Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review| Strindberg's Star: A Novel by Jan Wallentin

[I linked to this review previously, but I've decided to just post the whole thing here. Full disclosure: I won this book on Goodreads' First Reads.]

Strindberg's Star by Jan Wallentin features two mythical objects and tells of the lengths a secret society will go to in order to seize ownership of them.

Amateur diver Erik Hall finds one of the artifacts in a abandoned mine shaft. Lost for a century, the ankh has resurfaced and immediately draws the attention of the shady organization that has been looking for it. Erik quickly falls victim to those who seek the ankh. Thrown into the mix is Don Titelman, an unlikely hero who spends most of his days in a drug-induced haze. Together with his would-be lawyer, he flees Sweden to get to the bottom of the mystery of these objects that now plague him.

The novel moves between characters quite a bit. In part one, we visit Erik, Don, an intern, a photographer, and a few others. It is all written well enough for the reader to be able to hold them separately and not get confused, though. This character shuffling tones down a bit in parts two and three and the novel is the better for it. Don is perhaps the most well drawn character. His confusion and curiosity come through nicely. Everyone else seems to play a bit part, even Eva. She features in a greater part of the story, and yet it’s hard to feel very close to her.

This book also incorporates a lot of historical events into the story, showing the muddled past through a focused lense. It adds a new layer of meaning to the atrocities of the past, from the trenches of World War One to the concentration camps of World War Two. The novel is very well researched. All the events mesh seamlessly and real as the actual events.

Overall, this book was quite a ride. Well paced, it grabbed my interest from the start and held on. Much like Don, I needed to see the mystery through to the end. And the end of this novel is indeed very satisfying.

See this review on: Goodreads | Librarything | Shelfari

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