*RCs provided via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
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The thrilling Nordic crime series The Snow White Trilogy is an international success published in 46 countries worldwide.

‘Fans of Nesbø and Larsson won’t be disappointed’
– Publishers Weekly –

Author: Salla Simukka
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery

Despite the trilogy being known as Lumikki aka Snow White, Salla Simukka’s isn’t a work of reimagination or retelling of the fairytale. It follows the adventures of amateur-sleuth by chance Lumikki Andersson, a seventeen year-old girl who finds herself thrown in perilious situations against both her volition and better judgement.

#1
As Red As Blood
cover88785-medium★★

The streets of Finland are frozen and white with snow. And nothing is as red against snow as blood . . . 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 Tampere’s dark underbelly in her quest 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?

An almost outstanding story with a  disappointingly hasty wrap up epilogue that left me confused and had me asking myself how we got to the point where everything was resolved when just a few lines back we were in a life threatening situations .
Had there been just a few chapters more, only a few claryfing sentences thrown in as means of explanation,  As Red As Blood would’ve been outstanding through and through.
That’s the only reason for my 2-stars rating, because there’s really nothing else to hold against it: Salla Simukka’s plot, her flowing sentences and vivid descriptions are compelling, and in Lumikki we find a 007-like heroine who is hell-bend on uncovering the truth, even at risk of her own life.

A TASTE TEST?
READ THIS EXCERPT PERMITTED BY BONNIER PUBLISHING.

Lumikki leaned against the wall and stared into the darkness with closed eyes. Emptying her mind thought by thought. Easiest was getting rid of the day-to-day, mostly trivial concerns that rotated around the axis of the coming maths class, maybe going to the supermarket after school, maybe doing Combat in the evening. But now for some reason she couldn’t even get past the surface noise. Something pushed back. Something intruded. A smell. The darkroom smelled different to usual. But she couldn’t quite place the smell. She took a step forward. Something gently brushed against her cheek and she jumped back, turning on the red safelight. A five-hundred-euro bill. Dozens of five-hundred-euro bills hanging in the darkroom to dry. Were they real? Lumikki touched the surface of the nearest one with her hand. The paper felt real at least. She looked to make sure no photographs were developing in the processing trays and then turned on the normal light. Banknotes against the light. The watermarks were there, as were the see-through numbers. The security threads and holograms were in place. If the bills weren’t genuine, they were extremely well-made forgeries. The liquid in the processing trays was orangey-brown. Lumikki tested it with a finger. Water. Looking at the darkroom floor, she saw it covered with reddish-brown smudges. She looked at the corner of one banknote, which had the same russet tint. Then she knew what had disturbed her in the darkness. The stench of old, dry blood.

#2
As White As Snow
cover88786-medium★★★

Three and a half months have passed since Lumikki was left for dead in a snowdrift, a bullet wound in her thigh and frostbite creeping into her skin. But the scorchingly hot streets of Prague in summer provide a welcome contrast to that terrifying time, and now Lumikki just wants to move on – forget the events of the past year – and escape her parent’s oppressive concern. She’s alone again, which is just how she likes it. But Lumikki’s peaceful solitude is about to be shattered. She is approached on the street by a nervous young woman, who, unbelievably, thinks she might be Lumikki’s long-lost sister. Lumikki is unconvinced – although Zelenka’s story seems to ring true, there’s something weird about her. Something jumpy, and suspicious. And it turns out Lumikki is right to be wary, as Zelenka is part of a dangerous religious cult. On the run for her life again, Lumikki must once more draw on her all her powers of resolve and strength if she is to survive.

This book is anything but fast paced: it may be only around 200 pages long, but its build up seems to go on forever compared to the amount of pages the resolution of the problem – 80% to 20%.
Fortunately, it works. It has action – mainly in the form of Lumikki being chased by some bad guy and put in life-threatening situations – and the plot itself is very interesting.
However, I find myself more intrigued by Lumikki’s background story. In the first book there were hints of her past as a victim of bullying, in As White As Snow we get a bit confused by her hazy memories/daydreams(?)  of a sister and, more importantly, some insight in her relationship with her love interest Blaze.

I really liked it – more than the first book – especially because of the neat manner it wrapped up. Unlike with As Red As Blood, this time there are absolutely no complaints about the epilogue, no complaints about an ending that should have been more filled in.

A TASTE TEST?
READ THIS EXCERPT PERMITTED BY BONNIER PUBLISHING.

Could her father have had a torrid liaison in Prague? Was her father even capable of that kind of passion? He’d never said a word about visiting the city. It was strange. You’d have thought he would have given her tips about where to visit and what sights not to miss. Lenka was talking about a Peter Andersson who Lumikki didn’t recognise. That didn’t mean anything, though. It was entirely possible that there were sides to her father Lumikki didn’t know. Do we ever really know anyone else? Even the people closest to us?
‘When Mother died, I thought I would never learn anything more about my father. All I had was a name, Peter Andersson, and the fact that he lived in Finland and spoke Swedish. The name was so common it didn’t help at all. Then I saw you.’
‘But how did you know?’ Lumikki couldn’t help asking. ‘We’ve never met.’
For the first time, a small smile appeared on Lenka’s lips. ‘Before Mother burned the letters and everything, I saw a photograph of you. You were eight years old. On the back of the picture it said, ‘Din lillasyster Lumikki.’ Your little sister Lumikki. That picture was seared on my mind, down to the smallest detail. When I saw you, I recognised you immediately. You look so much like your picture. But I wanted to be sure, so I followed you and watched. I hope you aren’t angry.’
Lumikki shook her head. As she did so, she realised she wasn’t entirely sure what she was saying no to. All she knew was that nothing would ever be the same again.

#3
As Black As Ebony
cover89978-medium★★★

Secrets turn to poison in this YA Scandi crime thriller where Lumikki Andersson must uncover a dark personal truth to outwit her murderous stalker…

Lumikki has a new boyfriend – easygoing, gorgeous Sampsa – but she is unfaithful in her dreams, longing for the electrifying touch of her ex, Blaze. Then the threats start arriving, from someone who seems to know Lumikki intimately. Sharing her fears risks deadly consequences, so now she is more alone than ever. When Blaze suddenly reappears, Lumikki is torn. She can’t deny the chemistry between them, but can she trust him? To stop the killer, Lumikki 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 by award-winning author Salla Simukka.

Super, super exciting conclusion.
While the previous installments could be described as anything but fast-paced, As Black As Ebony moves on a steady, almost neck-breaking pace and peaks in a heart-pounding climax .
I’m proud to be able to claim that I managed to point out who Lumikki’s stalker was. Can you do the same?
Also, I was satysfied by the way the triangle Sampsa-Lumikki-Blaze worked out.

 

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