The Snow Child: Eowyn Ivey REVIEW TIME


First read in April, 2016.    4 // 5  stars

The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey, is an absolute gem of a book. And yet ‘gem’ seems so harsh – it’s more like a snowflake. A snowflake of a book.*

This was a delicately gorgeous snowflakey book.

*I’ve never seen snow. But I’ve heard that snowflakes are delicate things.


This book was not plot-driven. It was character driven. Slightly risky, but in this case it turned out perfectly. It was mainly a story about a girl born out of snow – and it made me cry in the first few pages. I gobbled it up.

Characters …

were perfect. Fullstop. Everyone was fleshed out, well developed, with wonderful backstories. The thing that made this part easier for the writer was that there weren’t that many characters to begin with. (I mean, they did live in the middle of the wilderness.) Because of this, it was easy to keep track of everyone, and everyone could have a turn in the POV spotlight.

Plot …

well, there wasn’t really a plot. As I said, this one was character-driven. And yet the little plot there was worked. It was slow (but deliciously slow). The characters drove the little baby plot forward in its pram, and danced the whole way. I had no problem with the plot whatsoever.

Writing style …

beautiful. And I don’t say this lightly. The author managed to make you feel cold when reading it, to feel like you were in the cold winter of Alaska. The whole book had an atmosphere of cold and snowflakes and love and misunderstandings and Winter-in-general. The touch of using no speech marks when one of the characters talked was a fitting addition that gave an atmosphere to the whole thing, making you feel cold when reading it.

I was physically cold when I read this book. The author is a genius I swear.

What it taught me …

This book was human. It was a human book with real humans, people who struggled and cried and were suicidal. It didn’t have a Hope necessarily, but it did a good job of pointing out the problems with humans. The book was a sombre one. Sombrely plucking your heart out and freezing it in a cold Alaskan Winter.

So why didn’t it get five stars?

At this point, I realise that I haven’t stopped talking about how good it is. Well, there were a few letdowns for me in this one, that I want to mention quickly now.

  • I understand that love is important in books. But there were some parts that really made me cringe. (can I have a book without a sad love story? Please?)
  • I cannot remember an instance when the characters had a good hearty belly laugh. Oh, wait, yes I do. But there obviously weren’t enough of them.
  • I feel like a lot more could have been explained, because I was very very confused for the majority of it. I mean, the confusingness added to the overall atmosphere of the thing, but seriously?? I still want to know what’s going on!
  • (this one is slightly embarassing but) I HAVE NEVER SEEN SNOW AND SO COULD NOT VISUALISE IT. THERE.

I generally save my five stars rating for special, precious books that I want to read over and over again. This, for me, wasn’t that kinda book. It was gorgeous, deeply human, beautifully written, and yet there was something off about it… I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Sometimes you just can’t pinpoint it.

So this wasn’t a five star book for me. It was quite good, but it was missing a little something.

Has anyone else read this book????

Lots of love, ye fellow humans!

–Emmeline 🙂


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