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Words of a Bibliophile

"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees

The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann

The Stockholm Octavo - Karen Engelmann

The idea of the book is better than the execution. As always I liked the Tarot card-like symbolism as well as the mentions of the French revolution. The main character Emil Larsson seems shallow at first, but he becomes more sympathetic and his earnestness shines through as the story progresses.

There's also this whole brouhaha about the seemingly supernatural art of the folding fan wielded by upper class ladies, but the secret behind this "magic" turns out to be pretty lame once revealed.


It is described as if the fan holds an innate power to influence people and bewitch them, when actually the effect only comes from putting sleeping potions, aphrodisiac or poison in a secret compartment inside the fan.

(show spoiler)

But did I mention the cards were fun? Each card in an Octavo spread represents a character that influences a person's destiny, and I enjoyed trying to decode them.