"Romantic ice-age hilarity ensues as young whaler Anituk's miserable life with doting parents and an oversexed wife-hunting brother is rudely interrupted by the arrival of Abalu, a tall handsome stranger who delights in encroaching upon Anituk's angst."
Wow... what an original plot! Loud Snow takes place on the Eastern coast of North America in 17,000 B.C., better know as the Ice Age. The story focuses on one family in general with a mother, father and two brothers, Anituk and his older brother Nifu. The family lives farther north than other tribes and women are scarce. Nifu has now reached the age where he must look for a wife and our young Anituk doesn't understand why he wants to replace their mother. It becomes pretty clear our little Anituk isn't really into chicks.
Along comes stranger Abalu who's tall with flowing long hair and an adorable smile. It's not long before he takes a liking to Anituk and this is where `hilarity ensues'. I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud while reading this, especially when Abalu introduces himself to Anituk's nether regions or when he keeps drop kicking the penguins. Tina's sense of humor is nicely paired with Amelie's facial expressions and the two together make for a funny read. Another thing I liked about this plot is the twist at the end. It's not something you see coming and the initial reaction is WTF?!?!, but just hold your horses and don't go off the deep end like I nearly did. That's all I'll say.
Loud Snow is quite a departure from Tina's usual fare, which she admits in her own story notes within. I was quite surprised reading it yet at the same time I can see her throughout the story. When I got to the end I literally said (in my mind) "Awww!". I'm not usually one for cute and adorable stories but dammit, I liked this one.
Anituk is approximately 16-years-old and full of angst. He's got every excuse in the book to not want to kill the animals they hunt but the reality is, he's just a softy. This leads to a lot of tension between he and his older brother but I think it's just more Anituk being a moody teenager trying to find his place in the family. It's clear he doesn't really get he's gay but he does know he's not into girls. I think it takes meeting Abalu for him to start figuring out what the thoughts and feelings he has really mean.
Abalu is a bit of a mystery to us. He shows up in the story asking for a place to stay until his family comes to get him. He is welcomed in but Nifu has doubts about the handsome stranger. Abalu seems to always be smiling and has a very gentle nature. He's a good balance to angsty Anituk and it isn't long before Anituk starts to realize maybe Abalu isn't as annoying as he thinks.
From what I know, this is Amelie's first fully illustrated book and she does a pretty good job considering. Each character is different from the other and their expressions really convey their individual personalities. I think she does a great job expressing what Tina was looking for and writing about. The illustrations themselves are good and the anatomy is done well overall.
If I have a beef about the illustrations, and I do, it would be with the first high-action scene involving a shark attack (pages 2 and 3 mostly). It was very confusing my first read through and I even went back to read through a second time. It took my third read to really figure out what was going on and honestly, I put it down after the second because it pulled me out of the story. I was just too confused to want to read any further. Had I known how much I would like the story, I would have just continued on but I didn't want to chance this was going to be the entire way through so I stopped. Luckily a reviewer friend had already read it and told me it was worth continuing through so now I'm telling you. Once you get past the 3rd or 4th page, you'll see it clears up.
There's only one sex scene in Loud Snow and it isn't really explicit as far as showing the goods but honestly, I still liked it. There was something about it that seemed a bit more like how sex between these two would really happen. There were no self-lubing ukes screaming for more even though it's their first time or even a set seme/uke role. It was just... real. Even with all it's sweet moments it's still sexy.
As far as speech bubbles go, I didn't really have a problem. I felt the story was very readable, although it took a few pages of reading before I got used to the use of words instead of sound effects to describe what was happening. I also felt the use of words to describe facial expressions or actions wasn't really necessary as these are things I can see for myself.
Loud Snow is a sweet story with an original plot that will make you laugh throughout. The plot twist will break your heart, but the story's ending will make it burst.
Character Development: A-
Sexual Content: B+
Overall Grade: A-