Title: After The Snow
PJV Quickie: My first thoughts when picking up this book for review, were, “this sounds like a snowy ‘Blood Red Road.’ I enjoyed ‘Blood Red Road’ so why not?” Wasn’t one of my genius moments. The narration style and poorly flushed out plot sent this one to the DNF pile.
Author: S.D. Crockett
Type: Young Adult, Dystopian
Published March 27th 2012 by Feiwel & Friends
ARC Review, copy provided by Amazon Vine
I should have learned my lesson the first ten or so times I’ve read a book because it “sounded like” another one. Everything else by comparison always leaves me lacking and ‘After the Snow’ joined the ranks of bitter disappointment.
The story is basically the tale of a young boy who returns to his camp of survivors to find out that there is no one left. The family had been getting by in a dystopian environment, barely holding on to life and suddenly they all vanish while Willo is out hunting. Willo is left to survive on his own and hopefully find his family and of course, along the way he has to help a girl.
The first thing that got under my skin was S.D. Crockett’s narrative voice. The narrative voice of a very uneducated, English, young boy. I usually have no problem with narrative voice, even if they employ a ton of slang or rambling, but there was something about this kid–oh yeah, he was a little bit crazy on top of the uneducated part. He wore a dog skull on his head and tried to evoke the dog’s spirit by doing things a certain way. This little bit of crazy also made him seem removed from the landscape, like he himself was above every thing. I wasn’t concerned about his plight or problems because I had little concern for the kid and because it was a narrative, he wasn’t describing his setting as much as I would like, which led me to not really care about the character or the setting and in general the book.
Pair this with a flip-flop of events and I was utterly lost. The book actually starts with the disappearance of the family, but has Willo “remembering” in flashback after flashback. I do believe, in these flashback the author was trying to employ a connection with the kid, show that he was actually a character worth pulling for, instead of the odd, dog boy that I was dealing with now. It failed to work and I was literally shaking my head in confusion so many times that I closed the book and have yet to pick it up again. I think this is also because of the fact that it was a female author writing as a preteen boy, which I do believe is hard to invoke well, even for male authors.
I recommend this for a boy of about twelve who likes dystopian. The narrative voice might work better with a child the same age as the main character. Fans of the genre will probably be disappointed though, since it really doesn’t hold true to anything else in the area. For those comparing this to ‘The Hunger Games’ I declare shenanigans.
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