Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Today's read... The Night Raven by Johan Rundberg

I've been really excited to dive into today's read. It greets from Sweden and is the first in a series, which has done very, very well. It's also the first time it's hitting the English language world...well, in August, it will...unless you want to read it in Swedish or one of the languages, which it's already available in.
Anyway, this one has already sold its film rights, which means that somebody thinks it's a great tale. So, I'm going to peer in and see if I can join this opinion. 

Note: After reading this one, I would love to put it onto my possible Favorites of 2023 list, but I feel as if that's cheating, since it's not really a 'new' read. However, I am giving it special mention!

The Moonwind Mysteries #1
by Johan Rundberg
Translated by A.A. Prime
Amazon Crossing Kids
Middle Grade Mystery / History
192 pages
ages 8 to 12

AUGUST 22!!!

Mika is not your average orphan—and she’s about to prove it.

It’s 1880, and in the frigid city of Stockholm, death lurks around every corner. Twelve-year-old Mika knows that everyone in her orphanage will struggle to survive this winter. But at least the notorious serial killer the Night Raven is finally off the streets…or is he?

Mika is shocked when a newborn baby is left at the orphanage in the middle of the night, by a boy with a cryptic message. Who is he? And who is this “Dark Angel” he speaks of? When a detective shows up, Mika senses something even more sinister is going on.

Drawn in by Mika’s unique ability to notice small details—a skill Mika has always used to survive—the gruff Detective Hoff unwittingly recruits her to help him with his investigation into a gruesome murder. Mika knows she should stay far, far away, and yet…with such little hope for her future, could this be an opportunity? Maybe, just maybe, this is Mika’s chance to be someone who matters.

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/62823214-the-night-raven
AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BG65H3SW
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/?ean=9781662509582


With tons of tension, heart, secrets, and grit, this is a mystery to dig the teeth into while being immersed into a rougher but realistic, historical world.

At thirteen, Mika's life could be worse. She has a roof over her head, friends, and food. Usually. As an orphan in a home during an exceptionally long, cold winter, firewood has become scarce and food not much more than a grey, bowl of mush. But that's more than some in the city have. When a newborn is dropped off at the door in the middle of the night by a boy, who is terrified of a Night Angel, Mika's feels something's off, especially since a serial killer, The Night Raven, seems to be at large...although he should be dead. When police get involved, Mika's attention to details has her drawn into a mystery, which not only might cast shadows on some powerful people but will draw attention of the killer to Mika herself. 

This read was even better than I hoped it be...and that's saying a lot. One thing I adore about international literature is that the tales don't necessarily step on eggshells around young readers. Life is gritty, and that's especially true in this historical setting, where workhouses, child labor, and a general survive-or-die for the lower classes exists. Mika is mature for a thirteen-year-old, but she has to be. Still, the author has written this very much for the middle grade audience. Just maybe for the upper end, since there are topics such as murder, corpses, pubs, violence, and such. These are harsh and create the cruel reality but never are graphically descriptive or out of place, either. I found it simply well done.

Mika is a normal girl, who might have a thick skin but still harbors a soft heart. In the tale, she's even accused of still being a victim-type from one of her 'friends'. She smart, not tough. Clever without being mean. When she happens across the baby and talks to the police, her edition of odd details doesn't ever come close to appearing show-off-y or knowingly alert. She simply notices things without realizing it, and that makes her easy to follow.  The clues are dropped in naturally and not overly obvious, giving the reader time to wonder themselves before she clicks things together. These are surprising but well-thought out and offer interesting twists, which also might give readers some new insights on things. 

There is a sense of hope in darkness, even when things are hard. This keeps readers ages 10 and up from feeling talked down to and underestimated. They can enjoy the dive into the darker world, experience a smart mystery, grab up a few historical impressions, and even learn something about heart and humanity along the way. In other words, it's a really good read.


Natalie Aguirre said...

I love mysteries and have been reading a lot of them these days. I'll be looking for this one in August. And it's awesome that it already has sold film rights.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Set in Sweden - how fun!

Tonja Drecker said...

Natalie - Yes, do! After reading it, I'm really curious what they want to do with the movie version.

Diane - And historical, too...gives it such a nice vibe of grimy streets and all those wonderful things.