Post no.5: Finishing post

I have now finished reading the book The Angle Collector and I thought it was very enjoyable. According to me, the book had the most elements a good detective novel should include and that are the following: tension, a strong main character, a lot of unanswered questions and some sort of turning point. I liked the way the book was written and Bali Rai’s way of mixing humor with tension and excitement. As I wrote in my first post I wanted a real page turner, which I also got. But of course I have some negative opinions about the book aswell. The story was a bit uneventful in the beginning and for quite a long time Jit was interviewing different persons although it did not seemed to lead anywhere. Something that I also did not like was that the conclusion happened a bit fast and the ending was quite abrupt. All questions were not answered and I did not quite understand the kidnapper’s motive. The book could have been a few chapters longer, that way you could have learned more about Stephen’s motive and what happened with the characters after the rescuing. But overall, I think the story was fantastic and it had the perfect mixture of humor and excitement.
I have already informed you about Bali Rai’s style of writing, but one thing that I actually forgot to indicate was that every now and then, the book contains recurring elements where the author chooses to write in third person in a man’s perspective. In the beginning it was difficult to connect these special chapters to the rest of the book. But slowly I started to form a connection between the man and the clues Jit had and soon enough I realized that it must be The Angle Collector himself.

As she faded she felt herself-being picked up like a rag doll. All the while he whispered softly into her ear.
‘There, there, my angle – we’re together now. . ‘.

(The Angel Collector, 2007. Bali Rai, p. 196)

This is yet another smart way of Bali Rai to build up attention and excitement for us readers. You get, as a reader, clues about who the killer might be. This makes the book very exciting and you know if he is on the right or wrong track.  I felt as a part of the story because I got to be involved and guess who the murderer could have been.
The book did not contain so many turning points as I had expected. The only major turning point, in my opinion, was when Jit received the message from Sophie. The tempo clearly increased after this and you could feel the conclusion come creeping. I started to read faster, because it was so exciting. The really thrilling excitement started after this, so it was a turning point in the sense that the mood of the book changed.
One person who changed a lot during the book was Sophie’s father Stephen. At first, he was presented as a very loving father who grieved his daughter’s disappearance. Therefore it came as a shock to me when I found out that it was Stephen, Sophie’s father, who was the kidnapper. As I said earlier, it was hard to understand his motives and the explanation were a bit short. For that reason, I had wished that the book was a bit longer so that you could have a more detailed explanation of Stephen’s motive.

But I am, despite my negative opinions, glad that I chose to read this book. It was hard to stop reading it because I was longing for the answer of who the kidnapper was the whole time, and the way there was very thrilling. As the book was so exciting, it made it easier for me to read in English. I will definitely recommend this book to my friends.

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Post no.4: Turning point (p.197)

Jit has interrogated several people who were with Sophie and Jenna at the music festival, but without any substantial progress. The only meaningful information is about a weird-acting new age cult that was at the music festival. The leader of the cult is called Shining Moon and he has his basis in Scotland.

Every little thing reminds Jit of Sophie and that she might be somewhere waiting for him to find her. And for that reason is it hard for him to get his life straight and to concentrate on school. Now when Jit is getting closer to finding her, he cannot think of anything else. His parents are starting to react of that Jit does not seem to handle school very well and he has to lie to them. Jit left his cell phone at Anna’s, one of the many people he has interviewed. He called her to ask if he had some important messages on his phone. And it is at this moment that everything turns. One of the messages is from Sophie and she is still alive;

’You took your time,’ I said, only half joking.
‘Jit . . .’
‘Did you fall into the toilet or summat?’
‘Jit!’ she shouted at me.
‘What?’ I asked, getting angry.
‘I read the message . . .’
‘So . . .?’
Anna took a moment before she hit me with a thunderbolt
‘One of the message – it’s from Sophie.’
I dropped the phone and ran for the bathroom, using my hands to hold back the puke.

(The Angel Collector, 2007, Bali Rai, p.175)

The message from Sophie says;

I’M ALIVE SCOTLAND. WITH SHNG MOON. HELP ME PLS. I’M SORRY. X

(The Angel Collector, 2007, Bali Rai, p.179)

The message from Sophie affects him in many different ways, both good and bad. The thought that Sophie is still alive is difficult to absorb. He could not believe it. But at the same time it scares him, that she has been held captive for over eight months is hard to believe. Different thoughts flashed through his head. But at least now he knows that she is alive and there is nothing that can stop him. He is convinced that he will find her.
What he is sure of is that he needs to travel to Scotland to try finding the cult to get any further with his task. Because all the roads he had been crawling down seemed to lead to it. The only problem is that he does not know how to get there or what he will do when he actually reaches the cult. But without thinking through, he takes the next train to Newcastle where he will receive more information about the cult, from a person by the name David.

I thought this was a clear turning point in the book because it really changed the story. He has under a very long time tried to find information about Sophie’s disappearance, but with no positive results. It felt so hopeless, until he received the message. Now that I, as a reader, know that Sophie is alive, it makes the book more exciting and you just want to continue to read.

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Post no.3: Main Character (p.104)

Jit continues his search for Sophie. With the economical help from Sophie’s father Stephen, Jit and Jenna are traveling around England to meet up with people who could have a clue about where Sophie was taken. He talks to people who lived at the festival. These people have already been interviewed by the police numerous times and Jit is being questioned why he is the one to find Sophie, even if the police did not succeed. But he will not give up; they may have forgotten valuable pieces of her disappearance that could lead him further than the police. He has talked with the two girls, Hannah and Louisa, who accompanied Sophie and Jenna to the festival. The guy which the four girls hitch-hiked with to the festival, an Australian guy called Jamie, has also been interrogated by Jit. I chose to stop here to describe the main character Jit, since I can tell from the different interviews what kind of personality Jit has and therefore describe how he behaves in several different scenarios.

In my opinion Bali Rai is a very good author. He writes in a way that makes the characters more believable and you really get to know them. The way Bali Ray chooses to describe Jit is very persuasive. He goes deep into the Jit’s thoughts and feelings and he describes him as a very decisive, independent and moody teenage guy. Jit takes the matter into his own hands and does not listen to anyone else. He has a strong desire and he is determined that he is the one to find Sophie, somewhere – alive. Although he constantly gets to hear comments that it can be dangerous and risky, he still keeps searching. And even if he is mostly described as the good guy, who looks for his love and never gives up in his search, he also have his negative sides. He is very doubtful and a bit violent.

‘Sophie was right about you,’ she said.
My eyes started burning. ‘Why – what did she say?’ I snapped.
‘That you were an obsessive little boy.’ There was almost pleasure in her voice when she said it.
‘Fuck you…’
‘Well – what are you trying to prove?’ she asked me. ‘The police can’t find her and you think you can? You’re just a headcase. . .’
In my mind, little eruptions of superheated lava began to go wild and red dots danced in front of my eyes. If Hannah had been a lad I would have shoved the cigarette up her arse. But she wasn’t and I didn’t. “

(The Angel Collector, 2007, Bali Rai, p.61)

Despite his strong will, he begins to doubt himself. The police have already failed what he is trying to do now, so why would he succeed? But even in the toughest and weakest moments, there is still something that keeps him going. And the more you read, the more you understand how much he really loves Sophie;

“Jamie glanced down at his bottle. ‘Don’t take this the wrong way, mate, but what makes you think you stand a chance if they didn’t find her?’
I shrugged. ‘I’m not sure that I do,’ I said honestly. ‘I just can’t sit around and do nothing any more – that’s all.’
He nodded his head, waiting for me to continue.
‘It’s just something we said to each other… once – about coming to look for each other if one of us ever went away,’ I added. ‘It was sort of a joke but since she went it’s all I’ve got…’
‘You must really love her,’ said Jamie.
I shrugged, feeling my cheeks begin to burn, and looked away.
‘I’m sorry,’ he said, sensing my embarrassment. “

(The Angel Collector, 2007. Bali Rai, p. 95)

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Post no.2: The Language (p.33)

With financial help from Sophie’s father, Stephen, and support from her friend Jenna, Jit can now begin searching for his friend Sophie. He books his first meeting with Jenna, one of the girls Sophie had travelled to the music festival with.

I have chosen to stop here because I wanted to comment on the way Bali Ray writes, that you notice right away you start reading the book. There is a special dialogue between Jit and some “gangsta wannabe” who shows how Bali Rai chooses to write in rather informal English with a lot of slang:

“She swore at me. At the bar I got served quickly and I turned with two bottles of lager in one hand, only to be faced with the gangsta wannabe.
“You was looking at sumt’ing earlier – what?” he asked me in a high-pitched voice.
“Yer mama,” I said, before attempting to walk away.
Wannabe stood in my way, got all up in my face, as his, hip-hop heroes probably said.
“You wanna watch it, bro – I’ll merk a bwoi fe fun . . .”

(The Angel Collector, 2007. Bali Rai, p. 32-33)

This dialogue is full of slang, and is written with very informal English. I believe this is to make the characters more believable because when the characters talk in the same way you do, you can relate to them in another level than if they would speak formally. He uses a language adapted for the characters and since the main characters are British teenagers he uses a teenage-language with a lot of slang and abbreviations. The book’s target audience is teenagers and therefore Bali Rai writes in a way that fit young people. Bali Ray does not describe the environment much. Instead there are a many dialogues between the characters. I think this is to make the novel more amusing to read and not so tedious.

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Post no. 1: The Angel Collector

I am reading The angel collector by Bali Rai. Bali Rai is an author of teenage novels. He was born in Leicester in 1971 and comes from an Indian Punjab-family. His first novel for teenagers was That arranged marriage thingy. Bali Rai says that he is inspired by writers including Roald Dahl, Sue Townsend and crime writers like James Lee Burke, James Ellroy and Walter Mosely.

I chose to read this book mainly because I enjoy the tension in novels. I have not heard anything about this book until Elin introduced it to us in English lesson. It seemed to be very exciting and just enough creepy for my taste. I wanted a real page-turner.

The novel jumps right into the story, eight months ago, the teenage girl Sophie went missing at a music festival. Jit, Sophies  friend, once made a promise to come and find her if she ever went missing – a promise he is determined to keep.

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