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The merit birds

December 28, 2014

The merit birds is written by Kelley Powell.

Source: I received this eARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

Publisher: Dundurn

Publication date: may 2nd, 2015


Summary from NetGalley:

Eighteen-year-old Cam Scott is angry. He’s angry about his absent dad, he’s angry about being angry, and he’s angry that he has had to give up his Ottawa basketball team to follow his mom to her new job in Vientiane, Laos. However, Cam’s anger begins to melt under the Southeast Asian sun as he finds friendship with his neighbour, Somchai, and gradually falls in love with Nok, who teaches him about building merit, or karma, by doing good deeds, such as purchasing caged “merit birds.”

Tragedy strikes and Cam finds himself falsely accused of a crime. His freedom depends on a person he’s never met. A person who knows that the only way to restore his merit is to confess. The Merit Birds blends action and suspense and humour in a far-off land where things seem so different, yet deep down are so much the same.


This book was not quite what I expected. In a good way, not a bad one! When I read the summay on NetGalley, I thought it sounded like an interesting book. The feeling I got when I read the book was a different feeling that what I thought I would get. I loved Cam’s friendship with Somchai, and the blossoming love he felt for Nok. I admit, I thought it would be in some ways more “preachy”, but it was rather perfect 🙂

I’ve never been to Canada or Laos, so I don’t know how different those two places are from Norway. But I do believe Canada is a lot more alike Norway than Laos will ever be. I love how the people of Laos are being seen when it comes to family, friends and the “no problem” kind of life. The justice system however not something I would ever want to come in contact with.

I like Cam, sure he can be an idiot that needs to learn how to control his anger, but there is something very normal about him. Who haven’t gotten mad at someone, so mad that you’d want to break something? Most people learn to control their anger, but for some it’s harder. Then there is the fact that we live in societies that are based on individuals, not family. In some cultures it’s still “one for all, all for one”, but in a lot of western societies it more like “I’m for me, the rest have to deal with yourself, I’m not going to help”. I can’t help it, I love the idea of the first one, but I will also admit that I’m always working for myself, and expecting other to do the same. I don’t help others out like that, because I do things for myself, I don’t expect other to do it for me, so I don’t do it for other eiher. Yes, it’s selfish.

Hmm, maybe I need to find somewhere to buy some Merit birds, and build up some good karma….

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