As Red as Blood is a fast-paced and thrilling book by Salla Simukka.
In the depth of the freezing Arctic winter, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Anderson stumbles upon a stash of money hanging to dry in her school’s dark room. But these notes just weren’t wet, they were splashed with crimson – someone’s blood.
Living by herself in the city of Tampere in Finland alone in a studio apartment far from her parents, Lumikki has finally left the past behind. She’s transferred to a prestigious art school and she’s focussed on only studying and graduating. She ignores the cliques and the gossip, preferring to spend time with herself where she doesn’t have to be forced to pretend to be someone she’s not.
But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Lumikki is swept up into the world of deception, corruption and danger as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Things turn even more sinister when Lumikki finds that there’s connections to the international drugs trade. Lumikki is smart, but can she outsmart a criminal mastermind? Will she be able to bring down the infamous ‘Polar Bear’, or will she become another one of his victims?
I had mixed opinions about As Red as Blood. There were a lot of things that I liked about this book, but equally, there were the same number of things I didn’t really like. This book is definitely fast paced. For a book with its number of pages – a little over two hundred – you’d want to make everything important in that short amount. I felt like everything in this book was put there for a reason and there wasn’t any unnecessary details or information that we didn’t need to know. Everything was very precise and the book flowed smoothly. I didn’t find one moment in this book where I was bored because this book is quite thrilling and it makes you want to know how everything is going to work out.
One of the things I didn’t like about this book as much as I could have were the fairy tale references. I knew that this book was referring to one of them, but I didn’t really understand that and it could have been a bit more clearer if this book was really going to have the desired effect. I felt like that if this was clearer and done better, it could have made this book stand out a lot more, rather than just being one of those books that I enjoyed while reading but will most likely have forgotten all about in less than a month.
I really liked Lumikki as a main character. She was the type of character I hadn’t really seen much lately. She was the type of person who preferred to be alone, but she wasn’t lonely and being alone was her own choice. She’s a really smart person and also very brave. I really admired those traits in her. The fact that she liked to be alone came off as a little cold in some scenarios in the beginning and it felt like she wasn’t really making an effort at anything, but I soon understood what she was like as a person and I liked the fact that she was a little different from everyone else. I often get tired of reading books that have almost the exact same main character as all the other YA books out there. In a way, Lumikki felt like a sort of Sherlock character. She reminded me of him in lots of different ways. Even if she couldn’t deduce things like he can, she was determined to see through the problem and would never back down from a situation. I would have liked some more backstory to Lumikki and what her family situation was like. Even though we got little snippets of this throughout the book, I still want to know more about her. I’m hoping we’ll get more of that in the next book because I feel like there’s a lot we don’t know about her yet.
One of the things I enjoyed reading about was the friendship between Lumikki and Elisa. Because Lumikki distanced herself from people in the beginning and preferred to be alone, the conversations between Lumikki and Elisa and hearing some of Lumikki’s internal dialogue during these scenes was entertaining. I loved watching their friendship grow. In the beginning, being nice and friendly towards Elisa was something she felt sort of morally-obliged to do because of how defenceless and naive Elisa could be at times. However as the novel progressed, Lumikki and Elisa because better friends and they realised they relied on each other more than they initially thought. However, these two characters felt like the only ones who were fleshed out. The other characters felt a bit bland and I didn’t really get to know them. Lumikki and Elisa were the only two characters who I felt connected to and I would have liked to have seen some more background information on the other characters so I could care about them more.
For the most part, I really like the mystery in this book. It was fast moving and interesting, but there were a few places I got lost in it. I didn’t fully understand why the characters needed to do certain things and at times I questioned their behaviour, but it was still exciting to read and I loved the dramatic things that happened to Lumikki in this book. Some of the most enjoyable parts of this book to read was when Lumikki was in danger. I loved seeing how she could keep her cool in most situations and work things out methodically without getting flustered.
Overall, I enjoyed most of this book and I think I’ll read the next book when it comes out. I’d give As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka a score of 7.5 out of 10. I’d recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a quick and exciting new YA thriller!
Thank you to Hot Key Books Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!