Books, Review

Book Review: The Hurricane Party – Klas Östergren ****

the hurricane party klas ostergren

Hanck Orn’s son is dead. When they come to the door they tell him it was a heart attack, he knows they are lying. So he travels to the archipelago at the outermost reaches of the land to find out what really happened. He lands on an island and is met by a young woman, hair streaked with blood, raving like a lunatic. She is one of the sisters, who tell him the story of how his son died in the great hall of the Clan, the Norse gods, who were holding a party. But the festivities soon got out of hand, the guests began to argue with one another, and the mischievous shapeshifter Loki dealt a deadly blow. Set in a dystopian future that recalls Orwell and Zamyatin, Klas Östergren has weaved a dizzying story of magnificent scope and foul play. Moving from the golden halls to the depths of the underworld, it is about one man’s search for justice for his son in a world on the brink.

This book had been on my TBR for at least a year, so it was about time I picked it up.

As you may or may not know, I adore the Marvel movies that have come out in recent years. I especially love the Thor ones. Complicated characters are my favorites and Loki fits that description perfectly. He’s not just some lose canon, it’s obvious that there’s more to him than meets the eye.

Now I’m eagerly awaiting the new movie ‘Ragnarok’, which is coming out in two weeks, and I know it’s going to be amazing, but I needed something to help me fill the void until that movie comes out. The Hurricane Party sounded like the perfect filler.

The book starts off somewhere in the future. There have been some big changes. Sickness has killed a lot of people and the environment has been utterly destroyed. You now have two seasons: the rainy season (which drowns everything) and the dry season (which burns everything). Food is scarce and people have to make do with what they have.

Hanck lives in the city with his grown-up son who’s a chef and cooks for the richest part of the population, the Clan. Hanck himself repairs machines and listens to “The Organ” in his spare time. Doesn’t sound very interesting but they still managed to draw me in.

The first part of this book is mainly getting to know the main-character and the situation he’s in. It’s also about figuring out who killed his son (it takes a loooong time before we get to that part). I guess this book is about family and love more than the murder itself. Things are not straightforward or pretty. They are depressing because the situation is depressing. I actually really liked this dystopian part, the world-building and the character dynamics.

I also enjoyed the writing. It’s a bleak world he’s portraying but he does it extremely well. I could imagine myself there. Although I’m not entirely sure where ‘there’ is. Some say it’s Stockholm, which I can understand, but I guess I’m just thrown off by the mention of Dutch and Flemish people. (Loved that by the way, I don’t often see Flemish people in these kinds of books)

The second part of the story is where the Norse Mythology comes in. Like I said, I adore Norse Mythology and this book didn’t disappoint me. I actually learned a lot and I loved the way he wrote Loki. He’s not a likeable character, but he’s interesting. There were so many myths in here and normally I wouldn’t have wanted it to end…but……….. it slowed down the entire story and I still feel like the glue, that was meant to keep the two parts together, wasn’t strong enough. They still felt like two completely different stories to me.

So would I recommend it?

Maybe.

If you like Norse Mythology and dystopian stories like I do, then you’ll probably like it a lot. If you like Swedish crime novels, this could also be something you’d enjoy because it has the same atmosphere.
If none of these things are your cup of tea, maybe you’d better read something else.

Cover: Goodreads
Buy? Bookdepository

Books

Book-Tube-A-Thon TBR 2017

This year the BookTube-A-Thon is taking place from July 24th – July 30th.

All information can be found here (Youtube) and here (Website).
Let’s get on with it.
Here are the books I will try to read next week. I have to say, it’s a very ambitious TBR because I’m working full-time… But we’ll see how it goes.
Challenge 1: A book with people on the cover
The Hurricane Party – Klas Östergren (buy)
the hurricane party klas ostergren
Lots and lots of people on this cover.
Hanck Orn’s son is dead. When they come to the door they tell him it was a heart attack, but he knows they are lying. So he travels to the archipelago at the outermost reaches of the land to find out what really happened. He lands on an island and is met by a young woman, hair streaked with blood, raving like a lunatic. She is one of the sisters, who tell him the story of how his son died in the great hall of the Clan, the Norse gods, who were holding a party. But the festivities soon got out of hand, the guests began to argue with one another, and the mischievous shapeshifter Loki dealt a deadly blow. Set in a dystopian future that recalls Orwell and Zamyatin, Klas Östergren has weaved a dizzying story of magnificent scope and foul play. Moving from the golden halls to the depths of the underworld, it is about one man’s search for justice for his son in a world on the brink.
Challenge 2: Read a hyped book
Our Endless Numbered Days – Claire Fuller (buy)
our endless numbered days claire fuller
This has been everywhere on YouTube for a while so I’m counting this as my hyped book.
1976: Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children and listening to her mother’s grand piano, but her pretty life is about to change.

Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end which is surely coming soon, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared.

Her life is reduced to a piano which makes music but no sound, a forest where all that grows is a means of survival. And a tiny wooden hut that is Everything.

Challenge 3: Read a book in one day
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams (buy)
the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy douglas adams
A short and fun book. Can’t believe I haven’t picked this up yet.
On 12 October 1979 the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor (and Earth) was made available to humanity – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly afterwards to make way for a new hyperspace bypass and his best friend has just announced that he’s an alien. At this moment, they’re hurtling through space with nothing but their towels and an innocuous-looking book inscribed with the big, friendly words: DON’T PANIC. The weekend has only just begun…
Challenge 4: Read a book where the main-character is different from you
Maus – Art Spiegelman (buy)
maus art spiegelman
Different from me in that this story takes place during the Second World War and it’s told in a specific way with cats and mice.
Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale and Maus II – the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival – and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents.
Challenge 5: Read a book outdoors
Makkelijk leven – Herman Koch
makkelijk leven herman koch
You may know him from “The Dinner”, “Summer House with Swimming Pool” and “Dear mr. M.”. Makkelijk Leven or ‘Easy Life” is a little book he wrote as a book-day-present. I don’t think it has been translated though… but it’s veeeeery short 😉
Tom Sanders writes popular self-help books. His books “Crime without borders” and “Easy Life” have sold over 40 million copies. He leads a comfortabel life with his wife Julia and two grown-up sons of which Stefan – his youngest- is his favourite.
During Julia’s birthday party, they get a visit from Hanna, Stefan’s girlfriend, on whom Tom and Julia are not too keen. She tells them how Stefan has hit her and how it was not the first time. Does Tom address the issue? Can he find a way to talk to his son based on his own self-help books?
Challenge 6: A book you bought for the cover
The Burial (new title: The Untold) – Courtney Collins (buy)
the burial courtney collins
I had never heard of this book but it looked amazing so I bought it… I don’t normally do that but look at it. It’s so beautiful!
It is 1921. In a mountain-locked valley, Jessie is on the run.
Born wild and brave, by twenty-six she has already lived life as a circus rider, horse and cattle rustler, and convict. But on this fateful night she is just a woman wanting to survive though there is barely any life left in her.
Two men crash through the bushland, desperate to claim the reward on her head: one her lover, the other the law.
But as it has always been for Jessie, it is death, not a man, who is her closest pursuer and companion. And while all odds are stacked against her, there is one who will never give up on her—her own child, who awaits her.
Challenge 7: Read seven books
Heldere Hemel – Tom Lanoye
heldere hemel tom lanoye
Officially the shortest book I have on my shelf. So perfect for a read-a-thon..
Based on true events. During The Cold War, a Russian Sovjet fighter plane crashes in a small Belgian village. A small event on a global scale but it has a massive impact on one family.
Well, wish me luck!
Are you participating in the Book-Tube-A-Thon?
What are you reading?