In the interests of fairness, I feel that before I start this review I should make it clear that I am obsessed with all things Scandawegian. I love the Literature, the drama’s on TV, Moomins and travelling in Scandanavian countries something that I have had the great good fortune to do some of.
the best view of me in Norway
So if a Novel is based in a Scandawegian country it’s already going to appeal to me, as I’m travelling alone really did.
Unfortunately we didn’t get off to a good start, the prologue features a young woman dying in childbirth, sad and scene setting to be true, but the young lady has Haemophilia, this isn’t completely unlikely but it’s also extremely rare and made me slightly grumpy with the book before it really started.
You see Haemophilia is an X-Linked genetic disorder meaning it’s carried on the X chromosome, like colour blindness therefore it mainly affects men, Women inherit 2 X chromosomes compared to men’s 1 so they tend to only become carriers of the disease. Although being a carrier can result in a mild form of the disorder, and it is possible for a lady to develop haemophilia if she’s the child of a carrier and a sufferer it’s extremely unlikely. Also if you knew you had a bleeding disorder you are very unlikely to ever have a period let alone get pregnant as menstruation is likely to kill you. But lets say you got as far as giving birth in hospital and you did have a clotting disorder with the advent of blood banks and clotting factors your survival chances have probably significantly improved. This is a petty niggle I know but childbirth has loads of inherent dangers already and it’s quite possible to die of any number of quite common ailments related to pregnancy that to give the women such a crazily rare genetic disorder seems quite unnecessary to me so it really jarred me out of my enjoyment of the novel.
However things quickly improved into quite an eerie yet relatively slow paced thriller, one that didn’t overly do anything special to stand out but was still well planned and entertaining, however for me this is a good read not an outstanding read. I felt that the author was trying to incorporate too many strands and themes into the novel the main crime should have been the focus and it would have been an amazing story. The whole story thread with the church and heavens gate seemed a little counter intuitive to the rest of the story, It felt like to have done that aspect well would have required a whole other novel one which I would also have really enjoyed.
The story itself takes in quite a large amount of Oslo and the surrounding Norwegian countryside which is well described and the island featured is an amazing example of the breath taking scenery to be found in the country and the use of this varied and relatively uninhabited regions found not far from the main cities really lend themselves to the pace and type of story here. If you are a fan of Scandanavian literature this is well worth a read but not a real stand out for me.
For a Genuine stand out Norwegian treat try Anne Holt, her book 1222 is a brilliant variation on the classic locked room mystery set at the the highest point on the Norwegian railway system a beautiful station on a railway line considered to be one of the finest railway journeys in Europe.
Finse in Norway