The story is rather too full of cliche for me – ‘woman in jeopardy’, and partial ‘environmental thriller’ were both just a little dull here. The journey across the snow was also far too long and uninteresting and I did a lot of skipping. That said, Ruby (the daughter) has a very strong voice and is by far the most interesting character in the book. I particularly liked how Ruby describes words by taste and smell. The sign language is also well used as a key part of the plot.
I also enjoyed the mother/daughter relationship and tensions, but Matt (the father) was just far too flat and really very annoying. He appears directly in the book at far too late a stage, and then launches into a huge section of ‘info dumping’ concerning what exactly has gone on, which is very amateur. It would have been better if Matt could have had sections earlier so we discover things in the same timeframe as he does – this would have been far more exciting.
In general, this book could easily have been cut by a third, and I suspect the film will be far better than the novel. That said, the final scenes of drama are fun (though anything would be good after that dull trawl through the snow!), and the ending surprisingly delicate.