After the Snow Featured
If Huck Finn Were a Dystopia
After the Snow reads like Huck Finn meets dystopia. Unfortunately, I really don't like Huckleberry Finn. Why? Because, even at the very best of times, books written in dialect are a struggle for me. For one thing, dialect tends to equal poor grammar, which always makes me shudder. I did a lot of shuddering in this book. It also slows down my reading, both because I don't like it, and because I'm reading it all out loud to myself in my head (if that makes sense).
The main character, Willo, constantly talks to a dead dog that he has made into clothing. He even thinks it answers him, which is freaking creepy! Not only that, there's a 'mad dog' personality and a 'good dog' personality. Really. Willo, in his head, keeps holding conversations with a dead dog with multiple personalities. What the effin' what?
So yeah, I didn't really like the characters or the writing, but what about the dystopian elements, the world-building? Not so much there either. I don't feel like I really got a handle on what was going on here. I mean, I see that the weather went crazy, and there is a brief comment on how that happens. However, I want to know more about how the society functions and why so many people don't have papers and why everyone's so interested in the mountain men. And what's up with the crazy pseudo-religion, rebellion group? None of this was at all clear, and not in a cool leaving you guessing kind of way.
I really wish book descriptions for books in dialect were written in dialect. If that summary had been written the way the book was, I would not have read this. Well, maybe I would have, but only because it's a dystopia. Still, the description doesn't really give an accurate picture of what you're going to get. This definitely was not for me.
Okay book. I will read the next book.
The slang and the intentional grammar errors will not sit well with everyone. But without it, the character really don't have a feel to it. With the slang, it seemed like there is something tangible with the characters.
The setting reminded me a lot of a scene from the TV mini series Pillars of the Earth, where the family is walking in the frozen forest. At least that is what I thought of it. And as the novel went on, it kind of reminded me of the Relic Master Series by Catherine Fisher. I don't know why it reminded me of it but I just had the same feelings that I had with Catherine's series.
It was very disturbing to see that a fourteen year old girl has a baby with a old man but I guess that is the whole point of dystopian. Plus all around the world, stuff like this happen. Very disturbing! There was gory stuff in the novel. And it did feel more of a boy-ish type read (which I love).
I started to like the book more and more as I read on. The suspense was amazing. I wasn't breathing because I was scared that I would change that fate of the characters.
The government in the novel was very secretive. The author painted a vivid and imaginary picture of the government and it seemed very dystopian and very interesting. I couldn't wait to learn more about the government. For most of the book, I wish Willo could just hurry into the city and told me more about the government.
I did enjoy how the novel did not focus mainly on romance. In fact I don't think there was 5% of it in the book.
And as part 3 hits, "OH MY GOD! Please readers! Don't give up on this book! There are some great actions, some great secrets, some great unexpected things in this book. I am SOOOO glad that I didn't gave up on this book." Yup that was what I typed frantically on my iPod as notes when I read into part 3.
After the Snow
The premise of this book sounds superb! A second ice age, a young boy trying to find his family while being distracted by a damsel in distress, a corrupt government… All the elements were there, but it just didn’t do it for me. Throughout the entire book I just kept waiting for something really meaningful to happen. I was so excited about the setting and dystopian world in this book, but as I read, it didn’t seem that different from winter in Ohio… On top of that, I felt like none of my questions were answered. I thought there was some great potential with some of the ideas briefly mentioned throughout the story, but they were never really developed. I was also dying to learn more about the history of what caused all of these things to happen, but I only got bits and pieces. The story just had a vague feel to it.
I was also disappointed with the characters. I had a hard time connecting with Willo, as a lot of the things he did and said were quite bizarre. I also didn’t get to see as much character development as I would have liked to see. He did make some growth throughout the story, but I guess I just envisioned a different Willo in the end.
That leads me to the actual ending. I don’t want to give anything away, but I thought the ending was going to answer some questions and make up for the lack luster story. However, when I finished the book I knew just as much as I did when I started it.
I’m sure there is an audience that this book would appeal to. It is definitely a unique read worth a try if you are a hard core dystopian fan.