Recently, I read the Twistrose Key, by Tone Almhjell. That's a Norwegian children's books writer. According to a review by a Norwegian girl, the English original wasn't very good. I can't comment on that. I read the Swedish translation. It was good enough that I was taken in. I thought it was a book originally written in Swedish (or possibly Finland-Swedish), because the setting of the book is clearly not only Nordic, but from the very far North.
To me it seems a bit odd that a Norwegian writer should decide to write a book in English. I have to admit that while I consider my own English quite good, I'd never dare to write a book to be published by a real publisher in any other language than my own. I do, however, write blog posts, shorter short stories and fan fiction in English and occasionally simple, brief comments in discussions in French. Once or twice I have also chatted (to some extent) in German, Italian and Spanish. Ok, back to the review. :)
Aside from the underlying sad theme (about death and losing a loved one) this was an exciting and well-written book. The story is based on a very interesting idea - a world where children's pets go when they die. But that world is threatened by a very dangerous enemy and the main character Lin (or Lindelin) Rosenquist, who has been named for an old song, comes to the rescue. She belongs to a small group of children, who can travel to the animals' world to save them from danger. In her struggle to save the animals and their world, she puts her old troll hunting talents from back on the farm, to good use.
In their new world, the animals grow to roughly human size and are able to speak like humans. It's a fascinating, not to say irresistible idea. Imagine being able to see our beloved animals again some day, and to get to talk to them. Thinking about it almost makes me cry.
The book pretty much ends happily and that is, at least to me, very important, and perhaps also to the children the book is primarily written for. But I have to admit that I felt very sorry for one of the 'enemies' and I wish that he could have had a happier fate.
Besides, just a thought - this book seems to assume that only children love their pets and will miss them when they're gone. Just for the record, there are grownups (in a manner of speaking - lol) who do too. Perhaps even more than many children. For the record.