Starstruck

A lot of people are telling me to read books that they loved. Most of the times, it takes me a long time to actually get to read them. One of my biggest regrets is Throne of Glass, it took me way too long before I read it from when someone told me about it. One exception to this behavior of mine is Lars Wilderäng’s Stjärnklart series. I read it almost instantly and I loved it! One of the best series I have ever read. I know a lot of people who think the ending is too spaced out, but I loved it, it was the perfect ending to that story.

Anyway, to my starstruck-story. Yesterday I had a friend from Cal Poly here for a day and I just had to show him my favorite store (and probably his new favorite store): Science Fiction Bokhandeln. When I was there I saw a sign that tomorrow (=today) Lars Wilderäng woud be there to sign his new book, Höstsol.

I have a really bad cold right now, but that didn’t stop me from going. I usually don’t get starstruck around celebrities, and wasn’t at first today either. I was a loss at words first, but then told him that I loved Stjärnklart, and told him, somehow (I honestly don’t know in what order I said stuff or how I got to it, but we talked for a little while) that he had already sent me signed copies of the whole series because I wrote reviews last Christmas. Want to know something funny? He remembered me! And this is where I got starstruck! He told me that my blog post, written in English, was used to promote the book abroad!!! Somehow, I also got it in there that I am writing my own book in English (because he remembered my review specifically since they were in English). I told him that I currently have 17k words and he told me that I should aim for 100k words. He also asked me what it was about and it looked like he slightly nodded approvingly when I briefly told him the story in two sentences. Or at least that’s what I will remember to keep myself motivated to keep writing.

This is definitely on my list of cool stuff that I have been through!

An early Christmas gift

Christmas came early this year when I the other day got a package in the mail. Earlier this week, Massolit Publisher had a contest on Instagram where you could win the whole Stjärnklart series signed by the author if you knew the name of the third book in the series. The contest was over before I even saw the post, bummer. But I tried contacting them anyway, the contact person was the one I had been in contact with when writing my reviews. She replied very quickly that they were already on their way to me, sent from the auhor himself. So cool!

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They are now an important part of my bookshelf! Thank you, Lars Wilderäng!

Review of “Stjärndamm” by Lars Wilderäng

stjarnklart-03-stjarndamm-lars-wilderangTitle: Stjärnfall (~ “Stardust”)
Author: Lars Wilderäng
Series: Stjärnklart #3
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic, Horror
Pages: 296
Published: 2016, Massolit
My Grade: 5 out of 5 shiny vampires

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

The civilization which was slowly  but steadily rebuilt, 10 years after the Shutdown, has been completely shredded. No bullets in the world can protect them against the enemy which was close to exterminate them all. And who proved way worse than the most horrific nightmare.

Some of the few survivors have once again gathered at Carlsten’s fortress, trapped like rats surrounded by threathingly black eyes. There has to be a way to stop this threat, even if it is the last thing they will do. The question is how will they get out of captivity, and if there are more survivors out there?

MY REVIEW

As always when I finish a series I feel sad. Especially when it is such a great series as this one. I am satisfied with the ending, it was extremely unexpected. Or maybe I have been too stressed while reading this, about school stuff that I just read it without thinking about what could possibly happen next? In either case, I found this last book in the amazing trilogy very unexpected (it was hard to guess what would come next in the first two as well). Lars Wilderäng really makes you sit on the edge of whatever you are sitting on and he totally makes it impossible to put down the book unless you fall asleep with it in your hand (yes, that has happened almost every night).

The finale was shorter than the other two and it was noticeble, but it was still full of action as the second, until the very very end.

I don’t want to spoil it for anyone and since I am new at writing reviews, I haven’t really learned how to write reviews further along the road of a book series. But, I loved this book, I loved the series, I loved all the excitment, and most of all; I loved the realism of the story. Like I said in my previous reviews, this feels feasible, this is how the world could end one day and I wouldn’t be surprised.

I want to thank Lars Wilderäng for this experience I got, reading the Stjärnklart series for the past three weeks. I hope I will be able to enjoy other books after this, haha! I also hope that Wilderäng wants to continue writing in this universe, I see great potential for more books! (I also can’t wait for the TV show!) Anyway, easy five out of five! Everyone should read these three books! I MEAN IT! READ! IT!

Review of “Stjärnfall” by Lars Wilderäng

stjarnklart-02-stjarnfall-lars-wilderangTitle: Stjärnfall (~ “Shooting Star”)
Author: Lars Wilderäng
Series: Stjärnklart #2
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic, Horror
Pages: 395
Published: 2015, Massolit
My Grade: 5 out of 5 gas masks

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

Ten years have passed since the doom of modern civilization, when all electronics were wiped out by a high technological attack. Slowly, life has started to stabilize, but is the danger really over? The Shutdown, as the period when all electricity disappeared is called, was probably only the beginning. Now, humanity faces an even bigger threat.

Jocke, the military man is finally back in Sweden after a long assignment in the Middle East and is hoping for a calm life. The farmer Filip Stenvik is under the protection of Västra Götaland Federation but is worried about new attacks. Maximiliam is a grown man and is doing his best to break free from his childhood home and to create his own path. At Carlsten’s Fortress, Bohuslän’s governor Gustaf Silverbane, is collecting his forces, while the head of research Anna Ljungberg is trying to analyze the opponent they don’t know anything about. But what if the enemy is already among them? Maybe closer than anyone could imagine…

MY REVIEW

If I had several emotions while reading Stjärnklart, I pretty much only had one while reading the sequel Stjärnfall: hopelessness. I thought that the first one was dark and depressing, but this one was worse. It was impossible to see how it could end in a good way. I am not gonna say if it did or not.

The first 150 pages or so were very similar to the first book. Some chapters described what happened during the Shutdown, some chapters described what happened during the first few years, and then, the last two thirds of the book was only what happened 10 years after the Shutdown. And it was filled to the top with action. Horrible thing after horrible thing happened and I couldn’t put down the book. Last night I had about 100 pages left, it was late, but I couldn’t stop reading so I finished it at 3am and am surprised that I managed to fall asleep right after. Honestly, I had a nightmare two nights ago.

Like I said, the first part of the book was very similar to the first one, it was realistic and scary because it felt like this could happen to us any day. The second part was very different from the first, because now, the science fiction of it all surfaced. It was still very realisticly written and even though I don’t have too much science fiction novels to compare it to, it felt like a different type of sci-fi book. A realistic type of sci-fi and nothing at all like Star Wars for example. I am not going to spoil anything so I will leave it at that, but it is really scary.

Despite the feeling of hopelessness being my companion throughout this book, I still loved it and recommend everyone to read it now (or patiently wait for the English translation)! Start with the first one, Stjärnklart, obviously. No question about it, 5 out of 5!!

Review of “Stjärnklart” by Lars Wilderäng

stjarnklart-01-stjarnklart-lars-wilderangTitle: Stjärnklart (~ “Starlit”)
Author: Lars Wilderäng
Series: Stjärnklart #1
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic
Pages: 403
Published: 2014, Massolit
My Grade: 5 out of 5 dust particles

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

Electronics does not have an immune system…

Johan works in a store chain for mobile phone reparations. Something is not right with more and more broken phones which have been turned in lately. They are stone dead, but filled with dust which quickly spreads and irritate airways. In the idyllic suburbs south of Gothenburg, Magnus Svensson is fighting to get his life puzzle together. When the car out of nowhere stops working, he gets stranded together with many others. The car companies are powerless, and he puts his fate to public transit. But where is the train? Food stores are empited of food and no new deliveries are in sight. Filip Stenvik has survivalism and prepping as hobbies on the side of his job as a barista on Söder, but is he really prepared to let his hobbies become a reality? The Policeman Peter Ragnhell sees an opportunity to expand his unconventional methods of crime fighting. At Karlsborg’s airport, elite soldier Gustaf Silverbane stands ready for a tour abroad when a firelight fills the sky and everything suddenly falls apart. At the same time, the programmer Anna Ljungberg makes a discovery, which threathens to change the conditions for all human life on earth. Or is it already too late?

After yet another power failure, everything changes. The dark fall enters a starlit winter where chaos rules and few survives.

 

MY REVIEW

In the past 8 days that it took for me to read this book, I have had a flood of different emotions. Most if it was anger towards the ugly human-without-tech behavior. There were some happy moments as well, relief here and there, but also fear. Is this what would happen if all electronics in today’s society would fall apart? Would humans really turn against each other in a matter of days to ensure their own survival? It is scary to think about how badly prepared I am in case of an emergency. It has made me think about my situation and how I could be better prepared if anything happened. Especially since there are posters here and there every now and then in Gothenburg asking if I could survive 72h without anyone or anything else than what I have at home. I would most likely be one of those 80% who died in the first few months of this book.

The first thing that I really liked about it was that it mostly took place here in Gothenburg, my hometown. I rarely read any Swedish books and they all take place in imaginary places. But now, as I was on the commute train to work in Kungsbacka, the guy in the book was also on the commute train to Kungsbacka! With the names of street and landmarks here in Gothenburg it was super easy to see how all this took place right in front of me. They were shooting and killing each other at Liseberg, on Gustaf Adolf’s square right in downtown a market slash massacre took place. I think that was a huge contributor to why I liked this book so much. It felt so real to me, and especially since it was so realistically written. It felt like a feasible scenario and I can imagine that this is how it would all go down.

It was a scary book, but what scared me the most were the people. After reading the first chapter about Peter the policeman (all the chapters were from different people’s point of view and most characters were recurring), I was so angry! He is the biggest douchebag ever. There are rarely any authors who make me hate a character as much as I hate that guy. So, I guess, I want to give credits to Lars Wilderäng for creating such livid characters.

As a teacher in the subject “teknik” (=technology) at a high school I think I am going to suggest to a teacher in Swedish, that for next school year make a collaboration with the two courses. The students should read this book, do all the linguistic parts about writing analyses of books and whatever. But also use that knowledge when working with technological development in the technology class. There is one very big part of the final grade, and that is to understand the interaction between society, humans and technology. That could be an interesting assignment.

Anyway, this book gets a star clear 5 rating and I will start on the second “Stjärnfall” right now. Some bad news for my English-speaking readers. This book is not yet translated. I really wish it would be, so not only Swedish-speaking people can enjoy it. But until then, keep your eyes and ears out, hopefully it will happen soon.

Book review copies

The main reason why I am writing book reviews now, are because of my friend Elin (tickmicks bokblog) whom I know from Liseberg. She is as crazy as I am about books. Okay, she is probably more crazy honestly. But she inspired me and made me realize that I could contribute to the world about the experience and enjoyment I get from reading books. Now in hindsight, I wish I did this a long time ago. I have had this blog for almost four years now and I have read tons of books since then. They were a big part of my life in California and on my travels and have made me associate make books with great memories.

Anyway, Elin and I talk every now and then about books and she keeps telling me that she gets recex, which is short for recensionsexemplar, which I guess translates to review copy (=revco?). It basically means that you get books for free to write reviews on them. I decided to try this out for myself since I am actually writing reviews now. So I contacted a publisher a few days ago, and today I got it emails with links to download .epubs of the whole “Stjärnklart”-series. Unfortunately for you who don’t speak/understand Swedish: the books are in Swedish and there are no translations yet, that I know of. But if you like the review (which will be up in about a couple of weeks I guess, or sooner depending on how awesome it is) and think that the books sounds interesting, I am sure they will be translated soon enough, they are a huge success in the postapocalyptic dystopia category here in Sweden right now.

I am at the point in my blogging that I can ask publishers for review copies, but I am still waiting for authors to contact me. But on the other hand, this way I can ask for books that I really want to read, so it’s not too bad. I think I will go and lie on the couch now and start reading Stjärnklart (or should I continue with Resan till Ljuset?).

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