Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

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Udgivet 28. marts 2017 af Hodder & Stoughton. Engelsk. 536 sider. ★★★★★★

ENGLISH VERSION BELOW

Kender I det, når I læser en bog så magisk og gribende, at den får jer til at sidde og stirre ud i luften, knugende den ind til jer, i mange minutter efter I har afsluttet sidste sætning? Sådan en bog var Laini Taylors Strange the Dreamer for mig. Jeg vil så inderligt gerne have alle til at læse denne utrolige fortælling, men jeg har flere gange prøvet at beskrive den for folk og fundet det noget nær umuligt hver gang. Så jeg tror, jeg vil starte med et citat.

“Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleads. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”

Taylor har taget sin egen karakters ord til sig og skrevet netop det, som bønnen her lyder på: En umulig, smuk og helt igennem magisk fortælling om guder og monstre, drømme og mareridt. Hendes poetiske sprog og drømmende beskrivelser er lige til at få gåsehud af. Hendes skrivestil er måske ikke for alle, men den er helt sikkert unik. For at bruge et udtryk fra Taylor selv, så føles det som kalligrafi og honning.

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”I turned my nightmares into fireflies and caught them in a jar.”

Historien fortælles af to personer: Lazlo Strange, forældreløs bibliotikar, drømmer og selvlært ekspert i eventyr – og Sarai, mareridtets muse og gudeyngel i skjul.
Lazlo har en drøm om at finde en forsvunden by, hvis navn engang blev stjålet fra hans hukommelse. En dag dukker en delegation fra denne forsvundne by op foran hans bibliotek i søgen efter hjælp til at redde deres by fra en ukendt trussel, og Lazlo får mod alt forventning en plads blandt dem. Pludselig begynder en af byens gamle og mest frygtede gudinder at vise sig i Lazlos drømme – før han overhovedet kendte til hendes eksistens. Men hvordan kan det være, at hun for Lazlo langt fra virker som den grufulde gudinde, hendes ry beretter om?

Mere vil jeg ikke sige. For det første fordi det er noget nær umuligt at beskrive alle de mange elementer i denne besynderlige fortælling, for det andet fordi man virkelig skal gå ind i bogen næsten uforberedt og lade den storslåede verden og det velspundne plot udfolde sig af sig selv. Jeg kan dog sige, at det er en fortælling om identitet og om at finde sin plads i verden. Om fordomme og hudfarve, alkymi og eventyr. Det er en kærlighedshistorie uden helt at være det. Men mest af alt er det en historie om barbariske guder og empatiske monstre.

They gazed at themselves in it, side by side and hand in hand, and they beheld neither gods nor monsters. They were so nearly unchanged, and yet that one thing – the color of their skin – would, in the real world, change everything.

Jeg vil også lige have lov til at rose karaktererne. Der findes de bøger, som er tydeligt karakterdrevne, mens andres styrke ligger i plottet eller i skrivestilen. Det er sjældent, man finder en bog, der formår at være alle disse ting og så meget mere, men sådan en bog er Strange the Dreamer. Karaktererne er velskrevne og komplekse, og jeg holder så utrolig meget af især Lazlo, der, med fare for at lyde for cheesy, giver mig lyst til at forfølge min egne drømme. Men nogle af de mest interessante karakterer er faktisk bipersonerne, dem som på den ene side er tydeligt ”gode” eller ”onde”, men som på den anden side alligevel ikke er nogen af delene. Lad mig kort præsentere dem for jer: Alkymisten Thyon Nero, dronningens gyldne gudsøn, der gang på gang tager æren for Lazlos præstationer. Minya, en seks-årig pige der leger med de døde og er opslugt af en blodig hævntørst. Og Eril-Fane, the Godslayer, en mand tynget af en voldsom sorg og skam, som ikke stemmer overens med hans helterige gerninger. For måske er der slet ikke så langt mellem guder og monstre?

Jeg har kun tilbage at sige, at det her er en af de mest velskrevne og magiske fortællinger, jeg længe har læst, og at I simpelthen bare må og skal give den en chance. Og slutningen… åh, den ond. Ikke helt en cliffhanger men noget langt værre.
Læs den. I kan takke mig bagefter.

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ENGLISH

Do you know that feeling you get when reading a book so magical and gripping that it makes you sit and stare out into thin air and hug the book close to you for several minutes after finishing? That’s the kind of book Strange the Dreamer was to me. I so wish that everyone would read this incredible tale that I don’t even know how to begin describing it to you. I think I’ll start with a quote:

“Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleads. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”

That’s exactly what Taylor has written: An improbable, beautiful and magical story about gods and monsters, dreams and nightmares. Her writing is so poetic and dreamy that goosebumbs literally erupted one my skin while reading. I don’t think her style is for everyone, but it sure is unique. To use Taylor’s own words: her writing is like “calligraphy and honey”.

The story is told by our two main characters: Lazlo Strange, orphaned librarion, dreamer and self-trained expert in fairytales – and Sarai, the muse of nightmares and god spawn in hiding. Lazlo dreams of finding a lost city whose name was once plucked from his mind. One day, a delegation from said city shows up at Lazlo’s library in search of help to save the city from an unknown threat and against all odds Lazlo is granted a place among them. Suddenly, one of the city’s old and most feared goddesses shows up in Lazlo’s dreams – before he even knew of her existence. But how is it that, in Lazlo’s eyes, she doesn’t seem like the horrible goddess that the myths have made her out to be?

I won’t go into too many details about the plot. First of all, it’s almost impossible to try to describe the many elements in this strange story. Secondly, I think it’s best to go into this book unprepared and just let the magnificent world and the beautifully weaved plot unfold itself. I CAN say that it is a tale about identity and finding your place in the world. About prejudices and skin color, alchemy and fairy tales. It’s a love story without centering around that. But most of all, it’s a story about barbaric gods and empathic monsters.

They gazed at themselves in it, side by side and hand in hand, and they beheld neither gods nor monsters. They were so nearly unchanged, and yet that one thing – the color of their skin – would, in the real world, change everything.

I also want to praise the characters. There are novels which are mostly character driven and others whose greatest strength lies in the plot or the writing. To find one that is all of those things is rare, but Strange the Dreamer is exactly that kind of book. The characters are well-written and complex and how I love the dear Lazlo Strange who actually makes me want to follow my own dreams (too cheesy?). But some of the most intriguing characters were the minor ones, those who, on one hand, are clearly meant to be “good” or “evil” but who, on the other hand, are neither. Let me introduce you to them: The alchemist Thyon Nero, the queen’s golden godson who time after time takes credit for Lazlo’s achievements. Minya, a scary six-year-old girl who plays with the dead and is obsessed with revenge. And Eril-Fane, the Godslayer, a man whose many shames and sorrows do not correspond with his heroic deeds. Because maybe the difference between monsters and gods aren’t that big after all?

All I have left to say is that this is one of the most well-written and magical tales I have read in a long time and you need to give it a chance. And the ending… oh, its evil. Not entirely a cliffhanger but something far far worse.

Read it. You can thank me afterwards.

 

 

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

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Published by Andrew McMeal Publishing on 4th of November 2014. Poetry. 208 pages.
My rating: ★★★☆☆☆

I rarely read poetry, but if you’ve been anywhere near the online book community it’s impossible you haven’t heard of Rupi Kaur’s poetry collection Milk and Honey. It is everywhere and since everyone seemed to love it, I became curious and of course had to see what all the hype and the positive reviews were about. Unfortunately I ended up a little disappointed and very underwhelmed.

The book is split in four parts: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, the healing. The first part I adored! So many of the poems really resonated with me. I think I cared so much more for the first part because it’s the part I have experienced myself. Childhood, parents, insecurities, the first kiss and first experiences with what you think is love.
After that everything started to be all about the all-consuming love  (which I personally haven’t yet experienced) and the heartbreaking ending of said love. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t feel as connected to the words as almost everyone else seems to be. They just didn’t hit that spot in me where I know that what I read will stay with me. There were poems that had an impact on me but it was the minority. At times the poems even felt like something plucked out of some kind of self-help book and made into badly punctuated sentences to make it resemble poetry.

I know it sounds like I hated Milk and Honey but I didn’t. I just didn’t love it the way everyone else do. To read it was still an experience I wouldn’t have been without and Rupi Kaur’s sketches were definitely an added bonus that fitted the poems very well. I could also feel how deeply personal the collection is to her and how much soul and heart she has put into it.

I am going to reread it again in the future and see if my opinion has changed. In the meantime I’ll read some other works of poetry – who knows, perhaps it’s just me who don’t understand the genre?

 

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2016 Wrap Up

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2016 has been such an amazing reading year for me. I started @booksandstardust last January and being part of the bookstragram community has made me read so much more than I used to. Not that numbers are the most important thing (because it’s not) but it is still nice to look back at the year and feel that you’ve accomplished something and reached your goals.
I had set my mind to 52 books in 2016 and I ended up reading a total 61 books so I’m pretty proud of myself.

Books read in 2016 (in order I read them)

All The Light We Can Not See by Anthony Doerr: ★★★★★★

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle: ★★★★☆☆

Der Bor Hollywoodstjerner på Vejen by Maria Gerhardt: ★★★★☆☆

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: ★★★☆☆☆

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling: ★★★★★★ (reread)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling: ★★★★★★ (reread)

Harry Potter and the Giblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling: ★★★★★★ (reread)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling: ★★★★★★ (reread)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling: ★★★★★★ (reread)

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: ★★★☆☆☆

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling: ★★★★★★ (reread)

Macbeth by William Shakespeare: ★★★★★★

Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling: ★★★★☆☆

Den Faldne Engel by Kenneth Bøgh Andersen: ★★★★★☆

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton: ★★★★★★

I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson: ★★★★★☆

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell: ★★★★☆☆

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling: ★★★☆☆☆

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: ★★★★★★

Emma by Jane Austen: ★★★★★☆

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: ★★★★☆☆

A Tyranny of Petticoats by Jessica Spotswood: ★★★☆☆☆

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer: ★★★★★☆

Cress by Marissa Meyer: ★★★★★☆

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han: ★★★★★★

Winter by Marissa Meyer: ★★★★★★

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare: ★★★★☆☆

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: ★★★★☆☆

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey: ★★★★☆☆

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson: ★★★★★☆

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer: ★★★☆☆☆

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: ★★★★★☆

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: ★★★★★★ (reread)

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: ★★★★☆☆

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: ★★★★☆☆

Outliers – The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell: ★★★★★★

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas: ★★★★★★

Silkworm by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling: ★★★☆☆☆

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne and J.K. Rowling: ★★★☆☆☆

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: ★★★★☆☆

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ★★★★★☆

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank: ★★★★★★ (reread)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: ★★★★★★ (reread)

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab: ★★★★☆☆

Persuasion by Jane Austen: ★★★★★★

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater: ★★★★★★

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater: ★★★★☆☆

Short Stories from Hogwarts of  Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by J.K. Rowling: ★★★☆☆☆

Den Faldne Djævel by Kenneth Bøgh Andersen: ★★★★★☆

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: ★★★★★☆

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater: ★★★★☆☆

Hemmelighedsfulde fortællinger by Edgar Allen Poe: ★★★★☆☆

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: ★★★★★☆

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: ★★★★★☆

Zenobia by Lars Horneman: ★★★★★☆

Ravnenes Hvisken by Malene Sølvsten: ★★★★★★

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: ★★★★★☆

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: ★★★★★☆

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them – The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling: ★★★★★★

Vintereventyr by H.C. Andersen: ★★★★☆☆

 

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I will probably make a post about my favorite reads of the year, but this was just an over-all view.
I hope you all had an amazing 2016 and are ready for a new year of reading!

Hugs from Ida

 

Songs that remind me of books

Books and music. Two of the best things this world has to offer. Why not mix them?
I thought I’d create a list of books paired up with one or two songs – because I feel that the mood, characters or plot of the books are somehow reflected in that song. Hope you enjoy!


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The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare: Demons by Imagine Dragons

This song is such an accurate description of Will Herondale (my bae).
It’s like he’s the one singing it to Tessa.

 

Don’t want to let you down
But I am hell bound
Though this is all for you
Don’t want to hide the truth

Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

They say it’s what you make
I say it’s up to fate
It’s woven in my soul
I need to let you go


skaermbillede-2016-12-13-kl-17-15-36The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton:
No Angel
by Birdy

I actually feel that Birdy’s whole album Fire Within fits – the songs and the book have that same beautiful sadness about them. And the lyrics to songs like “Wings” and “Strange Birds” are also really fitting to many of the characters and themes. But I had to go with this one because.. well, if you’ve read the book you know why.

I ain’t no angel, I never was
But I never hurt you, it’s not my fault

Wings by Little Mix

A completely different kind of music than Birdy’s and while the mood may not be all that fitting for Ava Lavender’s story, the lyrics always make me think of her character and situation.

Mama told me not to waste my life,
She said spread your wings my little butterfly
Don’t let what they say keep you up at night
And they can’t detain you
‘Cause wings are made to fly



skaermbillede-2016-11-29-kl-18-46-30Six of Crows
by Leigh Bardugo: Sinister Kid by The Black Keys

A sinister song for the sinister gang of misfits in the Six of Crows duology. When I listen to this song my head always fills with images of Ketterdam’s grey streets and Kaz Brekker’s troubled face.

Well, the crooks are out 
And the streets are gray 
You know I wouldn’t have it 
Any other way

I got a tortured mind 
And my blade is sharp 
A bad combination 
In the dark



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Winter by Marissa Meyers: Castle by Halsey

I think this one is pretty obvious. You know, with Cinder storming the castle and everything.

I’m headed straight for the castle
They wanna make me their queen
And there’s an old man sitting on the throne that’s saying that I probably shouldn’t be so mean
I’m headed straight for the castle
They’ve got the kingdom locked up
And there’s an old man sitting on the throne that’s saying I should probably keep my pretty mouth shut



skaermbillede-2016-12-13-kl-17-15-58Mockingjay
by Suzanne Collins: Wear Your Demons Out by Alex Vargas

Mockingjay was such a dark and agony-filled read. I feel that this song kind of describes what Katniss and Peeta (but especially Peeta) are going through during the book.

 

Hoping you could bear it, but you want to run
The agony you carry is blocking out the sun
So breathe in
Take it out on loved ones, I know you want to fight
Nothing really matters when you wanna die
But we’re breathing, keep breathing

Don’t disappear into a dream
Everything here is what it seems
I’ll be around
To tear all your demons out


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A Court of Mist and Fury 
by Sarah J. Maas: Save the Hero by Beyonce

To me, this song is pretty much Feyre at the beginning of ACOMAF. She’s deeply depressed by what she did in ACOTAR and she’s slowly dying on the inside with no one there to see the pain she’s in. Until…

I bottle all my hurt inside
I guess I’m living a lie
Inside my mind each day I die
What can bring me back to life?

Who’s there to save the hero
When she’s left all alone
And she’s crying out for help?
Who’s there to save the hero?
Who’s there to save the girl
After she saves the world


17675462The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater: King and Lionheart by Of Monsters and Men

This song reminds me of Henrietta and magic forests and ghosts. Also, I always think of Gansey and Blue, the king and the lionheart.

Howling ghosts they reappear 
In mountains that are stacked with fear
But you’re a king and I’m a lionheart
A lionheart

 


BONUS ROUND
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling: Born to Die by Lana del Rey

Y’all know why…
(Sorry, but I just couldn’t have one of my favorite books and one of my favorite artists missing)

This post was so much fun to make and I hope you enjoyed both reading and listening to it!
Hugs from Ida ❤

 

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

 

skaermbillede-2016-11-08-kl-21-55-33Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world. (source)

 


Published by Hodder and Stoughton on September 27th 2016. English. Last installment in the Six of Crows duology. Genre: YA fantasy.
My rating: ★★★★★☆

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Crooked Kingdom was absolutely amazing. I have some small issues with it, so I’ll just get them out of the way so I can start raving about all the good things asap.

This book took me such a long time to finish and I had a hard time getting into the story at first. A LOT of things happened and the very detailed plot with its many ups and downs was dragging out. It wasn’t exactly bad but I felt like the story just went make a plan, act the plan out, the plan fails, make a new plan, and so on over and over. I don’t know if I just wasn’t in the mood for a big, complicated storyline when I started it in November…  Luckily, the amazing and interesting set of characters kept me going and suddenly, about halfway through, things went completely crazy and I finally got properly invested in the story. I sped through the last 200 pages this very night and haven’t been able to think about anything else since. Now all I want to do is read more about this amazing crew.

Even though the plot felt like a little too much of everything in the beginning, I must give Leigh Bardugo credit for how complicated and rich in details this story is. I have no idea how she managed to plan something like this out in her head. Only Kaz Brekker could do that! But then again, Bardugo is the one who invented Kaz…

My absolute favorite thing about the book is the cast of main characters. It’s diverse, both lgbt+ and poc characters are represented, and it has some extremely strong female characters too.
We have the leader, Kaz Brekker, scheming and manipulating and with so many inner demons it’s crazy. Inej, the spy with the horrible past who could take on any man no matter his size. We have the sassy and waffle loving Nina with her big personality and her magic that isn’t quite what it used to be. Theres’s the skeptical warrior from the North, Matthias, who’s crazy in love with Nina and is constantly battling his morals. We have Jesper, the queer sharpshooter with a secret and some huge gamble problems that suddenly catch up with him in the form of his father. And last but not least there’s the runaway, Wylan, a bomb-making engineer who discovers a thing or two about is family.

That’s one hell of a gang. We doesn’t get as much of their backstories as we did in Six of Crows, but I feel that this one isn’t only about their pasts. It’s about moving on form the past and starting a future. It’s also not a love story, but the romance it does have is moving painfully (and beautifully) slow – it’s both heart wrenching and cute.
Usually, I’m not much for stories with multi-person narrative but it somehow works brilliantly in Crooked Kingdom. (I’ll admit that the fact that I love each and every one of the characters could have something to do with that.) The shifts in point-of-views are always perfectly timed and doesn’t disrupt the story at all.

I also really like that the characters all have questionable morals. They are a group of thieves and thugs, convicts and murderers. They have gone through horrible things and have done horrible things themself in order to survive. Most of what they do is definitely on the wrong side of the law, but you are rooting for them anyway. You never know what they are going to do and that makes everything so more interesting. Crooked Kingdom is an anti-hero story when it’s best. It’s also a fascinating story that makes you think about right and wrong, ethics and morals. It deals with important social issues and explores diversity in cultures and in people. This is a story about our own world wrapped in a gripping and action-packed plot. 

Maybe there were people who lived those lives. Maybe this girl was one of them. But what about the rest of us?
What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary.
That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.

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Goodbye November ★ Hello December

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Goodbye November

November has been such an exciting month bookwise. I went to my very first Bogforum (the Danish version of BookCon) where I met some amazing authors, including Patrick Ness. I’ve written about my experience (only in Danish) and you can check it out here.

Many firsts happened this month. I joined a readathon for the first time, The Tome Topple Readathon, which was going on from November 18 to December 1st. I didn’t manage to read all I aimed for (like I really really failed, see my tbr here), but it was still a lot of fun and I ended up reading 837 pages in total.

A lot of things has been going on in the magical universe of Harry Potter during November. I went to see Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, which was AMAZING. (Can I please have my own niffler for Christmas?) I also bought the script and I’m so excited to be reading it next month! On November 22, new tickets for Harry Potter and The Cursed Child in London were released and after sitting in line for what felt like forever I ACTUALLY GOT TWO TICKETS! They’re for December 2017 and I have absolutely no idea what’ll be doing then or who I’ll will be watching it with but I just had to buy those tickets. Luckely London is only a short airplane trip from Copenhagen. And jeez, am I excited?

Hmm, what else? I finished watching Gilmore Girls just in time for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. The revival episodes weren’t nearly as good as the original seasons but I kind of expected that. And Rory, ugh, when did she become so annoying? But it was still so amazing to be back with the fast-talking and coffee-drinking mother/daughter duo.

I created a Twitter account and I cant believe I waited so long to do it. It’s so handy! Also, my Bookstagram reached 900 followers which I’m extremely thankful for ❤

WRAP UP

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★☆☆
A group of outcasts and misfits takes on a seemingly impossible mission. They have to break into the best protected prison in the world without getting killed. Or killing each other.
Great world building, lots of action and I especially enjoyed hearing about the different characters’ backstories. A good YA fantasy novel for anyone who likes antiheroes.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (illustrations by Jim Kay) ★★★★★★
One night a monster visits Conor O’Malley. It’s there to tell him three stories and to make him realize a truth. But what truth can be more scary than even a monster?
It was a heartbreaking and beautiful story accompanied by amazing drawings that really added something to the mood. I can highly recommend it!

Zenobia by Morten Dürr (illustrations by Lars Horneman) – Danish ★★★★★☆
Graphic Novel about boat refugees told for children. A small girl ends up in the big ocean where she looks back on her life and her escape from war-torn Syria.
Never has a book with so few words said so much. It takes the refugee crisis down on a level where children understands the seriousness of the situation. Beautiful illustrations!

Ravnenes Hvisken by Malene Sølvsten – Danish ★★★★★★
Anne can see into the past and one day she has a vision of a brutal murder of a red-headed girl who gets a rune cut in her back. Suddenly red-heads bearing the same rune are being killed in the area. Annes life is all of a sudden filled with people who wants to be close to her. But who can she trust? And is the strange vision really something from the past?
One of my favorite reads this year! It’s danish fantasy noir/crime with elements of Norse mythology. It’s such an intriguing read and if you’re interested I have a Danish review you can check out right here.

HELLO DECEMBER

Christmas is upon us and it is BY FAR my favorite holiday! And this year I’ve actually got the money to buy really nice gifts for people!
Hopefully I’ll find time in between all the Christmas preparation to get som reading done. Here’s my TBR, but if I know myself right I probably wont follow it…

TBR

I am going to finish the two books I’m currently reading (the leftovers from Tome Topple) which are Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brönte and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.
Then I hope to get to Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, which is the book of the month for the Austentatious BookClub.
The script for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is also on my TBR for the month of December (I already miss Newt and Co.). If I have time I’ll read one of the Harry Potter novels as well (probably the 3rd or 6th, my favesss) for HarryXmasToYou. If not then I guess Fantastic Beasts will have to do.
I’ll also be reading a book called Vintereventyr. It’s a small collection of some of H.C. Andersen‘s best winter fairytales and it has the most stunning artwork inside! I got it last Christmas and have waited all year to finally read it.
Last but not least I have my advent calendar story called Julemandens Død (translates into The Death of Santa Claus) by Kenneth Bøgh Andersen. You read one chapter each day until Christmas and I think that’s such a nice idea.

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Many Christmas hugs from Ida ❤

 

 

Ravnenes Hvisken af Malene Sølvsten

(Danish post)

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Nordisk fantasy noir, hvor en række bestialske mord viser sig at hænge sammen med en urgammel profeti om verdens undergang.

17-årige Anne kan se hændelser i fortiden, og en nat genoplever hun et uhyggeligt gammelt mord. En rødhåret pige bliver myrdet og får skåret et runetegn i ryggen. Men kort efter begynder rødhårede piger at blive dræbt på egnen, og tegnet er på dem alle.

Pludselig er den lille by fuld af fremmede. De har mystiske kræfter, og de kredser om Anne, som ikke er vant til at have folk tæt på. Den asatroende Luna, den gudesmukke Mathias og den mystiske Varnar ønsker alle at hjælpe hende. Men er de venner eller fjender? Kan hun stole på sine følelser efter et helt liv alene? (kilde)


Ravnenes Hvisken af Malene Sølvsten I Serie: Ravnenes Hvisken #1 I Forlag: Carlsen I Udgivelsesdato: 01.06.16 I Sideantal: 707 I Min bedømmelse: ★★★★★★


Det her bog kom fuldstændig bag på mig. Forventningerne var sat højt grundet al den gode omtale, romanen har fået, og den levede da også fuldt ud op til dem. Nej, faktisk oversteg den dem. Men den var ikke hvad jeg havde regnet med, hvilket blot gjorde den så meget bedre. Jeg er overrumplet og forelsket og synes på ingen måde, at de mere end 700 sider var nok. Her er hvorfor.

Romanen er velskrevet og gribende, plottet er nervepirrende og beskrivelserne af Nordjyllands barske natur er enormt betagende. Næsten hvert eneste kapitel slutter med en cliffhanger, der gør bogen noget nær umulig at lægge fra sig. Jeg blev fuldstændig revet med, og jeg sad selv og prøvede at gætte morderens identitet undervejs. Og selvom mine anelser viste sig at være korrekte, er bogen langtfra forudsigelig, og jeg havde da også flere under mistanke inden afsløringen.
Ordet unik beskriver Ravnenes Hvisken utrolig godt. Genren er fantasy, men alligevel føles det ikke som noget, jeg før har læst. Det er en interessant hybrid mellem krimi og fantasy (og en masse dansk humor), hvilket fungerer strålende.
Fantasy kan ofte virke overvældende, især når vi får leveret en masse information om det fantastiske univers. Men hovedpersonen Annes sarkastiske og tørre reaktioner på disse afsløringer gør det hele lidt lettere at acceptere. Hun håndterer og forholder sig til det overnaturlige med en tilpas mængde skepsis og sort humor og tager således de mange fantastiske elementer ned på et plan, hvor det ikke bliver for meget af det gode.

“Lige nu er jeg stærkere, smukkere og visere end ellers.”
“Tillykke med det,” mumlede jeg og himlede.

På et tidspunkt, lidt over halvvejs inde, synes jeg dog, vi blev bombarderet med lidt for mange store afsløringer og informationer om det overnaturliges eksistens og Annes identitet. Introduktionen til alt det overnaturlige (jeg ser det lidt som bogens overgang fra krimi til fantasy) var lige lovlig abrupt efter min mening. Men det er også det eneste, som jeg kan sætte en finger på.

Hovedpersonen Anne har fuldstændig vundet mit hjerte, og hun er en af de vigtigste grunde til, jeg holdt så meget af bogen. Anne er en selvstændig pige, hun er ikke særlig medgørlig og til tider svær at holde af. Hun har ikke haft det let, da hun gennem sin opvækst er blevet kastet rundt mellem diverse plejefamilier. Folk ser skævt til hende, hvilket har gjort hende tvær og isoleret. Men jeg fandt hendes skeptiske væremåde enormt forfriskende, for det er præcis sådan nogle kvindelige hovedpersoner, vi mangler i YA. Ravnenes Hvisken kunne let komme til at ligne noget à la Twilight –  en hjælpeløs pige, som alle overnaturlige væsner af en eller anden mystisk grund drages mod, og som lægger hele sin lykke og alle sine valg i hænderne på en fyr. Men heldigvis er Anne ingen Bella Swan. Hun finder sig ikke i noget som helst, hun står fast ved sine principper, og selvom hun ofte har brug for hjælp, er hun langt fra hjælpeløs. På grund af Annes stærke personlighed kan Ravnenes Hvisken derfor klare selv de mest overbeskyttende, selvopofrende og kærlighedserklærende Edward Cullen-typer, uden det forringer historiens kvalitet.

“Jeg synes ikke, at du skal træne med ham mere.”
“Det er godt nok synd for dig, at du ikke synes det.”

Hvis I har læst min anmeldelse af Den Faldne Djævel, ved I nok godt, at jeg er en sucker for mytologi, der flettes ind i romaner. Og det gør Malene Sølvsten! Det fede er, at hun ikke bare gør det overfladisk med de mest kendte myter. Nej, hun dykker så langt ned i den nordiske mytologi, at jeg ikke engang kunne følge med (og jeg var ellers så sikker på, at jeg havde godt styr på mine nordiske myter). Hun bruger bl.a. Vølvens spådom fra 900-tallet til at forme plottet, hvilket er genialt. Samtidig stiller hun nogle interessant spørgsmål om religion, der giver både Anne og læseren lidt at tænke over.

“Den menneskelige hjerne er et mysterium. Skabte den guderne, eller skabte guderne den?”

Ravnenes Hvisken var for mig et frisk pusterum mellem al det engelske fantasy, jeg normalt læser.  Malene Sølvsten lader eksempelvis bogens teenagerne gå i seng med hinanden uden det gøres til en big deal, og sort humor og jokes med seksuelle undertoner bruges i stor stil, hvilket jeg var vild med. Bogen mindede mig om, hvor meget jeg holder af dansk fantasy, som jeg slet ikke læser nok af. Og Malene Sølvsten er i den grad blevet en af mine favoritter indenfor genren, hvor hun får plads blandt forfattere som Lene Kaaberbøl og Josefine Ottesen.

Malene. Tak for at give mig lyst til både at udforske mere dansk litteratur og nordisk mytologi. Tak for en helt fantastisk og medrivende historie. Jeg kan ikke vente til næste bind udkommer.

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