Monday, 10 August 2015

As Black As Ebony by Salla Simukka

As Black As Ebony 
by Salla Simukka

Summary: Lumikki Andersson must uncover a dark personal secret to outwit her bloodthirsty stalker.

Lumikki Andersson has a new boyfriend - easygoing, gorgeous Sampsa who adores her. But when her ex Blaze reappears, declaring his devotion, she doesn't know what to feel. She can't deny the chemistry between them, but does he deserve another chance?

Then the threatening letters start arriving, from someone who seems to know her intimately. Suddenly Lumikki is more alone than ever, and it's not only her life on the line. To stop the killer, she must uncover a dark secret that has haunted her family for years . . .

AS BLACK AS EBONY is the final dramatic chapter in the thrilling, contemporary 'Snow White' trilogy.
I've really enjoyed reading this trilogy and, in a lot of ways, this book was my favourite of the series...but, I did have some issues with it.

Whenever the character Blaze was mentioned in the previous books, I was dying to know more about him. I've never read a book where the love interest is transgender before so I was really excited to read about that...and in some ways, the book delivered, and in others not so much.

I did love the way Lumikki and Blaze's relationship was written. Whenever she talked about the connection she had with him I believed it (while a lot of books feel more tell than show) and I loved the way him being transgender was handled. The issue I had was that I never felt like we got to know more about him. We're told all about how she felt/feels about him, but he never really becomes a fleshed out character -- we know he's trans and we know he loves her and how she feels about him but that's it, nothing else and that was kind of disappointing.

And that was actually an issue with a lot of the characters (although it's something I mostly realised in hindsight instead of being something that bothered me while reading -- it didn't impact my enjoyment much, it just made the characters easy to forget once I put the book down).

I still liked the characters, but ask me to sort them into Hogwarts houses or which one would be most likely to say or do a certain thing and I wouldn't even be able to make a good guess. Even Lumikki, actually -- we're told a lot about things that have happened or are happening to her, we're told how she feels about certain people, but I couldn't explain her personality because I don't feel like we got to know that or really know any character.

Also, the dialogue was a bit off a times. I think maybe that's just a case of something being lost in translation -- something that probably sounded natural in the original language maybe comes across as very unrealistic and melodramatic when translated into English. It made a few scenes that should have been serious come across kind of like a scene from a cheesy soap opera.

The plot -- I like this one best out of the three, the only issue with it was that it required a lot of suspension of disbelief. Had this been the plot of the first book, it would've been fine but because it came last in the series it just became harder to believe this string of random bad things and coincidences could happen to this one person and that the timing of things was always just right (like, Lumikki thinks of someone and they appear, she goes through this random thing in the previous book which happens to trigger memories she had forgotten from her past, etc.).

...This review is seeming awfully negative considering I said the book was probably my favourite of the series. I think it's because I still loved it in spite of those negative aspects? And I also really love Salla's writing. Plus, the story hooked me more in this one than the other two and I really loved the way it ended, the resolution to her romantic troubles and her family troubles was a really good place to leave Lumikki's story.

I guess this is just one of those books where I can easily explain the problems I had with it but ask me why I liked it and I'll struggle to list the reasons...because, well, I just did. I'd rate this one 3.5 stars out of 5 and the series as whole 4/5.


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