Bilingual Review: S. J. Parris – Prophecy

S. J. Parris: Prophecy, audio, whole story audio books/audible, narrator: Laurence Kennedy, 14:39h, € 20,95
S. J. Parris: Prophecy, audio, whole story audio books/audible, narrator: Laurence Kennedy, 14:39h, € 20,95

Ich habe kürzlich ‚Heresy‘, das erste Giordano Bruno Buch gehört, und es war klasse. Meine Neugier war geweckt, also kaufte ich mir die Fortsetzung, nicht zuletzt weil Laurence Kennedy so ein toller Sprecher ist. Im Großen und Ganzen hat mir das Buch gut gefallen, aber es hat einige Längen,so dass ich zeitweise leicht abgelenkt war.  Ich habe tatsächlich zwischendrin ein komplett anderes Buch gehört, bevor ich mich wieder diesem zuwandte.

Das Tempo ist nicht hoch, erst ziemlich zum Schluss nimmt es an Fahrt auf. Trotzdem ist es ein sehr gutes Buch, besonders, wenn man an Geschichte interessiert ist. Neugierig wie ich war recherchierte ich selbst ein bisschen,und zu meiner Überraschung sind nicht nur die englischen Hauptcharaktere belegte historische Persönlichkeiten (wessen ich mir durchaus bewusst gewesen war), sondern auch Giordano Bruno basiert auf einer historischen Person, dessen Ideen, die im Buch dargestellt werden, tatsächlich die Ideen waren, wegen derer er im richtigen Leben von der römischen Kirche verfolgt wurde. Dasselbe gilt für John Dee und Kelley. Ich bewundere die Menge an akribischer Recherche die in die Giordano Bruno Serie geflossen ist.

Geschichtsfans werden das Buch lieben, Mysteryfans werden möglicherweise enttäuscht sein, denn obwohl Bruno auf Mörderjagd ist, ist dies doch eher ein Aufhänger für ein Bild der politischen Situation der Zeit, mit ihren Verschwörungen und  ihrer Spionage. Es vermittelt einen perfekten Eindruck der Maria Stuart – Elizabeth I Problematik mit allem was da so dranhängt.

Ein großartiges Buch mit einigen Schwächen die man leicht vergeben kann aufgrund der Fülle an Informationen die das Buch enthält.

Die deutsche Übersetzung erschien unter dem Titel: Frevel bei Bastei Lübbe und ist als ebook (€8,99) und Paperback (€9,99) erhältlich.

English Version:

I listened to Heresy, the first Giordano Bruno book, recently, and I loved it. It made me curious enough to buy the sequel, too, not least because Laurence Kennedy is such a great narrator.

I enjoyed this book on the whole, but it had some lengths, so I was easily distracted at times. In fact, I stopped to listen to a whole different book before returning to this one.
The whole story is slow-paced and only picks up some speed toward the very end.
It is a still a very good book, especially if you’re interested in history. I was curious, so I did some research, and to my surprise, I found that not only the main English characters are factual (something I had been aware of before), but that even Giordano Bruno is based on a factual character, and that his ideas portrayed in the book were indeed the ideas he was prosecuted for by the Roman church. Same goes for John Dee and Kelley. I’m quite in awe of the amount of meticulous research that has gone into the Giordano Bruno series.
All history buffs will love this book, all those hoping for a great mystery might be disappointed, because although Bruno hunts for a murderer, this is a mere hook for a portray of the political situation at the time, with all its conspiracies and spying. It gives a perfect idea of the Mary Stuart-Elizabeth I problematic with all that’s entangled in it.

A really great book with some weaknesses, but they are easily forgiven due to the amount of information the book contains.

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Review: Sabaa Tahir – An Ember in the Ashes (bilingual)

Sabaa Tahir: An Ember in the Ashes; audio, Listening Library/audible, 15:22h, € 40,95
Sabaa Tahir: An Ember in the Ashes; audio, Listening Library/audible, 15:22h, € 40,95

 

This is a gripping tale of an oppressed people and their fight to overthrow their usurpers.
We have a two perspective narration, and there are two narrators for this audio book. Both Fiona Hardingham and Steve West are doing a great job!

The topic reminded me of another favourite of mine, namely the Red Rising series. I thought it was a funny coincidence that both series have a Roman theme going: names, legionaries, etc.
Then again, the old Romans were a martial people who conquered lots of the European peoples of their time, so the theme probably suggests itself.

It took me only 1.5 days to listen to the whole story, I didn’t manage to put it down (i.e. switch it off).
I’ve bought and downloaded the sequel now.
As usual, I subtracted a star because the story isn’t really finished. OK, so there is no big cliffhanger, but there are lots of loose ends, and as a stand-alone, this book would have been unsatisfying.
Still, it’s a great story that drew me right in and at the ending spat me out wanting more.

 

Deutsch: (für originalsprachiges Hörbuch)

 

Dies ist eine ergreifende Geschichte über ein unterdrücktes Volk und ihren Kampf, um die Unterdrücker abzuschütteln.
Es gibt zwei Erzählperspektiven: die von Laia, der Sklavin, und die von Elias, der Maske. Die Sprecher Fiona Hardingham and Steve West machen ihre Sache großartig!

Das Thema erinnerte mich an eine andere Serie, die ich großartig finde, und zwar an ‚Red Rising‘.
Lustigerweise herrschen auch dort römische Namen und Begriffe vor — aber die alten Römer waren ja auch ein kriegerisches Volk das einen Großteil Europas erobert hatte, da ist das vermutlich naheliegend.

Ich habe keine zwei Tage für dieses Buch gebraucht, und die Fortsetzung wartet schon auf mich.

Ich ziehe einen Stern ab, denn obwohl es eine Art Abschluss gibt und nicht mit einem miesen Cliffhanger endet, gibt es diverse unabgeschlossenen Dinge, und als Einzelband wäre es unbefriedigend.
Trotzdem ist es ein großartiges Buch das mich direkt reingezogen hat, und am Ende wurde ich ausgespuckt mit dem Wunsch nach mehr.

Review: Wilkie Collins – The Evil Genius

Wilkie Collins: The Evil Genius, ebook, 296 pages, Project Gutenberg (public domain)
Wilkie Collins: The Evil Genius, ebook, 296 pages, Project Gutenberg (public domain)

 

I’m a bit of a Wilkie Collins fan, and since there are a number of his novels that I don’t know yet, I decided to revisit his works.

This work is one of his weaker novels, but not quite as weak as ‚Poor Miss Finch‘, which is by far the weakest of his novels that I’ve read.

The characters are plastic, and they develop, but I think I prefer his mysteries to his romances.
I’m not quite sure what to make of the moral views, either. They’re somehow twisted, but then I guess they’re indeed mirroring the general sentiments of the time, and as such, you can understand why the characters act as they do. The oddest thing is, that in Catholic circles, nothing has changed until today. Fascinating.

Since I have to rate it, and semi stars aren’t possible, let me just say that I’d award this novel 3.5 stars.

Review: Mike Shelton – The Dragon Orb (The Alaris Chronicles Book 1)

Mike Shelton:The Dragon Orb (The Alaris Chronicles Book 1); Kindle edition, 260p., 0,99€ (preorder)
Mike Shelton:The Dragon Orb (The Alaris Chronicles Book 1); Kindle edition, 260p., 0,99€ (preorder)

Like in the Cremolino Prophecy trilogy, Mike Shelton manages to sweep us into a world full of imagination, adventure, and magic.
There is a conspiracy thriving to push the kingdom into turmoil, and this is closely linked to a barrier which has separated the Elvyn land and the kingdom for 150 years, but which is now coming down.
What will be the consequences?

We have various characters: the good ones, the evil ones, and those on who the verdict is still out.

The chief characters are young wizards, supported by other young people. They need to do something to save their country from civil war. Whose side will they take? Can they be influenced in one way or the other, or are they at liberty to choose their loyalties themselves?

I really enjoyed this novel, it has everything you can wish for, but there is one thing that made me
subtract a star: this story would be very unsatisfying as a stand-alone, and although it doesn’t end in a complete cliffhanger, it is clear that it needs more books to fully explain the goings-on.
I hope we won’t have to wait for too long for the sequels, and I hope there’ll be an audio version at some point, too.

This was an Advance Reader Copy, provided to me by the author. Many thanks.

Review: Brandon Sanderson – Steelheart (Reckoners #1)

Brandon Sanderson: Steelheart (Reckoners #1); Brilliance Corpaudio, 12:15h, € 15,99

If you’re familiar with Brandon Sanderson’s fantasy novels, be prepared that this is different.

We’re in a new Chicago (Newcago) sometime in the future, and something has happened that caused Calamity, which in turn bestowed super powers on some humans – but not super humanity, alas.

Chicago becomes a permanently dark place of tyranny, where the ‚epics‘ rule. It’s a dangerous place to be. A group of rebel fighters take it upon them to fight the epics.

Sanderson develops a very somber scenario, and we have to ask ourselves where the fight for freedom ends and terrorism starts (it is a question the rebels themselves can’t give an answer to).

Of course there is hope.

The characters are very well worked out, the book doesn’t lack humour, and the plot is well thought out. It’s fast-paced and one of the ‚unputdownables‘ from this author’s pen.

It’s not a fantasy story, and I wouldn’t say it’s scifi, either, but some sort of Dystopia.

I look forward to listening to the sequels. McLeod Andrews’s narration was fantastic and makes a nice change from Michael Kramer, who narrates most of Branderson’s other books.

Review: Michael J Sullivan – Age of Myth

Michael J. Sullivan: Age of Myth, Recorded Books/audible, 16:56h, € 23,58
Michael J. Sullivan: Age of Myth, Recorded Books/audible edition, 16:56h, € 23,58

 

This book certainly is another burner from Michael J Sullivan. Once I had started listening, I was unable to stop. I was drawn in right from the start, and I can’t wait to listen to the sequels — but I’ll have to be patient for another four months before I can continue with volume 2.

If you’ve read the Riyria Revelations, you’ll recognize a few names, but it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read anything by the author before (although you really should).

Once again, this isn’t just a great story about magic and lore. There’s racism, superstition, prejudices and more the protagonists have to contend with.

Again, we have strong female and male characters alike, a fantastic plot, and some humour (although I think there was more of that in the Riyria Revelations).
I was very happy that Tim Gerard Reynolds is the narrator again, because he does such a fantastic job.
Do yourselves a favour and read or listen to this book, you won’t regret it.

Review: S.J. Parris – Heresy (Audiobook)

S.J. Parris: Heresy; Narrator: Laurence Kennedy; Whole Story Audiobooks; 14:52h; 19,20€ (audible)
S.J. Parris: Heresy; Narrator: Laurence Kennedy; Whole Story Audiobooks; 14:52h; 19,20€ (audible)

This is an amazing book. It’s great mystery, but it is more than that, as it shows us some of the reasons why Catholics and Protestants still don’t see eye to eye in some countries. I could hardly put it down, or better, switch it off.

It has always puzzled me, that people, who have themselves been prosecuted, tortured and killed for their beliefs then go on and do the exact same thing to their fellow humans once they get the chance.
Listening to this book, I very nearly felt sorry for the Catholics, but then the Catholics themselves weren’t any better than the Protestants, and at times, I think they deserved what they got.

The book plays during the reign of queen Victoria after she had chased Mary away — the time is 1583.
Superstitions and Prejudices abound, as well as conspiracy theories.
The historical facts and tidbits of interest are strewn in so inconspicuously that you’ll only notice them as facts if you have some knowledge about the time. Don’t worry if you haven’t, you’ll learn a lot without noticing it.

I really loved the narration, Laurence Kennedy did an amazing job, and I’ll certainly check out other works by both the author (there are sequels) and the narrator.