Ah, there it is, the first somewhat negative review of my novel, Brother soul, sister flame (Broder själ, syster flamma, buy it at Bokus). It’s Swedish writer Eva Holmquist, author of, among other stories, It’s not as easy as you think (Det är inte så lätt som du tror) and You only feel the chains when you move (Kedjor känns bara när du rör dig), who stumbles upon a couple of flaws in my fantasy-story. She finds it a “rich world” with “interesting comments on human behaviour”. The characters, she writes, are “well developed”, but even so she doesn’t feel really touched by the story. Possibly, she concludes, because none of the characters interest her enough to make her care about them.
This is potentially a serious flaw. Opinions differ on the subject, some readers find my characters very compelling, but a freely admit that creating believeable and engrossing characters is one of the things I find most difficult with writing. In this I’m hardly alone, and it’s an important subject in itself, since I believe many popular fictional characters are predictable and cliché (I just finished watching season four of Falling Skies, which absolutely flows over with boring characters). I always try to make both my protagonists and antagonists alive, with good and bad sides, while at the same time strictly individual and memorable, and naturally not everyone will think I succeed.
Another flaw, if it can be called that, concerns whether my novel is fantasy at all. In another post Eva Holmquist asks the question “What is fantasy?”, based on her reading of my book, and a small discussion takes off. This is also an interesting matter for debate, of course, but to me it’s the highest form of praise: the mere fact that Brother soul, sister flame raises the question of whether it’s fantasy or not, proves that what I do is, if not entirely new, something very different indeed. Which is precisely what I’m aiming at.