Friday, August 1, 2008

Chion by Darryl Sloan

by Darryl Sloan


An ancient Greek word (pronounced kai-on)
and spelled “chion” in the English alphabet.
It means “like snow.”

I didn't request a copy of this award winning book because I wasn't sure I would have time to read it. Since Darryl Sloan lives in Ireland, I didn't want him to go to the time and expense of mailing a copy across the Atlantic when I wasn't positive I'd get around to it. But then I learned that he offered an eBook and I decided to check it out. This way, if I didn't finish it, Darryl would not have wasted any money and neither of us would feel badly. So I downloaded the PDF file and started to skim it. Well, lemme tell ya, it SUCKS you in and never lets go. I read it all in one night because I just could not stop! At just over 41,000 words, it's about novella-length and a very fast read.

The premise is simple. What if a highly adhesive substance (think Ultra Super Glue) fell from the sky and looked just like snow? Whatever touches it, sticks. Permanently. It doesn't melt when the sun comes out either. You touch it with bare skin and you do not get away without leaving skin behind. Cars, buses, and trains are stranded everywhere, tires stuck. No one can leave their vehicles or buildings because shoes stick to it too. Worse of all, no airplanes or helicopters can land, so there's no hope of rescue. What happens when the food and water runs out?

The main character from whose point-of-view we see this all unfold is Jamie, a fourteen-year-old student who is at school when chion blankets Ireland and the UK. No one knows if it is a terrorist attack or some sort of apocalyptic plague. News reports seem to favor the former. Since Jamie's school is day-only, there is very little food in the cafeteria to give the hundreds of students who are stranded indefiitely while scientists and the government scramble to figure out what happened and how to deal with the crisis.

The plot is fast-moving and well thought-out, with very realistic reactions from all involved. It also struck me how fresh and original the idea was. This has got to be the first time there has ever been a "doomsday" device that masqueraded as something so simple as snow! I'm thankful Darryl didn't try to spell out what chemicals might work this way, because I would hate to think any real-life terrorists would get any ideas. The whole concept is truly frightening, which of course, made the book very compelling.

I don't want to spoil it by saying anything more, but I highly recommend this fast-reading little book!

Not sure yet?
How about a FREE audio excerpt?... Or read Chion as an eBook for FREE!

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Visit Darryl's website

Check out these member blogs Aug. 3-9 for more info.


  1. So you were stuck fast when you started to read it, eh? I'm glad you were able to get an ebook. Most of the time ebooks are hard for me to read because it involves sitting at the computer for so long, but this one is short enough to do it. I haven't listened to the excerpt, but I think that would be cool. I'd like to hear Darryl's voice, some narration with the Irish accent.

    Just wondering: are your son and daughter going to read it? The teens, that is. I would think they would enjoy it.

  2. I'm one of those weird people who actually PREFER eBooks. On a computer, I have complete control of what size the print looks. Plus, I never have to worry about light, because the monitor is perfectly lit. If I am forced to read a paperback, then I have to wear reading glasses and try to find enough light to read by but which won't bother people who are sleeping in the same room. Not easy.

    My son has been very busy reading other things, but he'd probably like it. My daughter? HA! I can barely force her to read what she needs for school assignments. She hates reading with a passion. I don't think Chion would tempt her in the least. She likes stuff like "The Notebook". But since school starts tomorrow (waaa!) I'm back to pushing literary stuff that doesn't even appeal to me.

  3. Caprice, I got the ebook as well, for the very same reasons. I didn't think I'd get it read in time. How right you are about it sucking you in! What an amazing concept - snow that can kill you. I was left with the feeling that the story wasn't quite finished. I do hope Darryl has plans for a sequel.

  4. I love your presentation of Darryl's premise. I read the book quite quickly too though I started too late to read it all in one night. It does make you not want to put it down. It also kept me awake wondering what was next since I did actually try to go to bed the night I started it.

    As for your daughter, if she likes things like the Notebook, she might enjoy Gone With the Wind, Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters which are all "classics" and there are some romances amongst them as well. Oh and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.


  5. Really great review Caprice. A lot shorter than mine (everyone knows I'm a windbag anyway) and you managed to give all the vital information without giving away too much of the plot. Doing 7 posts, that was my battle. How do you write 7 reviews (6 for CFRB, an interview and 1 review for CMW). Although there are lots of snow disaster stories out there, none have been like this. No one has dare go where he has gone. It's absolutely a brilliant piece of work.

  6. I agree! This was the easiest read I've had all year. Nice review!

  7. Sounds like an excellent idea for a thriller of a movie! Elaine Lyons Bach

  8. "I do hope Darryl has plans for a sequel."

    I certainly do, Laura. :-) And I give away some of the details in my interview with Grace.