Disclaimer: I received this book from the Publisher via NetGalley for review but this will not effect the opinions I give in this review it will be as full and unbiased as any review I do.
“Once upon a time there was a girl who learned to fear.
Fairy tales do not begin this way. Other, darker stories do…”
Lumikki Andersson is a Finnish-Swedish loner, though she doesn’t mind being alone. You see, she has rules – mottoes. One is not to meddle – not to get involved. Another is not to jump to conclusions.
But when she stumbles across thousands of euros of money, hanging up to dry in the darkroom, smelling of old blood, it’s hard not to get involved. Especially when she sees a classmate emerge from the room with a bulging backpack.
Soon, Lumikki is breaking all of her rules, as she’s swept up in a dangerous plot involving the darkest areas of Finland’s criminal underworld. All the while trying to stay one step ahead of a vicious, merciless murderer…
As Red as Blood is well written and intriguing YA crime thriller based in Finland and it is the first book in the Lumikki Anderson Trilogy which has been translated from Finnish. I loved this book as soon as I started reading it because it started with a bang and did not let up at all. I would say that it fits in well with the genre it belongs to as the writing is appropriate for the YA age group.
I loved Lumikki as a character because she was so different. Initially she came across as being cold and distant but it didn’t take me long to warm up to her. As soon as I understood her a little more I was see how brave, strong, smart and resourceful and calculating she was. Once I established these facts I was able to see she was a natural at reading people as well as a natural actress. This then lead you to see what a strong person she was to her detriment at times because she wouldn’t even ask for help when she was in danger. She really fascinated me because although she claimed not to be a Sherlock Holmes she certainly seemed to think a lot like him. The fact that we still don’t know her full back story is great as I can’t wait to read the coming books, or rather continue reading the second book, I am sure that the coming books will shed more light on why she’s such a fascinatingly multi dimensional, badass, genius, enigma of a lead girl.
The other characters were not as interesting as her but they were interesting enough that I wanted to read about them. I really didn’t like Kasper and Tuukka at all but they did add some more depth to the story. Initially I didn’t like Elisa much because she came across as being very superficial only interested in looks and boys while being sweet and enthusiastic, but as the story developed more it became more clear that while bring naive and a little broken she was in fact smarter and tougher than she appeared to begin with. It was great that she made Lumikki a little more human and more in touch with her emotions. As for the Villains can’t say to much about them without spoiling the story but I will say is that they are gangsters who are really intriguing. I am pretty sure they will make an appearance in the future books particularly the polar bear.
Where as in some reviews I have read they have said that they didn’t like the fact that some things had not been translated from the Finnish in which it was originally written because in their eyes it didn’t add anything to the story but instead annoyed them. I have to disagree because although I can’t read Finnish I think it did actually add more depth to the story. To the point where I may be tempted to get the Finnish version of the book in Audio book format.
The way the author wrote really painted a picture which made me feel like I was actually experiencing the story through Lumikki’s eyes and the awesome seemingly random details that were explained at later points in the book really added an extra layer to the story. The way she wrote really appealed to me especially the way she managed to get beautiful descriptions into short, sharp sentences, because it was such an unusual combination but a formula that worked perfectly even though in reality it shouldn’t have.
As I mentioned earlier although the ways that the multiple strands in the story linked together was confusing initially it soon linked together in a way that made everything completely clear. It was great how were allowed to follow different character’s stories and how we got to the workings of the minds of the good, the bad and the middlings – This worked really well after the first few chapters once I knew what was going on because it made it an addictive book. You saw so much build up, suspense and teasers about Lumikki’s past…
I felt that the ending was some what abrupt but it was appropriate to the story – short, sharp, hard, glistening like frozen snow. I like the fact that each story in the series is going to be different so that although the story for this book wound up well by the end of the book you could see the development of a new story developing in the last few chapters.
Although I was expecting a fairy tale retelling but what I actually got was a story that contained fairytale references for example how Lumikki means Snow White, the park looked like the snow queen had gone trough it and the fairy-tale themed party… this subtlety was nice and made it so different from all the other fairy-tale retellings out there, mainly due the fantastic crime-thriller plot. It was great that the author took the darker elements of fairy tales – the warnings they used to contain and wove them into the story. I have read other crime books including The Girl with the Dragon tattoo which this book I nothing like. However while I enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I definitely enjoyed As Red as Blood even more, I don’t know whether it’s because the horrific violence is constant like it is in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, because of the brilliant vividness of the fairy tale theme running through it creates, or because its a brilliant, exciting and thrilling read that I truly enjoyed so much that I immediately picked the second book back up and stated reading from where I left off.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dark crime thrillers with the most interesting lead character that’s entwined with the dark sides of fairy-tales. Lumikki is definitely one of the most interesting lead characters I have read in a contemporary YA which is why the book is a