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 “A Court of Wings and Ruin” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 699
Published: 2017, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 tattoos

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

MY REVIEW

I am starting this review with the same phrase as my last one, but perhaps not with two exclamation marks: Oh my god!

The third book in this series is both similar and nothing at all like the third book about Feyre. Similar in style, and I have to admit that the first one is still in one category of itself in some sense that I can’t really explain. It is similar with the types of feelings that exists, the characters are the same. It differs in events. A Court of Mist and Fury is a well-knit together story of how Feyre finds her place in the world, whereas A Court of Wings and Ruin is what happens to her when she is faced with challenges and how to deal with situations with her newfound place.

It is a lot of politics, battles, and surprises that literally made me gasp at some points and had to lay down the book for a short while and think about what actually happened. Crazy intense story with an ending, which could work as the end to the series. Still many things that will happen, but they seem minor compared to the big war that was fought throughout this book. Fortunately, I don’t have to speculate on what will happen, because there will be three more books to come! Unfortunately, I will have to wait a full year for the fourth installment in A Court of Thorns and Roses…

When it comes to grading books, I only go after my general feeling of the book after finishing it. I wasn’t as satisfied as after Mist and Fury, but I don’t feel like it is a 4.5 either. So I give it a 5 as well!

Review of “A Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 624
Published: 2016, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 wings

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Feyre is immortal.

After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.

She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.

MY REVIEW

Oh my god!! How is it possible for a book to be this good? I can honestly say that this is one of the best books I have ever read. This is Maas at her absolutely very best, it almost make you wonder what kind of doping she took after the first one, which was quite frankly, not much compared to this one.

First of all, the characters felt more real, they were way more intriguing and it was so much easier to relate to them. The relationships between the people were more fun, not  necessarily real, or at least those are not the kind of relationships with friends and partners I have experienced previously, but so interesting and entertaining and you wish you had those kind of relationships. The story-telling and environmental descriptions are still amazing and you almost get surprised when you look up from the book and realize that this is the reality.

I can’t write much more if I want to stay away from plot reveals. So I will wrap up with the grade. I would easily give it more than 5 if possible, it is just that good! It took me 9 hours to finish and sometimes i couldn’t put the book down, I would literally walk and read simultaneously! I would also promise myself to just finish the chapter before doing something productive (like writing my master thesis), but I ended up reading 3.5 chapters and then falling asleep with the ereader in my face on the couch. It is just that good! If you felt a little bit hesitant after A Court of Thorns and Roses, forget that feeling, read A Court of Mist and Fury. There will be zero regrets whatsoever!!

I am really glad A Court of Wings and Ruin (#3 was released today). I bought the book before work, finished #2 on my way to work and started #3 on the way home.

Review of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J. K. Rowling

harry-potter-07-the-deathly-hallows-j-k-rowling-2Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Author: J. K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #7
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 784
Published: 2007, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 horcruxes

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

It’s no longer safe for Harry at Hogwarts, so he and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, are on the run. Professor Dumbledore has given them clues about what they need to do to defeat the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, once and for all, but it’s up to them to figure out what these hints and suggestions really mean.

Their cross-country odyssey has them searching desperately for the answers, while evading capture or death at every turn. At the same time, their friendship, fortitude, and sense of right and wrong are tested in ways they never could have imagined.

The ultimate battle between good and evil that closes out this final chapter of the epic series takes place where Harry’s Wizarding life began: at Hogwarts. The satisfying conclusion offers shocking last-minute twists, incredible acts of courage, powerful new forms of magic, and the resolution of many mysteries.

Above all, this intense, cathartic book serves as a clear statement of the message at the heart of the Harry Potter series: that choice matters much more than destiny, and that love will always triumph over death.

MY REVIEW

These past months have come to an end, all the Harry Potter books are read and I feel a little bit empty. Will the next book I take on be as good? Rereading these books was a really good choice and now I kind of feel like rereading other books I truly enjoyed when I was younger, like His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.

I have written before that there were so many things I forgot from the books and was constantly surprised. In the first four books there were small things here and there, but as the story progressed, I remembered fewer and fewer things and when it came to The Deathly Hallows, I remembered probably no more than 5 things. I couldn’t remember why one of the chapters were called The Malfoy Manor for example. I also had no idea what the last three horcruxes where until it was written out in the book. It was like reading it for the first time, being on the edge of the chair or wherever I was sitting, all the time.

Everything is explained so well, and everything makes sense, and as before, Rowling is excellent at making everything coherent. The red thread is present. And The Deathly Hallows is the perfect ending to the story about Harry Potter. I can’t wait for the next time I will reread them. (Do I really have to write out the grade?)

Review of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” by J. K. Rowling

harry-potter-06-the-half-blood-prince-j-k-rowling-2Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Author: J. K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #6
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 607
Published: 2005, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 potions

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

It is the middle of the summer, but there is an unseasonal mist pressing against the windowpanes. Harry Potter is waiting nervously in his bedroom at the Dursleys’ house in Privet Drive for a visit from Professor Dumbledore himself. One of the last times he saw the Headmaster was in a fierce one-to-one duel with Lord Voldemort, and Harry can’t quite believe that Professor Dumbledore will actually appear at the Dursleys’ of all places. Why is the Professor coming to visit him now? What is it that cannot wait until Harry returns to Hogwarts in a few weeks’ time? Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts has already got off to an unusual start, as the worlds of Muggle and magic start to intertwine…

MY REVIEW

The Harry Potter story is getting darker and darker and I definitely felt sad during the last two or three chapters. I knew what was coming, but still, I felt so unprepared for it when it happened and the events following. I am surprised at how little I remember from this book as well, I kept being surprised everywhere, only knowing what would happen in the end. The first four books have very clear separate stories, while the fifth, sixth, and seventh is all one long story and is only in different books because it would be a too big book to hold and read in one go. I think that is why I find it so difficult to tell them apart, mixing the stories together and remember even less than from the first four. It has been like reading the story for the first time, kind of. For example, R. A. B., I can’t remember who it is! I have a vague memory, but it doesn’t match with the initials. So exciting! I almost went to Google to look it up, but I decided that it would be a more fun surprise to read it.

The book is brilliant even though it is very dark, Harry has matured and is not whiny like he was in the fifth book, thank someone for that! There is surprisingly much love in this book, it feels a little misplaced but I guess that is the beauty of love, it happens when least expected. One thing that I thought about while reading (I think this question has popped up during previous books, but I just didn’t remember it) was the spells the Half-Blood Prince came up with. How do you invent a spell? And how can another person use the same set of words, without knowing what they do, but still come up with the same result? Are all spells registered somewhere? And how would Sectumsempra ever be allowed? I would very much like the answer to these questions if anyone knows them.

Even with the minor tears and horribleness at the end, I still enjoy this book very much! Highest grade!

Review of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by J. K. Rowling

harry-potter-05-the-order-of-the-phoenix-j-k-rowling-2Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author: J. K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #5
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 766
Published: 2003, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 prophecies

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected…

 

MY REVIEW

I have to say, that this is probably the book that I remembered least from. I was surprised everywhere. Maybe because the book is so thick and contains a lot of stories? I also might have put more focus on the other books since this one has a very sad ending. I knew what was going to happen, obviously, but I didn’t feel too sad when reading it, not like when I read the latest Throne of Glass book where I openly cried twice. The ending was written kind of emotionless honestly.

It is a great book which feels like the start to explanations. If I remember correctly, the 6th book is where Dumbledore uses the Pensieve to show Harry a lot of old stuff? Or is it the 7th? Anyway, pieces are starting to fall into place in the Order of the Phoenix.

One thing that actually bothered me was Harry in the beginning of the book, and some in the end. I have heard some friends saying they hate the Harry Potter series so much because Harry is such a crybaby. I couldn’t understand at all what they meant by saying that and up until this book I feel that Harry is very easy to sympathize with, it is easy to understand why he is acting the way he is because the situation he is in is very relatable. But then there is the Order of the Phoenix… In the first part of the book, up until he has spent a little time at Hogwarts, he is a crybaby! It bothered me so much. Why, all of a sudden did he have so much emotions to being mistreated and left out? That’s been pretty much his whole life so far, why now? Is it because he is now 15 and a teenager with a lot of emotions? It put a different edge to the story than the previous ones, but I didn’t like it. He could have continued to be the modest hero he was before and it wouldn’t have been boring, in my opinion.

This crybaby thing (I hope he is not continuing this in the last two books!) is still not big enough to drag the grade down from a 5. Rowling has an incredible imagination and is amazing at writing  and connects all things so well. Even if this book is super thick and full of so much information, everything is connected. It is a delight to read these books!

Review of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by J. K. Rowling

harry-potter-04-the-goblet-of-fire-j-k-rowling-2Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Author: J. K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #4
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 636
Published: 2000, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 dragons

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Harry Potter is midway through both his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event that supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for hundreds of years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal – even by wizarding standards.
And in his case, different can be deadly.

MY REVIEW

18 hours of reading doesn’t sound like too much. But this was a thick book. It feels like ages ago I read about when the Weasley’s picked up Harry through the fireplace at Privet Drive to bring him to the world cup in Quidditch (a very funny scene in the beginning of the book, which was something I didn’t remember at all from the first time I read it 14 years ago). More than 700 pages means a lot of content, lot of detailed descriptions which were not present in the previous books, at least not in the first two. The Goblet of Fire feels more alive than the previous ones. Although, I can’t really say that lack of descriptions in the Philosopher’s Stone didn’t make me picture everything which happened, it is a livid story and I have also seen the movies many many times, long time ago though. I guess this is a world which just stuck in my head like no other world would.

I am now 25 years old, I was 12 when I read it the first time. I don’t know if I go back to the age of 12 when reading it, or if the story is just so well-written that I still can relate to it. I understand it better as well, Rowling is very good at foreshadowing and small hints instantly makes sense, like for example in the end when Dumbledore asks Snape to do something for him. I got teary-eyed. It does not have to be mentioned, but she is an amazing writer who not only make the story alive, but the characters. She brings out so many emotions while reading, sympathy for Harry because you understand how hard certain situations can be if you had something similar in your own background. But also hate towards Rita Skeeter and Cornelius Fudge for example. I dislike Rita Skeeter as much as the writers for The Daily Punctilio newspaper of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. And that brings forth some feelings towards the media today in our society. I won’t go into it, but Rowling and Snicket’s representations of journalists are very much spot on today!

Some questions arose in my head though while reading. How did Hagrid’s dad manage to get a giant pregnant? How come Harry did not see the horses dragging the Hogwarts carriages at the end of the book when they went to the train to leave school? Or why didn’t he see them before since he faced death as an infant?

There is a reason why the Harry Potter series is a classic after only two decades. Or maybe it is not “only”? Maybe I am just getting old. This story is not old however, it will keep staying alive forever and ever! I can’t wait to read these books to my children in the future, or at least the first ones so that when they are old enough to read by themselves, they will continue to read the books. I love Harry Potter! One of the absolute best book series of all times. Do I even have to write the grade out? (Okey, FIVE, without a doubt!)