A rare thing happened: I read a Swedish book that I really liked. That is worth a book review post, even though most of you reading this probably don’t care about Swedish books.

The title, “Ordbrodösen”, means “word embroiderer”. Females from a special family in rural Sweden have the power to control and influence others using their written words. Girls get their power when they turn eighteen. Alba, a girl from the magical family, turns eighteen and goes through her induction ceremony, but for some reason her power doesn’t work.

As she tries to understand what is going on, dark secrets start leaking out from previously hidden corners of the family history. And before you know it, Alba is racing to find a lost/hidden relative, before other people find him and, ehm, get rid of him.

I like the magic in this book, because it is so low-key and un-fantastical. It has some interesting limitations and implications. And in a way it is like a weird kind of programming.

The tone of the book is also everyday and un-fantastical, which makes the story feel quite normal and believable. There is a lot of detail that makes each scene feel real and almost palpable, as if I was there.

The mystery aspect of the story is well handled: we get hints and clues at an appropriate pace, there is a thrilling final “battle” and the secrets ultimately revealed are suitably astonishing.

Like many fantasy books I read and like, this one is probably aimed at young adults. On the plus side, this means it is relatively brief (as opposed to the thirteen-book mammoth series that some more grown-up fantasy works grow into). On the minus side, it feels a bit lightweight in a way I cannot exactly define.