Thursday 8 July 2021

Book Review | The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jonasson | prettylittlewriter

Today's review is a mixed one. There were many aspects of this novel that I enjoyed; it was well written, there were some interesting characters and the ghost story was a spooky surprise. 


'Una knows she is struggling to deal with her father's sudden, tragic suicide. She spends her nights drinking alone in Reykjavik, stricken with thoughts that she might one day follow in his footsteps.

So when she sees an advert seeking a teacher for two girls in the tiny village of Skálar - population of 10 - on the storm-battered north coast of the island, she sees it as a chance to escape.

But once she arrives, Una quickly realises nothing in city life has prepared her for this. The villagers are unfriendly. The weather is bleak. And, from the creaky attic bedroom of the old house where she's living, she's convinced she hears the ghostly sound of singing.

Una worries that she's losing her mind.

And then, just before Christmas, there's an unexplained death, and Una's life going from bad to worse....'

Within this novel, there were numerous things that I found disappointing, and the ending fell a bit flat for me. 

Throughout this novel, there were several subplots that could have created drama or some interesting scenarios for our the main character, Una, but they were either short-lived, or just didn't go anywhere at all.
There is one character that, although married, tries it on with Una, and we also find out she's not the only one he's done it to, but instead of it turning into an issue for Una with the wife, or the possibility of creating a bad guy out of that character, the subplot just ends. 
It almost feels like there were numerous different things like this that were mentioned, and they were all just null and void to the actual story. 

I also felt like I didn't connect with any of the characters, I didn't particularly care about what happened to the residents of Skalar, or even Una herself. The only character I found myself liking was Thor, a potential love interest for Una.

I will say however, that the writing itself is very good, and I can see why a lot of people do love the book, but for me personally, I just felt let down by all the wasted potential within it.

I could see this novel working as an Icelandic TV show adaptation, but I think the character development would need to be worked on, and I would like to see the smaller subplots be fleshed out and actually turned into something.

All in all, I enjoyed the read up to a point, but it certainly isn't going to be one of my favourite books that I've read this year.

3/5 stars

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