Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden

The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden: Jonas Jonasson, June 2—18, 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

TheGirlWhoSavedTheKingofSwedenJonas Jonasson is back with a new barmy tale. The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden has much in common with The Hundred Year Old Man: an ensemble cast of hitherto unrelated characters who find themselves in the middle of a bizarre situation with numerous persons on their tail.

This, however, is no bad thing. With Jonasson, you know what to expect. So successful was Hundred in 2012 that more of the same is very welcome indeed.

It stars the titular Girl, South African Nombeko, who is saddled with an atomic bomb that she needs to dispose of. Joining her in this quest are Swede Holgar, who does not officially exist; his identical twin brother, also Holgar, who exists and plans to do away with the monarchy; this Holgar’s girlfriend, Celestine, mostly referred to as “the angry young woman”; three Chinese sisters skilled in fraud and an American Vietnam deserter who is convinced the CIA will come for him. In hot pursuit, among others, are the Israeli secret service.

A plethora of outlandish supporting characters completes the line up.

The trick with Jonasson is to suspend disbelief and go with the flow. Part of the fun comes from the utter ridiculousness of the developments, the misfortune of the coincidences and the ever-growing nightmare on the characters’ collective hands. This isn’t supposed to be believable; it’s supposed to be entertaining.

One of the greatest features of this book is its sheer unpredictability. In a moment, Jonasson will completely change the course of what you thought was happening with an unexpected plot development or sudden death. There’s no point second guessing this one, you are kept on your toes.

Again, the book is quite episodic and each chapter has a tendency to relay individual self-contained incidents which form part of the whole. Although this approach is fun, particularly with Jonasson’s humorous, tongue-in-cheek narration, it prevents the book from generating urgency and it would benefit perhaps from a bit of a trim. The incessant need of the author to provide backstories for every character is also a little wearisome after a while.

Even without the finessing suggested above, Sweden is another delightful romp that will definitely keep you entertained.


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This entry was posted on June 18, 2014 by in 4 star and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare