The Girl who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
Many may know this author from his best-selling novel, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. If you have read that novel, then you know more about this writer’s style than I do. I heard many good praises for the novel, including from the very-selective-rare-novel-finisher, so I bought that same person this book which came out afterwards. I cannot compare the writing style, but if I have interpreted what I have heard about this novel correctly, I can assume that the plot style and character descriptions are in line with this author’s previous work.
Beginning my review of this novel, what struck me most, throughout the entirety of the novel, is the novelty and intricacies of each character. Often you read books with side characters that appear and disappear, their lives only suited for a plot device and without color or detail. That is not the case in this book. Each character is unforgettable and has a backstory of varying degrees of incredulity. They each experience hardship, personal strife, and are told with humor. This makes each of them loveable and unique, making the cast of characters rich and eclectic. It is the characters that kept me turning the pages, for one cannot help but become enthralled in their lives, looking at them like real people, their thorough backstories driving the plot along. The various glimpses of these side characters become slightly addictive. This combination of richly layered characters and this almost absurdly coincidental plot make this book an entertaining read. Sure there are parts of the plot that concern the politics of South Africa and the state of the world, which are interesting (but by no means addictive), but the way the characters’ lives intersect and fall together in a series of coincidences, mistakes, and lucky accidents is the main entertainment. (I love a good political novel, a novel of intrigue, political strife and what not, but this book is a humorous journey of laughter and serendipity). The tone which everything is communicated is humorous and sarcastic, but there are also some few glimpses of poetic depth. Sentences which stand out from the page and inspired my inner student to highlight them.
This author has a keen eye for intersecting stories, rich and funny characters, and convoluted chaos. I do not want to give the plot away because you need to discover it on your own and the plot is too crazy for you to a) believe me and b) for me to get all of the aspects right. All I can conclude is, trust me, if you want to read a funny book with memorable characters whose struggles and flaws make you love them, try this book. See if the way this story magically fits together, where each piece is totally alien until the puzzle is complete, transfixes you the way it did to me.
P.S. I love the back hook: Just because the world ignores you doesn’t mean you can’t save it
By the way, I am starting a series on this blog called #bookgifts for all the books I give people, and haven’t read! It’ll be my mission to read all of the ones I have given as gifts and so all these reviews will be tagged with #bookgifts so you can easily search for it. I will also add it into the titles of those books! I hope you’re excited for this new series!