I really, really wanted to love this book. To be honest, I wanted to finish it even more. Alas, it was not to be. Started off brilliantly, ended as nuclear waste.
I’ll start with its bearable aspects. An intelligent, female, black protagonist who is ready – and willing – to plant scissors into thighs. A nuclear bomb, which is almost always guaranteed to complicate matters. And that’s about it.
The basic plot started well – an unintended nuclear weapon, a quest to escape from a South African research facility and said genius protagonist, Nombeko. Her character was well developed, likeable (almost lovable), and I was able to stumble my way through the introduction of a pair of twins, one of whom does not officially exist. The other is an anarchist. Because of Jonasson’s comedy touch, I was just about able to bear it. But then the anarchic twin grew up, and grew to grate.
In real life, I find it difficult to deal with idiocy, and I am even less inclined to do so with my reading material. That is the sole reason why I was forced to just step away from this one.
Holger One – the anarchic twin – is a pure-bred idiot. He manages to aimlessly fall around the various situations in this novel, ruining everyone else’s lives and mine whilst he was at it. I was genuinely surprised that he hadn’t been throttled at birth, or trampled by a stampede of cattle, or was pushed in front of a bus. Any multitude of deaths would have been adequate, as long as it got Holger One off of the pages of the book and into a coffin. Or urn. I’m not fussy.
It was this stupid character that completely put me off of this book. Up until his introduction, everything was going swimmingly. It was a shame that I physically couldn’t finish it, as Nombeko was a fascinating character, but the boiling hatred that I had for Holger One would prove detrimental to my blood pressure. In all, The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden is a worthy choice if you’re accustomed to dealing with idiots (say, if you’re in daily contact with Jeremy Corbyn), but if you do end up finishing it, I doff my cap.
Have you read this book, and would like to convince me that I am an idiot for being too angry to finish it? Drop me a line, folks.