Two boys decide to have a mini-adventure, camping overnight in the nearby woods. But when an unexpected blizzard hampers them and they find something in the woods, this might be an adventure that ends in disaster.
Snow Burn is a short to-the-point thriller for young adults. It is written by Joel Arnold, who wrote the decidedly more adult horror, Northwoods Deep, which I reviewed favourably in 2012 (review here).
The adventurous Vince convinces his friend Tommy to accompany him on a small camping excursion in the snow. What was intended to be an opportunity for a standard boyish lark becomes complicated by the onset of blizzard conditions. But the boys’ troubles are not over as they uncover a body in the snow, an unknown body, a body that is still alive.
A harmless adventure becomes a struggle to make it through the night, fighting weather conditions and a dangerous stranger. Tommy’s white lie to his protective parents about his whereabouts becomes a potentially fatal mistake and when the confident Vince becomes incapacitated, Tommy’s chances for survival start to look slim.
There is quite a bit of tension in this novel/novella but I don’t think it broaches the adults-only territory. I think young readers will appreciate the initial adventure of camping out in an igloo in the woods and will get a thrill out of the predicament the boys find themselves in.
I was also impressed that the boys read very much like boys of that age. I didn’t feel like the author was writing about two adults that he was creating in the shape of adolescents; the behaviours and reactions felt pretty genuine to me.
Being a fairly small story, there isn’t much in the way of character development. However, you still get a pretty good sense of who these boys are – to each other and to themselves.
Tommy is a bit sheltered and lacks some confidence, possibly due to his over-protective parents. Vince, however, is sporty and outgoing. The friendship of the two possibly grows from their differences – and their mutual love of horror films. They compliment each other nicely, with Vince pushing Tommy out of his comfort zone and Tommy being comfortable with Vince’s leadership. Therefore, the decision of the author to incapacitate the stronger of the two allows us to view Tommy in an extreme and dangerous position without his usual crutch.
The writing is good. The language used fits the target audience and the prose is error free, which is always a bonus. It’s straight-forward without being overly simplistic and descriptive without being unnecessarily so.
Overall, the story is satisfying as a short situational thriller. Because the main characters are boys, it will possibly appeal more to a young male audience. The situation itself might be a little far-fetched, but a younger imagination running wild could get some mileage out of two boys trapped in an igloo overnight in the middle of a blizzard.
I’m happy to recommend Snow Burn to the younger thrill-seeker.
Price at the time of review: $2.99 US
Available: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, iTunes and more…
Author site: http://authorjoelarnold.blogspot.com.au/
GoodReads page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9257559-snow-burn