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

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.

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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

Maria V. Snyder – Fire Study (Study Trilogy #3)

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paperback
publisher: MIRA Books
published: 2009
pages: 441

Book on Amazon

Blurb:

THE APPRENTICESHIP IS OVER

NOW THE REAL TEST HAS BEGUN

When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder – able to capture and release souls – spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena’s unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena’s fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by the murderous sorcerer she has defeated before.

Honour sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. He journey is fraught with allies and enemies. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself – and save the land she holds dear.

In (Very) Short:

+ entertaining, funny, thrilling, fantastic
+ final installment of the trilogy
+ fast paced, sometimes a little to fast for me
+ Yelena’s final battle and a little surprise who the real bad guy is and how many there are
+ Yelena never denies that she needs help to win this battle

My Opinion:

I love this book! I love the series! I love the author! I don’t love that the trilogy is over, but I so happy and grateful I stumbled across The Chronicles of Ixia or the Study Trilogy – whatever you want to call it.

(SPOILER: If you have not read the previous books, you might not want to read on!)

Yelena stopped Ferd from completing the ritual to gain uncontrollable powers and released the souls he had captured. Thus identifying herself as a Soulfinder, a powerful Magician, who is feared in Sitia. When Yelena begins to search for the Ferd, who has fled the Keep, and discovers a plot against her former homeland Ixia as well as Sitia, she fights and struggles to save both countries while keeping those she holds close to heart alive as well. Yelena faces off with her strongest opponent yet and in order to do so, she has to accept what she really is.

Just as the books prior, this one was thrilling, funny, exiting, and fast paced. I mean really fast paced. Sometimes it was to fast for me. I do understand that plans do not necessarily have to work out the way they are planned, but it seemed they never really do with Yelena.

About every 30 pages there is a new twist and they have to plan again. There is always someone who wrecks those lovely and logical plans. It was a little frustrating and I wanted something to go right at times. I liked that although Yelena is very powerful, she is not a superhero kind of person, but still gets into sticky situations where she needs help and accepts that.

But because of this fast pace and because of the wonderful characters that I learned to like, love, and hate, I couldn’t put the book down. After I started it, I knew I had to finish it in one sitting and I did.

The characters are lovable as always. I enjoyed the sarcasm and bickering between Yelena and her brother Leif (something that was new in this book), Valek’s unfaltering trust, Yelena’s doubts, Ari’s and Janco’s arguing, Maren’s loyalty, and Rose’s bitchiness. It was definitely a great combination.

I don’t think I have to say anything about the writing anymore: it’s fluent, easy, and wonderful.

Bottom Line:

A great and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. I’m gonna miss the characters, but I will definitely pick up other books from this author.

Rating:

rating 5

My Reading Month October

This time around I am a little late and I’m really sorry. I was so occupied with bureaucratic crap (pardon my french) and spend hours waiting and filling out applications (that nobody will ever look at again and that I have already submitted to another part of the same department, which is just two doors down the hall; but no, there is no way in hell to pick the documents up from that office – way to easy). Sorry for ranting, but I am a little frustrated and I know there are a lot more where that came from ahead of me. So yay!!!

Anyway, back to the book part of last month. Though it was clearly not my best month (because there were days where I couldn’t be bothered to even read an email), it was still ok. I had difficulties getting through some of the books because those were books I had to read in a sitting (and didn’t really had the time) or were quite tedious to get through. So to get into the swing of things I started of with a little children’s fiction.

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Kate Klise, M. Sarah Klise – Friedhofstraße 43: Ein Gespenst kommt selten allein (43 Old Cemetery Road – Till Death Do Us Bark)

This is the third book in the series and it is as lovely as the previous books. The illustrations are great, the story is funny and cute, and Olivia Spence was maybe a little annoying. All together a great and funny read.

Maria V. Snyder – Fire Study

I don’t really know what to write about this series than I love it. I loved the first, I loved the second, I loved the third. It was quite the ride through the final installment and sometimes the many narrative twists and turns were even to fast and loose for me. I had to catch my breath a few times. But this is a great series. I am a little sad it’s over.

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Ekaterina Sedia – Die Geheime Geschichte Moskaus

I have never read a fantasy novel by a Russian author and I was interested. I did not get along with the story and I had difficulties following the narrative. There were just so many narrative strands that I lost track of the main story line. Since I am not very familiar with Russian mythology and tales, I was lost among all those different mythical figures. I think it is generally a cultural thing though. If I knew more about the myths and tales, I probably enjoy the story more.

Kate Klise, M. Sarah Klise – Friedhofstraße 43: Das Phantom im Postamt (43 Old Cemetery Road – The Phantom in the Post Office)

After more bureaucracy filled days I returned to Old Cemetery Road and again this was very good. Finally Seymor meets someone his own age. While “Till Death Do us Bark” was funny and entertaining, “The Phantom of the Post Office” was actually quite “thrilling” and adventurous. Really good.

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Marcus Sedgwick – Gold und Geisterjagd (Ghosts and Gadgets)

I ended my month with another rather spooky and ghostly book. Marcus Sedgwick has written a wonderful book about the Otherhand family and their raven Edgar. It is a nice and entertaining book, that was funny, cute, and a little spooky. The right book for Halloween (at least for me since I really don’t like scary things).

Maria V. Snyder – Magic Study (Study Trilogy #2)

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paperback
publisher: MIRA Books
published 2006
pages: 419

Book on Amazon

Blurb:

A LESSON IN LOYALTY – A MASTER CLASS IN INTRIGUE

Yelena is a survivor. Kidnapped as a child,help prisoner as a teen, then released to act as a poison taster,she is now a student of magic. But these magic skills place her in imminent danger, and with an execution order on her head, she has no choice but to escape to Sitia, the land of her birth.

But nothing in Sitia is familiar. As she struggles to understand where she belongs and how to control her powers, a rogue magician emerges – and Yelena catches his eye. Suddenly she is embroiled in a situation not her making. And once again her magical abilities will either save her life…or be her downfall.

In (Very) Short:

+ wonderful, exiting, thrilling, funny, fantastic … I am in love 🙂
+ the narration is fast paced and an absolute joy
+ new characters are likeable
+ old friends return and are again an absolute delight
+Yelena and her struggles in this ‘new world’ are understandable
+ it’s hard for me to summarize this in short in any adequate way

My Opinion:

I love this trilogy. I love this book. I love Yelena. I love her friends. I love Ixia. I know I am obnoxious, but I am euphoric. Usually the second installment of a trilogy is the weakest of the three but this isn’t. Magic Study is as good as the first one. It was sooo great and exiting and funny and thrilling. Ok, ok I’ll calm down now.

Yelena has come to Ixia to learn to control her magic and find her family. While some welcome her with open arms others are less enthusiastic about her arrival and belief that she is an Ixian spy. While Yelena tries to navigate this new world, her sudden family ties and the people’s expectations to forget her Ixian upbringing and relations, girls are kidnapped and murdered. When one of those girls survives apparently soulless, Yelena helps discover the reason behind these murders, which is not only a threat to Sitia her new home, but also to Ixia and the friends she has left behind.

I was happy to see Yelena again although I was saddened when she left Ixia and her friends (which I grew to like very much – I don’t want to overuse the word love 🙂 ). The narrative picked up where we left of in Poison Study. I felt for Yelena, who was stranded among people she did not know but who expected her to anyhow. Being caught between two warring worlds, Ixia – the world she knows and grew up in – and Sitia – the world she was born in and she was supposed to prefer over the other.

The struggles Yelena had to go through were very well relayed to the reader. Though I disagree with her attachment to Cahil, she learned to see and understand Sitia. At the same time her Ixian heritage (so to speak) was not just cast aside and she remained attached to her previous life.

The story was thrilling, the new characters divers and interesting, yet I was the happiest when I met my old friends Ari, Janco and Valek again.

Spoiler: Do not continue to read when you have not read Poison Study (the first book).

The topic of rape was brought up again this time in another context and a little more graphic and detailed. This topic is generally part of adult fantasy but is seldom illustrated beyond the act and especially not the consequences for the victims. I like that Yelena is a strong person but still has to battle her demons (which does not make her weak in any way).

Bottom Line:

A fantastic continuation of the trilogy with a stubborn and loveable protagonist. It’s a great series!!!

Rating:

rating 5

September Book Haul

I try not to buy many books, I really do. Well, one was a present, the other I bought after a reading (you can’t really leave a reading without getting a signed copy, well, I can’t), and the other two were a bargain, I just had to get them. 😉

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Maria V Snyder – Magic Study

Blurb:

A LESSON IN LOYALTY – A MASTER CLASS IN INTRIGUE

Yelena is a survivor. Kidnapped as a child,help prisoner as a teen, then released to act as a poison taster,she is now a student of magic. But these magic skills place her in imminent danger, and with an execution order on her head, she has no choice but to escape to Sitia, the land of her birth.

But nothing in Sitia is familiar. As she struggles to understand where she belongs and how to control her powers, a rogue magician emerges – and Yelena catches his eye. Suddenly she is embroiled in a situation not her making. And once again her magical abilities will either save her life…or be her downfall.

I loved the first installment Poison Study and I already have the last book in this series: Fire Study. I can’t wait to read it and hope that it is as fantastic as the first one. Often the second book in a trilogy is a little weak. But I have a good feeling that Magic Study won’t.

Jakob Hein, Jacinta Nandi – Fish’n’Ships und Spreewaldgurken – Warum Ossiöfter sex und Engländer mehr Spaß haben

Blurb:

Das Land der Ossis: Nacktbaden in der Ostsee, Blumenpflicht am Frauentag –

vor allem aber: ganz viel Sex im Ferienlager!Der helle Wahnsinn, findet die in Berlin lebende Engländerin Jacinta Nandi.

Darüber kann Ossi Jakob Hein nur den Kopf schütteln, denn „London Calling“ war der Sound seiner Jugend, derOrt an dem jeder, der bei Verstand war, sein wollte: Coole Musik, hippe Klamotten, lässige Frauen, und alle haben Westgeld.

Seit gut einem Jahr tauschen sich die Surfpoetin Jacinta Nandi und der Autor Jakob Hein über das wahre Ossitum und das echte London aus: irrsinnig witzig, bissig und heiter. Zeit, uns endlich daran teilhaben zu lassen.

There was a reading in Leipzig this month and I couldn’t help but buy this book and get is signed. It is written by Jacinta Nandi, who was born in England and moved to Berlin, and by Jakob Hein, who was born in East Germany. Both write about the misconceptions they have about London and East Germany from the strangers perspective. The reading was great and since I was born in East Germany and I love London this should be a good and entertaining read.

Lucinda Riley – Das Mädchen an den Klippen

Klappentext (laut Amazon):

Ein Haus an den Klippen. Eine schicksalhafte Liebe. Ein Mädchen auf der Suche nach seiner Mutter

Mit gebrochenem Herzen sucht die Bildhauerin Grania Ryan Zuflucht in ihrer irischen Heimat. Bei einem Spaziergang an der Steilküste von Dunworley Bay wird Grania jäh aus ihren trüben Gedanken gerissen: Am Rande der Klippen steht ein Mädchen, barfuß und nur mit einem Nachthemd bekleidet. Der Wind zerrt an der zerbrechlichen Gestalt, und von plötzlicher Sorge ergriffen spricht sie das Kind an. – Ohne es zu ahnen, stößt Grania durch diese Begegnung die Tür zu einer über Generationen reichenden, tragischen Familiengeschichte auf – ihrer Geschichte.

I have heard so much of Lucinda Riley by now that I had to get a book by her. And since this one was on sale for 3€ (just because it had a little scratch on the back,) I couldn’t stop myself. Though I wanted to read her in English rather than German, I am not sure if this is my type of book, so in order to try it, I got the cheapest version (and that was by incident in German). Thus I won’t regret it if this is not my cup of tea. But I have thought many genres were not for me and I have expanded my range a little bit by occasional experimenting. So here goes nothing…

Sara Poole – Die Tochter des Giftmischers

Blurb:

Rom im schwül-heißen Sommer 1492.Hinter den Mauern der Heiligen Stadtbraut sich Böses zusammen. Als ihr Vater einem brutalen Mord zum Opfer fällt, verschafft sich die junge Francesca Giordano auf sehr eigenwillige Art seinen Posten als Giftkundige am Hofe der mächtigsten Familie Roms: der Borgia. Francesca ist nun für die Sicherheit aller Mitglieder der famiglia verantwortlich, doch ihr wahres Streben ist es, den Tod ihres Vaters zu sühnen. Die Suche nach den Mördern wird zu einer atemberaubenden Jagd durch Paläste, die düsteren Gassen des jüdischen Ghettos bis hinein ins Herz des Vatikans…

This is another book that was cheap because of a scratch on the back of the cover and another genre that I recently learned to appreciate. This historical novel is another crime story in disguise, so how could I say no to that. It’s about a daughter who want to avenge her fathers brutal death and thus establishes herself as a poison maker at the estate of The Borgias. If that does not sound intriguing.

My Reading Month September

My reading month started with a little crime fiction and granted the month remained a little crime fiction heavy, but well, I just can’t help it.

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Agatha Christie – After the Funeral

Reading a Christie is never a bad thing. It was a good and entertaining read. I haven’t read a Poirot mystery in a little while, so I had to get reacquainted. Just like my Marple mysteries I would have liked for Poirot to be part of the narration earlier, but this didn’t stop my enjoyment in any way.

Rita Falk – Winterkartoffelknödel

Than I turned to a German crime story. The story takes place in Bavaria and somehow fulfills all the stereotypes and clichés that I have (and I am from the north of Germany originally – so I have many) about the south of Germany. However, it was a good read, funny, exiting, easy, entertaining, and bloodless. Something that I personally prefer. This book is also a part of a series and I will definitely read the other ones as well. I hope they are as good as the authors debut novel.

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Charlaine Harris – Shakespeare’s Landlord

Though I only know Charlaine Harris from her vampire novels, I discovered her Lily Bard mysteries as a bargain and decided to give it a try. Those books are relatively small and would be a nice and easy read in between. The book was very nice but the topic itself is not that easy. Although the murder is not seen nor described in detail, Lily’s past is not as rosy. I definitely continue the series because I like Lily and I want to know more about her.

Bastian Sick – der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod #2

The second installment on the ridiculousness of the German language. The author has collected more columns and added and answered questions that his readers have sent him. Again a nice read in between, but somehow less funny than the first. Maybe I should have just let some time pass between the two books as they are quite similar. But still a good read.

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Maria V. Snyder – Magic Study (Poison Study #2)

I love this trilogy. Not enough people know about it. I honestly don’t know where to start and what to say. It was fantastic. It took me a while to finish this book because I wanted to read when I had time. I didn’t just wanted to read a couple of pages and then stop, that would have been cruel. So I still finished it in a few days and it is as good as the first one. I like Yelena, I was happy to see some more old friends from the first book, I laughed, I loved, and I fought with Yelena through every page and I started the last installment right away.

All in all, this was a good month and it ended on a high note.