As Red As Blood
by Salla Simukka
This book is an odd one... When I started reading it, I loved it, then I didn't like it much, then somewhere along the line I realised I'd gone back to loving it again.Summary: Seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson is hardly your average teenager. She lives by herself in the city of Tampere, Finland, and has a firm rule to mind nobody's business but her own. But that rule is put to the test when she happens upon five hundred washed euro notes hanging up to dry in her school's darkroom, and it is shattered once Lumikki realises who owns them.
Caught in an increasingly tangled web of deception, corruption and danger, Lumikki finds herself navigating the Tampere's dark underbelly in the search to expose its shocking connection to the international drugs trade. Lumikki is smart, but is she smarter than a master criminal? Can she bring down the infamous 'Polar Bear' - or will she become another one of his victims?
The first part of a thrilling new Nordic crime series, AS RED AS BLOOD will have you on the edge of your seat until the last page is turned... and then some.
I think the biggest negative for me was the crime aspect of it. That was actually part of what made me want to read the book (that, and the setting) but that was one of the weaker parts of the story.
I think maybe that was because the parts of the story from the POV of the criminals had some elements of ridiculousness to them and seemed kind of cheesy (like certain code names that were impossibe to take seriously and writing things like "the Estonian" instead of just saying the name). It just didn't really mesh well with how raw the rest of the story felt...like it was trying to mix a gritty drama with a crime plot in a soap opera and it wasn't bad, exactly, but I just wasn't loving that part of it.
What I did love? The writing, the writing style was good (weakest parts, again, were the criminal POV's). And Lumikki, she was awesome--she was flawed and interesting and she was strong and I loved that we got to see how she ended up being the person that she is because of things she's endured in her life. I loved the weird, kind of reluctant friendships she had going on in the story too. That was what hooked me about the book.
And the setting...it was a refreshing change from the usual YA settings and it was very atmospheric and I loved it. It left me longing for winter (I seem to be in the minority of people that absolutely loathe summer. Autumn and winter make me happy).
Anyway, I really enjoyed the book and I'm gad it was the first in a trilogy instead of a standalone, because the ending left some things unexplained in a frustrating sort of way and I really want more of Lumikki's story and to get some more answers. I'd rate the book 4 stars out of 5.