Annukka Salama: Käärmeenlumooja (Snake Charmer)

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Some of us are more beast-like than others. Some, in fact, are partly animals. Unna learns that there’s a reason she’s not quite like the others and the reason is she’s a faunoid – a mixture of a human and an animal.

Annukka Salama Käärmeenlumooja

Author: Annukka Salama
Publisher: WSOY 2012, Finland
Category: YA fantasy
Original language: Finnish
Rating: 4/5

Salama (Lightning in English) has created a truly original world, where some humans have “power animals” i.e. they possess the powers, but also the instincts and behaviour patterns of a certain animal. For Unna this gives the ability to move in a ways an ordinary human could not, but it also makes her scared of many everyday circumstances and thus she appears a bit neurotic. Unna has kept to herself all her life, but when she suddenly meets Rufus, there’s a certain electricity in the air, she cannot deny. Rufus’ power animal is a snake, but a very unusual snake that puffs smoke when he’s excited and makes his eyes turn into red slits…

Unna learns there’s a whole new reality for faunoids like her and it’s not just fun, there are those who want to use faunoids to their own ends and take their powers. Unna and Rufus end up fighting for their lives and their happiness together. But first they have to resolve some issues stemming from the animal nature and the misunderstandings it can easily create.

Snake Charmer is entertaining, credible in all its fantastical inventions and relatable in the fears of its MCs that aren’t unknown to their more ordinary peers either. Salama has captured the sound of the real voices exceptionally in her dialogue, making the characters feel live and well fleshed out. Snake Charmer is the first novel in a trilogy and there are plenty of surprises in order in the coming books.

Susan

“Have you ever thought, what it would be like, if half of your skills would come from a randomly chosen animal? Unna is agile like a squirrel. She always falls to her feet, climbs up to a tree even backwards and does breath-taking tricks with a skateboard. 

Unna thinks she’s one of a kind, until she skates in the middle of the gang of the mysterious Rufus. Darkly handsome boy takes Unna under his wing, but brings with him a new social life and a bunch of uncontrollable risks. Some of them are sweet like a kiss, others fatal like a bullet of a hunter.

Käärmeenlumooja / Snake Charmer is the first wildly elegant book in the series about faunoids, combining supernatural and steaming passion in an exceptionally attractive way. Annukka Salama (born 1980) is a multitalent in child and youth culture. Snake Charmer is her debut novel.”

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