readingtrance

book reviews by Althea

Ashes to Dust – Sigurðardóttir, Yrsa ****

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Ashes to Dust
Ashes to Dust by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I won this book through First Reads! Thank you Goodreads!

The description intrigued me, as it was described as appealing to fans of Stieg Larsson, and it both takes place in Iceland and is written by an Icelandic author.

I didn’t find that the story was similar to Larsson’s, either in theme or writing style. However, it did create a very strong sense of place – both in physical setting and the mentality of solving a crime in a very small country, where the number of people who know each other makes it almost like a small town. I liked the author’s ability to create this setting – just for this, reading the book was worthwhile.

However, as a mystery, I didn’t find the book very suspenseful. I note that several other reviewers said that they found the book “slow-moving.” It’s not, really, Hints and clues are revealed at a steady pace throughout the story. But the author makes sure, throughout, that the reader has always figured out the next ‘big reveal’ before the characters figure it out. It’s obviously done on purpose, but I’m not sure why. It has the effect of making the book ‘feel’ slow, as you’re constantly waiting for the investigator to figure out the thing that’s already been made obvious to you.

One thing is – I gotta say, for a lawyer, the main character, Thora, does an awful lot of investigating. Are lawyers allowed to investigate the crime, rather than just defending a case, in Iceland? Hmm. It made me curious about the Icelandic legal system.

As the book is translated from Icelandic, there are a few awkward phrases here and there, but for the most part, the language is very basic and straightforward.

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