By S. D. Crockett
Published: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
Hardcover, 304 pages
Fifteen-year-old Willo was out hunting when the trucks came and took his family away. Left alone in the snow, Willo becomes determined to find and rescue his family, and he knows just who to talk with to learn where they are. He plans to head across the mountains and make Farmer Geraint tell him where his family has gone.
But on the way across the mountain, he finds Mary, a refugee from the city, whose father is lost and who is starving to death. The smart thing to do would be to leave her alone -- he doesn't have enough supplies for two or the time to take care of a girl -- but Willo just can't do it. However, with the world trapped in an ice age, the odds of them surviving on their own are not good. And even if he does manage to keep Mary safe, what about finding his family? --Goodreads
It really depresses me to give a book a negative review. However, this book depressed me as well as I read it, so After the Snow kind of deserves its negative review. Notice, my reasoning behind disliking this novel is not because of its monotonous nature. It's a longer and more complicated story that I will be brief on.
After the Snow is one of those novels that one finds hard to connect to. Willo narrates the story, and has a strange dialect when he speaks. A majority of the time, Willo mixes up his grammar and wording, which is hard to get used to. I was fine with the quirky narration, but I found the narration inconsistent. There were points in the story when Willo actually starts describing events as a normal person, but would eagerly switch back to his vernacular. There, I was lost. One moment would have a Willo with faulty grammar, then the next moment showed Willo speaking fluently, and finally switch back to funky talk Willo.
Willo, the protagonist, is a character that will definitely raise eyebrows. In addition to his inconsistent talking, Willo also believes that a dog will talk to him when he wears a dog skull. It is probably supposed to represent something if After the Snow is an allegory, but like Willo's language, the dog skull appears and reappears often throughout the book for no reason. It is as if the author wanted Willo to be a weirdo for no reason, without any purpose or plot development.
The plot line of After the Snow follows Willo's journey to rescue his family. Sorry to spoil this to anyone, but this is not the primary focus of the book. Instead, S.D. Crockett chooses to explore the relationship of Willo and Mary. Of course, even this isn't really explored much either. The plot is erratic and has random events occur without any reason beyond causing chaos between Willo and Mary. It boggles my mind to try to comprehend the author's true intention when writing this book. Not to mention, the deux ex machina ending will not bring anyone to the table eager to praise this book.
I was really disappointed by After the Snow. There was so much that could be achieved with a world plunged into an Ice Age. The author just did a terrible job in executing this story. Characters are not well developed, there is no real flow to the story and writing is puzzling. I am incredibly thankful for the fact that After the Snow is a standalone, so I will not convince myself to give this kind of book another go.