Black Snow Falling

By L. J. MacWhitter

Black Snow FallingDan L (13)’s review
I found this book challenging but rewarding with a solid plot line, interesting features, and style. I was really drawn to the spirit and grit of the lead character, Ruth. Her great sense of right and wrong, persistence in the face of unimaginable odds and things which she did not and could never comprehend, such as the heresy suggested at the start of the book, was what endeared her to me most. I also respected her for her ability to take on board other’s views whilst staying true to her morals and values. This is displayed by her evolution throughout the book, growing vastly in the space of only a few days.

In great contrast to this I really disliked the character of Meg who seemed to me a far greater evil than the dream thieves, who at least had a mission and purpose in their grim life. She appeared almost glad to be pulled along in the wake of another, incapable of doing anything independently. This figure was at first Ruth, her friend, but then her soon to be husband. With marriage playing a large role in this book, the loss of Meg came almost as a warning to Ruth of how not to manage oneself.

The period in which this book is set, the Tudor era, had always been one of interest, but I had never known very much about the day to day life of those not in the vastly upper class, close to the king of the time, Henry the Eighth. As well as a further understanding of the suffering of those with so little, I came to truly grasp just how far society has moved on from the violently abused boy cowering in the attic of his drunk father’s candle shop and girls forced into marriage whilst still really children. It also shows how far society has left to come, as there are so many similarities between the privileged and cruel few then and now, with their all-prevailing sense of entitlement and the abuses that they have committed for all of history. This book has spurred me to find out more about the quality of life and basic rights of the poor masses throughout history.

I found the entire book thought provoking and incredibly deep; to truly experience the book in its fullness you must take time to consider each of its messages. This could make it inaccessible to less patient readers.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone with a basic understanding of the period and a large interest in literature as well as simple philosophy.

Alex P.’s review
I enjoyed reading Black Snow Falling. My favourite character is Ruth and she was the most interesting because she sees all the good in the world and helps all she can. I didn’t like the Countess, Ruth’s step-mother, because she was horrible to Ruth – and everyone else – and when she betrothed Ruth to an old man, Ruth caught her cheating on her husband, Ruth’s father, with the old man.

The main thing I learnt whilst reading Black Snow Falling was that in 1543, rich people had a Master Curiosity who gave speeches at feasts.

The plot of the story was very thrilling although at some points it was a bit frightening. The part that most stands out for me from the book is the part where they create the shadow-child who looks like Ruth’s younger sister because, not only are these creatures stealing dreams, they’re stealing children as well.

I would recommend Black Snow Falling to other pupils because it’s a good book and it’s educational at the same time.

Leon’s review
Black Snow Falling was a book that endeavours to explore the emotional side of literature. It contains large amounts of description and is based on overcoming evil in the form of shadowy creatures known as dream thieves. The central protagonist, Ruth, who was in the care of her cruel step mother was to be married against her’s and her father’s will.

The book introduced new concepts and ideas at an alarming rate that confused me and had a distinct lack of action in the first half. In my opinion, the book did not appeal to me because of the lack of action and what I felt to be an uneventful plot. I thought that despite the bland plot, the book was well written and the characters were believable. This book was very sentimental and the period that it is set in did not make the book any better. This being the only historical fiction I have read, it does not appeal to me as a genre.

Claudia S-S’s review
I found this book confusing as at first it swaps between two points of view. I thought that this book did not provide an interesting point of view during that time period, and it would have been more interesting from a poor person’s view.

In addition, I found that none of the characters had an interesting back story. The start of the book is very slow and half way through the main plot is introduced. When the plot is quickly introduced to the reader, it is hard to follow the new characters.

Overall, I did not like this book because it was hard to follow and a boring start.

Star rating 

Angelica’s review
The plot in one sentence: It is an adventurous story with a Tudor setting and a supernatural plot.

It is a good read for people who like supernatural things and for those who like the Tudor era. It doesn’t really have much historical content but it gives an idea about how some people lived in the Tudor times. History isn’t a proper component, it is just a setting for the story. It doesn’t really inspire readers because of how little history is relevant in the plot of the story. I learned that not all stories have a happy ending.

Issy’s review
Which of the characters did you find most interesting and why?
I found Jude the most interesting because he had the most development throughout the book. Although by seeing through Ruth’s eyes we get to see more of the day to day struggles of a girl in the Elizabethan era, Jude’s story was more gripping and his journey from victim to predator to prey really interested me as a reader.

Which of the characters (if any) did you not like, and why?
I disliked Silas – as a whole his sudden mood swings from angry to kind were annoying. His chapters were useless to the overall plot of the book and unenjoyable to read.

What made the history, or the time it was set in, interesting to you?
I enjoyed the fact that the book was set in two times – the reign of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. This allowed me to experience two eras and two monarchs. A key feature I enjoyed reading about was Ruth’s arranged marriage, and the helplessness she felt. It astonished me that one could be so young and still be married off.

Was the plot exciting, thought-provoking, serious, or light-hearted (or any combination of these?)
I feel the plot was very thought-provoking – it dived deep into the issues surrounding the Tudor period, such as religion and science, marriage and love, poverty and richness, and places in society. It made the story more interesting and certainly taught me a lot.

What stands out for you from the book?
The world-creating aspect of the story was very enticing! The author has a great imagination and describes the surroundings well!

Would you recommend it to other pupils?

Catie’s review
Black Snow Falling is a beautiful debut from the author, L. J. MacWhitter. It tells the story of a spirited girl named Ruth, and her relationships and troubles, added in with the magic of hopes and dreams. It creates a potent mixture that delights and intrigues the reader. Personally, I would definitely recommend this enchanting Elizabethan fantasy as it is a thrill to read, with complex characters and plot twists. I would recommend this book for 12 – 16 year olds as there are some difficult to muster scenes that might prove too upsetting or confusing for younger children.

The characters in this story are truly enthralling and all are complex yet believable. They all have their flaws – some more than others – and good things about their personalities. For example, Ruth is brave and courageous, kind and compassionate, and mainly a very bright character – but she is also stubborn and thoughtless at certain points in the story. All of the characters are beautifully woven, but Ruth goes further. I personally can relate to her as I am quite brave, kind and generally happy, but I too have my flaws and this is to me what makes Ruth so believable.

This book is spellbinding and intriguing, but like Ruth, the story has its flaws. It is confusing at the start when the focus switches between two eras, and occasionally gets difficult to follow. But other than these minor problems, this book is absolutely beautiful and I would highly recommend it.

Martin’s review
I did not like the book Black Snow Falling because for some reason I found it a little bit boring. I also found that it was difficult to follow the plot of the story (to understand the story).

The character that I found most interesting was not Ruth (who is the main character) in fact it was Jude. Firstly, he commits an act of heresy when he tries to prove that the earth orbits the sun (which is true), however in the days that this book is set in it was believed that the sun orbited around the earth! Secondly, when he is a dream thieve (someone who steals dreams) he tries to help Ruth save the children who have been kidnapped by other dream thieves, and finally he sacrifices himself to save Ruth. This is why I think that Jude is the most interesting character.

The characters that I really didn’t like was Silas because he loves Ruth but is going to be married to another girl called Betsy and he hasn’t told her yet. The other character that I don’t like is Ruth’s stepmother as she intends to marry her off to a lord in the hope that she (the stepmother) will get lots of money.

I did learn something whilst reading this book as I never knew that girls and boys could be married of even if they did not love that person.

I found the most interesting part of this book was that Ruth loved Silas and in the time that this book was set in you wouldn’t normally expect a girl who is very rich and has a high prestige to love a boy who is poor and has to work for a living.

I found that the plot was exciting, mysterious, serious, and romantic.

I found the thing that stood out most was the part when Ruth was attempting to rescue the children from the dream thieves ship with the help of Jude.

I would recommend it to other pupils especially if they have an interest in the 15th and 16th century as it is a very good book in most places.

Branden’s review
Black Snow Falling by L. J. MacWhirter. Overall this book is a wonderful read, full of twists and turns. I would definitely recommend it to Young Adult and older readers because of its exciting and quite enticing plot. The beginning is a very quick ascend into a dark setting as it introduces a lethal threat known as the Dream Thief.

Amirah’s review
I really enjoyed reading this book and would without a doubt recommend this to other pupils and teenagers around the ages of 12 – 14. The way the narrative has been structured is completely different than what I have ever seen before, the storyline flips backwards and forwards between the two different points in time, leaving little clues on the connections which the two protagonists, Ruth (from 1592) and Jude (from 1592), share. Although this book is not directly based on the history of the 16th century I have learned a lot from what I have read, for example how important status was to the people; it restricted them from things and frightened them too or to some (like the King) it was another thing that gave them power.

This story is about a girl named Ruth, but like all people, she had secrets. Her's was a book, a dream that haunts her, and love that she was forced to hide from the world. Her father had been gone a long time, leaving only her stepmother to look after her, who was not particularly nice. Her stepmother had three daughters: Anna, Eleanor, and Margaret. Anna was my favourite of the sisters because she was young and sweet. Ruth's father had a big cabinet full of wondrous objects, one of them being a pocket globe that she kept close to her at all times. I thought that maybe this was a reminder of her father. Ruth is a kind-hearted character who always seems to know the right words to say and the right things to do.

Unlike Ruth, Jude is hopeless without his best friend Richard, who just happens to be Ruth's grandfather. Jude is the son of the candle maker and the “Master Curiosity”, keeper of all the wondrous objects that are found in Ruth's father's cabinet, this is yet another connection between the two protagonists. Another difference between Ruth and Jude is that Jude's father is not a nice man and does not care for Jude at all. Despite their differences all these protagonists wanted was to be free.

Lila’s review
The book Black Snow Falling is about the story of a young woman named Ruth with a secret. Her secret is a haunting dream and true love within a book. In the book, I found Ruth the most interesting because it showed how she gained knowledge and strength throughout the book. She is also my favourite character because she never gave up and was determined to achieve her goals. I disliked the King (Henry VIII), because he was ill-mannered towards a young man named Jude and disrespected his opinion.

The book was set in 1592, where the stories of Jude and Ruth crossed. The book was very moving with the truth of what happened and the difficulties people would face. It also had exceptional description within each sentence that exports the reader back in time and gives a clear image of the 1590s. I would positively recommend this book to other students aged 12 – 15 because it is a very touching book with a much deeper meaning.

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