Yesterday I finished the excellent One By One by Ruth Ware. To further indulge my love of everything Ruth Ware, I decided it was the perfect time to check out her two recent short stories. Following her new ebook, We Will Be Watching, I just listened to her recent audiobook, Snowflakes. This short story is part of a six-book serious on Amazon Audible called Hush.
Snowflakes is quite unlike any other Ruth Ware novel (or short story) that I’ve read. It’s told from the perspective of Leah, a teenager who’s spent the last 10 years of her life on a secluded island with her dad, sister, and two brothers. They left their home in the city when war forced them out. Although their mother was killed on that last, fateful night, the father and four kids were able to escape.
For the past decade, the family has lived hidden away from the world they once knew. They farm and grow animals; the dad occasionally takes his boat back to mainland to scavenge for materials. But the father is also increasingly worried about invaders, and devotes his time to building a wall around their island home.
This dystopian, apocalyptic story eventually reaches a climax of invasion and battle, but it leads to some unexpected revelations, too.
Right off the bat, Snowflakes is strikingly different from any Ruth Ware book I’ve read before. Instead of a fast-paced thriller, this feels more apocalyptic and dystopian. Is it a science-fiction post-war novel? Is it set in the future? An alternate version of today? And the tone is different, too, coming from the perspective of a naive teenager. It could even be a YA story, in contrast to to the more adult perspective of Ruth’s other books.
More than anything, Snowflakes plays like a family drama set against a war-torn past. We see Leah’s father and siblings as tensions rise. The family takes care of each other, and they survive off their own farming, and yet there are secrets that lurk. When a fight between father and son divides the family, Leah and her remaining siblings start to sense something is wrong.
Much of the book feels tender and contemplative, and yet straight-forward and innocent. But eventually, the family must face the impending battle as the enemy lands on their island shore. It’s a dramatic scene, a small-scale war with all the fear and pain that comes with it.
Even so, nothing could have prepared me for the final act. I can’t tell you anything without spoiling it, but for me the last part of Snowflakes was impactful and moving. It’s the kind of ending that changes your perspective and elevates the book to a new level.
Snowflakes is a very different but intriguing sort of story, and it shows that Ruth Ware can still surprise her readers. It feels like a dystopian novel from the near future, but it also weaves in family drama and issues of politics. Be sure to listen to this audio short story and share your thoughts below.
If you want more Ruth Ware short stories, check out her recent ebooks, We Will Be Watching and The Tale of Mrs. Westaway (itself a companion to her fourth novel, The Death of Mrs. Westaway).
More from Ruth Ware
One By One
Ruth Ware is one of those authors whose books are an auto-buy for me. She renewed my love for thrillers with The Woman in Cabin 10, and I’ve since collected and loved all her other novels. Her latest is One By One, another locked-room mystery, but this time with some new themes and twists. I…
The Turn of the Key
Following Ruth Ware’s thrillers, In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game, her fourth novel, 2018’s The Death of Mrs. Westaway, presented a new, more gothic side to her storytelling. This theme carries over into Ruth Ware’s newest book, The Turn of the Key, released last month. I’ve decided to read…
The Death of Mrs. Westaway
I discovered Ruth Ware one year ago when I picked up her thriller, The Woman in Cabin 10. And what a great introduction to her it was! I devoured the pick, then went out and bought her other two novels, In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Lying Game. Now, Ruth Ware has a fourth…
The Lying Game
One year ago, The Woman in Cabin 10 drew me into the world of Ruth Ware. I loved that book, and knew I had to collect her other novels, too! Last spring I enjoyed her debut, In a Dark, Dark Wood, and now it was time for book #3, The Lying Game, published in 2017.…
The Woman in Cabin 10
Since I was in middle school, I’ve been a big fan of horror and thriller movies. But, shockingly, I haven’t read many books of those genres. I loved Nancy Drew mysteries as a kid, but my adult reading has been sadly lacking in all things horror and thriller. So with this new void to fill,…
In a Dark, Dark Wood
After reading – and loving – The Woman In Cabin 10, I knew I had to go back and read the rest of Ruth Ware’s books. I decided the logical step was to go chronologically from now on, so first up was her debut, In a Dark, Dark Wood. The story starts when Nora -…
Ruth Ware’s Short Stories
We Will Be Watching
I just finished Ruth Ware’s excellent new novel One By One last night. Since my brain is still in Ruth Ware mode, I decided now is the perfect time to check out her two recent short stories. First up, I read her new ebook, We Will Be Watching. (Stay tuned for my review of her…
The Tale of Mrs. Westaway
One year after releasing her fourth novel, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, Ruth Ware just shared a companion novella, The Tale of Mrs. Westaway. It’s her first short story, and it’s also her first release available only as a free ebook. If you – like me! – loved The Death of Mrs. Westaway, then you’ll…