Kristin Cashore – Graceling/Die Beschenkte

Graceling

Blurb/ Klappentext:

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.
When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.
She never expects to become Po’s friend.
She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away… (Goodreads)

In den sieben Königreichen, in denen Katsa lebt, kommen hin und wieder Kinder mit einer besonderen Fähigkeit zur Welt. Auch Katsa besitzt eine solche Gabe: Sie kann töten! Katsas Onkel Randa, König von Middlun, macht sich Katsas Können zunutze: Erhebt einer seiner Feinde sein Haupt, erledigt Katsa die Drecksarbeit. Katsa hasst ihr Leben als Randas Werkzeug. Ihr fehlt nur ein Anlass, um aus dem blutigen Geschäft auszusteigen. Sie findet ihn in Prinz Bo, der ebenso wie Katsa eine Gabe besitzt. Gemeinsam ziehen sie gegen die dunkle, tödliche Gewalt, die im Norden des Reiches ihre Schwingen ausbreitet und in deren Zentrum ein einäugiger König seine Fäden zieht … (Amazon)

In (Very) Short/ In Kürze:

+ first in a trilogy about specially gifted people (e.g. fighting skills etc.)
+ focused on the development of a very likable character
+ fun and slightly sarcastic dialogues – Raffin is the best
+ erster Teil einer Trilogie über Menschen mit besonderen Gaben
+ konzentriert sich auf die Entwicklung der sympathische Hauptfigur
+ unterhaltsame und sarkastische Dialoge – Raffin ist der Beste

My Opinion/ Meinung:

I have read this book a few years ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it. When I came across the audiobook, I had to have it – just to see if I was as captivated by the story when I listen to it this time. And I was.

Katsa lives in a world where people can be born with a special grace: to be great fighters, cooks, dancers, acrobats, musicians, and killers. Katsa is born with the grace to kill, she is part of king Randa’s court – one of the 7 kingly courts in her world. She works for the king – doing his dirty work namely killing or maiming people. She hates her life and the king but is to afraid to leave. One day – on a rescue mission ordered by the secret council she also works for – she meets a prince graced with powers. This meeting changed her life forever, but it also gets her on a path towards danger. A danger even her grace cannot save her from.

Katsa is an interesting, stubborn, yet still relateable and likeable character. You start to see where she is coming from, understand the choices that she makes and relate to the anger that she carries. While the story is adventurous and exiting, it is Katsa’s development and character that dominates the story – and I was not bored with this.

Though the action is not always constant and there is a lot of walking and getting to different places (which I enjoyed because it does take bloody time to travel long distances on a horse), the story is never boring. I never wanted to put the book down or stop listening to the audiobook.

The world creation is interesting, the other characters extremely likeable, and the villain someone you loath with a passion although you barely have any time with him. I enjoyed the humor and the slight sarcasm of the dialogue and writing which lightened the mood when other parts where quite heavy – I really enjoyed any interaction that Raffin is involved in.

Still, sometimes the actual action was a little abrupt and a little rushed. I had to “rehear” some places because I didn’t even notice that something significant happened.

Now in German – to read or not to read – depends on your preference :)

Beschenkte

Ich habe das Buch vor einiger Zeit gelesen und es hat mir wunderbar gefallen. Also ich über das Hörbuch gestolpert bin, musste ich es einfach haben. Ich wollte sehen, ob ich von dem Hörbuch genauso gebannt werde, wie von dem Buch. Und ich war gefesselt.

Katsa lebt in einer Welt in der Menschen mit besonderen Gaben geboren werden. Entweder können diese besonders gut kämpfen, schießen, kochen, tanzen, musizieren oder auch töten. Katsa ist mit der Gabe des Tötens geboren und lebt am Hof von König Randa – einer von sieben Königen in ihrer Welt. Sie arbeitet für Randa und macht seine Drecksarbeit: Leute töten und verletzen. Sie hasst dieses Leben und den König, doch sie hat zu viel Angst ihn zu verlassen. Als sie eines Tages einen Prinzen mit einer besonderen Gabe trifft ändert sich ihre ganze Welt und sie begibt sich in große Gefahr. Eine Gefahr vor der nicht mal ihre Gabe sie schützen kann.

Katsa ist ein interessanter, sturer Charakter, die jedoch auf ihre Art liebenswert und nachvollziehbar ist. Man erkennt schnell wer sie ist und warum sie so ist, man kann ihre Handlungen und Entscheidungen nachvollziehen und versteht die Wut mit der sie umzugehen hat.

Während die Geschichte abenteuerlich und spannend ist, ist Katsas Entwicklung der Hauptfokus des Buches. Da ich sonst etwas zurückhaltend bin, was Erzählungen angeht, die sich primär auf die Entwicklung von Figuren beschränken, war ich hier sehr positiv überrascht. Es war in keinster Weise langweilig. Selbst wenn der Spannungsbogen nicht immer gleichmäßig spannend bleibt und die Geschichte auch Zeit mit der Reise verbringt (schließlich ist man nicht mal eben von einem Land zum anderen Land via Pferd gereist), ist das Buch trotz alledem spannend. Ich wollte weder das Buch zur Seite legen noch das Hörbuch unterbrechen.

Die Welt ist wunderbar und sehr schön aufgebaut, die anderen Figuren sind liebenswert, der Antagonist einfach zu hassen. Besonders hat mir der humorige und sarkastische Dialog gefallen, mit dem das Buch regelmäßig durchzogen ist – besonders die Gespräche in die Raffin verwickelt ist.

Trotz alle dem schien mir der Handlungsstrang, der sich primär mit der Spannung und dem Abenteuer beschäftigt hat, doch gelegentlich etwas schnell und gehetzt. Ich musste einige Stellen öfter lesen bzw. hören, weil ich signifikante Ereignisse überlesen/überhört hatte.

Bottom Line/ Fazit:

A fantastic and fun fantasy story focusing a likeable main character and her development.

Ein tolles und unterhaltsames Buch, welches sich um die liebenswerte Hauptfigur dreht.

My Top 5 Favorite Dragon Books

I noticed that I have read quite a few books about dragons or with dragons in it. So, here are my current top 5 (at least the ones I remember ;) )

1. Rachel Hartman –  Seraphina

2. George R.R. Martin – The Song of Ice and Fire

3. Alison Goodman – Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye

4. Jasper Fforde – The Last Dragonslayer

 5. Cornelia Funke – Dragon Rider

Trudi Canavan – Die Novizin/ The Novice

the novice

Blurb/ Klappentext:

Sonea knows the other novices in the Magicians’ Guild all come from powerful families, but she also knows she can turn to Rothen and Dannyl for help when she needs it. That is, until someone starts spreading malicious rumours about her – and Akkarin, the High Lord, steps in. Prompted by the Guild Ambassador, Lord Dannyl leaves for the Elyne court. His first order from Administrator Lorlen is to resume, in secret, High Lord Akkarin’s long-abandoned research into ancient magical knowledge. Not knowing the true reason for his journey, Dannyl is soon facing unexpected dangers. Meanwhile, Sonea has almost forgotten the High Lord’s dark secret, but keeping the truth hidden may be a grave mistake. (Amazon)

Sonea hat sich entschieden, als Novizin in die Gilde der schwarzen Magier einzutreten, um mehr über ihre magischen Fähigkeiten zu lernen. Ein Privileg, das sonst nur Adeligen zuteil wird. In der Gilde wird sie schnell zur Außenseiterin, bis Akkarin, der Oberste Lord, eingreift. Ein zweischneidiges Schwert, denn Sonea kennt Akkarins verborgenstes Geheimnis. Ein Geheimnis, schwärzer als die Nacht. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short/ In Kürze:

+ the second installment in the Black Magicians Trilogy
+ parallel storylines and different perspectives
+ exiting and fun, likeable characters
+ der zweite Teil einer Trilogie
+ unterschiedliche, parallele Handlungsstränge
+ spannend, unterhaltsam, sympathische Figuren

My Opinion/Meinung:

This is the second book in the Black Magicians Trilogy so if you haven’t read the first one, there will be spoilers.
Sonea is now part of the Guild and not everybody is very thrilled about it. She manages to live and survive her day to day life, but there are still magicians that hate her and want her gone. While the High Lord Akkarin steps in and takes and interest in her, Sonea is confronted with knowing and keeping his darkest secret. Will she tell or will she stay quiet and if she tells, what will Akkarin do to her? And what will the Guild do to Akkarin?

The book is told from different perspectives and follows different story lines. We accompany Sonea and her school life, the secret she keeps, and the choices she makes. We travel with Dannyl, who goes to Elyne as ambassador and still searches for ancient magical knowledge on behalf of Lorlen but without really knowing the reasons for it. And there are Cery and Rothen (who don’t always have parts dedicated to them and their story line but who are still central).

I enjoyed the shift between the stories, I thought the characters were well-developed and comprehensible, I loathed some of them as much as Sonea did, and I feared others just like she did. The world creation is interesting, the Guild system rather fascinating, and I thoroughly enjoyed diving into that world again.

I have read the books quite a while ago and stumbled upon this audiobook and had a listen. I was as captivated as I was when I first read the novel.

Dies ist der zweite Band in der Reihe (Rebellin, Novizin. Meisterin) daher wird im folgenden sicherlich gespoilert. Wenn ihr den ersten Teil noch nicht gelesen habt und noch lesen wollt, dann solltet ihr hier jetzt aufhören.
Sonea ist nun ein Mitglied der Gilde und nicht alle sind davon begeistert. Sie schlägt sich tapfer durch ihren Schulalltag und überlebt diese mehr oder weniger unbeschadet. Aber es gibt immer noch viele Leute, die sie nicht dort haben wollen. Während Akkarin sich ihrer annimmt, ist Sonea mit dem Problem konfrontiert sein düsterstes Geheimnis zu bewahren oder es preiszugeben. Doch was wird Akkarin mit ihr anstellen, wenn sie es verrät und was die Gilde mit Akkarin?

Das Buch wird aus unterschiedlichen Perspektiven erzählt und folgt unterschiedlichen Handlungsstränge. Wir folgen Sonea und ihrem Alltag, wir reisen mit Dannyl nach Elyne wo er nicht nur der offizielle Botschafter der Gilde ist, sondern auch nach alten magischen Wissen sucht. Dazu wurde er von Lorlen beauftragt, kennt aber nicht die Hintergründe. Und da gibt es immer noch Cery und Rothen (auch wenn diese Figuren nicht immer einen ihnen allein gewidmeten Teil in der Geschichte haben).

Ich mag den Wechsel zwischen den Geschichten. Ich finde die Figuren gut entwickelt und ihre Handlungen nachvollziehbar. Einige Charaktere habe ich genauso gehasst wie Sonea, andere genauso gefürchtet. Die Welt ist wunderbar und interessant, das System der Magier faszinierend und ich konnte mich sehr gut in der Welt verlieren.

Ich habe die Bücher vor einer ganzen Weile (Jahren wahrscheinlich) gelesen und bin über das Hörbuch gestolpert. Ich war genauso gefesselt wir beim ersten Lesen.

Bottom Line/Fazit:

A wonderfully exiting and great novel with a fascinating storyworld.

Ein wunderbar spannendes und tolles Buch mit einer interessanten und imposanten Welt.

Rae Carson – The Crown of Embers (#2)

Crown of Embers

paperback
publisher: Greenwillow Books
published: 2013
pages: 432

Blurb:

She does not know what awaits her at the enemy’s gate.
Elisa is a hero.
She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country’s ruler should be secure. But it isn’t.
Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.
To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trial of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with.
If she’s lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost. (Goodreads)

In (Very) Short:

+ second installment in the trilogy
+ character-driven, fast-paced plot
+ politics and conspiracies en mass

My Opinion:

The Crown of Ember is the second installment in the Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy written by Rae Carson. So be aware of SPOILERS!!!

Elisa is the new queen after defeating her enemies in the first book, but soon enough trouble arises again. There are attempts on her life, enemies within her own court, who lust for power, enemies from outside, who want her dead or alive, and then there is her destiny. The one she has not fulfilled yet.

The story was much more character-driven than the last one, which was more of an adventure story. The books driving force are the politics, conspiracies, and threats that come form outside as much as from the inside of her court. Elisa is confronted with being a queen while her advisers and supporters might have other plans or at least plan and make choices for her which do not regard her feelings or well-being.

I was a little annoyed with Elisa at times, because she seemed so blind towards all the problems, while I saw them coming from a mile away. But just as in the previous book, the main character grew with the challenges and opposition. It took her a little long, but she managed.

The story was still fast and thrilling in spite of or because of the character-driven nature of the plot. The world-building was great and found my way back quite quickly and I thoroughly enjoyed the political and conspiracy aspect.

I did not mind the love relationship either though it tested my patience occasionally, but I knew it was coming since the end of the first book. And I am relieved Elisa finally stood up to Ximena. That woman was annoying. And the cliffhanger was less cliffhanger-y as I thought it was going to be. I liked the ending. There was more resolution than I thought and still a good start for the next book, although I am not sure what the main issues will be this time.

Bottom Line:

A character-driven, political and exiting story with a likeable characters. A great read.

Ratings:

rating 4

Heidi Rehn – Gold und Stein

This audiobook is a historical novel written by a German author and is not translated into English. Thus the review will be in German. The story centers around a young woman who was separated from her twin brother because it was believed to be bad luck when twins were born. It was believed that they could not be from the same father and the mother was unfaithful to her husband and had sex with two men at the same time. So without knowing of each others existence, the sibling’s path meet again. And both are drawn to each other. It was well read audiobook, though the story’s pace was quite slow at times.

Heidi Rehn – Gold und Stein

Klappentext:

Preußen, Mitte des 15. Jahrhunderts. Auf der Flucht vor den Deutschordensrittern gelangen die 17jährige Agnes und ihre Mutter Gunda nach Königsberg. Dort begegnet Agnes dem gleichaltrigen Caspar, zu dem sie sich hingezogen sogleich fühlt. Ihre Mutter lehnt Caspar jedoch entschieden ab, und auch Agnes ist verunsichert, gehört ihr Herz doch eigentlich bereits einem anderen. Ihre Verwirrung wächst, als sie an Caspars Nacken dasselbe Feuermal wie an dem ihren entdeckt. Was verbindet sie mit ihm? Plötzlich muss sie sich nicht nur zwischen zwei Männern, sondern auch zwischen zwei Müttern entscheiden … (Amazon)

Meinung:

Handlung: Agnes hat schon immer das Gefühl, dass ihre Mutter Geheimnisse vor ihr hat und sie beginnt langsam zu ermitteln. Dabei gerät sie natürlich in eine Gefühlszwickmühle, da sie emotional zwischen zwei Männern steht. Doch wer ist dieser junge Mann der das gleiche Feuermal hat wie sie? Die Handlung ist langsam und relative ruhig. Es passiert nicht viel und schleppt sich manchmal doch etwas voran. Früh weiß der Leser was passieren wird.

Charaktere: Die Figuren scheinen mir leicht stereotyp, deren Handlung nicht immer nachvollziehbar, aber die Figurenkonstellation und deren Beziehungen waren äußerst interessant und gelegentlich unvorhersehbar.

Fazit: Das Buch war angenehm zu hören, hat mich jetzt aber nicht vom Hocker gerissen.

John Farman – The Very Bloody History of Britain (Without the Boring Bits) The First Bit!

The Bloody History

Paperback
publisher: Red Fox
published 1992
pages: 160

Blurb:

Warning: This book could change your ideas about history for ever!!
Do you know why the Celts got the best girls? Or who had his portrait painted after he was dead? And have you any idea who planned the first Channel Tunnel? From the dawn of civilization to the end of the Second World War, it’s all here in the factually accurate and hilariously funny Very Bloody History of Britain.
Bizarre, barmy and almost beyond belief, you’ve never had a history lesson like it! (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ history of Britain focusing on the bloody bits
+ up to 1945
+ entertaining and ironic writing
+ illustrated with caricatures and comics

My Opinion:

The Bloody History of Britain focuses on … you guessed it … the bloody side of Britain’s history. It’s a lot about wars, heads being chopped of, more fighting, and some mad and crazy people.

It was a fun and entertaining read. The writing is ironic and funny and therefore fluffy and washes over you. The book is illustrated throughout and caricatures and comics are strategically placed. This is not necessarily an introduction into history but it might get the reader interested.

Though I enjoyed the read, it did lose a little pace towards the end. I don’t know why. Just a feeling.

I think it’s a nice book for people who are really not into history and think it is dry and boring. The book will show that the past was anything but boring.

Bottom Line:

A nice and bloody read :)

Rating:

rating 3

My Reading Month June/July

Since I did not manage to write a monthly summary for June, I have combined both June and July this time and I was surprised how much I read and listened to in these months.

During the past months, I listened to more audiobooks than I read physical ones and I have to admit, that I did start to enjoy to watch an occasional TV series again – I have limited my TV watching due to my project worked which focused on TV series. But now, I spent some time with the good old Star Trek Next Gen – which I loved when I was younger and still love. Oh the good old times. But back to business.

In June, I read two books and I listened to six audiobooks – two of them being children’s stories about an hour long.

Books:

Octavia Butler – Parable of the Talents

This is the second book in a duology and it was a good and interesting read. I really enjoy Butler’s writing. I don’t want to spoil so I will refrain from summarizing and it is quite complicated to do anyway. As I said, the story was good, but I could not relate to either the protagonist nor her daughter.

Rae Carson – The Bitter Kingdom

The last book in the series was as fast-paced and exiting as the ones before. I really enjoyed the story, the characters and their developing relationships and the new characters. I did not see some of it coming and I always waiting for some twists that never came. Great conclusion.

The Bitter KingdomStorm Glass

Audiobooks:

Oliver Pötzsch – Die Hexer und die Henkerstochter

The fourth book (or audiobook) in the series. A historic crime novel centering around murder and is solved by a grumpy executioner. It was interesting, fascinating (I really enjoy all the middle age day-to-day facts), thrilling, sometimes funny, and sometimes a little sad. Great book.

Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson: Die Schlacht ums Labyrinth

I have read the books several times and I came across this audiobook in German, so I picked it up. I wanted to see if I like the story translated into German and I enjoyed it. I have to say that I like the original a little better (at least the book version) but that is maybe due to my familiarity with it. Translations are always tricky. But it was done really well.

Bibi Blocksberg wird Prinzessin

Bibi is one of my childhood friends, and the audiobooks centering around this characters are the ones that I listened to repeatedly. This time the little witch (the main character Bibi) is suddenly turned into a princess and has to find her way back to her time line. Fun and entertaining.

Sabine Martin – Die Henkerin

Another historical novel: this time a young woman witnesses the murder of her family and in order save herself she hides as a boy living with and learning to be an executioner. But than she meets the person who murdered her family and she has sworn to avenge them. It was a good read, though it was a little jumpy between different perspectives and times, it was still good to follow and interesting.

Die Zeitdetektive – Freiheit für Richard Löwenherz

The story about 3 time traveling friends who visit different times in order to learn more but then get caught up in an adventure. This is always fun and filled with interesting historical facts that I have either learned in school and long forgotten or that I really did not know. Well done and I think really great for kids.

Kai Meyer – Die Wellenläufer

The last audiobook this month is a fantasy adventure about pirates and two children who can walk on water. This is again another wonderful story that is great for children and that was fast-paced and fascinating. Who does not love pirates and who wouldn’t want to walk on water. Really enjoyable.

Master of Crows Radiance

So, after a quite successful June I had an even better July. It took me a little to get into the swing of things. I did not start to read until well into the month and I managed to read most of the books within a little more than a week. A little time off is something really beautiful. Well, in July I managed to read 7 books (two of them novellas) and listened to 4 audiobooks. A great month.

Books:

Grace Draven – Radiance

I have been circling this book for a while as it had great reviews so far. I was in the mood for some fantasy and I really enjoyed the story. Two people of different species were married in order to ensure peace and trade agreements between their two courts and both think the others are extremely strange and hideous to look at. The story was nicely paced, entertaining and the characters were not flat, though not fully developed either. Towards the end it was quite sexually explicit (which surprised me a little since I did not read anything before going into this book) but it was only short and did not dominate nor hinder the stories fluidity.

Maria V. Snyder – Storm Glass

I have loved the Study trilogy with Yelena and Valek. Now this trilogy focuses on Opal a character from the first trilogy. It was a good read, though it was a lot more annoying that Opal just seemed to stumble from one incident and accident into the next. She never saw things coming and her naivety was getting onto my nerves a little. Still, it was interesting and I am curious to see how it continues.

Grace Draven – Master of Crows

After Radiance was an enjoyable read and this e-book was quite a bargain, I started to read this. The story was OK, and the premise interesting. I liked the world creation, though I would have liked some more build up. However, this one was very explicit and centered a little too much around any form of procreation. If you are still under aged: don’t.

the assassin and the pirate lord The Assassin and the Desert

Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Desert

I finally continued to read some Celaena Sardothien stories. Since the stories/novellas build on each other, I will not talk about the content. It was an interesting story with a few more or less surprising twist and turns. You could see them coming, but they were not obvious. It is interesting to see how she develops after what happened with the Pirate Lord and how things slowly change.

Nina Blazon – Laqua: Der Fluch der schwarzen Gondel

I needed some children’s adventure story and I picked up this gem by a German author. Two children have to spend time at their grandmothers in Venice and strange and evil things start to happen. An old force is trying to possess the children’s aunt. Can they stop worse from happening? A fun and entertaining read that made me want to go to Venice and start reading more adventure books set in Venice, yet I did not have any with me at the time.

Richard Stark – The Handle

This is a crime novel that was recommended and gifted to me by one of the members of my committee who attended the defense of my dissertation and since that was about crime series, we started to talk about crime fiction and the Parker novels. It was an interesting read from the perspective of the criminal. It was short, quick, entertaining, a little hard-boiled-esque, and a great in between novel. If you like the hard-boiled writers, give this one a try.

Sarah J. Maas – The Assassin and the Underworld

The next novella in the Throne of Glass series was as entertaining and again build up on the ones before. It was interesting to also see the emotional and personal struggle of Celaena to come to terms with who she has become and who Aborynn really is.

The Handle Nina Blazon - Fluch der schwarzen Gondel

Audiobooks:

Bastian Bielendorfer – Mutter ruft an

This book is somewhat of an experience report about the authors unique and yet sometimes surreal mother. It was a good book, although it took me some time to warm up to him. A nice audiobook for in between.

Marliese Arold – Magic Girls: Gefangen in der Unterwelt

I have read the first books in physical form and now I have come across the third book as audiobook. The story was captivating and thrilling (even more than the previous ones), there was a lot of mystery that is not yet solved, and it is closely connected to the previous book. I only had some issues with the reading – the voices in which some of the characters were read, were quite annoying.

Iny Lorentz – Die Kastellanin

This is also a second book in a series written by a German author or better a duo. It is a historical novel focusing on adventure, political conspiracies and murder. It was beautifully read and thus captivating. Enjoyed it very much.

Sabine Weigand – Die Seelen im Feuer

Another historical novel that centers around the witch burning mania in the middle ages. It was interesting to see how and why they were accused and burned. Sometimes it was a little descriptive for me, but I am very sensitive. So it might not bother someone with a tougher skin or stomach :)

So this is or better was my very long monthly summary or summaries in this blog. I am quite happy. I hope the next one will be as successful and I hope that I finally manage to get my blog up to speed again. I am currently also working on another project and it is a lot more complicated to keep track of things.