Month: March 2013

Matched – Ally Condie

Perhaps it is a shame that I read and reviewed “The Hunger Games” before reading “Matched”, their starting point is a dystopian society, where free will is a dream and the societal powers are manifest. In “Matched” the world is clean and organized by the officals and individuals are devided into castes regarding living conditions, jobs, and last but not least their partner. “Matched” begins with the teenage Cassia who attends her matching ball where she will learn the identity of her match. Lo and behold, the face on the screen is her best friend. Later, she sees a flash of someone else, again someone she knows, but someone who is not in the matching pool at all. Hello love triangle. The story plays out smoothly and the pages disappear quickly, but “Matched” does have a major flaw in my opinion. The story ends unresolved and with a cliffhanger. I am sure that from a marketing point of view, this is a sharp move, but I believe that any book, whether or not it is …

Med Venner i Lys – Øjvind Kyrø

Kristendommen, døden, kærligheden og levnedsforløb er nogle af de store emner, Johannes Møllehave og Jan Lindhardt samtaler om, mens de slendrer rundt i Roms kirker og drikker espressoer på cafe. Resultatet er “Med Venner i Lys”, hvor ungdomsvennerne spiller med og til tider mod hinanden med deres finurlige humor. Såvel Johannes Møllehave som Jan Lindhardt er interessante mennesker, hvis meningstilkendegivelser er nøje overvejede, og der begge hverken er bange for at sætte ord på tunge emner eller kalde en spade for en spade. Ind imellem dvæles der ved de to herres levnedsforløb, hvilket jeg til tider fandt en smule irrelevant. Flere gange er de omtalte episoder knyttet til et overordnet emne, og der er det personlige perspektiv interessant. Derudover bliver det lidt for meget to gamle gubber, der mindes hverdagen i deres liv. Hovedindholdet af “Med Venner i Lys” er imidlertid en skøn vekselvirkning mellem dybsindige tanker og morsomme vignetter, og således viser bogen to individer, der med humoren i behold, har taget stilling til de store emner som tro, livet, kærligheden og døden. Jeg …

66° North – Michael Ridpath

Iceland, the volcanic island in the North Atlantic is the main feature of “66 ° North” with its lava fields, fells, mountains, and barren landscape. In addition to the exotic landscape, Iceland’s political and societal landscape serves as a new and highly interesting foundation for a crime novel. Iceland is an exciting place, and it is really what sets this novel apart from the many, many others in the same genre. In 2009, Iceland almost literally went kerplunk. The historical economic boom came to an end with devestating results for the Icelandic individual and the nation as a whole. Huge loans in international currencies were defaulted and Iceland now has an almost insurmountable debt. That is the starting point for a meeting of 5 individuals at a demonstration ending in the death of a banker. The main character is Boston PD detective Magnus, who has come to his ancestral Iceland to work with the police there. With his American, big city/violent crime background, he seems almost over-dimensional in comparison to the more muted Icelandic police …

Skylight Confessions – Alice Hoffman

Family saga in three parts: Ghost wife, A house made of stars, and The red map. After the death of her father, 17-year-old Arlyn vows to love the next man, who comes down the street. This self-afflicted curse results in an unhappy marriage to John Moody, who for all his architectual creativity has lost or never had an open emotional life. Arlyn is trapped in their home called the Glass Slipper with the light of her life – her son Sam and later her daughter Blanca. Meredith, who finds herself in a lull in her life, sees John Moody followed by the ghost of his dead wife and tracks him back to the Glass Slipper, where he lives with the now teenage and troublesome Sam, 10-year-old Blanca, and his new wife. Meredith has a rapport with Sam, who sits on the glass ceiling of the house, high on drugs and low in everything else and she is employed as a live-in nanny. She tries to pull Sam back from the brink. John Moody dies and …

Sarah Thornhill – Kate Granville

The colonization of Australia has many aspects and has caused casaulties, strife, and devastation that still marks Australia today. In “Sarah Thornhill” some of these aspects come to the fore. Sarah is the daughter of a man, who was “sent off” – a convict who has worked hard and established a small, well-run farm in what is still the outback. She grows up loving a man, whose mother was an aboriginal, which is accepted until thoughts of marriage douse the air and an awful secret is confided to Sarah’s first love. Sarah marries another and learns the secret that is much worse than being the daugther of a “sent off”. The picture of the rough life with undercurrents of secrets in Australia is the aspect of “Sarah Thornhill” that I enjoyed the most. The story line in itself felt weak to me, especially the ending, where Sarah travels to New Zealand to tell a devestating story. I saw it as an attempt to finish the novel with a neat bow, but the result was more …

The Overlook – Michael Connelly

A medical physicist with access to radioactive materials is shot execution style on a Hollywood overlook and a large amount of cesium is missing. The hard-boiled cop Harry Bosch is on the case, and what seperates “The Overlook” from all the other great crime novels out there is that “The Overlook” is not just about catching the killer, it is about the chest-beating between Bosch as a cop and the FBI and viewing the crime as a homicide or an act of terrorism. Bosch wants the solve a homicide, while the FBI wants to recover the cesium. In the respect the novel’s title becomes multi-facetted. The overlook is the crime scene. It is the big brother supervision, the federal agencies have over the local police force. It is the danger of overlooking seemingly unimportant details in an ivestigation, and the danger of overlooking the facts when you are colored by prejudice and the fear of terrorism. “The Overlook” is definitely interesting and quite the page-turner, but I would not label the novel as character-driven. Bosch …

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club – Dorothy L. Sayers

Refined, quirky, and intelligent are the first words that come to mind when describing this Peter Wimsey mystery, followed by undeniably English with that dry humor that can be delivered with a stiff upper lip, but left me giggling aloud. For example from page 15: ‘Acid man you are,’ said Wimsey. ‘No reverence, no simple faith or anything of that kind. Do lawyers ever go to heaven?’ ‘I have no information on that point,’ said Mr. Murbles dryly. What’s not to love? The center of the story is the death of two elderly siblings and the question of which one of them died first. This has importance regarding the wills. However, the story is anything but simple and spirals outward from there in an all together organic way. The story takes place in the 1920s and the exquisite storyline is coupled with an intricate portrait of the era. The result is a murder mystery of the highest order. This is one of those few books that I enjoy so much that I want to read …

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Once again I have plunched into the young adult genre, this time reading the first installment of The Hunger Games Trilogy, and I found “The Hunger Games” thought-provoking. True to the genre, “The Hunger Games” features a teenager taking on adult responsibilities, including the obligatory love triangel and smoldering romance. What hooked me in “The Hunger Games” was the societal framework. The landscape of North America has changed, so that 12 provinces supply the capital while battling starvation. In memory of an attempted uprising, each province has to put forth a girl and a boy each year to participate in the hunger games – a reality show/battle to the death for the entertainment of the capital. This society is alien enough to appear fictional and yet still close enough to reality to crawl under your skin and feel ominous. Furthermore, “The Hunger Games” poses the question of how far does own fascination with reality shows goes. Where is the ethical line between entertainment of the masses and the integrity of the individual’s life, body, and …