This was a very interesting monster story.
Set in the present, a divorced dad named Todd Curry is trying to fly home for Christmas to see his son. However, when a huge snowstorm descends on the Midwest, hundreds of travelers are stranded at the Chicago O’Hare airport on Christmas Eve. Because Todd’s marriage ended as a result of his making promises he couldn’t keep, he is feeling a LOT of pressure to show up on Christmas morning, as he’d promised his son. So, despite the fact that no sane person would attempt to drive to Iowa from Chicago in a snowstorm, Todd plans on doing just that. Guilt, especially parental guilt, is a very powerful motivator. So, renting the last Jeep Cherokee left in the airport, Todd, along with Kate Jansen, a woman who’d been heading to Des Moines to spend Christmas with her fiancé and his “atrocious” family; and Fred and Nan, a couple who were traveling to their daughter’s for the holidays, four desperate, foolish people head out into the strangest, most deadly snowstorm in history.
I loved the monsters in this story – they were so bizarrely unique. Who hasn’t been in a snowstorm that was so fierce, with winds so strong, that it almost seemed alive? I’ll bet anything that was how the author came up with the idea for his creatures. This did remind me, quite a bit, of the movie, “30 Days of Night”, but that didn’t bother me. Actually, I thought it was pretty cool that you could pull off the same basic story with two very different monsters and still have it work. As in “30 Days,” there was a good assortment of townspeople, who were all trying to survive in their own ways, and between the snowstorm and the alien’s initial electromagnetic pulse that disabled all communication with the outside world, everyone was good and isolated. Plus, once our little band makes it to the town, everything that happens from then on, happens in the town. And, since I’ve already established I have some kind of weird “thing” for isolated, snowy settings, this story fit the bill very nicely, thank you very much.
I also liked how the alien snow monsters took over the town everyone ends up in — Woodson – by turning the human inhabitants into “skin suits” or sock puppets. And those eerie, faceless kids! Creepy, and sad.
I did have some gripes, mind you. The shifting POVs were a bit odd. For instance, one of the townspeople, Shawna, is in the prologue, starting the book before we even meet Todd, the protagonist. And every time we see Shawna, it’s through her POV. (Most of the rest of the book is told through Todd’s POV.) However, despite being the star of a sort of parallel-to-the-main-action story-line, Shawna struggles and hides and survives – up until page 190, more than half the book!– before the author just kills her. Personally, I think if a character is important enough to have her own POV throughout most of the story – when no one else does besides the protagonist — you would figure out a way for her to survive to the end! But maybe that’s just me.
We do meet a lot of characters in this book. I liked some of them, others not so much. Todd was one of the “not so much” variety. Even though I understood and sympathized with him, and his desire to “get home for Christmas,” I just didn’t like him all that much. Despite fighting and defeating the bad aliens, and having a happy ending with his son, Todd, unfortunately, ended the book the same way he started it as far as I was concerned – He was a hapless loser who tried to do better.
Malfi, Ronald. Snow. 2nd Ed. North Webster: Dark Fuse Publications, 2012. Print.