Friday, 27 March 2015

Review: As Red As Blood by Salla Simukka

Publication Date: 1st August 2014
Publisher: Skyscape
Length: 274 pages

In the midst of the freezing Arctic winter, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson walks into her school’s dark room and finds a stash of wet, crimson-colored money. Thousands of Euros left to dry—splattered with someone’s blood.
Lumikki lives alone in a studio apartment far from her parents and the past she left behind. She transferred into a prestigious art school, and she’s singularly focused on studying and graduating. Lumikki ignores the cliques, the gossip, and the parties held by the school’s most popular and beautiful boys and girls.
But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Suddenly, Lumikki is swept into a whirlpool of events as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Events turn even more deadly when evidence points to dirty cops and a notorious drug kingpin best known for the brutality with which he runs his business.
As Lumikki loses control of her carefully constructed world, she discovers that she’s been blind to the forces swirling around her—and she’s running out of time to set them right. When she sees the stark red of blood on snow, it may be too late to save her friends or herself.

This book was not what I expected. I don’t really know what I’d expected exactly, but after hearing good things about it I launched straight in without even reading the blurb. It’s dark, it’s gritty, and it had me racing through the pages to put it all together. It’s a very strange book, possibly in part due to it being a translation as it wasn’t written in English. That can lead in some places to some very odd sentences and moments that didn’t quite flow right, but are easily forgiven.

To start with I was highly confused. There is a lot of confusion with so many different character perspectives and not all of them are named and then there are flashbacks and really you have no idea where you might be and which character you might be with at any given point. It’s a jarring way of writing and reading to get used to and at first I really wasn’t sure if this book was going to be my cup of tea as I really wasn’t getting into it. However, a few chapters in when things begin to start unravelling and you have a better grasp of who is who, something clicks. And from that point I could not put the book down. I raced through it in a matter of hours, I just had to know how it would all come together. And the tension! It’s a short book but the tension is sky high. I didn’t even realise how stressed and invested in it I was until I finished and had to spend five minutes deliberately relaxing all my muscles from the clenched how on earth can this end well position I’d been in from around the halfway point.

It’s criminal that this book doesn’t have many high ratings on goodreads as I feel that it is seriously overlooked and under valued. Lumikki is a fantastic heroine with a troubled past who has worked hard to learn how to protect herself and keep herself safe. Some of the other characters were not as believable or engaging, but Lumikki really drove the story. I am very much looking forward to getting into the second book and seeing how Lumikki grows and evolves from the events of this book.

It’s so wonderful to read a YA book translated from another language and set somewhere other than the UK or US. It’s a quick read, barely over 250 pages and you will tear through it as the stakes get higher and the intrigue thickens. I can’t recommend this book enough and I hope that more people discover it because at the moment it is being criminally overlooked.


  1. I have been dying to read this. I love that you enjoyed it and that it wasn't what you expected.

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

    1. Thank you so much! It was something so completely different to what I usually read, and I loved it. Definitely recommend checking it out!