Thursday, September 9, 2010

Burnt Snow by Van Badham

Product Information

  • ISBN: 9780330425728

  • Category: General

  • Format: Paperback

  • Publication Date: 2010-09-01

  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia Pty, L

  • Country of origin: AUS

  • Pages: 679

    Purchase information:
    Amazon (only in Kindle edition)
    Amazon UK - not available
    Book Depository - out of stock

    Sophie is in the last term of Year 11. She's used to moving around with her accountant father and free-spirited mother, so the move to a small town on the South Coast in NSW doesn't seem too out of the ordinary - at first.
    But things are changing around Sophie. A new school means a new start - and she's tired of her mother's superstitions and control. When she's recruited to the ranks of the school's popular girls, Sophie seizes the opportunity to remake herself... and unleashes forces a lot more threatening than whether she can hide her true nerd nature from the high school bitch brigade.
    As Sophie negotiates teenage preoccupations with overprotective parents, whether her pyjamas are cool enough for a sleepover and the school-ground politics of secrets, lies and faithless boyfriends, something dark is hovering on the edge of her vision. The school Goth delivers her an ominous warning, strange birds seem to be following her... and fate keeps reuniting her with the dangerous bad boy with a past that nobody wants to talk about: Brody Meine.
    Violent storms suddenly erupt, windows explode in the classroom, and a fire engulfs an entire street. And all these escalating, demonic happenings seem to take place when Sophie and Brody Meine are together...

  • *This review may contain SPOILERS*
    Burnt Snow. How to start, how to start? Well, how about I say that it's so totally, freaking awesome, that I could not put it down! It could have been the end of the world and I wouldn't have known. The story is told from sixteen year old, Sophie's point of view. She's moved around quite a bit in her life. Now she's in Yarrindi. She's a bit of nerd, and has been cosseted a fair bit by her parents. Once she's arrived in Yarrindi she meets a seriously hot guy serving ice cream, that her mother warns her away from immediately. She doesn't understand her mothers strange behaviour and is completely embarassed by her actions. Then on her first day of school she is invited in to the popluar group. Of course she thinks this is fantastic and tries, at first, to really fit in. The girls are rather cliche with their shallow personalities, obsession with their looks and rather dull conversationalists. All they seem to talk about are boys, fashion, boys, gossip and boys. Then she sees the hot guy from the icecreamery, and gets told by her new friends to avoid him as well. Sophie is, of course, drawn to Brody Meine like a moth to a flame. The boy is hot, mysterious and has a reputataion for being the local 'bad boy'. As she starts to get to know him, things start to happen. Strange, scary things. There's a nosebleed, smashed windows and fire. Sophie begins to realise these things are happening whenever she's with Brody. Her parents are acting weird, with her mother giving her vague warnings that really confuse her. She doesn't understand her mothers hostility to Brody, and she finds herself lying to her mother about him. Sophie's character really changes throughout the book, growing and learning who she is. I liked her from the start, but she's rather naive, and starts her to feel her parents have been a little too overprotective. There are a few tantrums when she's trying to evade their influence over her life, but they stop almost as soon as they begin. Her friends have deeper personalities that you originally believe and I found myself warming to them a bit more. The there's the chemistry between Sophie and Brody which is pretty explosive, literally. She knows he's bad for her but she just can't help having feelings for him and defying everyone and everything to be with him. On the outside Brody seems cold, but you see the undercurrents of his personality and know that there is so much more to him than meets the eye. I challenge him to face down every fictional guy character. Edward who? Patch, never heard of him. Dimitri....doesn't sound familiar.
    Brody is aloof from everyone else but around Sophie he's a little more open. Although not much in the beginning. But as the book progresses we find out more about him, but still not enough to loose that mysterious vibe. In the meantime she's had to deal with the local Goth girl whose been telling her strange things, and that there are bad people called Finders, out there who want to hunt her down and harm her for what she is.
    She goes to Sydney and something bad happens to one of her old friends and Sophie transforms. Afterwards realizes that she is different. She confronts her mother who tells her about their family, and how she and her grandmother are witches. Sophie always thought her mother was just a hippie, and that her grandmother has been teaching her small things throughout her childhood. Sophie comprehends who she is and begins to try and sort out all the strange things that have been going on around her. Brody believes he's bad luck and that everything that has happened is his fault. While they're stuck in a cave waiting out a storm they really come to see their feelings for each other and Sophie explains to him what she is. Whilst in the cave the Finders kidnap them. They've been in Yarrindi and believe Brody is the on they want. The Finders are crazy and want to eat Brody to absorb his power. The ending is full on, with Sophie trying to save herself, Brody and her friend from the fight between her mother and the Goth girl against the Finders. She won't abandone them otherwise she's no better than the Finders. When she understands her mother doens't share the same opinion, she pits herself against her mother. She's then thrown through darkness and ends up somewhere else. That's how the book ends. Rather frustrating actually. Burnt Snow is 679 pages long and is chock full of so much action, teen angst, understanding, sexual chemistry and just plain awesomeness. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants an electifying and exhilarating read. I assure you, you won't be disappointed if you do. I have to give it 5.5/5. I received this book from Pan Macmillan. (Thankyou)

    Check back this Saturday 11th Sept for an interview with the author Van Badham.

    Van Badham is the award-winning writer of more than 30 internationally produced plays for stage, music theatre and radio. Her theatre plays have had seasons at the Sydney Opera House, the Wharf studio, the Seymour Centre, the Victorian Arts Centre, Perth's Blue Room and the Adelaide Festival. She has had plays and musical theatre staged at seven Edinburgh Festivals, in London and on the UK touring circuit, in America, in Iceland, Switzerland, Slovenia, Austria and in Germany. MIT Press in the US published her 2003 Edinburgh hit Camarilla. Her scripts for radio have been broadcast by the BBC World Service, Radio 3 and Radio 4. In 2007, Van's play The Gabriels became the first Australian play selected for New York's Summer Play Festival.

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    1 comment:

    1. thanks for this review - i've just started this book and i'm finding it hard going, actually. but since you recommend it so vehemently, i will continue!

      oh - the black background/red font is a killer on my eyes. ouch. and you should really put a spoiler warning at the top of your review.