SciFi Monkeys and TANSTAAFL Press brings you a review of
Madison Keller’s Snow Flower
I’ve done a few shows with the author, Madison Keller. With her soft voice and retiring manner, I have to admit I had some concerns as to the voice of her characters and story. I will say with a good deal of joy that her written voice is much more like an alpha lioness rather than her physical presentation.
My second fear was that I’m not a furry. The closest I’ve gotten to anthropomorphism is writing a stuffed teddy bear as a protagonist and attending Furlandia as a vendor. Snow Flower is a novelette, not a full novel but I didn’t feel cheated in that it was too short but rather that it perfectly fit the story Madison was telling.
Snow Flower is the nickname of Arara, the white runt puppy of a community. Her fiercest dream is to be an alpha-guard but she can’t even protect herself against the bully alpha at school until she learns of her mental powers. Then all bets are off and the hierarchy of the youngsters in the community is challenged.
Not once did I question the fact that the main characters were anthropomorphic dogs. The setting, the dialogue, even the plot gave this to me constantly without being a blunt instrument. I worried before I read it that I wouldn’t be able to associate with the characters. Quite to the contrary Snow Flower brought me in and gave me a big slurp on the nose.
Arara was the perfect underdog (ok.. pun was intended) – feisty and lovable. Her tone struck exactly the right point between pampered, sheltered brat and self-sufficient teen. Above all I love the fact that the questionable actions of Arara had consequences and not all of her plans went exactly as planned. Yet with each non-victory she was more determined than ever to succeed.
Yea! For Madison for creating mental powers that are NOT overwhelming and that have their own costs.
Not So Good:
With as much trepidation as I entered this book with, I am ashamed to say I wanted more. I didn’t feel there was a good ending to the book. I understand this is a lead in to her series but gol-ding it all… To tell any more would be a spoiler… I wanted more.
I didn’t follow the minor character Gror very well. His motivations were suspect in some of the scenes, especially toward the end.
Oh, and cover left me cold. I almost didn’t buy it because of the cover. The illustration turned me off (let’s put a huge werewolf on the cover and then two very comical looking anthropomorphic puppies. Add to that a font for the title that had me believing that the title was Snow Howler. It is not really legible. I have some experience with poor font choices with my own Toy Wars covers. Legibility is king and the Snow Flower cover font didn’t make the cut.