can disagree with the young man, but you can not deny that he is committed to what he believes. He sees the end of days, but in some ways, just the fact that he chooses to fight back shows that he still thinks the tide can turn in favor of the Earth. He isn’t spouting rhetoric in some classroom in a university. He is creating the smoke and walking through the center of it, limping and grinning.

    I also really enjoyed Abby Geni’s book

    , which is set on a small island off the coast of San Francisco. She is a storyteller who is shining a light on the plight of nature. She isn’t even crazy like John Brown or insane like Tucker McCloud, but maybe there is a part of her that wishes she were.

    My thanks to Counterpoint Press and Megan Fishmann who sent me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit

    I also have a Facebook blogger page at:

  • Jeanette

    The writing was 4 star. But my enjoyment and interest festered rather than bloomed. The emotion that this book seeped- that was probably the 5 star bulls-eye for others. For me it just became almost too off putting for me to continue. I left it after the section titled August for some days. Disturbing and so mean this book! Brutal that tragedy would "explain" or "justify" in this way. To me it is. Sick seeps through this.

    She's a talented writer who knows all the human ages. I loved her Lighthous

    The writing was 4 star. But my enjoyment and interest festered rather than bloomed. The emotion that this book seeped- that was probably the 5 star bulls-eye for others. For me it just became almost too off putting for me to continue. I left it after the section titled August for some days. Disturbing and so mean this book! Brutal that tragedy would "explain" or "justify" in this way. To me it is. Sick seeps through this.

    She's a talented writer who knows all the human ages. I loved her Lighthouses. In this one she gets 9 years old for one particular little girl extremely well- a 5 star masterful portrayal. But that at the same time was also a crux issue for my being embedded or not. The connection between the little sister and her big brother being so "allowable" for the actions here. Also troublesome and off putting to me was the "eyes" for the animals' treatments and outcomes. Just beyond an outlier or sane acceptance of "real" or their natures- being something that has significant yuck factors in such a crisis type of read.

    It starts off beyond tragic. And then Abby Geni seems to proceed to a scenario with two nearly opposite "options" in her protagonists in response. One of both heroic aptitudes and striving for life structure. The other a nihilist brand of almost feral "freedom". One in which for a cause or concern that is "right" and "held supreme as a better" anything goes. Anything. And there aren't any restrictions. No viable such strictures of "allowed" becoming able to be "defined". In simpler words-just a feral "Wildlands" conception of justification and acting for the "wild".

    I didn't read any reviews, only noticed all my friends high star ratings. These kinds of themes bother me far more than they do others, I think. As if such actions of this brother's last years have a "value" beyond the outcomes that they cause others? And when they (all that composes that "wild") are expressed in such deep and connective prose copy- it seems to make it a worse "transgression" to me. Not fair to set such picture of ugliness within an exquisite frame? Something like that. Regardless- the psychology of this story was extremely bothersome.

    It's also a horror story. And the poor animals. Just in a different set of observations, than say a Stephen King. There you always know the hard from the start and what is sure to be coming.

    That ending was 2.5 star at the most as it was detailed. Fiction indeed! As I've been a zoo docent, the maim and death toll in reality would have been multiples higher.

    Love the author's word craft. And that it seems all her books are quite different. I did not enjoy the themes of psychosis states of this one much at all. Just in her skill of getting to the core of "wild". She sure did that well. Wild in the sense I would never want to touch.

  • Will Byrnes

    Had hoped for this week, but I lost several days to an unexpected visitor, so probably 10/12

Best Free Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2018 Best Free Books - All rights reserved.