The story told in Anders Björkelids Förbundsbryterskan is extremely standard fantasy: two kids on a mission to save the world, faces obstacles of the fantastic kind. If that was all this book was I would’ve been hard in my criticism, but Björkelids language is aeons more precise and effective than the average fantasy writer’s. Very few scenes are prolonged just for effect, everything leads forward (or connects backwards). Where almost every other fantasy writer tries to hide his or her lack of imagination behind veritable avalanches of words (yes, Mr Martin, Mr Jordan (or Mr Sanderson) and Mr Erikson, I’m talking about you) Björkelid simply admits that his story isn’t very unique and then sets out to do the very best he can. Which is pretty good.
There are no speculative sex scenes, no gory violence just to chock. There is, however, an imagination that makes me think of Pan’s Labyrinth. And there is a stylistic presence, awareness, that is all but non-existant in other fantasy. My favourite episode is the legend of Dådna and her journey to the underworld. It’s so well written that I automatically compare it to Torgny Lindgren. Read this book, if just for those few pages.