Lumikki is a Finnish-Swedish high school student with a propensity for landing in the middle of trouble that has nothing to do with her. She is independent, talented, and a little bit of a BAMF. In the middle of the Finnish winter, she stumbles upon blood-stained money (literally) and can’t not get involved. A while later, during the Prague summer, she gets involved with a dangerous cult and – guess what – can’t NOT get involved.
The Lumikki Andersson books are the kind that are action-packed, but they do require the reader to suspend their disbelief a little. This high-schooler has a lot of skills with virtually no reliable origin for obtaining them (no secret KBG-training, for example). She is intelligent and manages to outwit police officers, drug bosses and big corporates who just clearly have not managed to gain any wisdom during their many years on earth.
So if you’re going to sit back and say, “Well this is so unrealistic” then the books are not going to do it for you. Lumikki is kind of like a Finnish Nancy Drew, but less PG.
That said, Lumikki is a fun character to read. She is bad-ass and couldn’t care less about social structures at school and expectations upon her person. She has a fun way of observing the world, which I suppose goes for the author, Salla Simukka.
“Everyone was in a hurry and needed to shout about what a hurry they were in.”
At the same time, something about the writing style irked me a bit. I’m not sure that Simukka can be blamed for this as she writes in Finnish, so perhaps the problem is with the translation (further supported by the insanely good Finnish reviews compared to the not-so-great English reviews).
There is an awful lot of telling instead of showing going on. For example, from the beginning we are told that Lumikki is “the one who always ate alone, but never looked lonely. She was the puzzle piece that didn’t have its own place, but could suddenly fill in almost any hole you needed it to.” I wanted to see that happen, not be told about it in advance.
Lumikki, by the way, is the Finnish name for Snow White – not hard to figure out given the titles of the first two books. But this is not a fairytale retelling, so don’t expect one. Unless Snow White secretly hunted drug lords and cult leaders without telling any of us. The fairytale aspect is little more than an (enjoyable) plot device.
I did not enjoy As Red As Blood very much, partially due to the unrealistic aspect, and partially because drug-busts just aren’t that interesting to me. The book felt like your run-of-the-mill drug-busting movies. As White As Snow was a lot more enjoyable, perhaps because I haven’t read any books or watched any movies on the cult theme. Also, the twists are slightly less predictable and Lumikki is a more human, relatable character.
The Lumikki books are not really a series like the YA series we know – you would be able to read As White As Snow without reading As Red As Blood first. It’s more like the Secret Seven books, where each has its own unique story-line.
That said, I am so intrigued by the final twist in As White As Snow that I simply HAVE to read the third book (As Black As Ebony). I still don’t enjoy the translation, because I suspect something is being lost there, but I can’t wait to find out what the big mystery is with Lumikki and her family. I suspect a lot of ends are going to tie up to a quite enjoyable conclusion. I hope!Disclaimer: I received digital galleys of these books via NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews.