Review of “Röta” by Siri Pettersen

Title: Röta (~Rot)
Author: Siri Pettersen
Translator (Swedish): Ylva Kempe
Series: Korpringarna #2
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 524
Published: 2014 (translated 2015), B. Wahlströms
My Grade: 5 out of 5 worlds

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

She had left Rime. He had kissed her and she had rejected him. Without reason. She was not the rot. Had never been. And now it was too late.

Hirka the tailless is not in Ymslanden anymore. Instead, she is stuck in a dying world, which is lacking the Power and rotting from within. In our urban environment, Hirka is paperless and a free prey. Her only ally is a feared manhunter and a corpseborn and Hirka is torn between them. Meanwhile, the longing is gnawing inside her, the longing after Rime and the world she calls home. But all of this fades when she slowly realize who she is and learns of her importance. The source to the rot has been thirsting after freedom for a thousand years. A freedom that only Hirka can give him.

MY REVIEW

I had read no reviews of this, no back cover description. So page 1, was the first time that I realized that Hirka comes to our world, with technology and subways and everything. I did not see that coming and was very very surprised.

When I pictured Hirka running around in Modern Europe, I could only picture her as a cartoon though. The story was good, and got better with every page. But in the beginning, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. Siri Pettersen painted a fantasy world with roots in Norse Mythology, and when it in this book took place in our modern society, it felt a bit more like an urban fantasy, which is a genre I have outgrown a little. It got better when the focus shifted from everything being new, to her calm acceptance.

Röta was more predictable than Odinsbarn and she was a little bit naive. The part where Graal explained himself and Hirka decided if she wanted to trust him or not, should have been longer. It felt rushed. It was unrealistic that she was so trusting right away.

My overall reaction to the second book in this trilogy is great though, the story is solid and it was exciting seeing her in our world, even in Sweden. The end result is a five, like with Odinsbarn.

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My sources of inspiration

I read a lot and even if I have carefully made sure that my own book is original, I have of course taken inspiration from my favorites, among others.

I have taken bits of inspiration from many books and series, these are some of them.

  • A Court of Thorns and Roses
  • Graceling
  • I am Number Four
  • Maze Runner
  • Divergent
  • Carve the Mark
  • Harry Potter

The same goes the other way too. I have read some books and told myself to stay away from certain things that I didn’t like. For example, A Court of Thorns and Roses included both sides to that inspiration actually. As well as Carve the Mark.

For example, my heroine is not going to be a stubborn pain in the ass who pushes away everyone in her surroundings just because she thinks that she can do everything by herself, she will be a stubborn realist and ask for help when she needs it.

She is also not going to be perfect and master any potential gifts and skills she may or may not be given.

Neither will there be any romantic relationships involved. I don’t understand why that always have to be a part of every story. Forbidden love and all of that. It can get tiresome.

I am not going to write very complex, it removes the focus from the actual story. I think I actually also might write both Swedish and English simultaneously to make sure that I capture everything I want the reader to feel from both languages. Since the beginning of 2013, I have only written in English (through school and this blog and living in California for two years), so writing in English is natural for me right now. But Swedish is my native language so there might be some word combinations that come easier in Swedish.

More help

Being an aspiring author is fun but challenging. You have the story very clear in your head, you are confident in writing, but the two has to go together. I think blindness to your own text applies to both amateurs and professionals alike. And that is why I am so grateful for the help that Helena provides. She asks me questions about the text that I haven’t thought about, stuff that might be clear for me but are not written down. But those details matter, those details are what makes the story real.

Now when I have reached 16k words (30 pages in Word), I actually have a hard time finding the right place to add or change things. I know exactly what every chapter is about, but it is starting to become such a long text now that it is actually a tough job to find the right place to add and/or change. I am really glad that I am getting help from the beginning, otherwise it would be a pain in the butt to answer all of the unanswered questions.

Helena gave me tips for chapter 3 and 6 (we haven’t had time to meet yet, but I get an idea from what she has commented and can think about it until we meet). She agrees with me that chapter four and on is “better”. The first three are at this point written in a different way than the rest, and when I have figured out how to change it so it matches the rest, I will most likely rewrite all of those three chapters, probably lots of chapter four too. She gave me compliments, that is is very well-written but also told me that my descriptions are very good. “Your descriptions of the island and the reef are very good and beautiful. It is definitely one of your strenghts to paint a picture that is very clear for the reader.” After reading that on my break at work yesterday, I was so happy and eager to get home to read her comments in the document and improve my script. That is what I am currently doing, and will spend most of the day thinking about, how to answer her questions so I don’t leave any loose ends.

Pokémon GO raids

I think Pokémon GO is getting more popular again after everything that Niantic did this summer. I think it is great, and especially the latest thing with legendary raids. Everyone wants them, they are here for a limited time, and that means that people are getting very social and friendly with strangers. I like it a lot!

Today, I was out with one of my co-workers from Liseberg after work. We met up with groups, took down the boss and caught it afterward. He had somewhere to be at 7pm so I walked around myself. At one raid in Slottskogen, I ran into an old friend from high school. I then went to downtown where a Lugia and Zapdos were right next to each other. I went back and forth, doing both of themm twice, once for me, once for my boyfriend. There was one family with two kids, probably 3 and 5 years old. The youngest girl really liked me. She was so cute. She gave me candy, hid from me and was just the most adorable kid ever.

On top of having a new fan, the parents and everyone around were so friendly. Everyone wished everyone good luck when it was time to capture it and so on. I wonder how this game will be when these legendaries are gone. I have only done one level4 raid (legendaries are 5), but I hope people will continue to meet up after this event to do those. I would love to get another Tyranitar for example and a better Venosaur.

I like Pokémon GO, it makes you go out and walk (I have walked 2335 km with the app for the past year) and it makes you talk to people and be social in a completely different way than you usually would. I miss my Pokégo-partner. I hope he is having a great time up in the far far north of Sweden with his dad!

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.

Grass widow

This morning I said goodbye to Jesper. He is going up north with his dad for 10 days to hike in Sarek, the national park. Me joining was completely out of the question, I have to work, and I also don’t have the right physique for it. I would probably complain most of the time of heavy backpacks and mosquitos. I am sure they will have a great time though, walking around surviving in nature, taking pictures with their professional cameras, some father-son time.

This means however, that I am alone for the next ten days, I will be a grass widow (gräsänka in Swedish), which is something that a woman is when her man goes away temporarily. Ever since we started dating a little bit more than a couple of years back, we have never been apart (except for my weekend trip to Marseille a couple of months after we started dating, and when I was in Nynäshamn a couple of days last week). Ten days is a lot! I have to admit that I have looked forward to it, some alone time for this lone wolf sounds nice. But then I realized that he won’t have any reception up there. We won’t even be able to text or call each other. FOR TEN DAYS! No one to hold me during the night for ten whole days. That made it harder to say goodbye today. I will miss him… I hope they will be careful, especially when driving. 17 straight hours of driving!

But, no downside without an upside! This is a great opportunity for me to write on my book. My goal is to reach 20,000 words by the time he comes home. I have 13,200 now. Could be doable, right? I will start with that right now. And then go to sleep in the huge bed all by myself. Maybe Ramses will come and sleep next to me? Maybe even Cleo?

Signed book copies

A while ago, I learned that Good Choice Reading has virtual signings of books and the release of the next book from my favorite series is coming! Tower of Dawn is the 6th book in Throne of Glass series and The Assassin’s Blade is the prequel. They also offer Empire of Storms (#5) but I already have that one in my bookshelf.

Both of those two books, personally signed to me for only $55. And shipping is included! Shipping to Sweden would have been $84 but since my mom has this amazing work buddy in Philadelphia who comes to Sweden twice a year, she was so kind and told me that she could bring them if I ordered them to her place. She has helped me a lot previously as well, like Advils (not even comparable to similar aspirins here in Sweden, costwise) or candies that I miss. Super super sweet woman!

I can’t wait for October when she gets here!