Review: Burnt Snow by Van Badham

Burnt SnowBurnt Snow by Van Badham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sophie is the new girl at school, with a strange and overbearing mother, trying to manage the bitchy popular group and a strange boy who catches her eye. As she reaches towards him, the strangest things begin to happen and Sophie starts to think that it’s not just Brody that is the danger.

As typical as this short summary sounds, the book is nothing what you expect. It is really well-written and a lot more twisted than I could ever explain without spoiling the book. It is quite a hefty read for a YA single volume, just about 700 pages. The plot flirts with danger for the most part before it reveals its secrets. I don’t mind that it took a long time for Sophie to discover more about the world, some books plots just have a switch flicked and suddenly the world changes, this gradual development is much deeper and more emotional for the reader.

Sophie is not the typical YA main character either. Her family is quite more complicated than it appears as well. While she does have her flaws and weakness, she is not a Mary-Sue whose only flaw is she cares too much. Badham has done a brilliant job in creating a character and a love that does not follow the typical simpering love story of most YA. We actually get to see the character grow, beyond just the plot and love interest but actually maturing in herself.

Badham also plays with her references, which I loved. At a costume party, most want to go as vampires with sparkles, to which there is the groaning and rolling of eyes. She doesn’t coddle her characters either, although I did feel a particular situation involving Sophie’s new friends acting out of sorts (for good reason) was dealt with a little too easy.

Again, as is the problem with a lot of good books, is the wait for the next book (although it does not say it anywhere on the cover, it is actually to be part of a trilogy). There’s no doubt in my mind that I will chase after White Rain as soon as it appears (although it says in the book and on multiple websites that it’s coming in 2011, I did manage to find a post on the Facebook as late as Sept 2012 that said it was coming soon). With some minor flaws, Burnt Snow is a strong book that stands out in a genre awash with simplistic plots and even simpler characters.

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