A Pick Me Up for Broken Things – How the Snyder’s Healer Series Healed my Sou

The Healer Series has healed my fantasy deprived soul. I used to read so much fantasy and lately I was mostly unhappy with what I read and I missed stories, worlds, and characters that would captivate me. I felt as if something in me was broken. The joy I usually deprived from fantasy books was gone – maybe even lost. But then the Healer Series by Maria V. Snyder came along. This trilogy – Touch of Power, Scent of Magic, and Taste of Darkness – fed three ravenous beasts within me: the thirst for action, believable friendships and world building.

I Need To Catch My Breath – Action Packed Storylines That Don’t Slow Down

Just as her Study Trilogy the action was fast paced. I enjoyed the setting and the world building, but the incredible fast pace, the lack of narrative breaks and therefore the amount of running, hunting, being hunted and fighting the protagonists had to go through, captured me from the first to the last page. There was barely a break for the poor guys to catch a breath.

Cross My Heart And Swear To Die – Friendships Save The World

Alongside the action, the friendships make up the core of the story – at least for me. They are believable, withstand opposition and hardship, are comical and endearing, and longstanding. Once I close the book, I start to miss them, as I felt like a member of that circle. The sidekicks are usually the most lovable characters in the book. Until this day I am always happy to see them again – in other stories or when rereading the old ones.

Take Me Away From Here – Building A World Where I’d Rather Be

Within a short time I am fully immersed in the world and often the magical, political, and social system that is new to me. I can see it, feel it, and I am familiar with it, still I discover even more throughout the entirety of the trilogy. Yet I believe, if those are continued I would learn so much more and still am surprised by it.

So far I have enjoyed Maria V. Snyder’s Study Trilogy and Healer Series. I have to admit that I am not as thrilled with the Glass Series (that is set in the same world as the Study Trilogy), but I will surely finish that as I want to continue my adventures in Ixia. If you need something to pick you up that you can’t put down – have a go.

Merken

Derek Landy – Skulduggery Pleasant (#1)

Derek Landy 1

paperback
publisher: Harpercollins
published 2007
pages 384

Book (English)

Blurb:

Twelve-year-old Stephanie Edgley inherits her uncle Gordon’s estate and is promptly attacked on her first solo visit to the property. A mysterious skeleton-detective, Skulduggery Pleasant, comes to her rescue, explaining that he thinks Gordon was murdered and that she may be next. The two join forces and set off to solve the crime in a series of magical adventures that take them into a world filled with ancient evil creatures, including Nefarian Serpine, who seeks the Scepter of the Ancients and the infinite power it will bring him. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ first book in a series
+ a fun, fast-paced, thrilling detective story with a lot of magic
+ a skeleton-detective – what more do you need really
+ likeable main characters

My Opinion:

Skulduggery Pleasant is a skeleton-detective/magician, who is a friend of Stephanie’s beloved uncle. Her uncles death was sudden and left Stephanie with a huge inheritance and a lot of problems. Someone breaks into Stephanie’s new house, threatens her, and attempts to hurt her. And then Skulduggery comes to the rescue. Suddenly the girl is dragged into a world that she didn’t know existed and she is determined to find out why her uncle had to die.

The story was fast-paced, thrilling, and fun. It was an easy read that I could not put down. The characters were very likeable, nothing annoyed me about them (the first time in quite a while). Stephanie was an enjoyable character, who was not bratty or self-involved. She was aware of all the things she was not able to do, but that did not stop her from trying. Landy was able to make this feature of his female protagonist a loveable one. Skulduggery Pleasant was, well, he was sarcastic, little too brave, and stubborn. Again not annoying and stubbornness can really be annoying on other characters.

The world creation was interesting and clever as it left me wanting more. The writing was fluent, effortless and easy as it should be for a middle grade book, but yet not too easy to be boring. Skulduggery’s sarcasm was lighthearted and entertaining, yet not too complex so it could still be understood by the young readers. Yet, still sarcastic enough for the grown readers to make me smile. It was just right. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I will definitely continue the series.

Bottom Line:

Fun and entertaining magician/detective story with great world creation, likeable characters, and a good story line.

Rating:

rating 4

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

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.

verbotene eden 2

Hardcover
Verlag: Knaur
veröffentlicht 2012
Seiten: 464

Book (Deutsch)

Klappentext:

Seit Juna aus dem Land der Frauen geflohen ist – mit einem Mann –, fühlt sich die junge Heilerin Gwen einsam und nichtswürdig. Sie schließt sich einem Spähtrupp an, der durch verlassene U-Bahn-Schächte in die Stadt der Männer vordringen soll. Doch der Einsatz scheitert grausam, und Gwen fällt in die Hände des jungen Kämpfers Logan, der sie als Sklavin verkaufen will. Logan aber hat die Rechnung ohne seine Gefühle gemacht – und setzt damit Ereignisse in Gang, die das Ende beider Welten bedeuten könnten … (Amazon)

In Kürze:

+ 2. Buch in der Verbotene Eden Reihe
+ gute Umsetzung einer interessanten Idee
+ unterhaltsam, schnell, flüssig

Meinung:

Hierbei handelt es sich um das zweite Buch in der Reihe Das Verbotene Eden. Den ersten Teil habe ich als Hörbuch gehört und er hat mir gut gefallen. Die Idee, dass Männer und Frauen durch einen Virus dazu gebracht werden sich zu hassen und somit unterschiedliche Zivilisationen zu bilden, war sehr faszinierend. Und da das Hörbuch gut war, habe ich mir den zweiten Teil aus der Bibliothek mitgenommen.

Die Geschichte ähnelt dem ersten Teil, Logan und Gwen treffen aufeinander (d.h. Logan nimmt Gwen gefangen und will sie auf dem Sklavenmarkt verkaufen) und sind das erste Mal mit dem anderen Geschlecht konfrontiert. Während Gwen noch ihrer Gefährtin Juna hinterher trauert, die Protagonistin im ersten Teil der Trilogie, scheint Logan allem gegenüber doch etwas offener zu sein. Er ist gerade Champion seines Stammes geworden, was ihm den Respekt und die Loyalität des Stammesführers einbringt, aber auch den Neid dessen Sohnes und damit einen gefährlichen Gegner.

Der Geschichte an sich war sehr gut. Der Schreibstil war flüssig und die Handlung schnell und vorwärts treiben – wie bei einer Strömung, die einen sanft mitnimmt. Ich hätte gerne mehr über die Welt erfahre, leider kam das ein wenig kurz. Auch wenn der Leser mehr über die Zustände und ein wenig über die Geschichte von einzelnen Charakteren und damit über die Geschichte der dystopischen Welt erfährt, hätte ich trotzdem gerne mehr Hintergrundinformationen erhalten.

Und auch wenn die beiden Protagonisten keine Abklatsch der Protagonisten des ersten Teils und durchaus eigenständige Charaktere sind, konnte ich sei streckenweise nicht ganz fassen. Ich hatte ein paar Probleme mich mit ihnen zu identifizieren, da ich einfach einige der Entscheidungen nicht nachvollziehen konnte und auch nicht verstanden hab, wie blind man durch die Welt läuft. Ich habe einige Fallen schon gefühlte Kilometer vorher gesehen und trotzdem sind die beiden da blind hineingelaufen. Aber trotz meines Ningelns, war ich gut unterhalten.

Fazit:

Ein solider 2. Teil einer Reihe. Schnelle Handlung, flüssiger Schreibstil, eigenständige Protagonisten und keine plumpen Kopien des ersten Romans.

In English:

This is the second installment in a dystopian series. 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 societies. While always at the brink of war, those tendencies have grown more certain after the first book. A group within each side tries to keep the sexes separate, while others realize that the effects of the virus slowly disappear.

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. I did not understand the decision they made at times. I even saw traps a mile away and they still walk into them blindly despite the fact, that Thiemeyer tried to describe them as perceptive and intuitive.
But all in all, this was a good and entertaining read.

Rating:

rating 3

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

Trudi Canavan – The Traitor Queen (The Traitor Spy Trilogy #3)

Traitor Queen

paperback
publisher: Orbit
published 2013
pages: 518

Blurb:

Events are building to a climax in Sachaka as Lorkin returns from his exile with the Traitor rebels. The Traitor Queen has given Lorkin the huge task of brokering an alliance between his people and the Traitors. Lorkin has also had to become a feared black magician in order to harness the power of an entirely new kind of gemstone magic. This knowledge could transform the Guild of Magicians – or make Lorkin an outcast forever. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ final installment of the Traitor Spy Trilogy
+ fluent and easy writing
+ even in the 6th book set in Sonea’s world there was still a lot to discover
+ I thoroughly enjoyed the book for its world creation and characters (maybe not all, but many)

My Opinion:

The Traitor Queen is the conclusion to The Traitor Spy Trilogy. If you have not read the previous two books please do not continue reading: Spoiler Alert.

The story continues where it had stopped in the last book and it did not get any less convoluted. There are still several storylines and perspectives present. While some of the story lines collide towards the end, the five narrative perspectives remain the same.

Lorkin is released from the Traitor Sanctuary to negotiate between the Guild and the Traitors. The Sachakan (who are the mortal enemy’s of the Traitors) imprison Lorkin to gain information which he does not share. This gives the guild the opportunity to send Sonea into Sachaka: officially to plead for her son, but unofficially to start negotiations with the Traitor Queen.

While the tensions between Sachakans and Traitors rise to the point of war, the Guild in Imardin is still busy trying to catch the Rogue magician that is running amok in the underworld and tries to gain control over the city.

The narrative is still slow and though I was expecting it to pick up pace, it did not really. The battle at the end was not epic, there was not a lot of danger and Sonea did nothing. I was most disappointed with that. Though I understand why she couldn’t do anything and I get that Lorkin was the one to be at the center of things, it was still disappointing. Lorkin is just not my favorite guy. He was a flat character that did not show a lot of development and was just a little boring.

And the attempt to make the Traitors look good and the Sachakans bad failed as well as the attempt to make Lorkin the hero. I get that the Traitors were constructed to be better than the Sachakans, but even though the flaws in the Traitor system were obvious, Lorkin and later the Guild tried to make them better than they were.

I was surprised that characters I loved in the previous books (going back to The Black Magicians Trilogy) were getting annoying. I really liked Dannyl once, but I was about to jump into the book and shake him. Cery was condemned to do nothing really, why I don’t know, but there you go.

Lilia, Anyi, Gol, and Kallen saved the Imardin storyline for me and Soneas’s temporary presence the Sachakan story line. I enjoyed spending time with them and they were interesting enough to hold up the book.

The writing and the world creation had the most to do with the good rating. I just love a great world where I can get lost in and that still offers so much to discover.  And although her trilogy might not have been as fast paced as the previous one, it is still marvelous to wander through her world and learn so many new things even in book six.

I know the ranting above might question my rating and my taste, but it really was a good book and it was okay that it wasn’t as fast paced as the previous trilogy (many of the characters did get older and slower 😉 ) because I was in the mood for exactly that.

Bottom Line:

A good conclusion to a trilogy, wonderful writing, fantastic world creation and enough things left unsolved for the other to potentially return to this world. I would pick it up again.

Rating:

rating 4

Trudi Canavan – The Rogue (The Traitor Spy Trilogy #2)

The Rogue

paperback
publisher: Orbit
published 2012
pages: 485

Blurb:

Discover the magic of Trudi Canavan with her brand new novel in the Traitor Spy Trilogy…
Living among the Sachakan rebels, Lorkin does his best to learn about their unique magic. But the Traitors are reluctant to trade their secrets for the Healing they so desperately want.
Meanwhile, Sonea searches for the rogue, knowing that Cery cannot avoid assassination forever — but the rogue’s influence over the city’s underworld, however, is far greater than she feared.
And in the University, two female novices are about to remind the Guild that sometimes their greatest enemy is found within… (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ 2nd installment in the Traitor Spy Trilogy
+ wonderful and complex world creation
+ reunited with old friends and met new characters
+ slow narrative pace that was right for me at the time, but might be too slow for others (not that action packed!!!)

My Opinion:

The Rogue is the second installment in The Traitor Spy Trilogy which in itself is the second trilogy centering around our main character Sonea. I met Sonea in The Black Magicians Trilogy and this trilogy is set 20 years later. I think one could read The Traitor Spy Trilogy without reading The Black Magicians Trilogy, but it might be more confusing. The world creation is very complex and the relationships between the characters would be less comprehensible without the first trilogy. If you haven’t read The Black Magicians Trilogy, you might not want to continue reading although I doubt I spoil things, you would just not understand.

If you did not read The Ambassador’s Mission (Book 1 in The Traitor Spy Trilogy) than: Spoiler Alert!

Sonea is now the Black Magician in Imardin and not allowed to leave the city. Having to accept Black Magic as necessity to defend the Allied Lands and the Guild was difficult for magicians, thus they restricted Sonea’s movement and life so the citizen would feel save.

Sonea’s son Lorkin has left Imardin to become the Ambassador’s apprentice in Sachaka, where he was attacked. He was saved by a slave, who is part of a group referred to by the Sachakans as Traitors. The traitor slave takes Lorkin to the Traitor sanctuary. Here he tries to establish relations between the traitors and the Guild. Sonea, who had to remain in Imardin, is busy protecting her old friend Cery from a new thief lord, who is also a magician – a rogue. At the same time two novices show the Guild that their biggest scare comes from within the Guild.

There are many different story lines combined in this trilogy: five different story lines narrated from five different perspectives. The switch between these narrative strands occurs quite frequently and can be a little bit of a challenge, but I got used to this quickly. Since there are not many long breaks between each narrative, the risk of forgetting and having difficulties of finding your way back into that story line is quite low.

While we meet many characters that we have known from the early books, there are many new characters. Some of them are sadly a little flat and not as intriguing as the old characters. I enjoyed reuniting with old friends again, but was also open to meeting new ones. However, the new characters themselves were less likable than the old ones. Lorkin (Sonea’s son) was bothering me a lot, Lilia was very naive (while I saw what was gonna happen to her a mile away), and Tyvara and her Traitors were also a little annoying at times. Though I understand that we were suppose to like the Traitors, the flaws in their system were just too big and the people were way to stubborn for my part.

The narrative pace might have been to slow for some people, but I really enjoyed it. I liked the complexity of the story, I enjoyed the world creation and was happy to find my way back to Imardin, but I also learned so much more about Sachaka and the Duna tribes. I was happy to spend time with Sonea, Dannyl, Lilia and Rothen. It was a good read and I was looking forward to finishing the trilogy.

Bottom Line:

A good read with a constant narrative pace, wonderful world creation, a fluent writing, and old and new characters.

Rating:

rating 4

 

Rick Riordan – The Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid

paperback
publisher: Puffin Books
published 2011
pages: 514

Book on Amazon

Blurb:

„I Guess it started the night our dad blew up the British Museum…“
Carter and Sadie Kane’s dad is a brilliant Egyptologist with a secret plan that goes horribly wrong. An explosion shatters the ancient Rosetta Stone and unleashes Set, the evil god of chaos…
Set imprisons Dr Kane in a golden coffin, and Carter and Sadie are forced to run for their lives. To save their dad, they must embark on a terrifying quest from Cairo and Paris to the American South-west and discover the truth about their family’s connection to the House of Life: an Egyptian temple of magic that has existed for thousands of years.
The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt are far from dead and buried. And so, unfortunately, are their gods…

In (Very) Short:

+ the start to a new children’s/young adult series
+ story centering around Egyptian Gods and Myths
+ chapters are told from either of the siblings point of view – changing “narrator”
– I did not get along with the main characters (Sadie and Carter)
– difficult to differentiate between the two voices

My Opinion:

I really, really loved Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan and I was nervous to start anything new by the same author. Though I have heard good things about the series, I knew my expectations were very high and I could be easily disappointed. A plus: I love Egyptian mythology when I was in school and it is surprising how much I remembered.

Sadie and Carter Kane watch their father blow up the Rosetta Stone and by doing that releasing Ancient Egyptian Gods. After he disappears and is supposedly held prisoner, his children try to save him and the world in the process. But not only do they have to fight some Egyptian Gods and stop them from destroying the world, they also have to be aware of the House of Life – a magician organization destined to fight the Gods and anyone with royal blood. So they should help Sadie and Carter right? So, you think…

The book is an entertaining read. The chapters are told from either Sadie’s or Carter’s point of view (which alternates). However, I had difficulties differentiating between the voices at times so I had to look at the top of the page to remind myself who was narrating at the time.

The mythology is incorporated into the story, as it has been in Percy Jackson, and creates a wonderful story. The narrative is fast paced and the writing is fluent. The incorporation and the world creation of the secret Egyptian world (unknown to us mere mortals) is one of Riordan’s great talents.

But I could hardly warm up to the main characters while I was reading. Although I got used to them in the end and I might even be a little fond of them, they were just too annoying at times. The bickering, the attempt of being funny and sarcastic (which failed in my opinion) – they were just plain unsympathetic in my eyes. While reading, however, I started to see where Riordan was going with this and why they are the way they are. Percy, I understood. Sadie and Carter, not so much.

Bottom Line:

A fun and entertaining read where the reader can learn about Egyptian mythology. A good book, but not one of his best works.

Rating:

rating 3