Finished: March 24, 2018
I first read one of Christine Morgan’s stories in the anthology, Not Your Average Monster: A Bestiary of Horrors. Her short story, “Soft-Walker”, just blew me away. Not only was her writing style just beautiful, but her mixture of humanity and gods was just fantastic. If you haven’t read that short piece yet, then you’re seriously missing out.
Needless to say, when I was offered an advanced copy of White Death in exchange for an honest review, I leapt at the chance!
If you have read anything on the Great Blizzard of 1888, then you’ll have a good idea of where this story is going. The blizzard that tore through was one of the worst in history. Morgan takes what you might already know and gives it a fascinating supernatural twist. What sets off this sudden onslaught, prefaced by such mild weather? Angering the dreaded Wanageeska.
This novel has numerous strengths, but here are a couple that I loved:
- The introduction of the Wanageeska is a wonderful twist on what is already a horrifying story. I absolutely loved this. The opening chapters really brought a sense of adventure that I rarely see so well portrayed. The description of these creatures and how they are characterized is also really fascinating, and add a layer on top of the gruesome plight of the town.
- The descriptions of how these poor people deal with the oncoming storm is just heart-wrenching. You really get a feel for how terrible frostbite and those arctic temperatures can be when people aren’t protected against it. One of the major takeaways is just how frail humans are in the face of extreme weather. Morgan goes so far as to describe in great detail how it feels to have your eyelids frozen shut in multiple ways, and as someone who has never dealt with cold of that nature, it gave me chills.
I can imagine this would be even more frightening for people who are currently snowed in, for people who regularly experience snowstorms where you don’t know how long it’ll last. The only difficulty I had with it (which was pretty minor) was that there were a lot of characters which made them hard to keep track of. Though considering how this storm ripped through this town, I entirely understand why Morgan chose to do that. Ultimately it didn’t change how good the book was in the least! I definitely recommend it!
What I consider a 5-star book:
- Is it a fun read? I don’t know if “fun” is the right word for this book. 😉 More like fascinating. I was curious to see if each person was going to survive or not. Some survived in really surprising ways too!
- Would you recommend it to others? Absolutely! If you’re curious to see how an unprepared group of people deal with a sudden, arctic front, this is definitely the book to check out. It reminded me of the survival stories in the arctic from explorers to lost travelers. Even shelter didn’t always help these poor people, especially considering how few their resources were during this time of the frontier.
- Would you re-read it? There are many scenes I would want to check out again in this. Her language and descriptions are just incredible. I’ve not seen the horrors of arctic weather quite described like this before.
- Does it stick with you? Oh definitely! Every time I hear of an arctic front moving in and the dangers of frostbite, I’m pretty sure the imagery from this book is going to come blaring to mind.
My overall rating? 5/5