Review of “Höstregn” by Lars Wilderäng

Title: Höstregn (~ “Autumn Rain”)
Author: Lars Wilderäng
Series: Höstsol
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 395
Published: 2018, Massolit
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

A bigger part of Europe is without power and means of communication. Control centres are wiped out and hours are passing without backlashes simultaneously as rival troops are crossing the borders.

Time is meagre and hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake. Body guard Christian Vindelby ends up in the middle of the installment of a new government, Johanna is stuck in a desperate juggernaut duel and Jonas is stranded in the chaos south of Uppsala with the kids, at the same time as a huge responsibility are laid upon his shoulders.

In the defense centre of Moscow, Misja’s fight for survival has only just begun and in the USA, hidden forces are working to escalate the situation further.

When old leaders fall, one no longer can control who will take their place. One desperate plan is formed, but the question is if everyone is prepared to pay the price?

MY REVIEW

Everyone who has ever read a book knows that it can sometime start off kind of slowly and uneventful. Even if it is the second or third or 7th book in a series. I have found the exception that confirms the rule: Höstregn, the sequel to Höstsol by Lars Wilderäng. Everything starts at page one! Taking off exactly where Höstsol ended, at the cliffhanger. The feeling of hopelessness that joined me in the end and taunted me with one year of waiting for the sequel joined me right away on page one. And kept going for a long while. It looked very very bad for the poor Swedes. And honestly, it is not until the very end that hope comes forward. I like that it is stated pretty early on about a big secret mission, but you don’t really know until the very end what it is about.

Like with all the other books Wilderäng has written, it follows many characters and at first I felt that it was hard to get to know the different ones, that his type of writing is better to give a full overview of the plot, rather than following the personal developments of the characters. But I changed my mind towards the mid/ending. I did feel with the characters, I felt what they felt and even started crying a little bit at one point.

If I remember correctly, Höstsol had lots of military details and I had a hard time following exactly everything that happened because it was sort of easy to zone out when details occupied page after page. This was easier to understand. I wouldn’t say less detailed, because it still was, which made it super realistic, but it was easier to follow. More feelings involved perhaps? Easier to relate to.

The reason Höstsol only got a 4.5 is because of what I just wrote in the paragraph above. And since that is not applicable in the sequel, Höstregn gets a 5!

Review of “Höstsol” by Lars Wilderäng

Title: Höstsol (~ “Autumn Sun”)
Author: Lars Wilderäng
Series: Höstsol
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 478
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.

 

MY REVIEW

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!

Review of “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

Lord of the Flies - [William Golding]Title: Lord of the Flies
Author: William Golding
Series: –
Genre: Fiction, Classic
Pages: 205
Published: 1954
My Grade: 4 out of 5 smoke detectors

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

When a plane crashes on a remote island, a small group of schoolboys are the sole survivors. From the prophetic Simon and virtuous Ralph to the lovable Piggy and brutish Jack, each of the boys attempts to establish control as the reality – and brutal savagery – of their situation sets in.

The boys’ struggle to find a way of existing in a community with no fixed boundaries invites readers to evaluate the concepts involved in social and political constructs and moral frameworks. Ideas of community, leadership, and the rule of law are called into question as the reader has to consider who has a right to power, why, and what the consequences of the acquisition of power may be. Often compared to Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies also represents a coming-of-age story of innocence lost.

 

MY REVIEW

I am surprised at why I didn’t read this one in school many many years ago. Doesn’t everyone read Lord of the Flies in school and have to write analyses on what the deeper meaning of the book is? I didn’t and therefore felt that I really should read this and see why it is so loved by teachers. I definitely see why it is considered to be a classic. And it is most definitely a book that fits right in with today’s societal problems. The main story of young boys getting stranded on a deserted island is an exciting story in itself. It is an intriguing scenario where most people can only imagine what it would be like, what they would do and what their new personalities would develop into. I honestly felt uneasy at several points in the story and I also caught myself making faces on the train on my way to and from work. It is a brutal story and it is hard to imagine why some of the 12 year-old boys could cmpletely change personalities and become violent-loving tyrants. It is really sad. The sides, represented by the rule-abiding nice-guy Ralph and the bloodlusting hunter Jack, can be compared to society. Ralph stands for politics and democracy and only tries to do what’s best for everyone, keeping the fire alive so a ship can see them and come to rescue. Jack wants to have fun, he wants to go hunting and loves the drama and stands up to Ralph. He gets lots of followers and in the end the good side only consists of Ralph and the smart, but rather disliked boy Piggy.

One thing that didn’t really feel good when reading this, was that I never really knew the characters. Most of them were just names, but still mentioned a lot. It was first at the end where the names were fewer that you understood them better. It was also written rather inconsistently. It almost felt like there were two different authors. This is a book meant for children, but in some places it was written with many difficult words that I don’t even know and had to look up. But in most places the language was normal. It should have been consistent throughout in my opinion. It would have been easier to read, either way. The characters felt their age, however. It is not often that a book nowadays has characters that act their age, they usually come off much older. But these boys really felt like 12. Good.

I don’t really know what else to write, it was well worth my time, and I do get it why students read it in school. But maybe more kids would appreciate it more if they waited some years. I give it a 4.