A summer vacation, a spy tortoise and a great adventure – Kerstin Rottland’s Agathe Bond novel

Kerstin Rottland – Agathe Bond: Cool wie das Wasser im Pool
Did you know there is a whole secret world of tortoises that run a spy organization – me neither. But in the deep sees of children’s novel it shouldn’ t really be a surprise. The German author Kerstin Rottland tells a wonderful story that I throroughly enjoyed and recommend. However, the story as far as I know is not yet published in English.

The story

Agathe Bond (that’s the protagonist and yes she is the tortoise and female) is on a mission to catch one of the most notorious gangster tortoises, when one of her gadgets malfuntion at a  critical moment. Thankfully, she is stranded in a human tortoise sanctuary, but someone wanted her dead. With the help of a human boy, she flees the compound and searches for the person responsible for the failed assassination attempt.

The characters

Agathe Bond seems rather on the nose but in combination with some stereotypical themes of the spy genre, it not only seems but is on the nose for the knowledgable reader. Yet she is a wonderful quirky, zynical, grumpy old tortoise I think especially the more mature reader (did not wanna say old here) will enjoy. Jürgen (the human protagonist) is a charming yet slightly shy and unfortunate fellow with rather unique family and view on them. The mix works wonderful.

Kerstin Rottland’s writing

So far I have enjoyed Rottland’s dive into the spy world. The tropes and themes are familiar yet applied for the young reader. More mature readers get their entertainment value out of the story and especially the witty tortoise. She makes the story fun, entertaining, with a morale, taking the reader by the hand without being didactic or lecturing. Still, I wonder: Do children already get the Bond reference from the title? Is Bond a synonym for spy that even children unfamiliar with the canon know what it means or are they learning through these stories? Well, I digress: another topic for another blog post.

All in all, this is a fun and entertaining read for young an old. 

Advertisements

My Reading Month August

I know it is very late for a reading month August since it is already October, but what the hell…here goes nothing. 🙂 Slowly I feel that I have my reading groove back at least I had it back for a short time due to late summer nights on my balcony and a nice stress level at work that made me grab an audiobook or two. Yet the groove to publish content more regularly has not yet returned in full force. But I am happy about a little force as well. All in all, I am quite happy with the month of August.

  • Books: 4
  • Audiobooks: 6
  • Pages (only books): 956
  • Pages (incl. Audiobooks): 4300
  • Minutes listened: 6779min. (almost 13 hours)

img_20160814_191219_resized img_20160828_191417_resized

Books:

Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce – Pip Bartlett und die magischen Tiere: Die brandgefährliche Fussels/ Pip Bartlett*s Guide to Magical Creatures

My first read this month is also the book that has gotten me out of my little low. This book is such a lovely story with a wonderful and rich world of magical creatures and great ideas. I enjoyed every minute of the story as well as the beautiful illustrations. A great children’s adventure story about magical creatures and a girl who can talk to them.

Kerstin Rottland – Agathe Bond: Cool wie das Wasser im Pool

Another fantastic and adventurous read is this spy novel with a tortoise as the main protagonist and major spy. A hilarious and fantastic story with beautiful illustrations, quite some adventure and a lot of spy equipment hidden in one small tortoise-shell.

Dora Heldt – Jetzt mal anders

This collection of columns written by a well-known German author were entertaining, sweat, and short. I did not feel the pressure of having to read the book cover to cover but pick it up when I felt like it. The stories cover a wide range of everyday topics and observations.

Martina Sahler – Matilda und die Sommersonneninsel

This young adult book or early teen book – whatever age range this is supposed to cover – is a wonderful summer read for young girls as the story centers around a group of young girls and their long summer vacation. Short, sweat, and entertaining.

cimg6916

Audiobooks:

Kirstin Cashore – Die Flammende / Fire

I have read this book some years ago and I enjoyed every page of it. The same holds true for the audiobook. It was as riveting and exiting as I remembered the book to be. A wonderful fantasy novel with a great protagonist. I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Eve Chase – Black Rabbit Hall

A family drama with two different timelines that intertwine towards the end. Though I felt like I could predict what was going to happen, the author had the uncanny ability to make me doubt my previously made decisions. The story kept my on my toes and was an entertaining and thrilling audiobook. A great read or better a great listen.

Frauke Scheunemann – Ziemlich unverhofft

The second book centering around the protagonist Nicola was another entertaining and fun audiobook. I returned to the world, the people, and a similar chaotic life of the protagonist with pleasure and passion. Though I was a little annoyed by the story line with her neighbor Tiziano and this attempt at some sort of love triangle thing…the remainder of the story was great.

Lucinda Riley – Der Lavendelgarten/ The Lavender Garden

My second Riley novel was another audiobook for the win column. The story was set in two different times (as seems to be the case with Mrs. Riley) and follows the family history of Emily de la Martiniere – her struggle to maintain a family legacy and the struggles of her family in WWII. The story was riveting, the characters were sympathetic and likeable, both story lines drew the reader in yet were slow enough to enjoy the beauty of the scenery the narrative was set in as well as the writing.

Sarah Lark – Das Lied der Maori (#2) / Der Ruf des Kiwis (#3)

These two audiobooks are the second and third installment in a family tale. I enjoyed the first immensely and wanted to continue with the narrator and the author and the family story. We follow the descendants of the two women that came to New Zealand in the first book – trying to survive in a world and situation that they cannot escape and if they do, they have to endure a lot of pain and suffering.
Though I think you could have listened to these audio books individually without a specific order in mind, I was happy that I listened to them how it was intended. The books were a little more intense than the previous one especially the third installment. This is not necessarily for times when you as a reader are in emotional distress or more vulnerable because the story includes quite an ordeal of abuse and rape into these books. I had to stop on occasion. Despite those scenes the books were very good.