Series: Snow White Trilogy #1
on 7th August 2014
Click here to buy the book from Amazon •Booktopia • Book Depository • Angus and Robertson
Seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson is hardly your average teenager. She lives by herself in the city of Tampere, Finland, and has a firm rule to mind nobody's business but her own. But that rule is put to the test when she happens upon five hundred washed euro notes hanging up to dry in her school's darkroom, and it is shattered once Lumikki realises who owns them.
Caught in an increasingly tangled web of deception, corruption and danger, Lumikki finds herself navigating the Tampere's dark underbelly in the search to expose its shocking connection to the international drugs trade. Lumikki is smart, but is she smarter than a master criminal? Can she bring down the infamous 'Polar Bear' - or will she become another one of his victims?
The first part of a thrilling new Nordic crime series, AS RED AS BLOOD will have you on the edge of your seat until the last page is turned... and then some.
“The streets of Finland are frozen and white with snow. And nothing is as red against snow as blood . . .”
It has been a while since I read a book which has been translated from another language to English. Maybe that’s why I was so excited to read As Red as Blood, the first book in award-winning Finnish author Salla Simukka’s Snow White trilogy. This series has already had the rights sold to 37 countries and I have to admit I was curious to see just what it was about.
The first thing you need to know is that this isn’t a fairy tale retelling. This is a fast paced and eerily compelling thriller with many traditional Snow White allusions brilliantly woven in. Lumikki Andersson’s first name may literally translate as Snow White but she is not a damsel in distress. She’s independent and has no time for people who are going to waste her time. At only 17, she already lives on her own in a city 70 miles from her family. When she stumbles upon a large sum of cash in her school’s dark room, her interest is piqued. Especially because the money is covered in blood. Not wanting to make a fuss but at the same time not able to just walk away, Lumikki is drawn into a world filled with drug dealers, secret organizations and a whole lot of danger.
From the first few pages I was drawn into the mysterious criminal underworld which Lumikki finds herself in the middle of. There’s a murder in the very first chapter and the surprises keep on coming. Lumikki is a great character. She is no-nonsense and seems rather unfriendly but she was someone I wanted to read more of. She’s incredibly observant with a number of quirks – quirks which I’m not sure I would class as endearing but certainly interesting (Her dislike of fragrance and yet ability to identify any perfume at a single sniff; Her ability to transform herself into someone else; Her idea that every person’s room contains a fatal flaw). Lumikki is strong and brave yet I also found her oddly relatable. She’s fun but not in a laugh out kind of way. I wouldn’t want to cross her but I was more than happy to follow her wherever this story took her.
This is a book which has an intense creepy feeling – you know that bad things are going to happen and quite possibly to characters you like but there is the compulsion to keep reading in hopes that you were wrong. Lumikki gets dragged into dealing with hired thugs, corruption and the seedy criminal underbelly of something she doesn’t understand. I found it a very different read from what I’m used to – there is no romance to speak of and the action takes place over few days. But I liked not having a clue where the story was going and being surprised by the plot.
In many ways this is a great way to open a series. A great introduction to an interesting main character, establishing the nefarious Polar Bear and getting us settled into a setting which is different for many readers. It did fall a little flat in terms of just why everything was happening and what sort of end Lumikki and her little group were expecting. That said – I did like what played out even if I’m not quite sure why.
After reading As Red As Blood, I’m very glad I did. Lumikki is such a strong female lead and I’m eager to find out just what happens in the next two books of the trilogy. If the next books are anything like the first, I know I can expect great thrilling stories with intrigue and a fascinating criminal underworld to be explored.
Thanks to Hot Key Books for the review copy