Saturday, 10 March 2018

My last 5 books: YA, horror and a Pulitzer

1. Eld, by Mats Strandberg & Sara Bergmark Elfgren. I loved the drama, the intrigue and the whole investigative element of finding out who's evil and what the ultimate goal is of the demons this time around. If the first book was disappointing in holding everything back, this is the book where the story truly kicks off and the story unfolds and nothing is held back by the authors anymore. I loved to read about Linnea and how Ida starts to grow. I loved how Anna-Karin starts to become a bit more comfortable in herself and how Minoo finally dares to start explore her powers. This book is all about growth and self-exploration, and while the characters explore themslves the reader finds out more about the magical aspects of the world.

2. Nyckeln, by Mats Strandberg & Sara Bergmark Elfgren. Yes! This is how you end a trilogy! With a bang! Quite literally as the school blows up... This whole book is the climax of the story and it never gets boring. Minoo's self-sacrifice is enormous and yet it leads to them all ultimately getting together. All seven of them. The whole Circle together at last. Finding out what the Protectors really were was something I didn't see coming. I loved how the girls decided to open up about what was going on and the ending was perfect.

3. Färjan, by Mats Strandberg. This book has been hailed as a Swedish Stephen King novel. Not sure I agree... First of all it was a long time since I read a book where I wanted all of the characters to die. I didn't root for a single one of them (only the children grew on me towards the end). Second of all the threat and horror-aspect was so incredibly obvious that when it was revealed that there were vampires on the ferry I just rolled my eyes - yes, I know, what else? Nothing about the story was unexpected, the author left so many obvious clues throughout the story that when the events that he had hinted to actually happened they were so obvious that nothing was shocking. And the ending felt completely unresolved. Ok, so the vampires can't get to you now, but you're aware that they don't need to breathe at the bottom of the ocean and they can still move about... So how long before they get to a shore and the whole business starts again?

4. Hemmet, by Mats Strandberg. The second horror book by the author hailed as a Swedish Stephen King... This time the nature of the threat was left ambiguous way longer, which was better in a way, but it was also left ambiguous and unknown to the characters for most of the book which made it seem like they either didn't care or were chasing question marks. While his other book was extremely obvious this one was just flat. I'm just happy it was short. The only thing I really enjoyed with this book was the subtle hint that this one and his other horror book (Färjan) take place in the same universe, which could possibly mean that the author is building up to some major supernatural horror event that could turn out great if done right. Once again nothing was resolved towards the end, and the characters just shrug and move on with their lives.

5. The Gold Finch, by Donna Tartt. A book blogger I follow set this book as her favourite book of 2015 (I think, could've been 2016) and she talked so much about it and praised it so highly that I decided I wanted to read it too. Now, lots of the reviews on Goodreads categorise this book as Dickensian, but I would rather go French and call it Balzacien. Why, you ask, since Dickens and Balzac were in the same genre? For me there's a huge difference, mainly that I liked reading Dickens but I definitely didn't enjoy Balzac. Dickens has a plot and there's always something going on, Balzac is mostly just a huge monologue of someone's messed up life. In simpler terms - Dickens shows, Balzac tells. And Tartt also tells. Until Theo becomes an adult (in the last third of the book) The Gold Finch is just a huge monologue of Theo's messed up life. The famous painting who gave the book its name is mostly just a figment among Theo's thoughts and while he thinks about it a lot it doesn't really have any bearing on the story until the last third of the book. I really enjoyed the language of the book, she has a beautiful way of writing, but for the most part it didn't really seem as if she had a story to tell and rather she just rambled (beautifully) about this not-so-lucky-in-life boy. Halfway she seemed to have lost the thread and didn't really find it again until Boris shows up when they are adults and something finally happens! The book ended on a high note for me and as I watched the pieces come together in the end and see everything played out and resolved I actually felt rather content and to my surprise I can actually see myself re-reading this in the future.

And here are my current TBR:

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