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 “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.

Coloring book

The fantasy story set in Sarah J. Maas’ latest series A Court of Thorns and Roses got my extremely caught. She was amazing with the environment descriptions, described vivid colors and fantastics scenarios. When I enjoy something and have a beautiful picture in my head of what it looks like, I always wish there will be a movie or TV show where I can see this on screen instead of just in my head. In a majority of the cases I am very certain that I would be dissapointed… However, I feel like a coloring book could work! The pictures look really good, and when I get to decide colors I think the picture in my head will be even clearer. So therefore I bought my very first coloring book as an adult. I also bought new pencils, the ones I have are probably a hundred and thirtyseven years old and I wanted to give this book a fair chance. If I feel like it I can also add water and make the colors float into each other or mix. Cool pencils.

Reading of a non-finished script

This was a new experience for me, and I have to say that I learned a lot from it. And also found som personal motivations. A couple of months back I signed up for the test-reading of a non-finished script for a book by a young Swedish author, Gabriella P. Kjeilen. I have heard of her main series before, Mellody Looh, but haven’t read them. This new novel she is writing is a stand alone novel set in the same universe and she wanted test-readers who both read the Mellody Looh series and not. I thought it would be a cool experience so I had no expectations at all. Except that I had a hard time figuring out how fantasy would sound in Swedish.

It is not high fantasy which I am used to reading, and since the setting of the book was Sweden, ca 80 years in the future, and mostly in Gothenburg, Swedish worked perfectly (like with Stjärnklart by Lars Wilderäng where he gives detailed descriptions of the city of Gothenburg set in a spaced-out sci-fi scenario). The fantasy part was also a bit hidden and the main focus was on the main character’s personal revenge which reminded me of one of my favorite series Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

I am not going to go into detail what I thought, that’s up to the author to work with, but I will definitely put a final review up after I have read the final version.

But while critically reading (since I normally enjoy-read) I realized what I myself should think about when I am writing my book. Oh, right, I haven’t made that announcement yet, or have I? Eh, well, I have decided that I will finally realize one of my oldest dreams, I am going to write a book. During the past few months, I have been thinking about the story, the setting, and written down a lot of notes so far. The next step I guess (which I will start with any day now since I am now done with everything: my MSc degree is done and all my students’ grades are set) is to start the actual writing. After thinking hard about this, and making pros and cons lists in my head, I have decided that I will actually try to write it in English. I have a very hard time even imagining a high fantasy world in Swedish. And honestly, for the past 4 years I have written approximately 95% more in English than Swedish. So I don’t think there will be any issues, and if it will, I guess I will just switch to Swedish or ask for help.

It is too early to reveal the plot yet, but I think it will be interesting and I hope original. Thoughts and ideas have been drawn from many of my favorites, but I will of course try my best and make it my own. Stay tuned for updates!

Review of “The Crown of Ptolemy” by Rick Riordan

Title: The Crown of Ptolemy
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson & Kane Chronicles Crossover #3
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 63
Published: 2015, Disney-Hyperion
My Grade: 3.5 out of 5 hats

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

In their first encounter, demigod Percy Jackson and magician Carter Kane had to battle a giant crocodile on Long Island. A month later, Annabeth Chase ran into Carter’s sister, Sadie, on the A train to Rockaway, where the pair fought a god named Serapis. Now trouble is brewing again, this time on Governor’s Island. An ancient Egyptian magician named Setne has come back from the dead and is experimenting with Egyptian and Greek magic, trying to become a god himself. He’s so powerful and tricky that all four-Percy, Annabeth, Carter, and Sadie-have to team up against him. But their usual weapons and spells aren’t going to cut it this time. Will the heroes be taken down by a wannabe god who looks like Elvis, or will they rise to the challenge?

MY REVIEW

As a small side-project right now, this was a fun story seen from Percy Jackson’s point of view. This is the third crossover story between Percy Jackson (Greek demigod) and Carter Kane (Egyptian magician) and it is very much like the first two (which I read a long time ago) and also very much like the main Percy Jackson series. Riordan writes with a lot of humor and after have read more “serious” books lately, it felt a little bit childish. But I am still a huge fan of Rick Riordan!

I give this book a 3.5 because it was enjoyable, but I wouldn’t go as far as to encourage everyone to read it. Sure, it is a short story, so if you have an hour to spare somewhere and if you are a big fan of Riordan’s world full of ancient mythology, definitely have a go at it, you won’t be dissapointed!

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.