Girl. Let me tell you. This series right here? This series right here?! WOOO!
Seven years after sounding off on Bill Clinton, Sister Souljah dropped The Coldest Winter
in April 1999. Beautiful things came out of the 90's, and the birth of this series is included in that. I only discovered this one from a recommendation from my high school's librarian, and that's where it all started. Forget homework, forget studying, in fact, forget class! To say that I was absorbed in this book doesn't even cut it. After reading books about perfectly slim, long-haired leggy blondes falling in love off of nothing in suburbia, The Coldest Winter
was for sure the first novel with characters I've seen and heard of before. I don't know how many copies of this book had to be reordered, but I know the one that was there when I graduated was surely not the one that was passed around in the cafeteria. Some hate to say it, but I'll be honest and say that it was Sister Souljah who got many in my circle of friends and I in the library. When I mentioned I was doing a short piece on the series, friend and fellow alumna tweeted
this picture confirming her undying love
The Coldest Winter
is a roller-coaster ride from the beginning. Winter Santiaga is doomed from the beginning to get stuck in something, and does she ever. I clearly remember yelling at her through the pages for doing foolishness. Being stubborn is cute until it gets you in prison. Even though someone put the entire storyline on the internet, I would still suggest you give it a thorough read, because if you plan on reading anything else Santiaga related you're not going to get it. In high school, we were lucky and didn't have to wait almost TEN YEARS
(writing isn't easy, but still, bordering ten years?!) for the next Sister Souljah novel Midnight: A Gangster Love Story
. When we found out this one existed, I think the book didn't see the shelf for months. The library ended up having to develop a privacy agreement so that no one would be able to run up on my at the help desk trying to figure out who had the book, as if the last loaner name matched up with the owner of the Jansport backpack it was bouncing around in half the time. I think many of us really expected this to be a sequel to The Coldest Winter Ever
, but it turned out to be a (soon to be one out of a suspected few) prequel. Books solely based on Midnight at this point are basically standalones; he hasn't even connected with Ricky Santiaga (Winter's father) yet. A Gangster Love Story
and The Meaning of Love
are both well done and captivating reads, but not too much yelling. Some parts are a bit far fetched, to which many people complained over in reviews, but I mean it's fiction right? You don't see anyone whining about that in Tolkien and Rowling reviews.
Now for a real sequel, A Deeper Love Inside: The Porsche Santiaga Story
was on pre-order the FIRST day it was available as such on my bookstore's website. Like most books, it came out first in hardcover (which I'm not too found of), and I ain't even care. I toted the book around for three freezing days in February, absolutely glue to it. Meeting Porsche, the middle sister Winter sort of dismissed because she wasn't as easily ignored as her the infant twins, was more enjoyable for me. I didn't like Winter from the jump, but Porsche was easily lovable; she didn't carry on like an cruel idiot. Towards the end of the book, it feels like it starts to speed up in a sense of everything that's going on; it could have easily been a hundred pages longer if Souljah maintained her original tempo. Winter and Midnight make reappearances towards the end of the story, which is appreciated. Winter still needs a hard slap, and Midnight is too reserved to deliver it. It's a nice ending for Prosche, but it does feel a bit rushed.
All I can ask next is for Ricky's story. Now THAT
is what I want to read about.
The Coldest Winter Ever ★★★★★
Midnight: A Gangster Love Story ★★★★★
Midnight and The Meaning of Love ★★★★
A Deeper Love Inside: The Porsche Santiaga Story ★★★★