As Black as Ebony – book review

As Black as Ebony

As Black as Ebony is a thrilling and captivating book, written by Salla Simukki.

Lumikki Andersson has a new boyfriend – easygoing, gorgeous Sampsa who adores her. But when her ex, Blaze, reappears and declares his devotion, she doesn’t know what to feel. She’s unable to deny the chemistry between them, but does he deserve another chance?

Amidst the confusion and heartbreak, threatening letters start arriving from someone who seems to know everything about her. Suddenly, Lumikki finds herself more alone than ever. Now it’s not just her life on the line. In order to stop the killer, Lumikki must uncover a dark secret that has haunted her family for yeas… before it’s too late.

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This series has been one of those series that I really enjoy when I’m reading them… but unfortunately it’s not one of those series that particularly stands out. While this series is unique in the way that it has a lot of fairytale references and is almost a more sinister retelling, I feel as though quite a lot of authors are doing this nowadays. But that didn’t change much of my opinion of this book. I still really enjoyed it and devoured it in one sitting. The storyline was tense and grabbing and I was definitely engrossed from beginning to end. I just wish that time was a little longer!

With this book being only just over 200 pages and about as thick as an old iPhone, I felt like this book could have been fleshed out a bit more. Everything was precise and to-the-point, except I wouldn’t have been disappointed in seeing a few more details. I was so caught up in this book that I hardly even registered time going by until I was at the last page. In a way, I suppose that was good. This book is highly engaging and its short length begs for you to read it all in one go. As Black as Ebony really is unputdownable. However, I did want more from the ending. It felt as though it ended too abruptly. There was such a massive buildup, and the ending kind of felt like a letdown. I was happy with how it ended and everything wrapped up neatly, I just would have liked some more time to process what had happened instead of everyone packing up the circus and moving on before I had finished my fairy floss.

One thing I loved most about this series was Simukka’s writing style. She has this really unique style of writing that allows her to say a lot with only a few words. She doesn’t need long, flowery prose to deliver such massive emotional blows. Instead, she makes every word count and arranges them in such a way that really gives you the feels. Too many authors try too hard to make their work sound as beautiful and delicate as it can, giving every sentence 16 clauses and 97 metaphors. These people need to realise that if you do that for every sentence, you’re going to end up with a retelling of the Constitution. It’s just not going to work for you. I hope these authors read this series and understand that being a writer is more than just hurtling a thesaurus at a laptop and hoping to end up with something that resembles a 75,000 word narrative.

I’ve really liked reading about Lumikki as our protagonist for this series. She’s honestly so different from any other character I’ve read about. She likes to be alone, but she’s not whiney and all ‘look at me, I’m sad and misunderstood, please let some boy come and save me’. She’s immensely brave and determined and strong. I’m thankful to have read about a character who seems so real and who doesn’t have to be ‘the chosen one’ or a damsel in distress to be interesting. The way she dealt with these terrible and frightening situations and how she was determined to protect those she loved was what made me find her captivating. If you’re looking for a book with a realistic heroine, pick up As Black as Ebony.

Apart from Lumikki, a lot of the other characters felt underdeveloped. In particular, I would have liked to have known Lumikki’s family better. I understand that she’s estranged from her family, but I never fully understood why and I would have liked some more backstory. I felt very disconnected from her family situation, and if that bond was strengthened, I feel as though I would have been able to feel even more for Lumikki and her family. Instead, I was left in the dark with that area. Again, it’s the same thing with the people at Lumikki’s school. There were only name-drops, we never established any real connection with anyone. However, Lumikki’s boyfriend and ex-boyfriend were two people we knew quite well. I was happy with the level of depth that I understood them. Plus, the love triangle going on was incredible and was one of my favourite parts of this book. I know that love triangles are ‘clichéd’ and ‘overused’, but trust me, this one is definitely well done. Because Lumikki isn’t your average heroine, this love triangle isn’t just another sad attempt at a  ‘hook’. It adds tension, genuinely tears you between these two characters, and makes you desperate to read on.

I feel like I’ve written a review which is about a third of the length of this book, so I’m going to just leave it at this: As Black as Ebony is filled with mystery, has a captivating plot and will leave you begging to read more books by Salla Simukki. I’d give As Black as Ebony a score of 8 out of 10. Let’s discuss! Have you read this book, or the previous books in this series? Are you a fan of mysteries? What’s your favourite love triangle? Are you sick of love triangles? Do you wish I’d stop going on about love triangles? Let me know! 🙂

Thanks to Hot Key Books Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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