Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's

Customer reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

I wanted to like The Snow. I really did.

The idea of this refreshingly different post-apocalyptic tale had great potential and the opening 50 pages were genuinely interesting, ringing faint echoes of Terry Nation's seminal "Survivors".

Then, however, following the central character Tira's rescue, the tale loses direction and gets hopelessly bogged down. I have to confess that I found neither Tira nor any of the other characters particularly likeable or engaging and, regarding the accounts of their endless politics, cumbersome characterisation and yawn-inducing relationships, I, quite frankly, couldn't give a damn.

Furthermore, Roberts' excessive use of [blank] and [expletive deleted] to express the regime of censorship under which Tira is obliged to write her journal, is immensely irritating to plough through. One chapter of this material would surely have sufficed? But no. Roberts gives us hundreds of pages of the stuff and by around page 200, I very nearly gave up.

Early on, Tira writes that "at the beginning people were happy..." then though things "became tiresome, and then oppressive, and then something worse, became calamitous". That kinda echoes how I felt waking up to realise I still had a gruelling 250 pages to read!

I persevered though and was partly rewarded by a moderately interesting twist as the closing revelations approached.

Then, though, the book merely peters out to nothing.

An opportunity lost.
11 Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 May 2010
Snow (2004) is an apocalyptic sci-fi novel by the ever-philosophical Adam Roberts.

Much to everyone's delight, snow starts falling all over the world. But as it piles up, the charm quickly wears off. And by the time the Earth is covered in three miles of packed snow, everyone is too dead to complain.

Roberts follows the snowfall from start to finish - the early days of panic, the boredom and the pain of captivity and then the fledgling society that emerges on the other side. With only 150,000 survivors around the world, the human race is a very different entity (and a very cold one). The attempts to rebuild society are awkward - people must choose between looking forwards or finding someone to blame.

Snow is an awkward fusion of two different books. One, exploring the snow's human impact, is terrific. I've always been a sucker for post-apocalyptic thrillers, and this is a good one: even the most mundane aspects of government become tricky when you're standing on top of a pile of powder. The power politics are well-developed, as are the various players - the close-minded general, the awkward revolutionary and the scheming wife.

The novel's style, a collection of government papers, interviews and testimonials, gives this more impact. Snow is a gathering of unreliable narrators. The reader has to work at deciphering what to believe and how the stories click together. Hard work, but rewarding.

Roberts also makes the snow's impact felt on the personal level. We understand what it is like to scrounge for food or cross a hundred-foot drift... even the joy of smoking a carefully-husbanded cigarette.

The latter part of Snow is another book entirely. For some perverse reason, the (slightly goofy) science-fiction origin of the snowfall is explained. Not only is this explanation unnecessary, but since it is bizarre, unanticipated, and completely out of left-field, it undermines the rest of the book. What was a Ballardian thriller about human beings in adverse circumstances suddenly transforms into ponderous retro pulp.

I highly recommend Snow for its auspiciously apocalyptic beginning. It is beautifully written and presents a fascinating take on the downfall (and tenuous resurgence) of human civilization. I also recommend it as a case study on disappointing endings. It's a valuable lesson for all science fiction authors: sometimes humans are enough.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 April 2013
This book starts in London with an Anglo-Indian woman (this becomes important later) living her life normally until her 30s, smoking a bit too much (becomes important later) then it starts to snow. It snows and snows and snows until it is 3 miles deep. You don't really see the wider effects of that because she stays indoors a lot, so there aren't too many bodies and scenes of the collapse, most people seem to have already gone by the time she comes out. There is a feeling of space and absence of the people. This is all very well written and exciting. Things start to slip a way into the book when it begins to turn into a sort of Quintet, (the 1979 snow film with Paul Newman) crossed with a sort of languid lifestyle with lots of politics and people plotting, the woman's ethnic background comes into play in some curious scenes. Then it all goes X-Files and it keeps changing its style. The book is also heavily edited by a fictional censor. Frankly I would have liked the first style to have continued. It had great promise at the beginning. I'm not sure if I liked this book.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 23 August 2005
Ok, 1st things 1st why 4 stars not 3 if I felt it was about 3 1/3 stars, well this book did somethings that really annoyed me most particularly [Blank] spoke to [Blank] about [Blank] but [Blank] said that [Blank] had met [Blank]. This had me at times wanting to throw the book away!!! If it had been done for a few pages or a couple of chapters I could have lived with it, but when over half the book is written this way it really got to me at times.
That said I did like the story the Snow itself was cool, a plausible enough disaster scenario and was nicely delt with to start with. There where several big questions that the author never really tackled, like why the Americans felt the need to come over to the UK and start a city over London, how the snow miner machines worked, and how they managed to get planes above the snow, that said I didn't really mind those questions as the author gave enough explainations about his new world to keep it feeling real.
On the debate about the characters I liked Tira the 1st protagonist we where introduced to, they way she behaved seemed real to me as she came across as someone who was in shock and was just riding events. Far more a viewpoint than someone who did things or changed things. However I felt that [Blank] Fred the second character was more than a bit cardboard, this was annoying as he was a doer / victim (it was the victim but that really bugged me). This came to a head towards the end of the novel when he becomes vital to the story, and I just wanted him dead as he annoyed me so much.
Talking about the ending to this book, it came at me from so far out of the left feild that it left me cold when it hit. I just wish we had had some forewarning, I don't think it would have taken a lot, or spoilt the suprise if the possibility of this ending had been floated earlier in the book, even if done in a madman speach. That said once the shock had left and I re-engaged with the book I was left really enjoying the last couple of chapters. All in all I did enjoy this book and hope that the Author improves in the future, but I can't help but think the signing endorsements from critics and other authors might stop Mr Roberts from really looking at where he could improve in the future.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 February 2007
I have a great love of disaster movies and books and so I thought I was pretty safe with this one. The set-up itself is fairly intriguing: what if it snowed and never stopped. Great drama to be had from that. However, Mr Roberts doesn't take advantage of this potential. The first third of the book is great and follows our protagonist as she tries to survive the snow. But then, it turns into a story of how life continues after. Okay so far, although more about the actual survival stories would have been good - the book is nowhere near epic enough considering the fact that the entire Earth is affected.


Then, after that, conspiracy theories and... good gracious... alien invasions take over and you're pulled from the book you thought you were in into another one entirely. It turns into very bad science fiction. The concept of different points of view telling bits of the story is good, but it comes across as a mid-1940s novel where war secrets were kept, when it should be an adventure.

Avoid if you like disaster stories, okay if you like sci-fi.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 September 2007
Having enjoyed Stone, and kinda struggled to the end of Salt, giving up half way through Gradisil, I was hoping this would be a good book by an author I was starting to enjoy.

Boy was I wrong ! I got frustrated with all the [Name Deleted] bits, and I spent most of the book in a constant state of boredom because events were so flat.

Then, once you got all the way through the monotonous records from a load of unnamed people about a load of unnamed people, you then get the whole story summed up and concluded in pretty much the last 4 pages.

Avoid, avoid, avoid. One hopes that Land of the Headless is gonna be better.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 17 October 2004
I've read all the other books by Adam Roberts and the description of the book made it seem like a great idea - but in the end I was disappointed. Maybe I missed the point, world wiped out by accident, but the main characters in the book just seemed so unlikeable that by the end I was past caring if they survived or not. And the world they inhabited - I think you'd be better off dead .. This was definatley the 'world ends with a whimper'type story but in the end the nastiness of the survivors and the mindset that comes over in the story made me think that it was not such a bad thing. Maybe that was the whole point but it made this book a vey tough read
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 February 2005
A snowfall of Biblical proportions covers the Earth, and pretty much everyone dies. For the few survivors, life is white, cold and a repetitive daily struggle to carry on. Yet Adam Roberts manages to take this minimalistic world of endless hardship, and instead of grinding down the reader's patience with how many different ways he can describe blank vistas and snowdunes, he manages to use the white world more to invoke a feeling of "what lies beneath".
By concentrating on only two main characters, and splitting the "action" equally between their present-day troubles on the snow and their lives before the world changed, Roberts builds complete lives for his protagonists, and I found it very easy to care about what happens to them (though they are both far from sympathetic !).
For my money, the underlying plot (where did all this snow come from?) takes a backseat to the pervading sense of loss, as everything and everyone the survivors ever knew is buried beneath miles of snow. Not buried and gone, but buried and "still there" ; frozen but whole, untouchably distant. There is a well thought-out and interesting ending/explanation, but that is not really what the book is all about.
Not a lot happens, in truth. But this is a book that cries out to be read s-l-o-w-l-y, to let your mind wander, to think about your loved ones and what it would be like to leave them buried in a preserved world, miles under your feet. For a novel that is set under a blue sky, with a blank white horizon at every turn, I actually felt quite claustrophobic reading it.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I love armageddon end-of-the-world novels, "Day of the Triffids" being one of my all time favourite books. The Snow starts off in this tradition with a brilliantly thought out concept which makes for a gripping first half. Unfortunately the whole thing ends up a bit too science fiction-y for my liking, which is a shame because the characters are strong enough to support a more traditional survivalist storyline. For me everything got a bit too silly and the bubble of believability I had been nicely cocooned in suddenly burst and left me firmly on the outside of a story I had been enjoying. Mmmmm bubbles.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 11 May 2006
"The Snow" is a low-key ,science fiction novel which has the quality of being a page turner ,even though nothing much ever seems to happen in it. The author attempts to create vivid, detailed characters by using long historical monologues , but by the end of the novel none of the main characters, Tira, Crow and Jeffreys are particularly memorable or likeable. The storyline is fairly slight; the world has been buried under three miles of snow , most people have died and the survivors live an ascetic life under martial law. But what has caused this apocalyptic snowfall ? It is this mystery that maintains the reader's interest and keeps the suspense going right up to the end of the book. "The Snow" is well written and although it does not possess the intricacy and elan of ,say, a typical Culture novel, it is a lot easier to read. I liked the concept of this book and the scenario desribed by the author is quite a plausible one, but one thing I did not like was the substitution of peoples names with [Blank] and [Name Deleted] throughout the book, which I found to be irritating and confusing and an unnecessary distraction from the narrative.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items


Need customer service? Click here