There is one thing you need to know about "Illuminate": It is long. Looong and slooow-moving. This is especially unfortunate considering the quite exteThere is one thing you need to know about "Illuminate": It is long. Looong and slooow-moving. This is especially unfortunate considering the quite extensive story part already revealed in the book description. ("Quite extensive" meaning "virtually everything".) It is still a great story with likeable characters, but there's not much that can surprise you when you've been told everything beforehand and are then "eased" into the story by endless descriptions.
Mind you, the descriptions and the pictures they're painting are great. I could see myself in the Lexington, and "Illuminate" will remain one of the few books I remember months or years ahead because I remember the scenery and try to fit it to a book. The setting is also quite original, a hotel in Jazz-age Chicago is a rare sight in fantasy novels. I can understand why Aimee Agresti wants to spend a lot of time with it, I just missed the action after a while.
Haven, our main character, is a bit too bland and too good for my taste, but then I just prefer characters with a darker side to them. Her supporting cast, especially the people at the hotel, are far more to my liking and at times I actually wanted to move in with them (or just with Lucian, to be precise). What was great as well was the social side. The author clearly knows her way around high society, and the scenes where Haven has to find her way among the socialites really intrigued me. The love story was not my thing, but I'm not an avid PNR reader anyway. I tend to pick the wrong pairings, even when the right pairing is blatantly obvious. Like here.
I'm wondering what the next books in the series will lead to, as there was a lot of dropping hints that are yet to be explored. I'll probably continue reading it, although I really do wish for a tighter edit. (And pictures! Somebody make this into a movie already, I want to see the hotel!)
When I read the book description, "graveyard city of Fume" was the point where I decided to buy it. I have a thing for graveyards - they're quiet, theWhen I read the book description, "graveyard city of Fume" was the point where I decided to buy it. I have a thing for graveyards - they're quiet, they can tell a lot of stories, and they can be serene and dangerous at the same time. I always visit a graveyard when I come to a new city. So I was hoping for a lot of descriptions.
And I got them. This book focuses on its setting - on the wintry streets, the tunnels below the graveyards, the magic. There are characters too, and one or two interesting plotlines, but the setting is the main focus. Which is just what I wanted. (It may not be right for you, you'll have to know yourself to decide that.)
"[...] Fume had clusters of tall towers huddled together like whispering old men and streets of grand homes with black slate roofs all shimmering at once, built upon the bones of Albion's ancestors."
Our main character is Kate. She's sympathetic, compassionate and she loves books, which is great, but she also stays a bit generic. She's thinking things through, which feels a bit too much as though the author is explaining the scene through Kate's thoughts rather than playing it out. Then there's Kate's uncle, who is cool but not in this a lot. And there's her best friend who is obviously supposed to be really interesting to Kate. He is interesting, but I couldn't vouch for the chemistry.
And then there's our bad guy, and here's where I ran into a small problem. This small problem being called "having the wrong pairing". I don't know if it's just Kate's lack of chemistry with Edgar, or that her and the other one genuinely are a better fit, but I knew from the meeting onward that I would be in for an unsatisfying ending.
"Silas had the presence of ten men. Power and threat exuded from him as clearly as fear leaked from the people down below, and his eyes shone with faint light, their irises bleached gray [...]"
Plot-wise there's not all that much - or rather, not all that much that is surprising once you've met all the main players. Maybe it's because of the multiple viewpoints; you get too much information to be surprised.
Still, there's a lot of room left for the sequel, which is great. And apparently there's more Silas in the sequel, which is, you know, ... FANTASTIC!
I read this book because I needed something cute in between other reads. And it worked absolutely brilliantly.
I liked the Greek Gods, and even thoughI read this book because I needed something cute in between other reads. And it worked absolutely brilliantly.
I liked the Greek Gods, and even though I felt that there could have been some more information in the book - Kate spends quite a while studying Greek Gods and we hear hardly anything about it - I enjoyed the world (and ordered the other books to stay in it for a while longer).
Henry is interesting, and, seeing how he's got a romantic past, both he and Kate have issues to deal with before they can find their way to each other. And, luckily for me, romance and magic weren't the only themes, and Kate's long struggle to let go of her mom gave the book a lot of depth.
I know that some readers didn't like Kate and her choices, but to me they were totally understandable. The issue with this can be traced to one quote:
"How am I supposed to do this?" She wrapped her arm around my shoulders. "Everyone believes in you except for you, Kate," she said gently. "Maybe that should tell you something." Even if everyone believed in me, that didn't mean they were right, and it didn't mean I would succeed. All it meant was that on top of everything else, I had to worry about disappointing them, too. (p. 134)
To cut this short, I identified with Kate and believed her, and enjoyed this. I suspect other readers didn't....more
There are two things I didn't know about "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children", when I first started reading it which would have been useful tThere are two things I didn't know about "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children", when I first started reading it which would have been useful to know.
#1: This is the first book in a series. And you can tell from the ending. You can tell fifty pages before the ending actually, when stuff just keeps piling up and there's no room to resolve all of it. That's what got me suspicious, and I wish I would have known that before I started because I was hoping for a standalone.
#2: There is a reason why Goodreads listed this as "Horror" alongside "Paranormal" and "Historical Fiction". I have nothing against mixed genre books, au contraire, but I like to know about it before I start reading. (And if there are usually only photographs next to the pages where said photographs are mentioned, I do NOT want to see a drawing of a monster five pages after it happened - when I've just gotten over the fact how horrific it was.)
It's not the author's fault that I didn't know, but I wished I'd known it, so I thought I'd better inform other potential readers.
As for the story itself, it was interesting (and a great read) but way too short. Protagonist Jacob barely has time to work through his moods (and he has a lot of them), so he seems like he is constantly redeciding his own path. This doesn't help you grow attached to the character, and it makes Jacob seem rather weak. Considering that this book only has 350 pages, with large print and a load of pictures, it could have been stretched out without being too long, to allow Jacob and the others room to grow. If he goes from seeing a monster to convincing himself that it was all in his imagination to "I have to travel to investigate what's happening" over the course of twenty pages or something, that is too fast. There are other characters with the same problem, but I don't want to spoil anything. The "love story" is too quick as well, especially considering all the problems that go with it. (In all honesty, if you want character building in such a novel, go and read "I am not a serial killer").
I like the way Ransom Riggs included vintage photographs. They enhance the story and give you a feeling of the places that you wouldn't get otherwise. (Maybe that's why it's so short. Someone thought the photographs would be sufficient.) They fit well into the story that was built around them - so well, in fact, that I failed to come up with other reasons to take such pictures. (I still haven't come up with a reason to collect them either, but all those archives will certainly have been very useful to the author.)
I'm a bit miffed at the ending (quite a bit actually). As with the entire book, things happen too fast, and there's no resolution to be found anywhere. Jacob makes a decision - apparently without really considering the consequences, and then things will continue in the next book, without plans or anything, just with the notion that it will be extremely dangerous. I wonder what will happen in the next book, but I'm almost afraid to read it. Because if it is that short again, we might not get to see the consequences of Jacob's decision, and since he didn't have time to grow on me, I'm more invested in characters that might be abandoned completely.
Still, I liked the setting (Welsh islands are great!) and I enjoyed the story despite its shortcomings, so I will probably read the next part.
In my quest to read 238 books in 238 days, "Wool" was pushed back two days because I needed to finish something else. This is a good thing, because IIn my quest to read 238 books in 238 days, "Wool" was pushed back two days because I needed to finish something else. This is a good thing, because I felt like it took me ages to read this.
Hugh Howey's strong point is clearly the world building. The claustrophobic world in the silos - and occasionaly the toxic world outside - are well thought-out and feature highly. It's not just a world designed as a backdrop to the story, it comes alive as well. Particularly the second of the five stories combined in this Omnibus, which takes the reader on a week-long journey down and up the 144 leves of Silo-18, shows off a lot of the thought that went into this. (Not into what the apocalyptic event was in the first place, that one is about as believable as the rapture.) He also does well on having a narrator's emotion colour the world around him. When you switch viewpoints and see that things aren't as drab (or as good) as you thought when reading someone else's position, that is great.
The characters themselves are alright - fortunately I wasn't too invested to get worked up about repeated fluctuations (and really, I expected them to happen when the world is such a hostile one). The love stories ... well, here is a male author who fits his male profile. Don't read it for the love stories, read it for the technical things. And read it for the action if you have to, from the third part onwards there's a lot going on. I disliked the change of pace a bit, but by then I was invested enough to keep reading. It is a bit filmy and cliffhanger-y but that is to be expected from an unedited novel.
The reason why this book took me so long is the writing. Apart from the unpolished bits (which are normal when you don't have an editor), this book is also written in a rather old-fashioned style. Old-fashioned in the way Tolkien wrote - an unhurried pace, great attention to worldbuilding, heavy on painting images, lots of descriptive text inbetween the dialogue. This is not necessarily bad, but seeing how this is a Science Fiction novel it is a bit weird. Especially when you get to the action or the technology, and you sit there reading sentences that could have come from the 1950s.
All in all, I quite enjoyed it, even if it took me a while. I do hope that the drama aspect of the action gets toned down a bit in the enxt installment; I'm too old to freak out over something new every two pages. ...more
Like many others, I stumbled upon this book when someone sent me the book trailer. I've always had a policy of looking for pretty book covers, becauseLike many others, I stumbled upon this book when someone sent me the book trailer. I've always had a policy of looking for pretty book covers, because to me they signal that someone cares about the book in question. And when the publisher cares enough to create such a beautiful trailer, then I should surely be in for a treat.
The trailer reminded me of a Tim Burton movie, and this shaped my expectations a lot. And as it turns out, that was a good conclusion to jump to. Because "The School for Good and Evil" is a fairytale - with all the fun and magic, but even more so also with all the strangeness and brutality that go with it. It has always been fascinating to me that children like fairytales so much when they're so extremely scary, and "The School for Good and Evil" fits right in.
The book starts out on a humorous note. Our two main characters - pretty Sophie and outcast Agatha - are introduced. Both are slightly over the top, as are the town's other inhabitants, and this makes the beginning a lot of fun to read. Take this random quote for example:
Agatha: "If you say anything smug or stuck-up or shallow, I'll have Reaper follow you home." Sophie: "But then I can't talk!"
It is obvious from the beginning that Sophie has no chance in hell to end up in the School for Good, and so the next few chapters when the two of them are taken and discover their schools are a fun exploration of Chainani's incredibly creative ideas. What with Agatha's lack of belief in the reality of fairytales and the sarcastic comments on some of the more famous stories ("These are prince and princess [...]. They died of starvation on their honeymoon because they didn't pay attention in classes."), it is obvious that the author has a lot of love for fairytales, but also sees the funny side.
When the first really scary thing happens and the two friends try to find their way back home, things take a turn for the worse. The last third more or less reads like a nightmare. It's a trainwreck and you can't help but keep reading and hoping everything turns out fine in the end. Using a random quote to illustrate this as well:
"Do you know how I know?" Her face darkened with sadness. "Because I'll only be happy when you're dead."
Agatha and Sophie are both affected by their schools and what happens around them. Agatha is built to be the sympathetic character, but somehow I love Sophie's Evil-ness as well. The supporting characters are almost always likeable and very individual as well, which makes it easier to keep track of them, because there's quite a lot going on for a middle grade book.
Although I could guess parts of the plot early on, there were quite a few things about the ending that managed to surprise me (or break my heart). And happily, this book actually has an ending. You can read this as a standalone and won't miss a thing. (You probably won't, because you liked it so much that you will read the next one, but still. You could. Theoretically.)
What with the publication of the second book only happening next year, and the film being planned for the year after that, you could kill some of the time on your hands by visiting the book's official website and finding out which school you would belong to. I am apparently 73% Evil and proud of it. (I'm also 100% Slyth, so you might have guessed that.)
"The Rithmatist" was the perfect book for me because I was looking for a fun adventure. I've had somReview can also be found at 238 books in 238 days.
"The Rithmatist" was the perfect book for me because I was looking for a fun adventure. I've had some minor things that bugged me, but they didn't matter all that much, because I still had fun reading it.
Brandon Sanderson is famous for his magic systems, and he comes up with a great one again. I was actually tempted to try out the geometric principles behind Rithmatist chalk drawings, and I loved the theory involved. I've already seen requests for it, and now I really want to see the duels of this magic system in a video game as well. I'd play it :).
Joel, our main character, is an outsider. He's thoughtful and stubborn, but he also knows it when he's good at something and he needs a lecture or two concerning chivalry. The supporting characters are engaging as well; my particular favourites are soldier-turned-inspector Harding and Joel's rithmatist friend Melody. Melody should be a favourite for a lot of girls, as she stands up for her own rights (and is very apt at throwing a tantrum or two if needs must).
Set in an alternate universe around the 1900s, "The Rithmatist" shows steampunk technology (I particularly adored an owl adorning a clock - I want one of those!) and society rules similar to those of the period. Feminism is just starting to happen, religion is just starting to lose interest, and the political situation is not as stable as it should be. None of these things are really important, but I have a feeling we're being set up for something huge in the books to come.
I'm actually not quite sure why this is a YA novel; nothing points toward that apart from Joel's age (15 or 16). Maybe the magic is too difficult to understand sometimes, but seeing how there is not that much violence, no sex and whatnot, I think it would work well for a middle grade audience as well. Sanderson has already written the Alcatraz series for that kind of audience, and although "The Rithmatist" is far more serious, the sense of fun and adventure is still there. The illustrations by Ben McSweeney are great and play into that as well. I'm not sure unicorns are all that appropriate for YA.
In awful news, it looks like it's going to be a long wait for book two. My friend suggested setting chalkings on Brandon Sanderson to prompt him to write faster. That does sound a bit violent, but I wouldn't mind getting the second part sooner rather than later. ...more
I have some problems with time-travel books. Mostly it's that the logic is a bit off, that the characters change when they move to a different time orI have some problems with time-travel books. Mostly it's that the logic is a bit off, that the characters change when they move to a different time or that the historical facts aren't accurate. None of these problems happened with this book. The "logic" was explained, and the details, especially concerning dresses, were fascinating. Kerstin Gier even got around the awkwardness of treating time travel extremely seriously by giving the main character, Gwen, a great sense of humour and an ability to make snide side remarks at every given opportunity. My favourite situation was a conversation in a foreign language where Gwen supplied "missing word" for almost every important part of the discussion.
There are two tiny issues, one small issue and one big one that I have with this book. The tiny issues - uninteresting prologue and epilogue, and quite a lot of things happening in an *extremely* short time - don't dampen the enjoyment of the book. Neither does my small issue - the fact that both love interest Gideon and the author take Gwen to be slow on the uptake and desinterested. The big issue however - the missing story arch - does damage to the book. It has no real ending (no real climax either) and I might have been really annoyed, if I hadn't had the second book already waiting. ...more
"Etiquette & Espionage" is something for you if you're looking for a fun read - or some inspiration on how to behave like a lady and still get wha"Etiquette & Espionage" is something for you if you're looking for a fun read - or some inspiration on how to behave like a lady and still get what you want.
I was originally a bit put off by the fact that Gail Carriger set this series in the same universe as her "Parasol Protectorate" series, but meeting the younger versions of some beloved characters certainly made up for it. The new characters are also delightful, even if some of the side characters are not as well-rounded as they could be. (If you've never read "Soulless" and its follow-ups, you can still enjoy this one, as most things are well explained. However, there is no reason not to read "Soulless".)
The story takes a while to get going, as there is a lot that needs to be established for the rest of the series. However, with only one or two exceptions, all characters are lying, faking emotions and manipulating others all the time, so even the slow parts are still a lot of fun to read.
I'd really like to go to this finishing school myself, and I'm rather excited for the next books in the series.
--- A few quotes to give you an impression:
"That was a tad overwhelming." "I thought it was quite a wheeze." "I'm beginning to understand that about you. I'm not convinced it is a good personality trait, but it certainly appears to be useful."
"Algebra was far more interesting when it was a matter of proportioning out mutton chops so as to poison only half of one's dinner guests and then determining the relative value of purchasing a more expensive, yet more effective, antidote over a home remedy."
I read this novel because I was listening to the podcast "Writing Excuses" and, as Dan Wells kept bringing up his book to use as an example, I felt II read this novel because I was listening to the podcast "Writing Excuses" and, as Dan Wells kept bringing up his book to use as an example, I felt I should go and read it to have a better understanding of what he was saying. I am not normally someone who likes to read horror, and as such can not compare it to other horror books. Neither can I comment on how unusual the "thing" is that happens about a hundred pages in (which was mentioned in other reviews), because I felt it was well foreshadowed and so honestly not that much of a surprise.
What I really enjoyed about this book about fifteen-year-old sociopath John was the main character itself. The author has obviously done a lot of research and not gone overboard to present John as a good (or bad) boy despite his psychological difficulty. Instead John has a lot of high and (VERY) low points, and although he is not the most relatable of characters, the reader is always able to understand what goes on in his mind. There are one or two points where John manages to blend in so well that the reader forgets about the sociopathy, but it comes back to hit you full force.
I also loved the discussions between John and the other characters, especially with his therapist and with his mom. They are well-written, engaging and sometimes really funny. I can't say much about the plot - I didn't guess the bad guy before the reveal happened, what John did at the end was unexpected, and I like the fact that this can count as a standalone - but John was way more interesting than the plot. And I don't mind that. ...more
My first glimpse of "Earth Girl" was through the arms of my best friend, who had clutched it to her chest in order to protect it - from stealing, fromMy first glimpse of "Earth Girl" was through the arms of my best friend, who had clutched it to her chest in order to protect it - from stealing, from things that might destroy it, from inferior books that might be places on top of it, the like. She had bought it because it looked interesting, and then - unusually for her - she read it when she received the package, and a new obsession was born. I had to fight dirty to be able to borrow it for a read (= "I told her I would not talk to her about it unless I also got to read it"), and as such, when I finally got around to reading it, I did so with a very high expectation. And I was prepared to dislike it, even if I might have thought it perfectly adequate under different circumstances.
In the beginning, I thought my predictions were quite accurate. We are introduced to Jarra and the world she lives in, and it is a little bit confusing, because there's new technology, new social systems, new everything. Jarra herself is a special case - being unable to leave Earth in a society where everyone has and regards those who can't as "throwbacks" or "apes" And in addition to the special rules that apply to her, she's also a teen - who loves weird new words to describe something as cool (like "amaz"), drama series with hot guys in them and talking to her best friend about girl stuff. Luckily for me (and for the author, because it's a great tool for exposition), Jarra also loves history, and tends to go off on a tangent if she hits upon a flimsy connection to a subject that interests her.
Jarra detests her special status as a "Handicapped", and she decides to do something about it. This is where things get interesting, and Jarra, although still a teen at heart, takes a turn for the better. She's angry enough to slip into an off-Earth university for a history course. It still takes place on Earth - as a practical turn on the dig site at the ruins of New York - but her fellow students are all Norms, people who are able to travel and who would despise her if they knew what she was. Jarra is fuelled by her sense of injustice, and she makes some rather stupid personal choices, but in her professionalism on the dig site, she shows her love for the subject. She is knowledgeable enough to compare what she sees now (in 2788) to what it might have looked to people who were alive in, say, 2013.
Sometimes Jarra gets annoyed though, especially during theoretical lectures, once summarizing the 20st century as "world war, financial crisis, world war, bore". It's one of the many fascinating aspects of this book - the look back at the distant time when the reader is alive. A lot of data was lost about Earth during the years before the colonization of space, and the work that historians in Jarra's time do to figure out what was happening in the 21st century is very similar to what historians do today to work out the lifes of people in Ancient Rome. A lot of guesswork, a lot of empathy, and a lot of knowledge about humanity itself.
Another fascinating aspect are Jarra's fellow students. They're from all over the known universe - planets in different stages of settlement, having developed separate cultures, traditions, moral codes. They're linked by a common history on Earth, but that might be irrelevant considering how they behave in the beginning.
Janet Edwards does me the favour of concentrating on all the fascinating things and keeping the annoying ones to a bare minimum. Jarra still loves her favourite actor - indeed compares her classmates and potential partners to him -, there is romance, action and drama, but at the heart of it is a girl with a strong character development and a world you might want to experience if it wouldn't mean seeing the places you love destroyed.
There are a few irritating things - like the ending that leaves a few threads hanging, and the rather longish time it took me to get into it - but none of them are enough to lower the rating for this book in any way. So, it seems my friend was right. And I have to buy my own copy if I want to keep it on my bedside table.
German book, German review. For other reviews (in English), you can check out my blog: 238 books in 238 days. ------
Für mich war "Zu den Anfängen" ganzGerman book, German review. For other reviews (in English), you can check out my blog: 238 books in 238 days. ------
Für mich war "Zu den Anfängen" ganz klar das richtige Buch zur richtigen Zeit. Ich mag langsame Bücher, in denen dem Leser erlaubt wird, sich richtig auf die Geschichte einzulassen. Ich mag Fantasy-Romane, in denen man sich auf einzelne Charaktere konzentrieren kann, auch wenn das Schicksal der ganzen Welt auf dem Spiel steht. Und ich mag Poetisches - Gedichte, sprechende Namen, Erzählungen, bildhafte Sprache, alles was eben so dazugehört.
All das hat "Zu den Anfängen" zu bieten. Zu meiner großen Freude gibt es auch Kapitelüberschriften - das ist etwas Unbedeutendes, aber es gefällt mir, wenn ich das Inhaltsverzeichnis aufschlagen kann und mich anhand des Titels erinnere, was in einem Kapitel geschehen ist. Im Anhang finden sich eine Karte und ein Glossar. Dies hab ich zunächst übersehen, habe aber auch so ohne Probleme in das Buch hineingefunden. Ich habe gelesen, dass einige Probleme mit den kurzen Sätzen hatten; mir ging das nicht so. Ich ahb mich beim Lesen irgendwie ein bisschen heimisch gefühlt; als hätte ich schon Erfahrungen mit der Autorin gesammelt.
Mir gefällt, dass E.L. Greiff viele Themen eingearbeitet hat, ohne dabei belehrend zu wirken. Am Ende wirkt die Grundeinstellung des Buches selbst wie ein Wasserfluss - Dinge geschehen eben und man sollte sie geschen lassen. Erst wenn ein wirklich gravierendes Hindernis auftritt, wird mit aller Macht dagegen vorgegangen.
Das Buch ist nicht wirklich abgeschlossen, trotzdem kommt man Ende etwa bei einer Atempause an und ist nicht zwanghaft auf den nächsten Band angewiesen. Das finde ich bei ersten Bänden immer sehr positiv, dennoch bin ich kein Fan der dreimonatigen Wartezeit bis zu Band 2. ...more
"Zwergenfluch" ist ein angenehmes Buch für zwischendurch. Es sind nicht wirklich neue Elemente dabei, aber es ist unterhaltsam und flüssig zu lesen.
Es"Zwergenfluch" ist ein angenehmes Buch für zwischendurch. Es sind nicht wirklich neue Elemente dabei, aber es ist unterhaltsam und flüssig zu lesen.
Es gibt ein paar Abstriche, so zB dass nur Charaktere auftreten, die wirklich etwas zu sagen haben, und keiner, der die Auswirkungen der Entscheidungen auf das einfache Volk darstellt. Das eingeführte Kastensystem (eine Unterteilung in Krieger, Gelehrte und Arbeiter) ist äußerst interessant, aber hier ist ebenfalls kein wichtiger Charakter aus der Kaste der Arbeiter zu finden, so dass immer nur zwei Standpunkte vertreten werden. Für mich war auch schade, dass ich mir die Orte an der Oberfläche und die Minen viel besser vorstellen konnte als die Stadt der Zwerge selbst. Hier hat mir ein wenig Atmosphäre gefehlt. Die Charaktere sind alle recht gut ausgearbeitet, auch wenn ich mir für den nächsten Band von einigen Beziehungen noch mehr erhoffe.
Zu bemerken ist noch, dass bei mir trotz der interessanten Geschichte und der definitiv nicht zu kurz kommenden Kampfszenen keine wirkliche Spannung aufgekommen ist. Das liegt zum einen am Fehlen überraschender Wendungen (die ich aber auch nicht erwartet habe), zum anderen aber am extrem ruhigen und entspannten Schreibstil des Autors. Der hat auch was für sich, nur ist es ein wenig gewöhnungsbedürftig.
Insgesamt 3 Sterne + einen in entspannter Erwartung der Fortsetzung....more
"Windkämpfer" von Robert Redick, der Debütroman des Autors und zugleich Auftakt zu einer neuen Trilogie, wird - vor allem zu Werbezwecken - oft mit de"Windkämpfer" von Robert Redick, der Debütroman des Autors und zugleich Auftakt zu einer neuen Trilogie, wird - vor allem zu Werbezwecken - oft mit den Büchern von Joe Abercrombie verglichen. Um das Fazit schon einmal kurz vorwegzunehmen: Diesem Vergleich hält es auf keinen Fall Stand. Man mag von Abercrombie halten, was man will, aber Charaktere zum Leben erwecken und Spannung aufbauen, das kann er.
Aber zurück zum vorliegenden Buch: Pazel Pathkendle heuert auf der "Chartrand" an, einem der größten Schiffe, die jemals gebaut wurden. Angeblich ist das Schiff auf einer Friedensmission unterwegs, doch bald wird klar, dass viele an Bord noch ganz andere Pläne hegen...
Hier sieht man fast sofort das größte Problem dieses Romans: seine vielen Figuren. Nicht nur, dass es neben den klar identifizierbaren Hauptcharakteren (Pazel und Tascha) eine endlose Reihe von weniger wichtigen, wichtigen und richtig wichtigen Nebenfiguren gibt; fast zwei Drittel von ihnen werden auch noch zu Protagonisten, wenn mit jedem neuen Kapitel der Blickpunkt auf das Geschehen gewechselt wird. Das strengt nicht nur an, es ist auch nicht gerade "spannungsfördernd", zumal nicht allzu viele Cliffhanger vorkommen, so dass man unbedingt wissen wöllte, wie es denn nun weitergeht. Zudem leidet die Charakterisierung der Figuren etwas unter diesem Konzept; sie bleiben zu oberflächlich und unberührbar.
Etwas irriert haben mich auch die Briefe oder Tagebucheinträge; in diesen Abschnitten sollte man wohl die Idee eines historischen Dokuments aus der betreffenden Zeit im Sinn haben, durch das völlige Fehlen solcher Stellen im Rest des Romans wirken sie jedoch ein wenig deplatziert.
Ein kleines Lexikon der Seemannssprache hätte eine schöne Ergänzung sein können; mir persönlich war die halbe Seite an Informationen zu wenig.
Alles in allem eine ausgewogene Punktevergabe: Nicht gut genug, um es anderen wirklich empfehlen zu können, aber so schlecht ist es nun auch wieder nicht und außerdem ist die Geschichte an sich interessant genug, damit ich mir auch den zweiten Teil zulegen möchte. Daher ausgewogene drei Punkte. Ob es auch noch mal mehr werden, ist noch nicht abzusehen; vor allem stellt sich hier die typische Frage aller Intrigenspielchen: "Wenn jeder weiß, was du erreichen willst, und alle anderen wissen, was du willst ...dann wird es an Stoff für neue Intrigen mangeln"....more
"Seelenfänger" ist der Auftakt zu einer Serie von Jonathan L. Howard, die sich mit dem Nekromanten Johannes Cabal befasst. Dieser hatte seine Seele dem"Seelenfänger" ist der Auftakt zu einer Serie von Jonathan L. Howard, die sich mit dem Nekromanten Johannes Cabal befasst. Dieser hatte seine Seele dem Teufel abgetreten, um das Leben nach dem Tod zu erforschen. Nun hätte er sie aber doch gern wieder, und so lässt er sich mit Satan auf eine Wette ein: Wenn er vor Ablauf eines Jahres hundert andere Seelen beisammen hat, bekommt er seine eigene wieder. Und Johannes will diese Wette um jeden Preis gewinnen; Satan stellt ihm dafür sogar einen "Jahrmarkt der Zwietracht" zur Verfügung...
Johannes Cabal ist alles andere als ein sympathischer Protagonist. Man könnte sogar sagen, je weiter das Buch voranschreitet, desto mieser wird er. Was dem Interesse des Lesers jedoch nicht schadet. (Interesse ist hier wörtlich zu nehmen, denn von Zuneigung kann man auf keinen Fall sprechen!)
Gefreut hat mich die Aufmachung des Buches; kleine kapitelbezogene Zeichnungen neben jeder Überschrift, zudem eine kurze Zusammenfassung des Kapitels wie in alten Theateranweisungen. Ich habe oft nach Ende eines Kapitels zurückgeblättert, um mir die Zusammenfassung und die Zeichnung noch einmal genauer zu betrachten.
Wer mit Zynismus nicht umgehen kann, sollte einen riesigen Bogen um dieses Buch machen und sich viele gute Gedanken suchen, um sich davon abzulenken. Denn selbst wenn man an sich schon zynisch ist (und das trifft auf mich sicher zu), ist der Humor des Autors stellenweise recht schmerzhaft.
Doch der bitterböse Humor passt gut zur Horror-Story an sich; in der Geschichte tummeln sich genügend Dämonen, Untote, Belebte und andere nette Wesen, um damit einen ganzen Friedhof zu bevölkern, und sie sorgen auch für jede Menge Ärger und auch die ein oder andere ausgewachsene Schlägerei.
Die Idee des Jahrmarktes an sich ist recht spannend, ich hätte mir nur an manchen Stellen mehr Details gewünscht. So werden manche Dinge angesprochen, verlaufen dann aber im Sand, zB eine Kugel, die die Macht anzeigt, die Johannes als Nekromant noch bleibt. Auch hätte ich gern etwas über die Attraktionen erfahren, die "ausrangiert" worden sind und nur mal am Rande erwähnt wurden.
Romantisch wird es auch mal, obwohl die "Liebesgeschichte" mal wieder typisch für mich ist: fast nicht vorhanden, nur etwa zwei Seiten lang und eine kurze Erwähnung, dazu ist alles noch extrem kompliziert. Aber was solls, ich habe mich daran gewöhnt; das passiert mir in jedem zweiten Buch :-)
Alles in allem merkt man, dass es sich hierbei nur um den ersten Band einer Reihe handelt; viele Dinge bleiben noch im Dunkeln. Und entweder Johannes und die Art der Geschichte sagen einem zu und man beißt an, oder man wird mit einem relativ offenen Ende im Regen stehen gelassen.
Mir hat es jedenfalls gefallen, und ich werde mir die nächsten Bände sicher auch zu Gemüte führen. Noch keine fünf Sterne, wird sicher auch nix mehr, aber trotzdem ein gutes Buch. (Und irgendwie erinnert es mich doch an Tim Burton.)
Ach ja: Eine kleine Alterseinschränkung. Abgesehen von Dämonen, Teufeln, Untoten, Nekromanten und einer recht interessanten Auffassung zum Thema "ewige Verdammnis" gibt es hier auch noch andere grenzwertige Themen (Achtung kleiner Spoiler: Kindestötung). Ich würde so etwas frühestens einem Vierzehnjährigen in die Hand drücken, auch wenn das sicher Ansichtssache ist....more
Since I enjoyed reading this book a lot, I have thought long and hard about my rating.
The worldbuilding (well, city-building) was great, I loved mostSince I enjoyed reading this book a lot, I have thought long and hard about my rating.
The worldbuilding (well, city-building) was great, I loved most of the characters, I enjoyed the setting (a lot), I liked especially the political part of the plot (because I like it when people are put against people, have to obey intricate rules, and have to use their mind to win the game), and I definitely want to read the next book in the series.
Yet, only four stars. Well, apart from the fact that this is N.K. Jemisin's first novel (and you have to leave room for development), there are two things that convinced me to deduct a point.
First, there is something I have found odd time and time again, which is the switching between two different worlds (view spoiler)[In this case, the view of the Gods and the view of ordinary humans (hide spoiler)]. N.K. Jemisin not only switches the perspective, but she switches her entire way of telling a story, which really threw me off balance.
And second, while I enjoyed the ride the first time, and did not see some of the developments coming, in looking back I find some of those revelations to be somewhat cliched. That is not a bad thing (and makes my surprise at these things even more valuable), but if I give five stars, I would have to be as enthralled upon the tenth read as I was on the first. I don't think that willl happen here.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
India Black is the owner of Lotus House, a red-light establishment in Victorian London. When one of her clients unexpectedly dies in her etablissementIndia Black is the owner of Lotus House, a red-light establishment in Victorian London. When one of her clients unexpectedly dies in her etablissement, India is thrust into the world of espionage.
This premise is rather interesting, and the basis for my three-star-rating. A Victorian setting can never hurt, and I love difficult politics in the background. There are also some interesting secondary characters, and quite a few witty remarks.
There is, however, the small matter of Miss Black enjoying the sound of her own voice. As this book is told from her perspective, this leads to quite a lot of rambling, and a book that, frankly, could easily been half as long without missing vital parts of the story. I do enjoy having background information, and I do applaud the thorough research that the author obviously did, but I felt like I was sitting through an enormous info-dump. Add to that the fact that there is no chemistry between India and her creatively named opposite - French - and the rating won't go beyond three stars.
Wow. This took a loooooooong time. In fact, I might never have finished, had I not listened to the audio book in the gym (which greatly improved my fiWow. This took a loooooooong time. In fact, I might never have finished, had I not listened to the audio book in the gym (which greatly improved my fitness because, you know, it is looooong).
There is no doubt that Mark Gatiss can write, that his characters are interesting and his plot twists and other happenings rather insane. I might have preferred a less narcissistic main character though, because after a few pages of "Oh, I'm handsome and talented and quite clever, but you already know that because I have no doubt that the world will know my name", it gets a bit too much. The early 19th century also suits Mark Gatiss rather well, and if someone were to make this book into a movie, it would surely be a very pretty one.
But there is one problem: It took me ages to get through this. There are intriguing things happening, but nowhere near intriguing enough to pull you through all of the descriptions and side remarks. And I'm afraid I'm not in love with his writing enough that I could read for just the writing. Indeed, this book has been said to contain "large doses of arch wit and louche laying about", and when exactly that thing doesn't work for you, the book won't either.
I will read the other parts in the series, but I won't be in a hurry to do so....more
I read "The Hunger Games" before the movie came out. I'd been interested before, but not enough to actually read it. At the time, I really liked it.
II read "The Hunger Games" before the movie came out. I'd been interested before, but not enough to actually read it. At the time, I really liked it.
I liked Katniss - she is a strong female lead, she's good at what she does, and she accepts her fate without giving into it. She adapts to new circumstances, and then she fights to get to a better place. This is something I admire a lot, and it's a good quality for a role model to have. Katniss is also great because she actually uses her brain - and she's a good main character for a YA novel, because she's also insecure, temperamental and socially awkward. Katniss' supporting characters are also well-written - even if I don't have a thing for the ubiquitous love triangle in YA novels.
I quite liked the plot as well - it is fast-paced and never boring, if unbelievably brutal when you stop to think about it. Once the massacre stops, we move on to players forming strategies - and here the book is really strong, because although everything takes a lot of skill (and requires a certain lack of care), these are still teens thinking about how to get what they want.
The setting was interesting to me as well, and all that amounted to slightly more than four stars - until the re-read. When I watched the movie, I liked it but felt that something was lacking. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but now that I've re-read it, I know.
What I loved most about this book - and didn't realize until I didn't see it in the movie - is the quiet spark of the revolution. In almost every scene, there is a little detail that tells you that you're being set up for something really big. It is people helping each other unexpectedly, it is a side character developing an understanding of greater politics, it is a quick remark about the government's interpretation of history in its own favour.
All of this creates a rich canvas for the next books to build on, and it makes a re-read really enjoyable. It also gives the story a certain depth that I wouldn't have expected in a YA action novel, which is enough for me to reconsider my previous rating. Four stars plus added enjoyment makes just about five stars. And the odds are in favour of the book in this case :).