Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Blog Tour for The Night Raven by Johan Rundberg , translation by A.A. Prime

Today I'm super excited to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for The Night Raven by Johan Rundberg, translated by A.A. Prime.  This would make for a perfect Halloween read!!

The Night Raven: The Moonwind Mysteries by  Johan Rundberg , translation by A.A. Prime
Publisher:  Amazon Crossing Kids
Format:  E-book
Number of pages:  192 pages
Publishing:   November 1st, 2023
Source:  Blue Slip Media via Edelweiss + 
Find it:  Goodreads

Opening Line:  "No More!"  "The cry comes from one of the beds in the back rows." 

Mika is twelve-years old and lives at the Public Childrens Home in Stockholm and works at a local bar.  The story takes place during the frigid winter of 1880 where times at the orphanage have been exceedingly tough.  Food has been scarce and without an adequate supply of firewood it has even been difficult to keep the rooms warm at night.  It's on one of these blistering cold nights that a scared boy shows up at the orphanage doors and hands Mika a small bundle containing a baby.  While rushing off the boy exclaims "The Dark Angel knows I'm the one who took her."  Things become further complicated when Valdemar Hoff a detective from the department of police shows up and begins to question Mika and then suddenly decides that she must come with him to Kungsholm Church's graveyard to investigate.  Soon Mika becomes embroiled in a mystery surrounding the notorious serial killer the Night Raven, someone who drains all the blood from his victims but was thought to have been caught and beheaded by the executioner over four years ago.  Can it be that he somehow has returned?  With Mika's keen eye for details and Detective Valdemar's encouragement can they come to a pack to catch the Night Raven before he can strike again?  


★“This gripping, fast-paced mystery comes together well, with Mika’s deductions based firmly in logic and connections based in her own clear observations…A thrilling and thoughtful period murder mystery.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

★“This English translation of Rundberg’s lively historical mystery…is something to celebrate…Joyous, funny, suspenseful, and serious—an unusual and winning combination for middle-grade readers. Let’s hope its three sequels appear in [A. A.] Prime’s English translation, too.” —The Horn Book (starred review)

“It’s a testament to the authors that none of the solutions comes easily — in any good mystery story, truth is a messy and painful business.”  —The New York Times Book Review

The Night Raven is an interesting historical fiction giving glimpses of Stockholm during the 1880's.  It's a time of dock workers, brick layers, tanneries, tobacco factories and cops on the hunt for a notorious criminal.  Mika has been raised at the orphanage for some time, being the eldest, she is often put in charge of the other kid's needs.   She has a very dry sense of humor and will resort to scaring the orphans by telling them that the police like to eat up children in order to get them to do what she wants.  She's also one of the few orphans who holds down a job at a local bar, although she is mistreated by the customers quite often.  Mika is also a very smart girl and picks up on very small details that others miss.  She appears to be a valuable partner to Detective Valdemar.  

Overall, I really enjoyed The Night Raven.  It's an exciting story, filled with mystery and moves along at a fast pace. It sort of reminded me of Enola Holmes with all the action and Sherlock Holmes vibes, meets Oliver Twist.  Being set in Stockholm and the orphanage really highlighted how challenging this time period was to survive, and then add in the increasing struggles of dealing with the harshest months of winter, yeah it felt very bleak.  But I must say that I really liked Mika, she is quite the force.  She's never down about her circumstance, she just strives to move forward.  I'd probably place this somewhere around upper middle grade as there are references to corpses, murder, beheading, pubs and some references to cruelty to children but at the same time, it really speaks to the social conditions of the 1880's.  The Night Raven is the first book in this four-part series that was originally published in 2021 in Sweden and won the August Prize, Sweden's most prestigious literary honor.  I hope that the rest of the series will be translated as I would enjoy reading more about Mika.  

Johan Rundberg is an award-winning author of children's books who lives in Stockholm. He has written picture books, early readers, and middle grade, including Kärlekspizzan, Knockad Romeo, and the series Häxknuten. In 2021, he was awarded Sweden's most prestigious literary prize, the August Prize, in the children's and YA category for Nattkorpen, the original edition of The Night Raven, which was first written in Swedish. Nattkorpen was also the winner of a Swedish Crimetime Award in the children's and YA category. There are now four books in this series published in Sweden.    

A. A. Prime (Annie Prime) is an award-winning translator of Swedish literature. She was born in London and traveled the world studying a number of languages before settling in the English coastal town of Hastings. She now works full-time as a translator, specializing in the weird, witty, and wonderful world of children's and young adult fiction. She holds an MA in translation from University College London and has published more than twenty books in the UK and US. In her free time, she can be found belly dancing, folk singing, horse riding, and sea swimming.


  1. This sounds like a book I'd enjoy. It's historical fiction, set in Stockholm, and deals with a mystery. I hope my library has it.

  2. I already put this one on my TBR list after reading Greg's review. Now you have confirmed that choice. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. I read this book earlier this year, really enjoyed it too. Mika is a great character, and the story itself, and the way it is told, quite unusual. Nice to read your thoughts!

  4. I hadn't heard of this book before seeing it reviewed here and on Always in the Middle. I'm definitely going to check it out. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Congratulations to Johan Rundberg on the release of The Night Raven! Sounds an intriguing story.

  6. Oooh, this one sounds very atmospheric and compelling! I'm definitely going to check it out. Thanks for the heads-up and the review.

  7. OK - you got me at Enola Holmes meets Oliver Twist. And now it's definitely going on my TBR list