Rick Riordan – The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles #2)

Throne of Fire

paperback
publisher: Puffin
published 2011
pages: 451

Book (English)

Blurb:

One Curse.
Two Heroes.
Five Days to Save the World.
Ever since the gods of ancient Egypt were unleashed on the modern world, Carter Kane and his sister, Sadie, have been in big trouble. As descendants of the magical House of Life, they command certain powers. But now a terrifying enemy – Apophis, the giant snake of Chaos – is rising. If Carter and Sadie don’t destroy him, the world will end in five day’s time. And, in order to battle forces of Chaos, they must revive the sun God Ra – a feat no magician has ever achieved. Because first they must search the world for the three sections of the Book of Ra, then they have to learn how to chant its spell…
Can the Kanes destroy Apophis before he swallows the sun and plunges the earth to darkness … forever?

In (Very) Short:

+ 2nd installment of The Kane Chronicles
+ fast paced and good adventure
+ great world creation and writing
+ wonderful incorporation of Egyptian mythology

My Opinion:

This is the second installment of Riordan’s Kane Chronicles. This time around the Kane siblings and their minions/students try to stop Apophis from rising and plunging the world into chaos, which will happen in about five days time. So, no pressure there…

Just like the first book, the story is made up as a recording from the siblings send out into the world. After Sadie and Carter have recorded and told their 1st story and send it out into the world, many students (though you have to be descendant from an Egyptian pharaoh line to have any power at all) came to learn magic. Thus the story begins, when many students have arrived in Brooklyn and are currently taught by the Kanes. I really enjoyed this narrative frame and the implementation of it.

Riordan has a great gift of using and incorporating Egyptian mythology (with a little twist) and writes a fast paced and thrilling story. I still have my issues with the protagonist, I can’t help it. Though I understand where they are coming from and why they make their individual choices, both Carter and Sadie are still annoying. They follow their own individual desires (5 days till the world ends and Sadie has to get to London to have a birthday celebration with her friends. I get that you should live everyday to the fullest and I would probably agree if there was nothing to be done to stop this, but seriously…) and although they are the heroes, they are the ones that need rescuing all the time. The siblings cause or create a problem and someone else saves them, they cause another problem, the next person saves them. And so it continues…

Though a rant a bit, the world creation is fantastic and the writing fluent. It is a good adventure story and if you don’t want to think too much and just have action and story wash over you – this is great.

Bottom Line:

A good adventure story that has a few weaknesses, but entertains and washes over you like a relaxing read.

Rating:

rating 3

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Elsemarie Maletzke – Jane Austen: Eine Biographie

This book is not published in English. It is a biography of Jane Austen’s life and works. It is a lovely and informative read, but I am sure there are a lot of non-fiction books about Jane Austen’s life written by English authors out there. So this review will be in German only. The next review will be in English again – promise. 🙂

jane austen bio

Taschenbuch
Verlag: btb Verlag
veröffentlicht 2009 (2. Aufl.)
Seiten 310

Klappentext:

Elsemarie Maletzke sucht hinter der Legende nach einer anderen Jane Austen. Sie sucht die selbstbewusste Schriftstellerin, die Meisterin der Satire, die in einer Zeit, als Frauen wenig zu sagen hatte, viel zu sagen wusste – die wache Intelligenz, die unabhängig war, frei von ironischer Distanz und nicht auf das Wohlwollen ihrer Umgebung angewiesen. (Neue Züricher Zeitung)

In Kürze:

+ interessante, gut aufgebaute Biographie über das Leben und die Familie von Jane Austen
+ flüssiger, angenehmer Schreibstil
+ ein geschickte Verflechtung von Austens Leben und ihren Werken

Meinung:

Es ist für mich recht schwer eine Biographie zu rezensieren. Ich bin immer schon mit dem Vorurteil “rangegangen”, dass die furchtbar langweilig, staubig und trocken sind. Erfahrungsberichte ist was anderes, aber Biographien von Verstorbenen, nicht von den Menschen selbst geschrieben. Ich weiß nicht. Da bin ich doch etwas zögerlich. Gut, ich muss gestehen ich habe im allgemeinen nicht viele Biographien gelesen…die letzte war von Paul O’Grady (hat mir gut gefallen), aber trotz alledem bin ich mit Skepsis an dieses Buch gegangen. Und ehrlich: die hätte ich mir sparen können.

Die Biographie war weder staubig noch langweilig. Und auch wenn die Fakten mich nicht vom Hocker gerissen haben (denn vieles ist von meinem Studium dann doch hängen geblieben), hat Maletzke so wunderbar geschrieben, dass ich einfach weitergelesen habe – ohne irgendwie nachzudenken. Ihr Schreibstil ist sehr angenehm, flüssig, spült über einen förmlich hinweg. Man hat nicht vordergründig das Gefühl, dass man etwas lernt, sondern Jane Austen durch ihr Leben begleitet.

Dazu hat Maletzke die Lebensdaten und Informationen (die man dank des Briefverkehrs zwischen Jane und ihrer Familie gut nachvollziehen kann) wunderbar mit der Entstehung von Austens Werken und ihrer Entwicklung als Mensch und Autorin verbunden. Es gibt sicher viele Biographien oder ähnliches über Austen (auch in Englisch), aber Elsemarie Maletzkes Buch hat mir persönlich sehr gut gefallen.

Fazit:

Ein gut geschriebene und einnehmende Biographie, die für mich besonders durch Maletzkes Art und Schreibstil überzeugt hat.

Rating:

rating 4

June/July/August Book Haul

I was pretty good the past months and did not buy a lot. Since only a two books moved in each month, I did not make a post about them because I kinda ran out of time towards the end of each day. It’s been busy and just let some things slide. So, I decided to sum them up in one post which really looks nicer than just two books a month. (*desperately trying to justify the neglect*)

Laurie Viera Rigler – Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

A modern LA girl, wakes up in a different body in Regency England. She has read enough Austen, but will she manage her new life and how will she get back to her own life. And does she really want to? Well, I do like Austen books and when I stumbled across this one I had to have it.

Maryrose Wood – The Poison Diaries

In the right dose, everything is a poison. Another book I found perusing eBay and I just bought it. I don’t really know why. It’s about a girl who grew up knowing a lot about plants and poison and then she meets a boy. It’s a book in a series, but as far as I have figured out the last installment is not and will not be published anymore. So maybe this is bad. But I’ll see when I read it.

july august haul 1

Agatha Christie – Nemesis

A Marple mystery. Since I want to finish the Marple mysteries this year, it is the penultimate book that I still have to read. And so I slowly creep closer to the finish line.

Die Zeitdetektive Entdecker-Handbuch: Wikinger

The Time Detectives (that’s my very bad translations of the German term) are three young kids who can travel through time and solve mysteries and the occasional crime. Although those are books, I have listened to them as audiobooks and really enjoyed them. That series has also developed some non-fictional books about the times that the stories are set in. This one is about the Vikings and it contains historical facts, quizzes, games and notes from the three adventurers. It is made for kids and it sounded really nice. And since I got a bargain, I though I get it. I don’t know a lot about the Vikings anyway. So time to know some more.

july august haul 2

Nina Blazon – Die Totenbraut

Jasna is bought from her parents by a stranger and she is brought into the stranger’s country to marry his son. But soon she realizes that a curse weighs on the family and when people start to die, Jasna tries to uncover the truth.
It’s a mixture of historical fiction, fantasy, and crime fiction. At least that’s what is sounds like, so again I had to take it with me when I stumble across it in a bargain bin. I really should broaden my reading taste and Blazon is a well-known German young adult author…so I just had to.

Catharina Sundberg – Die Kupferhändlerin

This is my first historical novel by a Swedish author which deals with the Hanseatic League and a well-known pirate of the Baltic Sea: Störtebecker. Well, I should know a lot more about this time (which I don’t or I used to but I forgot a lot since school), so I thought this might be a nicer introduction than a history book.

My Top 5 Owned Authors

I do enjoy the booktube and I have seen top something owned authors a couple of times and it made me think from which author do I own most of the books. This does not necessarily go hand in glove with my most read authors, or my favorite etc. – which surprised me to be honest. Agatha I was pretty sure of, but I was surprised about others, because I don’t remember reading that many books from those writers. Due to ebay, however, I own a lot, but have not read them all… Anyway. Here it goes.

1. Agatha Christie (21 books)

The Murder at the Vicarage
The Thirteen Problems
The Body in the Library
The Moving Finger
A Murder is Announced
They do it with Mirrors
4.50 from Paddington
The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side
The Caribbean Mystery
At Bertram’s Hotel
Nemesis
Sleeping Murder
Miss Marple’s Final Cases
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Murder on the Orient Express
Murder in Mesopotamia
Death on the Nile
After the Funeral
Cat Among the Pigeons
Giant’s Bread (as Mary Westmacott)
And Then There Were None

2. Charlaine Harris (18 books)

Dead Until Dark
Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World
Shakespeare’s Landlord
Shakespeare’s Champion
Shakespeare’s Christmas
Shakespeare’s Trollop
Shakespeare’s Counselor
Real Murders
A Bone to Pick
Three Bedrooms, One Corpse
The Julius House
Dead over Heels
A Fool and his Honey
Last Scene Alive
Poppy Done to Death
Grave Sight

3. J.K. Rowling (11 books and I did not include the Potter books I have in German)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Askaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them
Quidditsh Through the Ages
The Tales of Beedle the Bard

4. Trudi Canavan (9 books)

The Magician’s Apprentice
The Magician’s Guild
The Novice
The High Lord
The Ambassador’s Mission
The Rogue
The Traitor Queen
Priestess of the Wild
The Last of the Wilds

5. Rick Riordan (9 books)

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters
Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse
Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth
Percy Jackson and the last Olympian
The Demigod Files
Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades
The Lost Hero
The Red Pyramid

Marliese Arold – Magic Girls: Das Rätsel des Dornenbaums (#3)

This book is not published in English yet. I have no idea if it ever will be, but I will keep an eye and ear open and let you know. Look further down for a short review in English.

Rätsel des Dornenbaums

Hardcover
Verlag: arsEdition
veröffentlicht 2009
Seiten: 168

Buch (Deutsch)

Klappentext:

Ein rätselhafter Dornenbaum wächst an dem Platz, an dem sich die Schwarzen Zauberkutten versammeln. Um herauszufinden, was sie vorhaben,nehmen die Hexenmädchen Elena, Miranda und der Zauberer Leon Bredov an dem verbotenen Ritual teil. – natürlich getarnt. Plötzlich erscheint im Baum der große Magier Mafaldus Horus, der die Macht in der Hexenwelt an sich reißen will. Das muss Leon Bredov im Auftrag der Obersten Zauberrichter verhindern! Da fliegt ihre Tarnung auf. Elena und Miranda, die das wertvolle Amulett hüten soll, geraten in höchste Gefahr…

In Kürze:

+ 3. Buch in der Magic Girls Reihen
+ spannend und unterhaltsam
+ endlich verbringen wir mehr Zeit in der Hexenwelt
+ sympathische und liebenswerte Figuren

Meinung:

Unsere beiden kleinen Hexilhexen bestehen ihr nächstes Abenteuer. Während die ersten beiden Bücher doch damit beschäftigt waren, die „Abenteuer und Gefahren“ im Menschenland zu behandeln, wird es diesmal richtig spannend.
Wer die ersten Bände noch nicht gelesen hat, sollte hier vielleicht lieber aufhören, da doch das ein oder anderen verraten wird.

Nachdem sich also nun herausgestellt hat, dass Leon Bredov kein Verräter sondern ein Geheimagent ist, der gegen die Schwarzen Zauberkutten ermittelt, sind sich die Hexen unschlüssig wie lange sie noch im Hexil bleiben müssen. Als Elena, Miranda und Daphne ein Wochenende allein verbringen (weil Mona zum Hexenseminar will und die Mutter zur Weiterbildung), meldet sich ausgerechnet Leon Bredov. Er braucht Hilfe. Also machen sich die beiden Mädchen auf den Weg um mit ihm ein geheimes Treffen der Schwarzen Zauberkutten auszuspionieren. Diese wollen den schwarzen Magier Mafaldus Horus auferstehen lassen. Als das Vorhaben gelingt, sind die beiden Hexenmädchen in größter Gefahr.

Diesmal finde ich die Geschichte spannend. Die ersten Bücher waren auch nicht schlecht, aber haben sich meiner Meinung nach viel zu sehr mit der Menschenwelt und der Angst der Entdeckung beschäftigt. Hier wird es nun endlich mal interessant. Auch wenn ich ein wenig genervt von Miranda war, die es irgendwie kaum hinbekam ihre Deckung aufrechtzuerhalten, fand ich das auch wieder sympathisch. Diesmal ist es nicht Miranda (die sowieso alles kann) die einen etwas kühleren Kopf behält, sondern Elena. Auch kann ich verstehen, dass sie etwas neidisch auf Miranda ist, da ihr das Lernen geradezu zufliegt. Das macht Elena aber in keiner weise negativ, sondern menschlich. Es ist nicht schlimm auch mal neidisch zu sein, sondern wie man damit umgeht. Elena missgönnt ihrer Freundin nichts, sie hätte es halt auch nur gerne etwas leichter.

Der Schreibstil was wieder schön, die Gestaltung des Buches ebenfalls. Besonders gefallen mir immer noch die kleinen Lexikoneinträge etc. die besondere hexische Fähigkeiten und Zustände noch einmal erklären.

Fazit:

Ein gelungen und spannendes Abenteuer mit sympathischen Figuren und endlich mehr Zeit inder Hexenwelt.

In English:

After Elena and her family have discovered that her father isn’t a traitor but a secret agent of the wizard ministry, Elena and her friend Miranda are unsure whether they will remain in the human world or can return back home. When the girls are alone on the weekend, Elena’s father contacts the house because he is in need of help. Since nobody else is home the two girls meet up with Leon Bredov to help him in his investigation. All of them spy on the dark magicians who want to resurrect the dark wizard Mafaldus Horus. Will the three of them be discovered and identified as spies and are they able to stop the ceremony before it’s too late?

I really enjoyed this book because it’s the first time the reader is taken into the wizard world. The previous two books were primarily concerned with the human world – with settling in and the danger of being discovered. Now it gets interesting.

Although I was sometimes annoyed with Miranda, who was barely able to hold up her cover, it made her also more sympathetic. The girl, who is always best at everything, is about to loose her cool and it is Elena, who struggles with learning and using magic, that is in control of herself. Although Elena reveals that she is jealous of her friend’s ease with their studies and aquiring knowledge, it does not paint Elena in a negative light. It makes her human, because she is jealous but she doesn’t begrudge her friend’s abilities – she is proud of Miranda’s skills.

The writing is fluent and I especially like the little encyclopedic entries about human behavior and their reasons. Very funny.

Rating:

rating 4

My Reading Months July and August

I haven’t had the greatest of reading months lately, so I decided to sum up both July and August in one post. I am not in a reading slump, but I just don’t seem to have the time or the patience to read. If I manage ten pages before I sleep it is quite an achievement.

Elsemarie Maletzke – Jane Austen: Eine Biografie

This biography of Jane Austen was something that I have been reading over a longer period of time. I like her books and I have seen most of the film and TV adaptations, so I thought it might be right to read something about her life. It was interesting and the author had a way of intertwining Austen’s life and experiences with the content and development of her novels. All in all, a good and interesting read.

jane austen bio

John Green – The Fault in Our Stars

I have refused to read this book for some time now. Firstly, because I wasn’t into the whole cancer book thing lately and secondly, because I try to avoid hypes a little bit. Often I am just disappointed. And honestly, I don’t get the hype around this novel. I am sorry and people will probably be really mad. It was a good book, it was a fast and easy read, but … I don’t know: it was predictable and worst something just irked me – I can’t quite put a finger on it. As I said it was a good book but something about this book made me uncomfortable.

Rick Riordan – The Throne of Fire (The Kane Chronicles #2)

The second book in the Kane Chronicles was a good and solid read. I really enjoyed the Egyptian mythology (and honestly that would save almost any book for me) and the story was fast paced and another thrilling ride, yet I still have problems with the protagonists. Though I understand them a little more this time, both are still annoying and it is actually someone else who saves the day every time they are in trouble. The siblings created a problem that someone else has to solve. I really don’t get why they are always portrayed as the heroes. Anyway. The world creation is fantastic and although the story follows the same repetitive narrative pattern, I thinks it’s still a good adventure story if you don’t want to think too much, but rather want something to wash over you.

verbotene eden 2 Throne of Fire

Thomas Thiemeyer – Logan und Gwen: Das Verbotene Eden #2

This is the second installment in a dystopian series written by the German author Thomas Thiemeyer which has not been translated yet. In the world where men and women hate each other and are at the brink of war, Logan and Gwen cross paths, well, Logan captures Gwen and intents to sell her on the slave market. But of course things change.
I have listened to the first installment as an audio book and I really enjoyed it. The premise was interesting: due to a virus men and women started to hate and kill each other and separated into different lives. While always at the brink of war, those tendencies have grown more certain after the first book. Altogether this was a good 2nd installment; it was easy to read, fast-paced and fluent. However, I would have loved to learn more about the world that Thiemeyer had created, which he failed to provide. And although both characters are independent characters and no shallow copies of the two main protagonists in the first novel, I couldn’t quite grasp them.

Octavia E. Butler – Fledgling

Since a friend of mine has just handed in his dissertation on Octavia Butler’s work and I have read already two of her books, I decided to try to read all the novels that he analyzes in his work. Since I had Fledgling at home, I started with the Vampire book. Yes, this book is about Vampires. And it is actually good. It has an interesting take on the Vampire myth and Butler developed a fascinating world. Though there are some things that I found a little difficult to swallow (and I shouldn’t because I watch and read Game of Thrones – and after that not a lot of things should shock me anymore), it was a good book and enjoyed it. Some characters were a little annoying especially Wright, but that’s probably just me.

feldgling Derek Landy 1

Derek Landy – Skulduggery Pleasant

So after a little more adult read, I decided to grab a children’s novel about a dead guy and magic. That’s sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, at least to me. And it was a great book. The world creation was fantastic, the characters likeable, the story thrilling, and the writing was fluent. Skulduggery Pleasant is a skeleton magician and helps Stephanie solve the death of her beloved uncle. Suddenly she is in the middle of a world that she did not even know existed. I really recommend this.

Kirsten John – Rapunzel, der schüchterne Wolf und die Sache mit dem Magischen Zopf

This is a children’s book series that has sadly not been published in English yet, but really should. For a short English review please see further below.

Rapunzel

Hardcover
Verlag: Arena
veröffentlicht 2012
Seiten: 127

Buch (Deutsch)

Klappentext:

Verwünscht noch mal! In welchem Märchen sind Mia und ihr Frosch Jakob bloß diesmal gelandet? Und warum hat Mia urplötzlich so einen unstillbaren Hunger auf Feldsalat? Glücklicherweise begegnen die beiden einem gutmütigen Wolf, der sie zu Rapunzels Turm führt. Dort setzt sich Mia erst die böse Frau Gothel, befreit Rapunzel – und verpasst ihr dann auch noch eine schicke neue Friseur!

In Kürze:

+ der 4. Band in der Mia Reihe
+ diesmal verschlägt es Mia in das Märchen von Rapunzel
+ flüssig, frischer Schreibstil
+ das Buch ist wunderschön illustriert

Meinung:

Das letzte Mia Abenteuer hat begonnen. Wer die ersten drei Teile nicht gelesen hat, sollte nicht weiterlesen, weil vielleicht doch etwas verraten wird.

Anstatt dass Mia, ihre Tante und Jakob, wieder nach Hause reisen, werden die drei getrennt und Mia und ihr Frosch Jakob landen in Rapunzel’s Märchen. Mia kann sich das Ganze gar nicht erklären und sucht einen Ausweg und ihre Tante. Dabei trifft sie auf Rapunzel und bringt auch hier das ein oder andere Durcheinander. Gebt dem Kind niemals eine Schere.

Auch das vierte Abenteuer ist wieder sehr lustig und spannend und stellt ein Märchen auf den Kopf. Der Schreibstil ist wieder einmal sehr flüssig, frisch und altersgerecht, die Illustrationen sind zauberhaft, die Protagonistin ist ein keckes, mutiges und auch mal aufmüpfiges junges Mädchen und Jakob ist ein niedlicher und knuffiger Sidekick. (Das hört er jetzt sicher gar nicht gerne.) Auch der schüchterne Wolf, der gerne ein böser Wolf wäre, hat mir sehr gut gefallen.

Fazit:

Alles in allem handelt es sich hierbei um eine schöne, kindgerechte Märchenneuerzählung mit wunderbaren Figuren und sehr schönen Illustrationen.

In English:

This last fairytale adventure takes Mia to meet Rapunzel – by accident as usual. Mia, her frog Jacob and her aunt were about to leave the Cinderella’s fairy tale when something went wrong and Mia landed in yet another story and not at home. While trying to find her way back home, she interferes in another story yet again and causes some funny and interesting twists. She should have never been given the pair of scissors.
The fourth and sadly final story in this series is as funny and hilarious as the predecessors. The writing is really suitable for the age group, the illustrations are wonderful, the protagonist is brave and cheeky and the frog is just adorable. Again a great fairy tale retelling.

Rating:

rating 4