22 June 2013

Another of the half-priced used book

Another of the books I picked up at the used book sale was actually on my "to read" list. It was The Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg. This one was a two dollar special. And worth more.

Dan Conrad and I discussed this book after reading one of Läckberg's books a couple years ago. Somehow I hadn't gotten around to reading it. Maybe it wasn't in the library. If memory serves me, this one is better than the previous book.

Fjallbacka, setting of the novel
The plot centers around a multi-generational family secret, a huge pile of money, and some not very nice people. Läckberg does a great job of telling the story. She uses several narrators to tell the story and one of the interesting things she does is have them describe themselves and each other. If you've seen the television ads that ask people to describe themselves for a sketch artist and then have someone else describe them for the same sketch artist, Läckberg's technique makes sense. The differences between how we see ourselves and how others see us can be amusing and insightful. Läckberg uses this writing trick for both purposes. It's delightful.

Then there's the big reason this book is better than the last. Läckberg tells snippets of story, one after the other. Last time I likened it to writing stories, cutting them apart, mixing up the pieces, and then pasting them back together in mostly chronological order. The technique made it really difficult to follow what was going on. This time around, Läckberg has added many more transistions. All it takes is a reference at the end of one snippet to the character who then tells the next snippet. Well done.

However, she really disappointed me in the last half of the book. About three-quarters of the way through the book, one of her narrators, who has been telling us readers nearly everything she sees, hears, and thinks, suddenly opens a letter, reads it, and announces to the readers that she knows who the killer is. But she doesn't tell us readers. Nor does she tell the detective she's been shadowing, even though they've been sharing clues, ideas, and each other for over half the book. Läckberg doesn't even offer a rationale for this breach of faith. It sort of (not completely) spoiled the end of the book for me. I learned while writing this that Ice Princess was Läckberg's first novel. For that fact she gets a break from me for this little betrayal of her readers.

But overall, it was a great story, well told.

Have you read The Ice Princess? What did you think of it? Write. Tell this little bit of the world what you thought.

[ begin crocdile tears ] I know that few of you used the links to Amazon to purchase books, but there won't be any more cute little links. Amazon "fired" all its "Associates" in Minnesota in order to avoid paying sales tax (VAT) on things sold in the state. [ end crocodile tears ]

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