The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo (Book Review)

The Core of the SunThe Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What this book is about:

This is the story of Vanna who lives in eusistocratic Finland pretending to be an eloi. The Finnish government has decided that in order to preserve the best characteristics of human kind docile, submissive women (elois) are to give themselves to men to procreate while smart, independent women should be sterilised and used in the workforce. Women are inferior to men who can do whatever they want with them. Vanna happens to be a smart girl but is taught to behave like an eloi since she was a young girl. She also has a strong and dangerous addiction to capsaicin which is the burning substance found in chili peppers. And that’s what gets her into trouble..

As a conception, this idea for a story is profound! Inferior women taught to behave submissively and to give themselves to men as if they are nothing. A whole government system that preserves this kind of thinking (which is funny coming from a very advanced country of Europe!). But there was something missing in this book, at least for me. And the whole feeling I got out of it was that it was just okay.

A very big part of the story, maybe the first half of the book, felt very very slow. The government ideology was described and explained with short passages that presented a reasoning behind everything. Moreover we were introduced into the relationship of Vanna and Manna, the two sisters, and Vanna’s addiction to chili. This is such a great idea for a science fiction novel, so I am quite disappointed that it turned out to be so dull for me.

I wanted to know more details about the implications that living in the Finnish society had for an eloi that is actually a smart, thinking woman hiding her true identity. I wanted to know more about the underground chili operations. And I wanted to know more about Vanna and Jare and their lives in these difficult conditions.

Around the last 75% of the book the pace finally picked up and I was reading it more attentively than before. There is a small mystery element to the story but I found myself not really interested in resolving what had actually happened, since I was not invested with the characters. Maybe that’s because of the translation of the book or maybe it was just not my cup of tea. There were a few paragraphs throughout the story that I was really enjoying but most of the time I was just feeling kind of indifferent about the events and the characters.

Even though the writing didn’t really do it for me, as I already said the idea behind the book is quite unique and interesting and I think that other people might actually enjoy it more. Finally, keep in mind that there is some mature content throughout this novel.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Core of the Sun

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