Review of “Odinsbarn” by Siri Pettersen

Title: Odinsbarn (~Children of Odin)
Author: Siri Pettersen
Translator (Swedish): Ylva Kempe
Series: Korpringarna #1
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 661
Published: 2013 (translated 2015), B. Wahlströms
My Grade: 5 out of 5 ravens

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

Imagine that you are missing something that others have. Something that proves that you belong in this world. Something that is so important, that without it you are nothing. A plage, a myth, a human.

Hirka is fifteen winters old when she learns that she is a child of Odin – a tail-less beast from another world which spreads decay. Her whole existence is turned upside down. She is despised, feared and hunted, and someone wants to kill her in order to keep her identity a secret. But there are worse things than children of Odin, and Hirka is not the only creature who got through the worlds…

Odinsbarn (~Children of Odin) is the first part in the series Korpringarna (~The Raven Rings), a spectacular fantasy story with roots in the Norse mythology. It is an epic and violent settlement with xenophobia, blind faith and ambition. The book has become a sensational success in home country of Norway where it is praised by its originality, its language and its intrigue.

MY REVIEW

I have only heard good things about this book, that it is original. It is cooler than “normal” fantasy because it has roots in Norse mythology which is not too common. I agree with everyone who praise this book. It is brilliant. It is so well-written and the Swedish translation was really good. Usually, I don’t like reading fantasy in Swedish (and that is why I am writing my own book in English) but with this setting it was perfect.

The characters were realistic, not supernatural in any way. They acted and thought naturally. Most of the books that I read, I feel that the characters are alive, but this was taking the liveness to another level. They remember stuff that happened to them, things that would have been overlooked in other stories, things that actually would matter and leave a mental scar. Having the point of a sword making a small hole in your back is definitely something a normal person would remember. You don’t have to lose an arm just to have something memorable. If that makes any sense?

Another thing that I really loved about Odinsbarn is that it was unpredictable! Usually you can think ahead and figure out what will happen, but in this book, you read and kept reading until something was revealed that was completely unexpected. That happened a lot. Lots of surprises everywhere, no way of predicting anything. Except the ending, I knew what would happen a bit beforehand.

One slow thing was that it was kind of slow. Power games are important in this world and politics. Siri made it interesting though and easily understood. The whole book was slow in the beginning as well. It took a long time for things to actually starting to happen. And some things were not explained until a hundred pages later when it came naturalyl in the story.

It was an interesting book in many ways and I really liked how it was written. Very inspiring. It is too bad it is only in Swedish, it might come to English at one point? I will give it a 5 out of 5. It is definitely on that top shelf with my other fives.

Review of “Legend” by Marie Lu

Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend #1
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 305
Published: 2011, Penguin Books
My Grade: 3.5 out of 5 plague victims

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

MY REVIEW

First, before anything else, I have to say that the grade might have been affected by the fact that this was not read, but listened to. I almost feel like I have cheated. For the first time in my life, I have listened to an audiobook. I took a trip up to my cousins in Nynäshamn and it is 5 hours each way. I was alone and felt that I would get bored if I only listened to music, so I tried an audiobook for the very first time. During those 10 hours it took me to drive back and forth, I managed to finish Legend and 25% of Prodigy (#2).

I usually don’t have big expectations on books. But I was a little disappointed by this. Don’t mistake me, it was a good book and definitely enjoyable listening too. Perhaps I went through too much of it in too short time, but it felt like not much was happening. I also got the feeling that this was a very long introduction to the story, that most of the exciting things are happening in #2 and forward.

I really liked the characters, they felt real. Although it is pretty cliché-y that the main characters are from opposite sides of the social hierarchy and that they fall in love and all of that. But it does not overtake the main story of the new Republic of America.

One thing I really liked when listening to it was that they had two people reading, one man for the boy and one woman for the girl. It made it feel more alive, even if perhaps I wouldn’t have given them those voices in my head.

Review of “Carve the Mark” by Veronica Roth

Title: Carve the Mark
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Carve the Mark #1
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 468
Published: 2017, HarperCollins
My Grade: 3 out of 5 flowers

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift.

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get this brother out alive — no matter what the cost.
The Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?

MY REVIEW

I just recently heard about this book and imediatly felt that I had to read it and decided to take this one on before continuing on my priority-to-read list. I have to say that I kind of regret that decision. It feels wrong to compare this new book by Roth with Divergent, but since it was on the cover it was inevitable. Divergent was one of the best series I have read, this one was just: meh. The introduction was interesting and captivating but the story lost its charm after a while. It was a young adult book written in an unneccesarily complicated  and also confusing way. I had a hard time understanding time and how much of it passed during this story.

I really liked the characters though and the story in itself was very good. Both Cyra and Akos felt real and it was a good mix of them both.

There is no real point in putting a genre label on it, but I really couldn’t tell if it would be classified as more of a sci-fi or fantasy book which was great. I love both genres so it was good that this book held the standard of both.

Even if the story felt original, the characters real, I still don’t feel that this book deserves more than a 3. Mostly because the way it was written. But also because the environment felt a little bit flat. Everything in this world was made up by Roth and probably because she didn’t want to use to many things which might confuse the reader even more, there were not many things in the world so it got a little boring when reading about the same type of plants or animals. Or maybe the ice planet doesn’t have that much life?

To sum up, I didn’t feel this book while reading it and it doesn’t feel fair to give it a 3, but I do. Perhaps the 2nd and final book will be better.

Review of “Gemina” by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Gemina
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 659
Published: 2016, Alfred A. Knopf
My Grade: 4 out of 5 wormholes

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

MY REVIEW

The second book in the Illuminae Files was similar in story, which was great and so unexpected and action-filled in the end, but it took me a little longer to finish it. The main reason was because I found it a little boring that it was more like a normal book than Illuminae. Meaning that there were many many “Surveillance footage summaries”. In the first book there were a few, and it was clear that it was a summary of a video, but in this, most of the video summaries were written like it was a normal book, the perspective of the video reviewer was gone and that made it feel like a normal book when the cool thing about it was just that it was written with chat logs, radio communication logs, data drawn from the AI and so on.

However, it is still a great story, and especially at the end (like with Illuminae) with all that unexpectedness. Another fun thing about this book (and Illuminae as well) is that they have crossed out all the swearwords, so you have to guess them when you are reading. Kinda hard sometimes to be honest.

Before I finished it, I was actually thinking of giving it a 3 or maybe a 3.5. But the ending totally brings it up to a final score of 4.

Review of ” Let’s Get Invisible!” – by R. L. Stine

Title: Let’s Get Invisible!
Author: R. L. Stine
Series: Goosebumps #6
Genre: Horror
Pages: 160
Published: 1993, Scholastic
My Grade: 2 out of 5 light bulbs

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

On Max’s birthday, he finds a kind of magic mirror in the attic. It can make make him become invisible. So Max and his friends start playing “now you see me, now you don’t.” Until Max realizes that he’s losing control. Staying invisible a little too long. Having a harder and harder time coming back. Getting invisible is turning into a very dangerous game. The next time Max gets invisible, will it be…forever?

MY REVIEW

Maybe I have read too many Goosebumps in a row now, so this will be the last for a while. But I honestly didn’t really enjoy this one. It is a cool story, getting invisible and trying to be responsible about it and what follows. However, the story is flat and repetitive. They go invisible, they bully each other, feel bad, and do it all over again. The kids previously in the series have been surprisingly smart for 12-year olds but these I truly hated. All of them were bullies and even if the main character had doubts, he was a wuss and never said no.

So I only give this Goosebump story a 2, it was an okay read, but definitely not more than that. The flat story and the awful characters dragged it down.

Review of “Monster Blood” by R. L. Stine

Title: Monster Blood
Author: R. L. Stine
Series: Goosebumps #3
Genre: Horror
Pages: 144
Published: 1992, Scholastic
My Grade: 2.5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

While staying with his weird great-aunt Kathryn, Evan visits a funky old store and buys a dusty can of monster blood. It’s fun to play with at first, and Evan’s dog, Trigger, likes it so much, he eats some!
But then Evan notices something weird about the green, slimy stuff. It seems to be growing.
And growing.
And growing.
And all that growing has given the monster blood a monstrous appetite…

MY REVIEW

This Goosebumps story was not as good as the previous ones. Might be because I wasn’t really in the mood to read this type of book now? Or maybe because the plot was not as intriguing as the other ones?

After 3 read books, I can now state that Stine is clearly a dog person. There is a dog in almost every story so far. And horrible things always seem to happen to them. Sad.

Short review today (might be because I have already finished 60% in the next Goosebumps book, or because I have worked non-stop for the past week). But not much else is needed. These books are becoming more and more predictable the more of them you read.

Review of “Stay out of the Basement” by R. L. Stine

Title: Stay Out of the Basement
Author: R. L. Stine
Series: Goosebumps #2
Genre: Horror
Pages: 144
Published: 1992, Scholastic
My Grade: 3 out of 5 sylvari

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Dr. Brewer is doing a little plant-testing in his basement. Nothing to worry about. Harmless, he says. But Margaret and Casey Brewer are worried about their father. Especially when they… meet… some of the plants he is growing down there. Then they notice that their father is developing plant like tendencies.

MY REVIEW

Such a short and easy read, but still very much enjoyable. It is scary, but not too scary that I will get nightmares as a 26-year old. I might have had them when I was younger. I don’t think I haev green thumbs, but I have always loved plants and planting stuff and I have always preferred green plants to flowers, so this was a fun book.

The best thing about these books? (I assume all of them end similarly, that’s how I remember it anyways) The last page of each book is a goosebump-y cliffhanger. It is awesome! This is not a book I want everyone to read, so therefore I don’t give it a 4, but these 2-3 hours was time definitely not wasted.