Overall, I liked this one. A quick, fun read - not brilliant, but I'd still recommend this to any fans of the comics. To be honest, if you aren't alreOverall, I liked this one. A quick, fun read - not brilliant, but I'd still recommend this to any fans of the comics. To be honest, if you aren't already into the comics I don't know why you'd even consider checking this one out, considering it's currently only available in a not too cheap hardcover edition (it is a very pretty edition though. Bachalo's pencils are not my favourite interpretation of the character by a long shot, but the drawings they chose for the book's interior art are still pretty nice and add a certain flavour).
The trip into the Dream Dimensions that make up the basic premise of the plot are extremely well suited to the character, and I loved that the book remembered Clea and her great importance to Dr Strange (both to the character and the web of stories featuring him as a whole), even though she doesn't appear in person (the way their relationship was simply cancelled in the comics without much ado and Stephen was ret-conned into a ladies' man still rankles me). The book also does really well most of the time when adding a bit of characterisation to the sorcerer supreme. I basically loved every paragraph that dealt with the injury to his hands. Those scars, physical as well as mental are a veritable well for the writer who dares to delve into it, and this author did not shy away from diving.
I was somewhat less enamored with Dr Misra's characterisation. Up til the end I was never quite sure why she joined Stephen on the quest into the realm of dreams. I couldn't find the answer in her personal character motivation (which simply wasn't there at all, at any point), or just from a narrative point of view. She simply didn't do much during the entire book except spout exposition about how dreams work in connection to the human brain - information that didn't even add anything to the story. Right before the group enters the Dream Dimension she even wonders at how crazy the entire plan is, and how she can't believe that she's going along with it - well, neither can I. Occasionally the book also brings up her ethnicity in ways that seem forced or just simply not a natural way for the narrative to develop. Like, was it necessary to mention that the elephant this modern woman summons - this scientist who grew up in America and who moments ago summoned something as comparatively mundane as a bus to drive through a horde of nightmare creates - was it really necessary that the elephant she summons to help her clear out some debris is specified as an Indian Elephant? Just seems odd that she would summon an animal to help her in the first place instead of machinery, let alone make that distinction between elephant species. It felt like just another unnecessary reminder of "hey, remember she's of Indian descent?" which, IMO, could have been done without making the character feel like a showpiece. You shouldn't have to use cheap set dressing like that to remind us who your character is. Seemed a bit tokenistic is all.
So, combine her lack of character motivation with the fact that she didn't exactly do anything that, say, Jane couldn't have done to bring the plot forward once they're in the dream dimensions, I'm a bit puzzled about this character.
After some inital confusion about what her role in the story I did come to enjoy Jane, or rather her arc, quite a bit (it was pretty nicely foreshadowed what would become of her after her conversation with the Souvereign of Healing Dreams), and it was nice to see Nightmare tag along in that evil-sidekick fashion.
But, disregarding all of that, it's a lovely little fantasy novel, and the writing is fairly good for a piece of media tie-in. (Although there was the occasional line that made me wonder how it got past an editor. It's fine if the main character's verbose, because that's in his character, but less so when the narration springs paraphrases of lines at you that were already superflous the first time you read them)....more
Like the previous graphic novel, this isn't a great comic, but it's decent fun and yet another opportunity to spend some time with beloved charactersLike the previous graphic novel, this isn't a great comic, but it's decent fun and yet another opportunity to spend some time with beloved characters from the Rivers of London series with all the goodness that entails (meaning mainly magic and Peter's nerdiness).
The actual plot ends up a bit chaoitic and probably could have done with less players, but I was more invested in this than the haunted car from the previous run, so it's not like it didn't work out in the end. The inclusion of some of the players surprised me though. Seeing how this is just a spin-off to the novels I did not expect (view spoiler)[Lesley and the Faceless Man to become involved. Night Witch has me even more worried for her now than The Hanging Tree did. She seems pretty serious about her new life and line of work. (hide spoiler)]
Anyway, Varvara is a fun character and I'm glad she was allowed to go out and play in this run (though did there really have to be so many references to vodka?). This better not be the last time we see her.
While the individual plots so far have been forgettable, I do enjoy the character action in these comics and I really hope they do more of these (not just because the comics so far seem to be the only place in which we actually get to see Nightingale do something impressive)....more
"Um nun ganz überzeugt zu werden, dass man Holzpuppe liebe, wurde von mehrern Liebhabern verlangt, daß die Geliebte etwas taktlos singe und tanze, daß"Um nun ganz überzeugt zu werden, dass man Holzpuppe liebe, wurde von mehrern Liebhabern verlangt, daß die Geliebte etwas taktlos singe und tanze, daß sie beim Vorlesen sticke, stricke, dem Möpschen spiele usw. vor allen Dingen aber, daß sie nicht bloß höre, sondern auch manchmal in der Art spreche, daß dieses Sprechen wirklich ein Denken und Empfinden voraussetze."
Die Elixiere des Teufels fand ich etwas langatmig, den Sandmann jetzt etwas kurz, aber alleine schon wegen diesem Absatz hat sich das Lesen dieser Novelle doch gelohnt....more
I knew I was going to buy this book when I first saw the authors talk of it on LiveJournal, long before it was finally published.
Horatio Hornblower waI knew I was going to buy this book when I first saw the authors talk of it on LiveJournal, long before it was finally published.
Horatio Hornblower was my entry into Age of Sail fiction and his first captain, Sir Edward Pellew was my entry into Age of Sail non-fiction. So of course I jump at any book that might untangle fact from fiction and tell me something new about my favourite historical naval captain.
That said, I wonder who the target audience for this book is (apart from myself, of course). A lot of original research went into this book (trying to imagine the amount of document that had to be examined for this book over years and years makes me queasy), and I definitely see the great value of this study for, among others, researchers who have to sift through disorganised archives, stumbling onto previously not researched names that have been confused with different names that this study gives a face to. The book also demonstrates vividly how widespread such practices were as prospective lieutenants falsifying their birth dates to reach the required age to take their examinations sooner, and captain's carrying the names of prospective sailors "on the books" before the boys in question were ready to physically join their ships as these things happened to be the case for the vast majority of young gentlemen examined in the study.
But, apart from being a study, this is also a book with a very pretty hardback edition available from popular retailers and not restricted to be passed around academic circles. Yet, despite the pop culture angle that the connection to Hornblower suggests, this is not a book for absolute beginners. I recommend this book only to people with a previous interest in Sir Edward Pellew, the Indefatigable, and, maybe, Hornblower, who already know their way around a Georgian naval frigate.
Considering that this book is about 17 midshipmen who served on the Indefatigable under Pellew's command you'd expect there to be a few words written on what being a midshipman or master's mate or any of the other positions meant that a young gentleman could hold aboard a Georgian man-of-war. But not only do we learn next to nothing about the day-to-day lives of the subjects of this study (due to next to no private correspondence of these boys and young men having survived the centuries that separate them from our time), the book misses an opportunity to at least list some of the general facts of shipboard life during the Napoleonic era.
Readers well versed in the workings of the Georgian navy won't miss this information, but it could have served to broaden the book's audience that, as it is, serves a rather niche audience.
The mentioned, unfortunate lack of private correspondence also has the potential to turn the book not into a hard read, but an occasionally dry read as the short biographies of the study's subjects are reduced mainly to dates of noteworthy naval engagements or important civic events such as marriages. The book does its best to add more meat to these precise accounts, by elaborating on events or anecdotes that are related to its subjects in some ways – albeit often only tangentially. Although this does at least give a vivid impression of how much Georgian naval officers moved around during the Napoleonic wars while history happened around them.
Tangential is also the relation of the book's subject to the Hornblower franchise. The short biographies are interesting even without any comparison to the life of the fictional Horatio Hornblower. On the contrary, it's the references to Hornblower that eventually seemed distracting to me, as they appear only sparingly in the text (with the exception of the book's introduction and the last chapter) and don't add much to the actual study. They mainly serve to show how close Forester's fictional naval officer came to the real thing, but the comparisons to Hornblower are not a theme throughout the biographies.
In summary, if your only connection to the subject is the Hornblower franchise, I would not recommend picking up this book. But if your interests include the exploits and workings of the British Navy in the Age of Sail (and the exploits of Pellew and his most famous command in particular), then this book is worth a look. ...more
Zu lang. Zu langatmig. Ein schöner Sprachgebrauch profitiert eben auch von einem präzisen Sprachgebrauch. Davon ist in "Die Elixiere des Teufels" aberZu lang. Zu langatmig. Ein schöner Sprachgebrauch profitiert eben auch von einem präzisen Sprachgebrauch. Davon ist in "Die Elixiere des Teufels" aber nicht viel zu spüren. Ich verbleibe zwar ein Fan der deutschen Romantik, aber dieser Roman geht an mir vorbei. So spannend auch einige der Episoden sind, so zitierfähig einige Passagen, Bruder Medardus ist ein Protagonist mit dem ich nicht übermäßig Zeit verbringen möchte, was mich dazu treibt in diesem Falle den unnötig, kitschig ausufernden Schreibstil nicht zu verzeihen.
Hinzu kommt, dass natürlich jede Szene mit Aurelie bis zum Himmel stinkt. Jeder Persönlichkeit beraubt, beschränkt auf die Vision der Verführerin, die Medardus' Wahnsinn ihm schickt, und auf die Leblosigkeit der Ikonie, die kein Eigenleben besitzt, ist diese Figur lediglich ein Mittel zur geistigen Vervollkommnung des Protagonisten. Nicht einmal ihr Gelübde, sondern erst ihr Tod, ihre entgültige Flucht vor aller körperlicher Lust, sichter Medardus das Seelenheil. Ihr gegenüber wirkt sogar die unerreichbare Dame des deutschen Minneliedes wie ein Gipfel der feministischen Charakterzeichnung.
Wer genug hat von der Frau als Symbol, kann um diesen Roman getrost einen großen Bogen machen. Auf seine literaturwissenschaftliche Bedeutung sei da genüsslich gefurzt....more
It's good, but I didn't love it. It manages to tell a multi-layered stories through the points of view of very different yet always sympathetic characIt's good, but I didn't love it. It manages to tell a multi-layered stories through the points of view of very different yet always sympathetic characters who take part in episodes of the same adventure without realising it at first.
There are cultists and Magic and a proper haunted house, all connected through some decent, imaginative world building. But despite all that the real excitement was missing for in the majority of the stories.
I enjoyed myself reading, and the setting certainly cobtributes to a sense of tension that you don't get in other Fantasy novels, but it doesn't cover up the fact that the book is lacking in supernatural horror which dampened my enthusiam a bit. While I'm happy I found this book, I was left feeling - despite a satisfying ending - that there could have been still more too it.
I'd still recommend this novel to anyone looking for an Urban Fantasy with a historical setting that doesn't really get explored a lot within the genre. The scenes in which the characters deal with the day-to-day horror of racism, from micro aggressions to outright violence are definitely among the novel's stronger bits, as they are much more vivid and tension-filled as the few supernatural occurances within the story....more
lch fürchte ich hätte lieber die Rekonstruktion des Lebens des tatsächlichen historischen d'Artagnans gelesen (die im Nachwort erwähnt werden) als dielch fürchte ich hätte lieber die Rekonstruktion des Lebens des tatsächlichen historischen d'Artagnans gelesen (die im Nachwort erwähnt werden) als diesen stark gekürzten Abenteuerroman mit dem Anstrich der Memoiren.
Als kleiner Abstecher in die Lebensweise eines französischen Edelmannes ist das Buch zwar interessant (dessen Zeitgenosse der ursprüngliche Autor war. Wenn auch alle Ereignisse in dieser apokryphen Biografie erfunden sind, so stellen sie doch immer noch die Umgebung eines Charakters wie d'Artagnan glaubhaft genug da, dass seine Zeitgenossen darin etwas Wahrheit darin erkannten) aber weniger detailliert als ich mit erhofft hatte.
Vielleicht ist das den starken Kürzungen zu verdanken die der Übersetzer vorgenommen hat (laut Nachwort). Bis zu einer neuen Bearbeitung des Stoffes würde ich daher empfehlen, dass, wer dessen mächtig ist, sich besser das Original zuführt....more
Could have been better than it is if it had elected to dedicate more than one short chapter to each of the characters. As it is the characters feel shCould have been better than it is if it had elected to dedicate more than one short chapter to each of the characters. As it is the characters feel shallow, like archetypes more than complete, real people, which is unfortunate considering the very real subject matter, that otherwise could have been given a very human face if only the characters didn't read as flat as they do. It's short length is the book's greatest enemy....more
I'm finding this one a hard one to rate, so I might not do it. For multiple reasons.
About half of this book is a collection of bilingual poetry, and wI'm finding this one a hard one to rate, so I might not do it. For multiple reasons.
About half of this book is a collection of bilingual poetry, and whily my knowledge of Spanish is sufficient enough to understand the words and follow what is being said I'm nearly fluent enough to judge poetry on its literary merits.
Another reason that makes it difficult for me to rate this book are its many faces: it's part auto-biography, part political and part spiritual manifesto, and, finally it is a piece of history. This book gets reference everywhere when you look up Chicano text, particularly ones pertaining to Chicana feminism. So since I read this book more as a historical document than a piece of fiction, to broaden my understanding of other texts, I find myself at a loss at which criteria to employ to rate it. What I can say is that I found the style the book is written in readable, and quite a few of the ideas resonanted with me both as a woman and a compassionate human being. ...more