Monday, February 10, 2020

Review: The Absolution by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Title: The Absolution
Author: Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Series: Children's House, #3
Published: April 2019, Hodder & Stoughton *
Format: Hardcover, 391 pages
Source: Author

* This is the UK Edition. The book was 1st published in Iceland in 2016 and will be published in the US in February 2020 - see picture below for US cover.)

The new novel from the internationally bestselling, prizewinning, Queen of Icelandic crime.

The police find out about the crime the way everyone does: on Snapchat. The video shows the terrified victim begging for forgiveness. When her body is found, it is marked with a number 2...

Detective Huldar joins the investigation, bringing child psychologist Freyja on board to help question the murdered teenager's friends. Soon, they uncover that Stella was far from the angel people claim - but even so, who could have hated her enough to kill?

Then another teenager goes missing, and more clips are sent. Freyja and Huldar can agree on two things at least: the truth is far from simple. And the killer is not done yet.

A brilliantly suspenseful story about the dark side of social media, The Absolution will make you wonder what you should have said sorry for...

My thoughts: It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Nordic Noir and so of course all the Icelandic authors fall into that category. I was thrilled to run into Yrsa Sigurdardottir when I was at Bouchercon this past fall and she so kindly gave me a copy of her latest book in her Children's House series, knowing I am a big fan. 

I love this series. It's dark and disturbing, as I find most Nordic Noir to be, yet I cannot get enough of it. While each of these books can be read as stand-alones, as the cases are self-contained to each individual book, I do find the character development for Freyja and Huldar to be such a pull in this series. Again, as a HUGE series reader, this is a big draw for me, watching the characters develop over time but that is just my opinion.

This particular installment deals with bullying and uses social media as it's means of getting the message across. In this day and age, we all know just how far the effects of cyberbulling can go, what drastic impacts it can take, but this book shows not only how painful and deep the scars of bullying can be on someone's emotional psyche, but also how it can impact those around the person. What lengths are the loved ones of those affected willing to go?

What I love about Yrsa's books is that they are layered. They simply aren't black and white, but filled with shades of grey. What you think is a simple case turns out to be anything but. And that goes for all the characters as well. Not only are the main characters fully developed, flaws and all, but so are the minor characters. They may be bad, but we see all their badness on a human level. They are not just in the shadows but given well-rounded personalities and while they are terrible, we do see some goodness there. 

As someone who has been reading this series in order, I love that there is still some movement in the Freyja/Huldar relationship. I like that this is certainly not the focus of this series but it does continue to come up in each book. There is definitely something there and I love that it continues to be poked at in an organic way. I don't feel Yrsa is forcing this at all and that's important. They work together at times and you can feel the tension between them. I can't wait to see how it plays out over time...this is something that can't be rushed.

This series is one of my favorites. Yes, it's dark, gritty and incredibly disturbing, but it's also very addicting. Once I start reading these books, I have a hard time putting them down. They are so compelling and you just cannot walk away from them. I cannot wait for the next installment. Have you read any of this series yet?

Books in this series: 
  1. The Legacy
  2. The Reckoning
  3. The Absolution
  4. ???


1 comment

  1. This sounds great, thanks for sharing your thoughts I think I’ll be adding it to my wishlist


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