Title: Höstsol (~ “Autumn Sun”)
Author: Lars Wilderäng
Published: 2017, Massolit
My Grade: 4,5 out of 5 suns
GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)
It is early September and in the archipelago of Stockholm, another submarine hunt is underway, but this time a civilian manages to capture something on camera, something that puts high pressure on the already shaky world situation.
At the staff in Moscow, a colonel takes a crucial decision and a Diplomat at the Russian embassy is everything but what he seems to be. At the same time, an American task force in Iraq makes a discovery that will get dire consequences.
Back home in Sweden, Johanna tries to put all her energy on her practicing squadron instead of on her wrecked relationship. Her ex Jonas starts his new job as crisis preparedness officer in Uppsala while his brother Christian is positioned as a body guard by the eccentric and hard-to-deal-with Minister of Foreign Affairs’ side. Soon it will dawn on them all that the safe reality they for so long had taken for granted, slowly but steady is going to change.
Before you start reading this review. I want to ask you if you are Russian. If you are, then I can promise you that this book will be very boring and dull and you can stop reading this review now.
Okay, good, now we have lost all the Russians. I wouldn’t want to have it on my conscious to recommend a book that potentially could lay waste to Sweden as we know it. The Russians in this book had a really impressive, and really scary and realistic strategy of taking over our beautiful country. Maybe this book should stay untranslated?
If you are a regular reader of my blog, or just read the blog description here on the right side, you know that I am fairly picky when it comes to choosing the next book. I love to dream myself away in a fantasy or sci-fi world. Why would I want to read something that could happen in the real and kind of “boring” world we live in? I rarely get out of my comfort zone and it takes a lot of time for me to actually pick up a book recomendation from a friend. But every now and then I surprise even myself. But still not entirely out of my comfort zone though. I knew what I was getting myself into this time. Why step out of the comfort zone by three large steps when you can take a single step and read something from one of your favorite authors? I know that Lars Wilderäng is a really good author after reading Stjärnklart. Even if the subject of this one might not interest me as much as sci-fi does, I at least knew that the writing would be good. And I am glad to say that I was correct. I am not disappointed.
The writing style is exactly the same as in Stjärnklart. We get to follow lots of different characters which gives the reader a completely different view on the world he is painting. You get to see everything at once instead of just following one character’s developement and interpretation on situations. In this case that type of writing really works (as it also did in Stjärnklart). Although, it leaves the reader with not just one cliffhanger, but several at the end.
There is one downside of writing like this, and that is that it is really hard to keep track of all the characters. Maybe not after getting to know them later on, but at least in the beginning. It is also hard to remember who did what after a while. And it is especially hard to keep track on characters that don’t recur as much, or maybe just one time.
One thing that I, as an aspiring author, struggle with is the balance between journey and action. Siri Pettersen’s book Odinsbarn (“Children of Odin”) was one of the best books I have ever read and it was full of journey sections. And long ones. But it still made the book amazing. Höstsol is the complete opposite. It is full of action and barely any journey sections at all. And is as amazing. From chapter one you realize that something huge is about to happen and you just continue to read on to find out what and how it will happen. It is impressive that Wilderäng can keep up the quality of the story along with so many things happening all the time. It never gets boring.
The reason why it “only” gets a 4,5 out of 5 is because I have basically no knowledge of any military things or strategies or weapons or anything at all. It was super cool that my grandpa was an army tank driver before he retired, but it stopped there, at the profession being cool. Since I knew nothing about the technicalities of it all, it was hard to understand sometimes. I understood the story, but why the characters did as they did, what everything was and how they reached conclusions and so on, was completely out of reach and understanding for me. What that means though, is that Wilderäng has truly done his in-depth research and made the story so incredibly realistic and scary. The details are definitely needed in this kind of story and he places them exactly where they are needed to make the full picture perfect.
I am impressed, Wilderäng! You were able to make me love a book that I wouldn’t have even looked at, much less bought and gotten signed. Kudos to you!