Snow by Ronald Malfi

Book cover for Snow by Ronald Malfi featuring a tree with a eerie blue figure peering out at the snowy landscape and a gate

Snow by Ronald Malfi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love an efficient setup and introduction of characters in novels. After a great prologue, Ronald Malfi introduces the main characters, setting, and first major obstacle (the weather) in the first two chapters. By chapter three, the main characters are on the road and they soon experience the first weird encounter of their dark fate. The rapid pace doesn’t get in the way of good details and atmosphere; I felt the cold, eeriness, and rising tension along the way. What they encounter is creepy as hell and led to heart-pounding horror and heartbreaking deaths.

While the plot may feel familiar, there’s enough here to make the novel its own. What bugs me are the moments that took me out of the story, particularly when characters I otherwise like express unexpected bigotry toward others, without consequence. An example from the first chapter, one of many: “Ha, Todd thought morosely. You have no idea, chubby.” I like Todd, but I expected a character arc that didn’t materialize where he would have to face the consequences for his bigotry. Later in chapter one there’s some cultural insensitivity and a conversation about being sick of political correctness. Body shaming and unexpected sexism keep reoccurring elsewhere in the book. The sexism is particularly aggravating because there are several complex and interesting female characters in the book. My favorite is Shawna. Kate, one of the main characters, is another awesome character and always has great suggestions, but condescending Todd always argues with her and tell her not to bring gender into it. I kept waiting for “Shit, she was right, and now I’m dead!” moments that never arrived.

Otherwise, Snow is rapid paced, entertaining creature horror with haunting descriptions and characters to root for (for the most part.)

This was a part of the March 2020 “The Thunderstorm Returns” book package from Night Worms, and I’m moving onto the other two books now!

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