After the Snow by S D Crockett
|After the Snow - SD Crockett|
Suddenly, Willo’s family are gone. He doesn't know why but he realises that he is all alone on the snowy rural mountains of Snowdonia to fend for himself. He’s alone – except for dog, the companion he keeps in his head. Willo heads off on a treacherous journey and quickly discovers that there are dangers all around him: the snowy harsh mountain terrain, the wolves, good dog, mad dog, stealers, stragglers, Mary, and a whole lot of children. And that is just a start! Not to mention a whole lot of secrets too.
Willo is a wonderful teen narrator. So, so brutally honest, imperfect and ordinary in his own way. I think he surprises himself more than the reader by how much he discovers throughout the novel!
The novel is an exciting but also dark and very cold adventure. Set in the future after the temperatures had warmed to melt the snowcaps, the world has returned to a cold and barren ice age. It’s a time where everyone is battling to survive. Set in the Rhinog mountains and nearby surroundings in Wales, the novel was inspired by S D Crockett’s experiences in Russia right after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
While the different visions that people and governments have in dealing with the fallout from climate change is a central thread of the story, the main plot is Willo’s adventure. And really, it is Willo (and perhaps Mary) who makes this story come very much alive. While the state of the world is important, what I really cared about most in this book was Willo.
After the Snow starts off slowly – if this is an issue for you, please bear with it – you will be rewarded. Also, Willo’s unusual use of tense was difficult to read for a good few pages but then I became accustomed to it. There are some harsh and graphic scenes of violence and cruelty that might not be suitable for younger or sensitive readers. I certainly skipped over the details in more than a couple of paragraphs. But, this violence fits within the harsh reality and story that this book tells.
I was hoping to enjoy After the Snow but was surprised by how good I thought it was. It is a very haunting but beautiful read. And to top it off, I loved the ending. A well-deserved and proper ending.
Macmillan, 2012, London, hardback
This copy: received for review from Macmillan Children’s Books