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"If Harry Potter smoked cigarettes and took a certain matter of fact pleasure in administering rough justice, he might like Max Frei."
The words which made me pick up this book.
To start off with, this is not a novel for those who want a light read. At 544 pages long, it also takes quite a lot of time to get through. Originallly written in 1997 by Russian author Max Frei it has only recently been translated into English.
Through the power of his dreams Max is transported into the magical world of Echo. A land of witches, wizards, threatening ghosts and black & white magic.
Summoned to Echo by the Department of Absoloute Order, it's soon pretty obvious that insomniacs dreams are becoming reality. Much more curiously is that he has been appointed as a secret agent-
The Nocturnal Representative of the Most Venerable Head of the Secret Investigative Force of the City of Echo
To be exact.
The book is split into 7 chapters and he has been given the venerable task of trying to solve seemingly impossible and extravagent crimes. Using nothing but general ideas and magical abilities which he has somehow accumulated isn't altogether that easy. Even though he now owns the power of silent speech and gained the help of Sir Juffin Hully, the man who appointed him, doesn't make things any simpler.
Destroying creepy dolls, stopping bodies from turning into mush and praying that he doesn't lose his 'spark' Max experiences unimaginable things. New foods and powers. The ideas that he can now communicate with a dog are all things which he appears to enjoy and relishes in.
The Stranger is a hard novel to read and although I did manage to finish it, it wasn't as good as I had hoped. There are a lot of different people involved, each with different stories of their own.
In some cases their names are very similar which makes it even more complicated to differate who is who.
Occassionally I found myself skimming over the words and having to keep going back pages to reread them again. My overall feeling is that this is an average book.
Max Frei could of shortened it a bit which makes me think that that would of improved it dramatically. It's pretty complicated and another problem I had was, due to my own fault, I kept on subconsiously comparing it to Harry Potter and noting any similarities. This could be why it spoilt it for me.
I so wanted it to be a good book but it really wasn't all that great. Despite the few funny bits every now and then, dare I say it, this was slightly boring.
Considering that this is a multi million selling book it might just be me, however it is a unique piece of writing.
It actually costs £12.99 but if you get it on Amazon it will cost you £9.09
And as Sir Juffin Hully says
Over and out!