Sunday 10 December 2017

The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund

Fair warning, this is fair bit of a slog at over 780 pages, however it helps to know that originally this was published as a trilogy. So The Crow Girl (2010), Hunger Fire (2011) and Pythia's Instructions (2012) have now been republished as one volume called The Crow Girl.

Interesting tidbit of info, Erik Axl Sund is a nom de plume used by writer duo Hakan Sundquist and Jerker Eriksson.

I think banging it together as one volume, as opposed to the trilogy it was before, was perhaps detrimental to the plot and original intention of the writers. It is quite simply so long that it often appears disjointed and without focus. I can however see how it worked as a trilogy.

There is so much going on, during which the reader is pulled in a multitude of directions. So many in fact that there are just too many cooks in the kitchen trying to create the perfect dish. The end result is a lack of structure and a lack of a definitive voice.

It is dark. Actually don't expect any lightness whatsoever. Erik Axl Sund pulls the reader into a bottomless pit of depravity, which includes some of the truly inhumane moments of the 20th century and quite a few equally deplorable 21st century crimes.

We are talking child and sex trafficking, paedophilia, child abuse, bestiality, child pornography, corruption and torture. There is no fluffy unicorn to balance this out, instead the rest of the time the authors venture into the world of mental health problems and psychological disorders. I admit there are a few tender moments, however they are overpowered by the fact the reader knows what is really going on with the characters.

The real question throughout is who Sofia really is, and what is she guilty of.or rather what does she think she is guilty of? In a story full of death and pain how much of the narrative, in regards to Sofia, is a reaction to the trauma and just her imagination, and how much of it is based in reality?

The Crow Girl is, despite its bleakness and the harsh reality of the crimes within, an attempt to show the devastation and implications of deep-set trauma, especially when experienced in childhood. It is also an attempt to shine a light on the exploitation of children, the corruption and general apathy towards crimes against children, which in turn has led to neglect and a burying of heads in sand on a major scale.

Buy The Crow Girl at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

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