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review 2013-07-18 21:28
Samuel Sekel og Flukten fra Paris by Tina Trovik

 

3.75 stars.

 

This book is norwegian, and as far as I know there are no translations of it, but I recommend keeping an eye out for it.

 

When Samuel is 13 years old, he discovers a possible terrorist attack. The mysterious Agency, that's behind the attack, gathers information from the past n a gigantic library. On the Hardangervidde they have a secret school for timetravellers, where Samuel becomes a student. He soon understands that there is more to the Agency than timetravelling and gathering of facts. But it's only when he goes back to Paris under the revolution that he discovers the shocking truth about his parents and himself.

 

This book is the first book in a new norwegian middlegrade/young adult(-ish) series. I borrowed this book from a girl at camp who said it was really good, and the summary sounded interesting enough, so I took it with me home.

 

It was really great. The concept was the first that struck me. It's been a while since I've read anything so unique as this. It was very creative, and it felt really original.

 

I really enjoyed Samuel's character. I've never read about a character with narcolepsy. It's not something that you read about every day, and this book touched in it in a way that felt, at least to me, very real. Samuel was also realistic to his age, and was a very believable character. There were a couple of things that bothered me, but that had to do with the author, and not the character. His narcolepsy was almost forgotten halfway through the book and only brought up maybe one or two more times, like it wasn't even a problem. At one point early on in the book he also mentions that he struggles with claustrophobia, but in one scene where even I (with no claustrophobia) felt the need to take deep breaths because I imagined the dark walls closing in around him, he had no reaction at all. It would've been great to see these two struggles more fleshed out, and hopefully they will be more explored in the sequel(s).

 

The friendship that formed between Samuel, Nora and Martin was a very natural friendship with a nice, realistic "flow." It did not feel forced like it sometimes do, when the author places a few characters that would not be friends in real life and here they're suddenly bffs. They weren't natural friends, but it worked. They dynamic was great, and at times it reminded me of an early Harry, Ron and Hermione.

 

One of the things I personally struggled with in this book was the writing. It was very confusing at times, and it was very hard to imagine the setting. It was not explained good enough to make any sense. I also hate it when norwegian children books use english words. Sometimes it works, but when you use "stuck" where you could've used something norwegian and it would've looked a lot better, you're doing it wrong in my opinion.

 

There were a few times during the book that I picked up on sexist comments made by various characters. I'm not gonna recite them, but I just felt like mentioning it, because it's not something I appreciate, especially not in a book for children, and especially not when it's not called out on.

 

Do not let my negativity shy you away from the book if you get the chance to read it! It is very good, and especially the big secret reveal towards the ending. I held my breath for 15 minutes, more or less. It was very intense, and the actual secret was so worth it. I'm in awe.

 

The sequel will be out in August, and I'm hoping to get to it very soon after it comes out. What I'm not looking forward to is paying full price for a newly released norwegian hardcover... we'll see what I can do about that.

 

(This review can also be found on my goodreads account)

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