Does This Book Make Me Want to Buy the Author’s Other Books?

24 10 2011

I have in front of me on my desk a book titled “Harbor” by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It’s a book translated from Swedish. I finished it last night, and I’ve been mulling since then whether I liked the book.

I have a conclusion now. The answer is no.

Why? Well…(1) If I have to mull over it, that tells me something. (2) I asked myself: “Does this book make me want to buy the author’s other books?” The answer is “No.”

So, no, I reckon I did not like the book, but it has plenty of good things going for it. A review quote on the back equates Lindqvist to Stephen King. I’m not crazy about King, so I might not be the best person to review “Harbor.”

But here goes. Good things first. Lindqvist has a knack for setting. For creepiness. Some of the scenarios in the book are downright delicious. Also, this book depends heavily on back story (which is good and bad). I estimate about 2/3 is written in back story, and 1/3 in present time. Most of the time, this works. When it does not work, though, the story drags. Plus, in the 1/3 “present time” good space was devoted to minor characters and their actions. I didn’t care about them. More dragging. At one point a bit past halfway, I was tempted to call it a day. No more reading. No finishing the book. I forced myself to finish, though, and the book picked up again soon after that.

The story summary purports that this book will be about a girl’s disappearance. It is not. It is about an island, about a town. The girl is only one little piece, so that may be part of why I disliked the book. I entered the book expecting one thing and came out with something different (something I hadn’t wanted to read about).

Bottom line: Lindqvist throws in too much. He has an underlying “monster” (monster for lack of a better word — perhaps villain or boogeyman would be better, but the bad guy is not even a guy. Or anything resembling a person). Halfway through, two ghosts pop up, and we’re introduced to their characters’ back stories. Halfway through! That for me is too late to introduce characters of such  import. A lot of other stuff is thrown in, scattered about, and it got to be too much.

Also (and I have this issue with King often), the underlying logic just did not work for me. I was like… “Huh? Okay…”

The ending was very disappointing.

I suppose if you like Stephen King, you’ll like “Harbor” too.







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