Now that I’m looking right at the cover, I’m a little bit confused: the silhouette looks Tinkerbell-esque, and she is most certainly not from a Grimms fairy tale. That’s not important though. In fact, although there are plenty of fairytale references throughout, including (of course) Snow White, in large part in reference to the protagonist Lumikki, who is named after Snow White, the storyline itself isn’t very fairytale-like (apart from the fantastical elements – not fantasy, mind you).
Fast-paced, with a clear progression of events, As Red as Blood keeps you hooked from beginning to end and is a promising beginning to a trilogy. We do not yet own the next two books of the trilogy, As White as Snow and As Black as Ebony, but I’m looking forward to reading them!
(Spoiler alert under the cut!)
The buildup that painted Lumikki as being an experienced spy-like character, able to blend in with her surroundings, wizened beyond her years, turned personal as Simukka revealed what exactly it was that Lumikki had gone through, which brings it all back to a relatable experience for many youth (and adults too, I think). I think it’s great that Simukka brings to the forefront the reality of how serious bullying can become, along with possible repercussions for both the bully and their victim(s), opening up this topic of discussion and letting readers see a different representation of someone who had experienced bullying in the form of Lumikki, the strong-willed female protagonist.
Now, onto a couple of quibbles, which should by no means deter you from picking up this novel. Although I enjoyed reading this novel, there were certainly elements of it that struck me as unmistakably “YA Fiction”, from the self-conscious descriptions to the author making Lumikki out to be a complicated, mysterious character who has gone through just short of everything in life despite her youth. (Note: YA fiction is a category that is as varied as fiction intended for other age groups, so my above comment is not meant to pigeonhole YA fiction, and the fact that this novel is filed under YA Fic should not dissuade anyone from reading it. I am also not making any value judgment regarding YA fiction as a whole – that would be folly!) In the same way, although I quite enjoyed the nods to fairy tales throughout the novel, including the “once upon a time…” chapters, there was a part of it all that felt slightly self-indulgent. All in all though, it was a good start to exploring the world of YA fiction!