Octavia E. Butler – Parable of the Talents

764646

© Goodreads, Gran Central Publishing

paperback
publisher: Grand Central Publishing
published: 2000
pages: 464

Blurb:

Lauren Olamina’s love is divided among her young daughter, her community, and the revelation that led Lauren to found a new faith that teaches “God Is Change”. But in the wake of environmental and economic chaos, the U.S. government turns a blind eye to violent bigots who consider the mere existence of a black female leader a threat. And soon Lauren must either sacrifice her child and her followers — or forsake the religion that can transform human destiny. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ second part of a duology
+ set in the future with not necessarily always sympathetic characters
+ wonderful writing yet quite graphic at times

My Opinion:

After we follow the main character Lauren Olamina survive in a world, where the government has collapsed, and a society that has reverted to anarchy, she has now found a place to stay with her followers, followers that believe in the religious system that she has developed in her youth. But the peaceful time is short before she and her people have to endure even more horror.

The book was oddly captivating: though the topic and the story was quite brutal and harsh at times and the main characters were unsympathetic and unrelateable to me, I whisked through this novel quite fast after a while. Due to the topic and the graphic descriptions, I had to put the book down for a while, yet once I was emotionally in a good place, I continued and finished quite quickly.

The story was narrated by Olamina and her daughter, thus we followed the story split into two different time lines. Yet neither of the characters was sympathetic or somewhat relateable. I couldn’t connect to either of them as they somehow missed redeeming qualities.

The writing of the author captivated me and made sure I enjoyed the read.

Bottom Line:

It was a good read with wonderful and captivating writing, yet unsympathetic characters and quite graphic instances.

Rating:

rating 3

Sabine Weigand – Die Seelen im Feuer (Incl. Short English Review)

This book is written and narrated in German. For a short English review please see further below.

Hörbuch gelesen von Birgitta Asshauer

Information zum Buch:
Taschenbuch
Verlag: Fischer
veröffentlicht 2010
Seiten: 528

Klappentext:

Von der Liebe in den Zeiten des Feuers
Es trifft Frauen und Männer, Arme und Reiche: wer der Hexerei bezichtigt wird, stirbt in den Flammen. Es ist ein Ringen um Gut und Böse, aber auch ein Kampf um die Macht, denn der Fürstbischof von Bamberg will besonders die freien Bürger der Stadt in ihre Schranken weisen. Mit der jungen Apothekertochter Johanna schauen wir in eine Welt, in der der Hexenglaube Wirklichkeit ist. (Amazon)

Meinung:

Handlung: Der Roman ist spannend und gleichzeitig erschreckend. Die Beleuchtung der Hexenverbrennung aus der Sicht der Bürger und der Kirche ist eine interessante und auch aufschlussreiche Mischung. Dabei sehen wir nicht nur die Machtgier der Kirche, sondern auch den Glauben der Geistlichen, die davon überzeugt sind, dass der Teufel sie testen will.

Charaktere: Die Figuren sind durchaus sympathisch und liebenswert. Dabei werden verschiedene Seiten beleuchtet und der Grund für die Handlungen des Antagonisten angedeutet. Eine interessante Mischung, welche die Erzählung umso erschreckender macht.

Stil/Sprecher: Der Schreibstil ist angenehm und flüssig. Er verzichtet aber nicht ganz auf detaillierte Beschreibung der Folter (die sicher auch noch mehr und schlimmer hätte beschrieben werden können). Ich hätte gut und gerne auf das ein oder andere verzichten können und musste ab und zu ein paar Stellen überspringen. Der Roman wurde sehr gut Birgitta Asshauer gelesen.

In English:

Johanna lives in the city of Bamberg when the church starts to burn witches. Those witch hunts don’t stop for anybody thus the rich, the poor, men, and women are burned at the stake. Johanna and her family try to survive, but the bishop plans to collect more and more money. He even stops at nothing to keep the citizens from reporting to the pope.

The novel was a really good and terrifying read. I liked the inclusion of both perspectives – the citizens and the clergy – which did not only highlight the struggle for power and money but also the deep believe of the bishop that the devil is tempting him by controlling all those witches around him. This made the story even more horific and frightening.

The writing was fluent and effortless, yet the author did spend some time on the torture methods. I could have done without those and had to skip some parts occasionally since I really don’t like blood and gore. But alltogether this was a really interesting and good book.

Kai Meyer – Pirate Curse (The Wave Walkers Trilogy #1)/ Die Wellenläufer

Die Wellenläufer

© Loewe Verlag

Hardcover
published: 2006
publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Loewe Verlag (German)
pages: 320

Blurb:

The Pirates of the Caribbean have a name for kids who walk on water — they call them polliwogs. As far as fourteen-year-old Jolly knows, she’s the last polliwog still alive — and this special talent makes her invaluable to the pirate captain who raised her.
When someone sets a trap for Jolly’s ship, she alone escapes. Washed up on a tiny island, she meets Munk, who has been raised in hiding. Munk longs to go to sea, but his parents are afraid of pirates. They have forbidden Munk to reveal his true identity — he, too, is a polliwog.
But pirates are not the only threat in the Caribbean. Evil forces are stirring, and a demon from the sea attacks and murders Munk’s parents. Was the demon really after Munk? And Jolly, too? Why are the polliwogs so valuable, and who’s willing to kill to possess them?
Jolly and Munk must sail with a strange crew of outcasts, led by the mysterious Ghost Trader, to avenge their loved ones and try to stop an ancient, malevolent force known as the Maelstrom. What it will cost both teens, no one can tell — in this thrilling fantasy from the extraordinary Kai Meyer. (Goodreads)

In (Very) Short:

+ wonderful middle grade adventure book with pirates
+ kids who can walk on water
+ fast-paced, thrilling and a fantastic story world

My Opinion:

This wonderful adventure story is not only a good read for the middle grade reading group but was very entertaining for this old person:)

I listened to this novel as an audiobook and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Kai Meyer is one of Germanys successful fantasy authors, who has also dabbled in other genres, yet I really love his childrens’ books.

Jolly and her friend Munk are the last two children who can walk on water – called polliwogs. Though Jolly grew up on a pirate ship – she has to escape that ship once it was attacked by poisonous spiders. So, when she met Munk, they not only discover that they are both polliwogs, but that the oceans and the sea is slowly starting to change and monstrous creatures start to appear. Evil forces are stirring and are hunting the two kids. In order to survive, avenge their loved ones, and safe the world, Jolly and Munk travel to a strange place with a quite a strange crew.

The novel is fast-paced and the explanations of the world are incorporated into the story without taking the tempo out of the narration. Yet they satisfied curiosities. I enjoyed the characters and their development though I did not always understand their occasional blindness. Munk was a little annoying at times, but since he spend his entire life on an island by himself, I could understand him. The mixture of strange outcasts – who else is accompanied by a pitbull-man – was wonderfully eccentric and fun to read. All together I could not stop the audiobook and quickly continued with the next installments.

Bottom Line:

A fast-paced adventure pirate novel – what is not to love.

Derek Landy – The Faceless Ones (Skullduggery Pleasent #3)

Skulduggery Pleasant – Die Diablerie bittet zum Sterben

© Loewe Verlag

paperback
publisher: HarperCollins/
Loewe Verlag (German)
published 2010
pages: 432

Blurb:

Valkyrie screamed, sprinting toward Skulduggery.
He looked up and reached out to her, but it was too late. . . .
If you’ve read the other Skulduggery Pleasant books by Derek Landy (and you really should have read them by now), you’ve seen it all before: Some bad guy wants to bring about the end of the world, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie fight valiantly to stop it from happening. A few people get hurt, sure, but everything’s all right in the end.
Well, not this time.

In (Very) Short:

+ the third book in the series
+ fast-paced, sarcastic, fun, thrilling
+ not everything is black and white

My Opinion:

Well, since this is a third book in the series, I will refrain from summarizing the story in order not to spoil the previous books.

I listened to this as an audiobook and really enjoyed the story. It was fast-paced, sometimes a little predictable and than other times it was full of twists and turns that I did not see coming. I reconnected with old friends, I met new characters, I saw the toll this was taking on Valkyrie and I enjoyed the wit and sarcasm of the skeleton detective.

The books never lack action and fun, likeable characters and witty lines, and good old butt-kicking action. I also like that not everything is simply painted black and white, and of course the conspiracy aspect because it keeps you at your toes.

Bottom Line:

Another great adventure in the series.

Katharina M. Mylius – Ein Fehler mit Vergangenheit: Ein Oxford-Krimi (Incl. Short English Review)

This book is written by a German author and is not published in English. Please see further below for a short English review.

Ein Fehler mit Vergangenheit

Taschenbuch
Verlag: Goldfinch Verlag
veröffentlicht: 2016
Seiten: 242

Klappentext:

Während eines Poloturniers in Kirtlington, einem wohlhabenden Vorort Oxfords, stirbt ein Spieler. Alles weist auf einen Unfall hin. Doch unter den Polospielern kursiert das Gerücht, dass ein Mädchen namens Cecilia Hillington etwas mit dem Vorfall zu tun hat. Die Inspectors Heidi Green und Frederick Collins ermitteln und stehen schon bald vor einem Rätsel. Denn Cecilia ist vor einigen Jahren spurlos aus Blenheim Palace verschwunden … (Goldfinch)

In Kürze:

+ spannender, unterhaltsamer Kriminalfall
+ sympathische und angenehme Ermittler
+ kein dramatisch, überzogenes Privatleben der Ermittler
+ eine kleine Einführung für Nichtkenner von Polo und eine nette aber nicht überwältigende Beschreibung Oxfords

Meinung:

Dies ist nun der dritte Fall von Heidi Green und Frederick Collins. Heidi wird Zeugin eines Todesfalls während eines Polospiels und es stellt sich schnell heraus, dass es sich nicht um einen Unfall handelt, sondern um Mord. Durch einen Drohbrief, der bei dem Toten gefunden wird, rückt nicht nur dieser Mord in den Blickpunkt der Polizei, sondern auch ein Fall der schon vor vielen Jahren nicht gelöst werden konnte und in dem Heidis Vater ermittelt hat.

Der Fall war spannend und interessant gestaltet, die Erzählung schritt rasch voran und war gleichbleibend spannend. Auch wenn das Privatleben der Ermittler für kurze Zeit im Fokus der Geschichte stand, hat das den Fluss weder unterbrochen, sondern hat versucht eine Harmonie (soweit so etwas möglich ist) zwischen Beruf und Leben herzustellen. Etwas das sonst eher selten in Kriminalromanen als positiv dargestellt wird.

Die Figuren waren auch hier wieder liebenswert und sympathisch und auch die persönliche Involvierung von Heidi in den Fall war gut geschrieben, auch wenn ich mit dabei etwas mehr Ehrlichkeit und eine nicht so zurückhaltenden Verhaltensweise von ihrem Partner gewünscht hätte. Ich war recht überrascht über den Täter, obwohl man es hätte ahnen können (im Nachhinein kann man das ja immer.:) )

Die Autorin hat die Geschichte auch immer wieder mit einigen Sehenswürdigkeiten durchlaufen lassen, dabei aber nicht mit Beschreibungen und Details übertrieben. Man hat ein schönes Gefühl von der Stadt bekommen und auch einiges wiedererkannt aus alten Touristentagen.

Fazit:

Ein spannender und unterhaltsamer Fall im wunderschönen Oxford mit sympathetischen Figuren.

In English:

This is the third crime novel by this author that is set in Oxford. The two inspectors investigate a death which occurred during a polo match. Though it looked like an accident it was of course murder. But the deceased was threatened by a woman who has disappeared many years ago and was never found.
The mingling of the two cases was done very well since it not only connected the two cases but also the inspector Heidi Green and her father, who was the investigator in the unsolved case. Yet this involvement was done very well: it was not dramatic or over exaggerated.
The story was fast-paced, the case was complex, the characters were likeable, and I enjoyed spending some time in Oxford. I also appreciated the inclusion of the detective’s private life without using it as a negative plot point but simply showing that police work and having a family can go hand in glove.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Autorin:

Katharina M. Mylius wurde 1981 geboren und wuchs in Gleisweiler an der Südlichen Weinstraße auf. Ihre Ausbildung absolvierte sie teilweise in den USA und in Italien. Nach Abschluss ihres Studiums in Köln lebte und arbeitete sie unter anderem in Oxford, wo die Idee für ihre Krimis entstand. Privat ist sie eine leidenschaftliche Sängerin und Saxophonistin. Mehr unter www.oxfordkrimis.de.

Rating:

rating 4

 

My Reading Month March

March was a solid reading month. I have a little bit of reading groove back. It increased slowly, but at least it does. I hope the next months might be better.

  • Books: 4
  • Audiobook: 6
  • Pages (only books): 698
  • Pages (incl. Audiobooks): 1857
  • Minutes listened: 1490 min. (over 24 hours)

Books:

Charlaine Harris – Three Bedrooms and One Corpse (Aurora Teagarden #3)

The third novel in the series was finally a little more crime fiction than the ones before. I enjoyed the story, the mystery, and even the characters – Aurora wasn’t as annoying as in the last installments. A good cozy mystery.

Kate Clary – The Monster that Moved in

A lovely children’s tale about a family who invited a monster to move in with them. Only to discover annoying habits that seems to drive them crazy. Yet they are not aware that they might have annoying habits, too.

Andreas H. Schmachtl – Weltbeste Freunde für Immer

A short book about friendship and love. Really adorable.

Maria V. Snyder – Touch of Power (Avry of Kazan #1)

It took me a while to start another book by Maria V. Snyder. I loved her Poison Study series, but wasn’t so thrilled with the first book in the glass series. This time I get to know a whole new world full of magic and healers, who are hunted down – a little like a witch hunt. This whole story just sets up the story for the continuing books and is leaves an interesting premise for the future. I was captivated, enjoyed the characters, and loved the side kicks. Snyder has a fantastic way to create loveable characters and keep a fast and thrilling narrative pace. I loved it.

Weltbeste Freunde Charlaine Harris - Teagarden 3

Audiobooks:

Andreas H. Schmachtl – Tilda Apfelkern

My first audiobook this month was German children’s book but I forgot the complete title. There are quite a few out there and I couldn’t recall which one it was. It contained stories about the white mouse Tilda and her friends who embark on some adventures.

Holly Black and Cassandra Clare – Magisterium: Der Weg ins Labyrinth/ The Iron Trial

Although the reviews state that The Iron Trial was a rip off of Harry Potter, I disagree. Yes there are some similar tropes and settings used but you can’t reinvent the wheel all the time. There is bound to be some overlapping. I really enjoyed the story, I did not see the ending or the twists coming. Really good.

Nina Müller – Kuschelflosse und die blubberbunte Weltmeisterschaft

The second adventure of the fish cuddly and his friends is equally fun and adorable. The participate in the world championship of bubbles, trying to create the most and unique bubbles with a machine. Lovely story.

George R.R. Martin – Das Lied des Eisdrachen/ The Ice Dragon

Also lovely and entertaining was this short fairy tale. The Ice Dragon is a short, yet interesting narration that would have made a wonderful fantasy novel: Adara and the ice dragon are friends, yet when her town is run over by war, Adara has to make a choice that will cost her.

Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson: Im Bann des Zyklopen/ Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters

I love Percy Jackson. I already read all the books and I now listen to the audiobooks in German. Granted, I do think the originals are better because I was laughing a lot more when I read them, but I also enjoy the narrated German version. They are still as captivating as the written word.

M.C. Beaton – Agatha Raisin: Hiss and Hers

My first M.C. Beaton mystery and I am unsure what and how to feel. The mystery was very good and interesting. It kept my on my toes. Yet I did not warm up to the main character or any other character really. They were annoying, behaved like children, and drove me plain crazy. Thus, I think I have to read one before I form a final opinion. Some books are better when I read them then have them narrated to me. Maybe it will be the same with Beaton’s novels.

George R.R. Martin – Das Lied des Eisdrachen/ The Ice Dragon (Incl. Short English Review)

This audiobook was narrated in German hence a German review but please see further below for a short English review.

Das Lied des Eisdrachen von George RR Martin

Hörbuch gelesen von Reinhardt Kuhnert
Verlag: cbj audio
veröffentlicht: 2015
Zeit: 1h

Klappentext:

Adara ist ein Winterkind, geboren in der eisigsten Nacht seit Menschengedenken. Und Adara ist anders: Sie liebt die Kälte, das Eis, die Stille. Ihr einziger Freund ist ein kristallblauer Drache, der sie winters besucht. Als eines Tages feindliche Drachenkämpfer Adaras Heimat bedrohen, ist es die Freundschaft zwischen Winterkind und Eisdrachen, die das Leben ihrer Familie rettet …

Eine Geschichte über Freundschaft, Loyalität und Tapferkeit. (cbj audio)

In Kürze:

+ eine schöne märchenhafte Geschichte mit und über Drachen
+ wunderbar gelesen von Reinhardt Kuhnert
+ spannend, schön, lehrreich, fantastisch

Meinung:

Adara ist anders als die anderen Menschen in ihrer Umgebung. Sie mag den Winter und ist froh darüber, dass er immer länger und härter wird. Ihr einziger Freund ist der Eisdrache auf dem sie jeden Winter reiten darf. Als der Krieg, der bis zu dem Zeitpunkt nur in der Ferne stattfindet, ihre Heimat bedroht, ändert sich plötzlich alles.

Dies ist eine wirklich schöne Erzählung, die in einer kalten aber dennoch schönen Welt angesiedelt ist. Ich habe mich sehr wohl gefühlt und wurde in die Geschichte und die Welt hineingezogen, was an der Geschichte selbst und dem Hörbuchsprecher lag.

Bis auf Adara blieben die Figuren recht flach, was auf die Kürze der Geschichte zurückzuführen ist, dabei sind die Nebenfiguren aber so angelegt, dass ihre Handlungen schnell nachzuvollziehen und zu verstehen sind. Adara bleibt komplex und auch undurchsichtig, aber ist dabei liebenswert.

Das Hörbuch wurde wunderbar gelesen und hat ein schönes und zufriedenstellendes Ende. Man könnte sicherlich einen schönen Fantasyroman daraus machen.

Vielen Dank an cbj audio für dieses Rezensionsexemplar.

Fazit:

Eine spannendes Geschichte in einer kalten Welt, das einem das Herz erwärmt.

In English:

The Ice Dragon is an wonderful, fantastic, and entertaining story. Adara loves the winter unlike most people in her little village. She is a peculiar child and her only friend is the ice dragon. As the war draws nearer to her village, she has to make a choice and this choice comes with a prize.

Though due to the shortness of the book the world is not as detailed as Martin’s other story worlds, I got sucked right into the story, the world, and the main character. The other characters remained quite flat (again due to the length), but despite that I was able to understand why they acted the way they did. Adara was more complex and though she was peculiar in some ways, I related to her and understood her.

I enjoyed the story and its pace as well as the end of the book and I thought the narrator (the one of the German version) was a wonderful choice.