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The Whale Rider
Witi Ihimaera
The Palace of Illusions
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden - Jonas Jonasson I really liked the film of [b:The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared|18308098|The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared|Jonas Jonasson|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1376250592s/18308098.jpg|10365993] so I decided to give this a try. It's easy to see the similarities between the two: a sweeping historical backdrop, an unusual main character and a complicated plot that's structured rather like that arrangement of pipes on the cover, only more so. Since I was new to the actual writing, I couldn't feel jaded about it.

I really loved Nombeko as a character. I even got over my disappointment that she was only really a girl for the first few chapters, although I kept hoping that maybe her daughter... I don't know, I just expected that contrast between the very old guy of the first book and a very young one in the second. It's maybe true that Nombeko's character arc fizzled out a bit towards the end. Or maybe it was the fault of Holger One and Celestine as you might expect. They had really expended the full depths of their stupidity before the end, so perhaps they should have been ruthlessly evacuated from the stage to make way for fresh meat.

I read a lot of fantasy, and The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden isn't that, but it's so fantastical it hardly matters. In fact, one of the things it does is raise the question of where exactly the historically accurate bits break off and imagination sets in. It's also written in an expository style which isn't officially well thought of in English writing but seems to filter through in translations from Scandinavia and Germany quite often. Never mind all that 'show don't tell' stuff, when it's done well, I like it.