Read complete review here: http://notjustnonsense.blogspot.com/2...
Willo is the only one left. While he was out hunting hares, the government came and took his family away. He needs to find them, and in order to do that, he needs to travel deep into the snow to find their closest 'neighbor', the farmer Geraint, and ask for an explanation.
On his way there he finds a small house he thinks is abandoned, but inside are two starving kids, waiting for their father to return. Willo sees a dead body outside the hosue and knows his father won't be coming back... but he can't save them. They won't make it. It'd be like 'throwing food to the snow'. A waste of effort. So he leaves them, promising to return, never really meaning it... but he does come back, stricken with guilt. The younger brother has perished and there are dangerously hungry wolves eating the body outside the house... and wanting to eat him. The girl, Mary, is almost delirious with cold and hunger, but allows him to take her away. They are attacked by the wolves, but fight back with fire, just barely making it out alive with all their body parts.
Willo intends to take her to the city and come back to question Geraint, but they are chased by famished 'stealers' and happen upon a truck with city people. They take them in and save them from the stealers... but Willo and Mary have no papers. They can't make it into the city without papers. But with a little help from the most friendly (or less aggressive) workers inside the truck, they make it to the city unnoticed. There, Willo is out of his element, but Mary takes over, finding food and shelter, but he can't stay there. He needs to find out more about what happened to his father... and, boy, is he surprised to know he never really knew his father at all.
If you're looking forward to a well explained story, with a clear, entertaining narrative and maybe even some romance, you'll be just as disappointed as I was with After the Snow.
The book has a beautiful cover, a very promising synopsis and does a great job in acclimatizing us to the harsh winter on the mountains and city (it made me cold and bothered just by reading them)... but, unfortunately, the story is bland and, very often, confusing. The main character, Willo, narrates the story and has terrible English, which takes some getting used to. It certainly didn't help me like him more and it took quite a chunk of my attention from the plot. I considered giving up the reading a few times, like a lot of reviewers did, but I persevered. And things did get a bit better, but they still didn't weren't very worth my effort, I'm sorry to say. :(
How the apocalyptic situation came to be wasn't made very clear at all, there was just a vague mention of strong climate changes due to polution. Like in all dystopians, the government wants to control everything and smash the opposition, but even those things don't appear too much in the book, which could have made things more interesting, or, at least, easier to understand. As a matter of fact, nothing very exciting happens until the very few last pages... unless you consider the wolf attack (to me, it was the best scene in the whole thing). That was when I thought maybe some romance would blossom and give the readers something to hope for... buuuut.... nope, nothing.
In a nutshell, the story just didn't grab my attention. During most of the book I thought Willo had some kind of psychological problem (using a dog's skull and skin and talking to an imaginary dog spirit all the time didn't help much), the use of his flawed English makes you think he is much older than he really is -even though I knew this was a Young Adult- and the ending seemed rushed and somehow incomplete to me.
All in all, it's worth giving a try. We all have different tastes, so you might end up loving it. :)
*The publisher was kind enough to allow me to review this book in advance through Netgalley.*