Book Reads: The Brothers Lionheart (Astrid Lindgren) [☝]

May 31, 2015

This is one of the two books that I have received in the recent reddit book exchange that I have participated. At first glance (yes I judged it by its cover), it gave such a Chronicles-of-Narnia-ish vibe so I chose to read it first over the other book. I was somewhat right. I thought it was more or less the same theme as the Narnia books... not until I read the last leaf of the book.

This is a classical Swedish childrens' book (my reddit Santa is from Sweden!) so the structure of English used in the book is simple, which for me made it a little difficult to thread along. The first few chapters of the book made me tear up. The book is all about sibling bond and I am very close to my sister so I got really affected by the events in those chapters. The next several chapters were about the building up of the conflict and how they need to save that land from a cruel leader. They helped fight the enemy, and (of course) they succeed in returning peace to all of the people. You would think this is just another saga about that heroic triumph and about living happily ever after in that once again peaceful land, but I was wrong.

That last chapter really got me. I don't want to give any spoiler in case you haven't read it (and you want to read it). I just could not fathom this as a children's book. The theme is too heavy and mature to really understand. The beginning plot already gave out a clue but it's just amazing how these two young brothers understand death and the yearning for another adventure in the afterlife.

There were a lot of things that were not explained in the book, especially the part that Jonathan knew everything that was bound to happen. On another note, I truly admire Karl's admiration towards his brother. He did not show, even just the slightest subtle sign, that he is anywhere jealous with his brother. Jonathan, who is the older one, portrayed one caring sibling, who would do everything for his little brother (even if it meant placing his own life at risk).

Let me share this one user review that I have read from Goodreads:

while this is technically a children's book by a children's author, the subjects are heavier than most adult novels: death, disease, loss, the afterlife, the right to react to violence with violence, family, and loyalty. everyone i spoke to about this book said the same thing: that the book illicited tears, whether out of sadness or joy or some combination of both. it is one of the most universally loved books in the author's home country of sweden: the extended version of the movie from 1977 is shown annually on national television, and particular quotes from the book are frequently on gravestones.


don't look it up on wikipedia, since the synopsis will give away both the multitude of surprises throughout the book, starting from the very beginning. just read it sometime if you are ready to be taken on an emotional and spiritual ride - Matthew (Goodreads user)

My view of this world somehow changed after finishing the book. It would be very comforting to think that there's still something for us beyond this life, and that all the people that you used to know in this world are actually living a life beyond this one, and they are actually waiting for us to join them eventually. I just wish that there would be no more struggles and problems to be faced on that world and that everyone are just living peacefully. But until your time comes, no one really knows what's beyond here.

This is one great book and I am very thankful to my Reddit Secret Santa for recommending this to me. I might not have stumbled upon this book if not because of him. (∩_∩)

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