The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund (out today) #BookReview #CrimeFic #DisturbingReads

crowgirlTitle: The Crow Girl
Author: Erik Axl Sund
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 784 pages
Publication Details: April 7th 2016 by Harvill Secker
Genre(s): Crime Fiction; Thriller
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

It starts with just one body – tortured, mummified and then discarded.

Its discovery reveals a nightmare world of hidden lives. Of lost identities, secret rituals and brutal exploitation, where nobody can be trusted.

This is the darkest, most complex case the police have ever seen.

This is the world of the Crow Girl.

Review

Everything about this book drew me in until I realised that it’s almost 800 pages long! I probably would have been put off if I’d realised that before I requested a copy (because as a ‘in spare-time blogger’, I aint got time for that), but I’m so glad I started reading first. It was totally worth the investment of time. 

The Crow Girl is one of the darkest, twisted, deviously woven crime books I’ve ever read. As the synopsis suggests it starts with one dead body, and mannnn does it escalate from there. 

We follow protagonist Jeanette Kihlberg, a respected detective who is assigned the case when a mummified boy is discovered. Jeanette is a strong protagonist. She’s clearly dedicated to her work but is also consumed by it, which takes its toll on her private life. As more bodies show up, and the search for a killer intensifies, Jeanette’s life starts to unfurl. 

The Crow Girl isn’t a simple whodunnit tale. It’s a complex saga of child abuse, paedophile circles, corrupt officials, false identities, human trafficking and psychological battles. It took me a few chapters to get hooked and adapt to the dark and twisted tone of the story but once I did, it was impossible to not get completely invested the story.

Originally written as a trilogy, and published here as one volume, The Crow Girl has been painstakingly translated from Swedish. Despite the length, I’m really glad I read this all in one go as I think it would have been too confusing in three separate books and I’m not sure I would have appreciated the first part enough to read the second; it’s all about the bigger picture and the pay off at the end! I was also extremely thankful for the short chapters – they really helped in making the book less of a chore. 

This is one of those books where I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but what I will say is that The Crow Road is a book that sheds light on child abuse and the damage it can cause. The effects of which ripple throughout all 700+ pages of this disturbing Swedish triumph.

It actually reminded me a lot of the Hannibal TV show with similarities in both content and style/tone, so if you enjoyed that I’d highly recommend giving this one a try.

unicorn rating 4

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen #BookReview #FairyTales

snowqueenTitle: The Snow Queen
Author: Hans Christian Andersen
Illustrator: Sanna Annukka
Format: hardback, 92 pages
Publication Details: October 22nd 2015 by Hutchinson (first published 1844)
Genre(s): Fairy Tales
Disclosure? Nope, it was a Christmas gift.

Goodreads // Purchase

Hans Christian Andersen’s magical tale of friendship and adventure is retold through the beautiful and intricate illustrations of Finnish-English illustrator Sanna Annukka. Cloth-bound in deep blue, with silver foil embellishments, The Snow Queen is a unique work of art. 

Sanna Annukka is familiar to many from her collaborations with Marimekko and her artwork for Keane’s album, Under the Iron Sea. For her second book project, she illustrates Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, The Snow Queen.

Review

This edition of The Snow Queen is absolutely beautiful, complete with Scandinavian style illustrations.

I was always more of a Grimms gal than an Andersen one, but this has made me think that perhaps I’ve been missing out. I didn’t expect Andersen’s fairy tales to be dark and twisted, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that one certainly has an edge to it.

The Snow Queen has had a lot of interest since Frozen was released, being the text that inspired it, but the similarities are relatively small, and the links often tenuous.

The Snow Queen is about the friendship between a young boy and girl, Kay and Gerda. When Kay is infected with icy evil from the shards of shattered magic mirror he changes, becomes mean, and is taken by The Snow Queen. Despite his recent behaviour, Gerda’s love for Kay never falters, and she sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue him meeting a variety of strange characters on the way.

The themes of unconditional love and sacrifice, along with the stunning Scandinavian winter landscape are what clearly inspired Frozen, but don’t expect much more of a connection than that.

I enjoyed this story, but I loved the illustrations more. It’s a lovely book for a gift.

unicorn rating 4