Sunday, November 27, 2011

Review: My Sweet Saga by Brett Sills

My Sweet SagaAt nearly 30 years old, Brandon is barely able to make it through life, much less enjoy it. He is weeks away from what should be one of the happiest days of his life, his wedding day to his fiancée, Clarissa, but death itself seems more enjoyable than the prospect of spending the rest of his life with her.
Desperate for even a brief escape from his reality, Brandon reluctantly goes to Stockholm, Sweden with his father, who says he lost a bet to a Swedish man and now has to buy him dinner in his home country. Brandon is ready for disaster but his life changes completely the moment he sees the mysterious Swedish man's daughter, Saga. On a cobblestone street in the middle of Stockholm, Brandon reawakens to life but struggles to navigate the messy love triangle with Saga and his fiancée, which includes arrests, hospital stays, terrorist bombs, acts of heroism and foolishness, family secrets and even a bit of public nudity.

My recent experiences with authors and publishers sending me books to review have been somewhat underwhelming so I was a bit wary about reading My Sweet Saga. I shouldn't have worried. This is a well-written story about a guy who's so used to going with the flow that he can't even find the strength to end a relationship that makes him miserable and how his life changes when he meets a woman who is so unlike his fiance that she upsets his routine and shows him that a different life is possible. It's funny and although the start is slow it picks up pace and flows nicely all the way through. I could really see what kind of people all the characters were and Brandon and Saga's character development and relationship arc was interesting to watch. Saga's original secretiveness and general "take it or leave it" demeanor seems mysteriously odd at first but as the novel progresses it begins to make sense. With Brandon it was a bit trickier - his inactivity in the face of an undoubtedly miserable future and the choices he makes when he actually does act are maddening (the guy did everything exactly the wrong way) but at the same time his weakness makes him sympathetic and I was glad when he actually did what he knew was right all along. I enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot and had fun with the characters when they were having a good time and commiserated with them when things weren't quite working out. The writing was light and easy and reminded me a little of Matthew Norman's so if Domestic Violets appealed to you this book may as well.
The only but serious drawback was the constant and very graphic referenced and descriptions of sexual encounters, body parts and bodily functions that are better left to the privacy of a bedroom or behind the closed doors of a restroom. Once or twice would've been fine but what I saw here was excessive and more often than not did nothing to move the plot forward.
All in all this is a good debut novel and I look forward to seeing what Mr. Sills does with his next book.


  1. This sounds like a good book. I'm having a bit of an underwhelming experience with publishers at the moment too.

  2. It's one of the better "review request" books I've gotten so far so if you do decide to read it I'll be curious to see what you think.