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Aoife

Witty Little Knitter

I read fantasy, crime, true crime, lgbt-romance and books written by my favourite comedians. List not necessarily complete.
Sometimes I write for Bibliodaze

Currently reading

Summerlong
Peter S. Beagle
Progress: 23 %
Stephen and Matilda
Jim Bradbury
Progress: 52/262 pages
Krieg und Frieden
Michael Grusemann, Leo Tolstoy
Progress: 579/1024 pages

Review: Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane

Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane: A True Story of Victorian Law and Disorder: The First Unsolved Murder of the Victorian Age - Paul Thomas Murphy

On April 26th, 1871, a police constable walking one of London’s remotest beats stumbled upon a brutalized young woman kneeling on a muddy road—gashes were cloven into her skull; her left cheek was slashed open and smashed-in; her right eye was destroyed; and above it a chunk of the temporal bone had been bashed out. The policeman gaped in horror as the woman held out her hand before collapsing into the mud, muttering “let me die” and slipping into a coma. Five days later, she died, her identity still unknown.

 

Within hours of her discovery on Kidbrooke Lane scores of the officers of Greenwich Division were involved in the investigation, and Scotland Yard had sent one of its top detectives, John Mulvany, to lead it. After five days of gathering evidence, the police discovered the girl’s identity: Jane Maria Clouson, a maid in the house of the renowned Pook family . . . and she was two months’ pregnant with Edmund Pook’s child when she died.


Murphy carefully reviews the evidence in the light of 21st century forensic science in order to identify Jane’s killer as Edmund Walter Pook. Using a surprisingly abundant collection of primary sources, Murphy aims to recreate the drama of the case as it unfolded, with its many twists and turns, from the discovery of the body to the final crack of the gavel—and beyond.

 

 

 

The blurb of this book is misleading. I had expected a straight true-crime story but the book goes beyond that. That’s because the murder wasn’t ‘just’ a murder. The author has to go beyond that and also delve into Victorian society and explain why it was such an issue that a middle-class man was put on trial for murdering a working class girl (that used to be his family’s servant) but not convicted. Without more context, some of the events following Jane’s death are incomprehensible to the modern reader.

 

However, the author overdoes the ‘going beyond the case’ sometimes. There are quite extensive details of two other trials that made headlines back then but the only connection to Jane’s murder trial is that they had some of the same personnel. A few sentences about that would have been enough. Instead, we get almost a chapter that just deals with these cases and none of it adds anything to the story of Jane’s murder. And it doesn’t remain the only aside where I couldn’t see the point of (though the others aren’t quite as long).

Well, and for the “Murphy carefully reviews the evidence in the light of 21st-century forensic science in order to identify Jane’s killer”-part. Well…the forensic evidence consists of blood-stained clothes that we don’t have anymore so the author has to rely on descriptions that might or might not be accurate. Granted, together with some eyewitness testimony that wasn’t accepted as evidence in the trial he makes a good case. I’ve had authors try to convince me that a certain person is Jack the Ripper on much less but the blurb makes it sound as if the author had identified the killer beyond reasonable doubt and that is certainly not the case. (To be fair: that is pretty much impossible in such an old murder).

 

Overall the book was interesting, and I don’t even mind the ‘wrong packaging’ because some social context is necessary for understanding the case. But not as much as the author gives.

 

ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

Reading progress update: I've read 23%.

Summerlong - Peter S. Beagle

I always envied the Catholics - at least they have saints to pray to, they have the Virgin. Forget monotheism, humans are too much for one measly god.

 

Now I have to think of the class this week where we somehow ended up with the topic saints and you could very much tell the non-Catholics from the Catholics because one part could easily name several saint + their feast-days while the other just stared at us with that 'WTF is wrong with you people'-look

 

In unrelated news this book is awesome

DNF: The Bachelor's Guide to Murder

The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder (Herringford and Watts Mysteries) - Rachel McMillan

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city's underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto's premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever--if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

 

 

So the two main characters are friends with a policeman. He's nice enough to let them see the crime-scenes so that they can investigate, even though they have no business being there. A superior finds out about this and he gets demoted. The MC's reaction to learning that 'Oh now that's no use to us.'

Isn't it hilarious and not to mention dark and edgy how she cares about nobody but herself and has no bad conscience about the fact that a friend almost lost his job because of her?

 

 

Fuck you book. I am so done with these characters, I won't even bother to continue reading.

BookLikes hints for finding books in the BL database...

Amidst all the dissatisfaction with BookLikes recent lack of communication with its members, I've heard people mention they are still having problems finding books in the database when they search, so here are two things people might find useful:

 

Thing 1:  If you have access to the book's ISBN (or ASIN), use that in the search box.  That will find your book.  If it's not in the database (say it's a brand-spanking new release), BookLikes will actually go out and fetch the record from whatever data feed is handy (I assume it's Amazon's).

 

Edit:  Chatting with Tennat below, I recall a few ebooks that didn't come up when I searched by ISBN, so let me revise my over-confidence above and say searching by ISBN will get you your book... 8 out of 10 times?  Hopefully that's closer to accurate.  I add a lot of editions as a librarian here, and I've only had to add manually a couple of times.

 

Thing 2:  You can use URLs from publishers' and book sites in the BL's search box.  I discovered this by accident when I wanted to pull an ISBN out of the URL; I pasted the whole URL into the search box, but before I could edit it down to just the ISBN, BL had already found the book.  I've since done this with URLs from several sites and they've all worked to find the book.

 

Searching by title should be getting easier, but if different editions haven't been combined properly, you may not find what you're looking for: the BL database only indexes the main edition of any book.  If you're struggling to get a book to show up and you don't have access to an ISBN (or ASIN), start a thread about it in the Official BookLikes group, or let a librarian know and it'll get fixed.

 

Reblogged from Murder by Death

Review: The Fiend Queen

The Fiend Queen - Barbara Ann Wright

Within the walls of her palace, Princess Katya’s best friend lies at her feet, close to death. Her pyradisté is overwhelmed by some mysterious power, and her former lady-in-waiting has stabbed her in the back. Wounded and nearly alone, Katya must find a way to sabotage the magic of her Fiendish uncle Roland, or those who fight for the capitol will be overwhelmed by hypnotized guards and Fiend-filled corpses.

Starbride’s pain is nearly overwhelming. The agony inside her only lessens when she satisfies a strange new desire to hurt those around her. She may hold the key to banishing Fiendish power from Farraday, but only by using it herself. Together, Katya and Starbride must make a final desperate push to take back the kingdom, but even if they survive, can the strength of their love keep them from madness? After all, fighting evil with evil has its consequences.

 

 

This book gets the third star mainly because I still like the series as a whole (and the characters have grown on me) and because I really hate the main trope that is used here but don't think that it's a bad trope generally. There are probably people who enjoy reading about it. But I don't. Really. Not at all.

I'm talking about corrupted by power/demonic possession. Yeah, that thing that is neither really and both a bit. I'm all over corrupted by power, especially, when, like in this book it's connected with questions like How evil do you have to become to fight evil? How far can you go before you just fuck up things differently than the previous bad guy? 

I'm less fond of possession but can still cope with it but the combination of both always feels like a cop-out to me. You see: it wasn't really her doing the bad things! The demon made her do it. Sort of. Mostly.

Additionally, the POV chapters of a corrupted-possessed person are just very tedious reading. In the middle, there are several chapters that are mostly the same: her friends try to reach her, she begins to have doubts, the demon interferes and plays on her insecurities, she believes him, back to square one. (The playing on the insecurities-bit was something I actually quite enjoyed since it gave her better reasons for listening to the demon than 'wants power and revenge') After a few times that got very boring.

 

The end managed to tie up some ends very neatly and leave others too open for the final book in a series. I don't need to know everything about all the characters at the end but I'd like to have an idea of where they're going.

Review: Margeau Chapeau

Margeau Chapeau: A New Perspective on Classic Knit Hats (Dover Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace) - Margeau Soboti

Let Margeau show you how to knit the hat of your dreams, from a stylish tweed cap to a playful beanie or a classic beret. Fifteen patterns, all well within the capacity of novice knitters, include earflap caps, a turban headband, watch caps, and other items. The designs offer a variety of attractive silhouettes and shapes, from fitted, traditional items to slouchy, trendy hats. Suggested yarns range from affordable to luxury, all chosen for their softness and sophisticated color palette.

 

 

Well. Undoubtedly this is a book with patterns for hats. And yes, they are all "in the capacity of novice knitters" because stockinette stitch and ribbing is something even absolute beginners can do and the majority of patterns are just that. There are a few with basic cabling and some colourwork that might be a bit more challenging (depending on your stance on that...) but a lot of it is really just the most basic stitch patterns. The variation comes from things like yarn-weight and how exactly the stitches are combined.

I would guess that you can find very similar patterns to those in the book only for free. Of course that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some people do prefer to pay for the comfort of having all their patterns in one place (and yes, that includes me) but this is some really basic stuff.

Yes, some people might get something out of this book but I don't. Yes, it does say it's a book for 'novice knitters' but I'd still expected a bit more variety.

 

ARC received from NetGalley

Review: A Kingdom Lost

A Kingdom Lost - Barbara Ann Wright

Princess Katya Nar Umbriel has little left to lose. Her uncle Roland took her home, scattered her family, and forced her to abandon Starbride, her dearest love. Slim hopes and righteous anger carry Katya into Starbride's homeland to raise an army and take back all that was stolen from her.

Starbride never dreamed she’d lead a pack of foreign rebels against a Fiendish usurper. She holds the capital city out of love, denying any rumor of Katya’s death. As the two strive toward each other, Roland dogs their every step, loosing Fiend-filled corpses on Katya’s army and hypnotizing the capital’s citizens into hunting Starbride down. If they ever meet again, it’ll be over his dead body.

 

When it comes to the things I enjoyed in this book I can just repeat what I already said about the first two in the series: I love the characters, I love the dynamics between Katya and Starbride, and the dynamics between them and the side-characters in general. Also taking about character dynamics and relationships: I love how there are characters that are good guys but that don't (always) get along that well with the main characters. They're not arrogant jerks who have to be endured because they are very good at what they do. They just have very different ideas from the others and so they're sometimes difficult to be around. Though in the case of Redtrue and the other adsnazi I quickly got tired and exhausted of their views. Towards the end, I found it easier to see their point of view but I still would have wished for less stubbornness on their part. I'm not saying I expected any of them to agree completely with Katya but someone showing some doubts would have been nice. Instead, everybody held to their opinion without moving an inch.


Another thing I enjoyed: while the book can't be considered a 'clean read' it's not because of any extremely explicit sex scenes but because it's a society that's not ashamed of sex and talks openly about it (and loves dirty jokes so much, something they share with me). I'm not a big fan of explicit sex scenes. Even if I love the author's writing style there's a high chance I'll just skim over the sex scenes. But a good dirty joke? Give it to me! Lots of them? Even better!

 

Like in the second book, the plot took a lot of surprising turns and I went 'WHAT?' more than once. And while I found the 'mirroring' of storylines a bit odd (Katya and Starbride were apart and dealing with very different things but yet seemed to have success and misfortune always happening at the same time) I didn't have the problem with it being a bit too fast-paced, as with the last book.

 

So: perfect book, five stars? Alas, no. And the ending is to blame for that. I don't mind cliffhanger endings but there should at least be a momentary conclusion with the big questions still left open. There was no conclusion of anything. It just stopped. Literally mid-battle. There wasn't even a solution to anything in sight and that is rather frustrating.

(And now I have to read the next book soon...)

 

ARC received from NetGalley

Free Historical Romances

Nine of them in fact! I can vouch for the amazingness of Sweet Disorder. I don't know the others but surely there is something for every taste ;)

Review: Die Bartholomäusnacht

Die Bartholomäusnacht - Alexandre Dumas

Für dieses Buch habe ich sehr lange gebraucht aber das lag nicht unbedingt daran, dass es so langweilig ist. Ich hatte auch eine längere Phase in der ich fast gar nichts gelesen habe bzw nur Fanfic aber das ist eine andere Geschichte. Ein bisschen den Spaß am Buch verleidet hat auch die Übersetzung. Sie scheint wohl etwas älter zu sein (aus den 70ern wenn mich mein Google-Fu nicht täuscht) und die Übersetzerin verwendet ab und an Begriffe, die damals wohl hip und modern waren, es heute aber nicht mehr sind. Das führt zu einer Reihe von Dingen die es schaffen gleichzeitig zu modern für die Zeit in der das Buch spielt zu sein und zu altmodisch für den modernen Leser. Das stört den Lesefluss doch sehr.

Wenn man aber das ignorieren kann...oder einfach eine andere Übersetzung auftreiben kann bleibt doch ein interessantes Buch. Wer Dumas aber nur von den Drei Musketieren kennt und hier ähnliches erwartet wird entäuscht sein. Die Bartholomäusnacht ist kein Mantel und Degen-Abenteuer. Die (auch nur in der deutschen Übersetzung) titelgebende Nacht wird in den ersten paar Kapiteln abgehandelt und ist auch eher ein Schlachtfest als irgendwie vergleichbar mit den Duellen die die Musketiere kämpfen.

Im Rest des Buches wird dann intrigiert. Und zwar heftig. Wem das gefällt der wird seine wahre Freude am Buch haben. Da gibt es ständig wechselnde Allianzen, es wird doppelt und dreifach hintergangen...alles was das Herz begehrt. Wer mehr Action möchte sollte aber ein anderes Buch suchen.

Reading progress update: I've read 353 out of 721 pages.

Die Bartholomäusnacht - Alexandre Dumas

Guy has date with his mistress.

On the way to the date he sees somebody who looks like his best friend, follows him, and when he discovers that it's not his best friend challenges him to a duel for the insolence of looking like his best friend.

Therefore, he is late to his date, explains to his mistress why and also gushes a lot about his best friend. When mistress gets annoyed about this he explains 'Well I love you more than any woman but I love him more than any human'

 

Review: Winter Kill

Winter Kill - Josh Lanyon

Clever and ambitious, Special Agent Adam Darling (yeah, he's heard all the jokes before) was on the fast track to promotion and success until his mishandling of a high profile operation left one person dead and Adam "On the Beach." Now he's got a new partner, a new case, and a new chance to resurrect his career, hunting a legendary serial killer known as The Crow in a remote mountain resort in Oregon.

Deputy Sheriff Robert Haskell may seem laid-back, but he's a tough and efficient cop -- and he's none too thrilled to see feebs on his turf -- even when one of the agents is smart, handsome, and probably gay. But a butchered body in a Native American museum is out of his small town department's league. For that matter, icy, uptight Adam Darling is out of Rob's league, but that doesn't mean Rob won't take his best shot.

 

 

This was...neat. Perhaps a bit too neat and I keep coming across more and more Lanyon-books where I think "This story would have needed more pages."

The mystery was very good, at least for the first half. It had enough twists and turns to keep me reading till after midnight because "OH I did not see that coming and now I need to know what happens next." Towards the end, it lost a bit of steam and things wrapped up a bit too neat and too quickly. Suddenly everything just happened and the case was solved.

The romance was...lacking. I did enjoy that it had alternating POVs instead of just one like in most of her books and also that it was a difference from the writer + soldier/cop formula Lanyon uses a lot. But it wrapped up...well too neatly. I would have had fewer problems with it, if it had been a definite start of a series with a Happy for now ending and in fact, expected it right until the epilog, in which all problems are solved by the power of tru luv. As I said: too neat.

Review: Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe!: Everything You Need to Know About the History (and More) of a Region that Shaped Our World and Still Does - Tomek E. Jankowski

Eastern Europe is big. (Especially since the author points out that defining what exactly Eastern Europe is, is rather complicated and that he decided to use the term in the widest possible sense), The book covers the time from roughly 500 AD to the fall of the Soviet Union. This is also a lot of time. The book has 500 pages, which might seem a lot at first but often only leaves 2 or 3 pages (sometimes not even that) to describe what happened in a certain region in a certain time. There is just an awful lot of facts crammed into very little space. As a result, not a lot of the things I read about really stayed with me. If I already knew a bit about a certain topic the short chapters often helped me to remember it better (and perhaps learn and remember a bit more) but if something was completely new to me it usually got lost between everything. I think it would have helped if the book had focussed on a shorter time-frame and then spent a bit more time on the single chapters.

 

Well and then there're the Useless Trivia sections. Throughout the book, there are short asides titled - duh - Useless Trivia - and a snappy, amusing heading like 'Reach out and touch someone...else...' or 'Things to name a Heavy Metal Band after'.

According to the author, these are 'utterly useless historical, cultural, or other completely senseless facts about Eastern Europe'. He also says 'these little factoids can be fun'. He doesn't directly say that one can simply skip these bits but it's clear that the important bits are outside the 'Useless Trivia' sections.

Now a lot of these bits are exactly that. For example, you learn why St. Nicholas day is celebrated on December 6th (because the historical Nicholas destroyed lots of temples dedicated to Diana whose sacred day was December 6th). Other bits are just very useless and not even in an amusing way. Like the Cold War has several UT-bits titled 'Which side are you on?' with short biographies of people who first supported the regime very strongly but later criticized it openly. I think that might have been more useful to talk about that topic in more general terms instead of picking out single cases. Other bits are just about famous people from the US with Eastern European roots which is possibly a YMMV-thing (and well the book is aimed at a US-audience) but I often really didn't see the point of including these things.

Well, and then there are parts where I think Useless? Fun? WHAT?

Among the events that got the 'summed up under a snappy and amusing headline' treatment are:

- the siege of Leningrad

- the assassination of Heydrich and the subsequent Nazi massacres of the Czech

- stories of people who were shot while trying to cross the Berlin Wall

Now I do have some problems with calling these 'fun little factoids'. OK, I have a lot of problems with that. (Also, the exact circumstances of the fall of the Berlin Wall are also in a 'Useless Trivia' section because...because?)

 

There are also a lot of graphics in this book. One of them is a language family tree in such an abysmal quality that it's completely unreadable. It looks like a thumbnail that has been blown up to the size of a page...now it's only one but finding this in a published book is annoying. There are also a lot of maps, which are are great (and so helpful for geography-illiterates like me) and timelines, which are less great. Every chapter has two timelines at the beginning: one with the events happening in Eastern Europe and the other with world events. I would have gotten more out of this if that had simply been done with a table with two columns because then I could have seen much easier which two things had happened at roughly the same time.

 

Overall the author has a style that is easy to read and I'll definitely keep this book and will also look into it again (and in the 20-page long bibliography to find other books) but it could be a lot better than it is.

Review: Dust and Shadow

Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson - Lyndsay Faye

I have a complicated relationship with Jack the Ripper fiction. I really want to like it but I rarely do. In fact, the only one I really enjoyed was Melanie Clegg's From Whitechapel and you could argue that it is more a novel that uses the case as background than an actual Ripper-novel.

My track-record with Holmes meets the Ripper fiction is even worse. In the best case, I found them totally forgettable but mostly they were so horrid that I wanted to rip them into little pieces.

Dust and Shadow is different. I love it. It's a great Holmes-pastiche. Faye catches the voice of Watson perfectly. I also didn't feel that her Watson was too stupid or her Holmes too cold, both are things that often ruin Holmes pastiches for me.

It's also a great fictional account of the Ripper killings. With the focus on fictional. I don't mean that Faye didn't do her research (she definitely did), but in reality, there was no Sherlock Holmes involved in the investigation. The fact that here he was does change some minor things because the Ripper reacts to Holmes' involvement. I think only absolute purists can object to the way this was handled. I found it very well done (and I have often grumbled over stuff like this ^^).

The whole subject is also treated with the respect it deserves. Of course, this is the true story of the brutal killings of several women and you can certainly argue that it is always ghoulish to read/watch/listen/play anything inspired by something like that. I know that there are people who wouldn't do that under any circumstances and I am aware that my enjoyment of these stories might be a bit questionable...

But there are different ways to treat this case (I actually read a story once in which the author thanked Jack the Ripper in the foreword because he inspired so many authors...really). This book never forgets that the victims were people and the characters act accordingly.

 

Then there is of course the question of the ending. It won't be a spoiler when I tell you that this book doesn't stray so far from the historical facts that the Ripper is caught and everybody is happy. I've seen various ways the question 'Why didn't they say anything when they knew who it was' (if in fact they found out...) was handled and I have to say that I liked this one best so far. It made sense and was not out of character for Holmes.

 

Review: The Shadow Soul

The Shadow Soul - Kaitlyn Davis

 Review of Book 0.5 in the series is here

 

The worldbuilding in this was just very confusing. Jinji and her people are clearly inspired by Native Americans. Including that one day the white men – Rhen’s ancestors – came, took their land and suppressed them. But…they suppressed them…only sometimes a bit…or something. The only thing Jinji talks about is that they are not allowed to speak their language anymore. To make sure of that a guy visits them once a year and checks on them…And Jinji still speaks the language (though it is not clear if she is fluent or if she just knows some words that can’t be translated in the language of the ‘Newworlders’).
I just got the impression that the author had realized how problematic Pocahontas is but enjoyed it nevertheless and wanted to rewrite it with less evil oppressors but still wanted to keep the oppression at least a bit. Just like in the prequel novella I read, it seems that there didn’t go that much thought in the worldbuilding.

I also couldn’t make out how many ‘Oldworlders’ there roughly are. We don’t get any number for Jinji’s tribe but I had the impression they were roughly 100, rather less than that. Are there any other natives in this world? Perhaps but probably not. At least, I think so. Jinji repeatedly says that she is the only one left after her tribe was slaughtered in the beginning of the book. She could mean that she is the last of her tribe (the Arapapajo) but other tribes are never mentioned. Were there ever others? Were there ever more Arapapajo? Who knows? 

 

 

 

And neither does the author apparently.

 

Sometimes the book does things well. For example, when Jinji thinks about how she will continue disguising herself as a boy as long as she is in the city because being a Native among white people sucks but being a Native girl would suck even more. But at the same time the bad guys in the books are a) Ye Olde Fantasy equivalent of Arabs and b) as cliché-evil as you can get.

Seriously, I was surprised that their king wasn’t introduced stroking a black cat. He’s evil because he’s evil and enjoys laughing diabolically.

 

The rest of the book is also not more than average. The plot just…happens. I rarely had time to worry too much about the characters because they are never in danger for very long. Chapters frequently ended in cliff-hangers, which were then resolved in the course of the next chapter. Often with the help of plot-convenient magic but nobody really wanted to talk about that magic because reasons.

So, yes I liked this more than the prequel novella but it still wasn’t that good.

Review: Germania

Germania: Roman - Harald Gilbers

In der zerbombten Reichshauptstadt macht ein Serienmörder Jagd auf Frauen und legt die verstümmelten Leichen vor Kriegerdenkmälern ab. Alle Opfer hatten eine Verbindung zur NSDAP. Doch laut einem Bekennerschreiben ist der Täter kein Regimegegner, sondern ein linientreuer Nazi. Der jüdische Kommissar Richard Oppenheimer, einst erfolgreichster Ermittler der Kripo Berlin, wird von der Gestapo reaktiviert. Für Oppenheimer geht es nicht nur um das Überleben anderer, sondern nicht zuletzt um sein eigenes. Womöglich erst recht dann, wenn er den Fall lösen sollte. Fieberhaft sucht er einen Ausweg aus diesem gefährlichen Spiel.

 

 

NB: Diese Rezension bezieht sich auf das gekürzte Hörbuch

 

1) Das Buch an sich:

 

Es gibt eine Stelle an der Oppenheimer von einer Freundin gefragt wird ob er den letzten Montag gut überstanden hat. Zuerst weiß er gar nicht wovon sie spricht, dann fällt ihm ein, dass es an dem Tag ja einen Bombenangriffs in der Nähe seiner Wohnung gegeben hat.
So eine Szene zeigt ja sehr viel. Aus heutiger Sicht ist es schwer vorzustellen, dass man so etwas einfach vergisst und dass Oppenheimer es doch tut zeigt so einiges über die damaligen Zustände/Oppenheimers Zustand.

Eigentlich ist so eine Szene prima. Eigentlich. Leider traut der Autor seinen Lesern wohl nur einen IQ knapp über Zimmertemperatur zu, denn am Ende der Szene sinniert Oppenheimer dann noch schnell darüber, dass es wirklich seltsam ist, dass er so etwas einschneidendes wie einen Bombenangriff nur wenige Tage später wieder vergessen hat und wie das andere, die das nicht selbst erleben, kaum verstehen können.

Das ist nicht die einzige Szene in der der Autor erst beweist, dass er Gefühle u.ä. eigentlich ganz gut zeigen kann aber gleich noch eine Erklärung von dem was er gerade gezeigt hat nachschiebt. Das ist noch frustrierender als ein Autor, der nur erklärt, denn er kanns ja. Eigentlich.

 

Dazu kommen noch eine unglaubliche Menge an Infodumps. Und zwar die der schlimmsten Sorte, die wirken als wären sie direkt aus einem Geschichtsbuch kopiert. Über die Reichspogromnacht, die Presse im 3. Reich, welche Autoren verboten waren, die genaue Funktionsweiße und Aufgabenbereiche von SS, Gestapo und SD… Zum einen kann man sich fragen ob man nicht zumindest bei einigen dieser Dinge erwarten kann, dass der Leser zumindest die Grundlagen davon schon weiß. Zum anderen, selbst wenn jemand dieses Buch liest für den all das neu ist: über die Hälfte der Dinge sind für die Handlung sowieso  nicht relevant sind. Um dem Plot folgen zu können muss ich nicht wissen, dass Tucholsky und Kästner verboten waren.
Das einzige was nicht mit einer halbseitigen Erklärung versehen ist, ist die ständige Pervitin-Einnahme der Charaktere. Aus dem Kontext konnte man zwar herauslesen, dass es sich um irgendeine Art von Stimmungsaufheller handeln muss aber es blieb so vage, dass ichs am Ende doch selber gegoogelt habe. (Mit anderen Worten: Der Autor meint seinen Lesern sagen zu müssen, dass Bücher von Karl Marx in der NS-Zeit verbrannt wurden, aber erwartet, dass sie etwas über ein Arzneimittel wissen, das seit 1988 nicht mehr vertrieben wird).

 

2) Der Krimi

 

War…OK. Am Ende vielleicht ein bisschen zu viele glückliche Zufälle aber für mich hielt sich das noch im erträglichen Rahmen. Und schließlich ist Germania kein typischer Krimi, der in einem (mehr oder weniger) demokratischen Land spielt, mit einem Ermittler der klare Befugnisse hat sondern ein Krimi mit einem jüdischen Ermittler in Berlin 1944. Wenn man da trotzdem noch einen typischen Krimi mit Ermitteln, Hinweisen und einem Täter der klar identifiziert (und bestraft) will, dürfte es schwierig sein das ohne den einen oder sehr glücklichen Zufall zu schaffen.

 

3) Hm…ja

 

Und dann ist da natürlich noch die ganze Prämisse. Die mich auch erst sehr skeptisch gemacht hat, weil ich befürchtet habe der Autor würde ‚jüdischer Ermittler in Nazi-Deutschland‘ nur als eine Art Gimmick verwenden. Frei nach dem Motto ‚da können die ganzen Skandinavischen Kommissare noch so traurig schauen, so tragisch wird ihr Leben nie‘ aber die Befürchtung war unbegründet. Trotzdem hätte man es sicher auch besser machen können. Wie die Krimihandlung und das Buch an sich ist es einfach mittelmäßig. Vielleicht ein bisschen besser, da z.B. Begegnungen zwischen Oppenheimer und alten Bekannten, die ihm sagen, dass sie ja nichts gegen ihn persönlich haben aber die Juden an sich… tatsächlich so stehen gelassen werden und ohne anschließend Erklärung was er von solchen Kommentaren hält auskommt.


Aber das geht dann stellenweise wieder zu sehr in die andere Richtung. Nach knapp der Hälfte des Buches fängt Oppenheimer nämlich an ein doppeltes Spiel zu spielen und Informationen an jemanden weiterzugeben, von dem er hofft, dass er ihn aus Deutschland rausschmuggeln kann und…das tut er einfach. Ohne das irgendwie darauf eingegangen wird, was passiert wenn das rauskommt. Zwar erwarte ich nicht, dass er ständig darüber nachdenkt aber dass er es gar nicht tut, ist auch schwer zu glauben.

 

Alles in allem: durchschnittlicher Durchschnitt aus dem man hätte mehr machen können. Band zwei höre ich vielleicht irgendwann mal, aber eigentlich hab ich genug andere Hörbücher.

Free e-book on Queer Sci-Fi

Blue on Black - Carole Cummings The Queen's Librarian - Carole Cummings

We’re doing something new in 2016 – sign up for our mailing list, and get an eBook from a QSF author for free! Our free titles this week are The Queen’s Librarian or Blue on Black, both by Carole Cummings (your ebook will be sent to you after 3/11 – valid for new sign-ups only).

 

Note: I don't know the website but that link was shared by Kaje Harper (a m/m author) on Facebook and she probably wouldn't do it if that was a shady site that is going to spam you with dozens of emails.

 

Source: http://queerscifi.com/join-our-maillist