In the end no match for Brother Cadfael.
Full Review on Bibliodaze
(Hello everybody. I am not dead yet. There was just an unfortunate combination of me being busy with university, me getting a cold and me getting into the Daredevil TV-show and getting so obsessed with it that I binge-read ALL THE Daredevil fanfiction).
This book is really fascinating and brings up so much things I never even thought about. For example that the choice between writing Slavic X language with Cyrillic letters and language Y with Latin ones wasn't necessary a logical-phonetical choice but a political one and that some countries switched alphabets at one point or another (or tried to).
It should have been sort of obvious because I know that e.g. Serbian and Croatian are so closely related that they're mostly mutually intelligible (and we still have a 'Teach yourself Serbo-Croatian' course lying around somewhere) but Croatian uses Latin and Serbian Cyrillic (and so many added extra letters/accents. Both of them).
Yes. That's the kind of stuff Slavic Studies students find fascinating.
Das Buch ist nicht viel mehr als eine Sammlung von Zitaten. Gerade bei etwas obskureren Persönlichkeiten (und dazu gehört Otto sicher) ist es sicher nicht leicht überhaupt ausreichend Material zu finden und was das angeht muss man dem Autor schon applaudieren. Nur: es wird kein Versuch gemacht diese Zitate in einen Kontext zu setzen und irgendwie zu interpretieren.
Gerade was das Verhältnis zwischen Ludwig und Otto angeht gibt es sehr widersprüchliche Zitate und...die stehen da halt und machen aber sonst nicht viel. Sind manche glaubwürdiger als andere? Wer weiß das schon?
Besonders gegen Ende übertreibt der Autor es dann auch mit den Zitaten. Jeden einzelnen Zeitungsartikel über Ottos Tod und Beerdigung komplett abzudrucken (ja auch die in denen jede Straße durch die der Leichenzug fährt genannt wird) hat jetzt nicht wirklich dafür gesorgt, dass ich mehr über Otto weiß. Recht wenig im Buch hat das.
Alles in allem hatte ich das Gefühl eine Uni-Arbeit von jemandem zu lesen der so gar keine Lust aufs schreiben hätte und deswegen immer die kürzeste Verbindung zwischen zwei Zitaten gesucht hat.
The only country that has been added since the last time is France where I, d'Artagnan, and the majority of The Duke of Andelot are set. For fantastical countries Uprooted is set in Polnya (yes. Seriously. Bordering on Rossia. Couldn't Novik have set it in actual Poland so that I could have added another country? *pouts*)
|11th century||18th century||19th century|
|20th century||21st century|
(it was impossible to find a program that makes pretty timelines that can easily be exported as picture...)
I struggle to find words to describe this story that aren't 'cute' or 'sweet'. Not in an exaggerated diabetes-inducing way that involved the main-couple telling each other how much they love the other every five pages, simply in the sense of 'this is a sweet story about good, nice and (mostly) happy people'. The case did require a bit of suspension of disbelief but not too much (especially as it is basically a cozy where I don't require as much adherence to reality as in 'serious' crime-novels') .
The characters and their relations with each other are where the book really shines. You can easily feel how much Jonty, Orlando and Jonty's family care about each other and everybody also seems like a really nice person you'd love to meet.
However, I would very much recommend to read this series in order. Having jumped right in the middle I have now been spoiled for several events that happened in the previous books. Not the solutions to any cases but events happening in the development of the personal relationship between the two. Not major things and no exact details but I'd definitely preferred to have learned about them a different way.
I did think the narration overused the phrase 'his lover' a bit (as in 'Jonty looked at his lover'/'Orlando went over to his lover'). I am a big fan of just calling people by their names or simply using pronouns (and yes, if just two men are in the room and it says 'Jonty looked at him' I am mentally capable of decoding that him refers to Orlando and not Jonty...) If it had been done just occasionally and to stress it for some reason I'd have been fine with it but here it threw me off.
I am also not sure about how much like sea-battles as metaphor for sex but it was at least a fascinating experience.
ARC provided by NetGalley
Recently I had a short discussion with Murder by Death on the annoyingness of the mothers of the amateur-sleuths in so many cozy-mysteries. They lack any respect for their children's privacy, meddle and seem to be stuck on an eternal loop of 'and when will you make babies???'. And by 'they' I do mean just about any mom-character in the cozies I read (and I've read many) so far. They're also never just a bit annoying, usually I want to yell at them after about one paragraph. Or, alternately, tell the child that it's probably better for their mental well-being if they stay away. (However if they ever get around to yelling at the moms it ends with a lot of tears 'BUT I ONLY CARE ABOUT YOU!!1!!! And by the way WHEN WILL YOU MAKE BABIES???' and the kid has to apologize...)
And this isn't just badly written cozies. There are series I love (Carola Dunn's Lady Daisy-mysteries or Lanyon's Adrien English-series) that have mums with the same annoying traits.
For that reasons I'm doubly happy that the Cambridge Fellows series has an awesome and likeable mum...but it also made me wonder:
Where the hell is this 'cozy-mothers have to be terrible' thing coming from?
As said: it really isn't something that happens occasionally. If a mother has screen time in any cozy there's an 98% chance that she is horrible. Why? Is there a secret agreement between cozy writers? Are they all mind-controlled? Often cozies draw a lot of inspiration from the golden-age crime novels but the big names there are Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers and neither Miss Marple nor Hercule Poirot ever have to deal with their mothers. Lord Peter does but his is again pretty laid-back and really can't be the template for those horrible caricatures...
I would never have married a fool, certainly. Which explains, Dr. Coppersmith, the lack of a wedding ring on my finger. Too many men are idiots.
I love the humour in this book. Also: the sleuth's mum isn't an overprotective meddling fury but a lovable woman who enjoys some sleuthing herself.
Long before becoming the flamboyant courtesan known to men as Madame de Maitenon, Thérèse Angelique Bouchard, dreamed of becoming an actress capable of commanding not only the stage but all of Paris. Until she meets an extraordinary aristocratic gentleman who sweeps her into his arms and the danger of his life, while offering her the sort of wealth she never imagined. What starts off as a seductive alliance, ends in her giving him the one thing she, as a mere bourgeoisie, cannot afford to give: her love.
After the murder of his older brothers, Gérard Antoine Tolbert, becomes the last heir to the powerful dukedom of Andelot, leaving him to fight for not only his life, but the allegiance he holds for the crown. During the final rise of the French Revolution that whispers of the violent change about to shake the entire country, Gérard meets an aspiring actress who entices him into wanting more out of not only himself but life. In trying to protect her from their overly passionate alliance and those that want him dead, he must decide what matters most: his life or his heart.
Sadly, as this was an e-book I couldn't do this to the book even though I really, really wanted to for it was absolutely horrible.
I was immediately drawn to it when I heard it took some inspiration from The Scarlet Pimpernel, a book I really liked but The Duke of Andelot doesn't even come close to being that enjoyable.
The Scarlet Pimpernel is a story about a French noblemen who rescues other noblemen from the clutches of the French Revolution. It was also written by a baroness so it is not the most balanced look at a time in which a lot of commoners killed a lot of noblemen. Still, it has some sympathy for the common people and also admits that not all nobles necessarily always acted...noble towards the lower classes. Compared with the portrayal of nobles and commoners in The Duke of Andelot, it reads like The Communist Manifesto.
With very few exceptions the nobles are all good people and charitable. They always help the poor, pet fluffy kittens and the sun is shining out of their arse...
The exceptions are:
The commoners meanwhile just don't understand that all nobles are just the bestest people ever and just keep on killing them in gruesome ways. Stupid people. Never let them have any power, they need better people to keep them from doing something silly.
The exception is of course our heroine. Despite being one of 11 children of a butcher she has a proper education for some really contrived reason and is also really sympathetic towards the poor misunderstood nobles. However poor Thérèse has a problem: nobody appreciates her inner values, nobody sees past her stunning beauty and her large boobs
All men leave her presents like food in the hope that one day she will give them something in return. (Do I have to remind you that we're talking about (pre)revolutionary France here? People had lots of food to spare). Yes only in the hope because Thérèse never would be that kind of woman.
Well until she meets Gérard who can offer a lot more than a few chickens: pearls, diamonds, money in general and a job at the theatre (she wants to be an actress). All that exchange for a bit of sex is quite a good deal so she agrees under the condition that he won't get her pregnant (she wants him to pull out in time). He agrees and remembers that for about 10 minutes...then he's too distracted by her big boobs, unearthly beauty and virginal sex-goddess skills to do that. She is obviously pissed and wants to leave. So he shows his charming side:
"You belong to me now, Thérèse. Me. Because you said yes to me. Do you remember? You said Yes. And in saying yes to me, you are no longer allowed to say no."
Isn't he a romantic?
For some reason that is not Thérèse's reaction. Instead they mope about each other for the rest of the book, more poor nobles get killed by evil commoners, people get tortured for months without any lasting psychological consequences, Thérèse's cycle is so irregular that she can't tell for four months if she's pregnant (also: after hating the idea of herself getting pregnant she's suddenly all about 'BUT WHEN WILL THERE BE BABIES???' when it comes to other women...because breeding is all we're good for) and probably more idiotic things that I have already blocked out again because all you can do after reading this book is consuming massive amounts of brain-bleach.
The tales of friendship and fun continue!
Granny visits an apple convention and is dismayed to see the Flim Flam brothers are up to their old tricks.
Fluttershy gets an unexpected visit from the most aggressive guy around, Iron Will!
Rainbow Dash is overjoyed when Wonderbolt Spitfire invites her to a special training camp.
And, Pinkie Pie meets her match… in the form of delicious, irresistible snacks called PheNOMNOMenons!
This collection is a very mixed bag. I enjoyed Pinkie Pies story most, less because of the story itself (which is cute but nothing overly special) but because of all the visual jokes that were in it. They really had me giggling madly because they were so silly but also so great. Fluttershy's story was fun as well but then Fluttershy is my favourite and I love everything she's in.
On the other hand I don't care that much about Rainbow Dash or Granny Smith so as the supporting characters in both stories were also some I feel mostly indifferent about (the Flim Flam brothers and Spitfire) I really wasn't overwhelmed by those.
Still a fun read overall.
Review-Copy provided by NetGalley
His expression stilted. "You belong to me now, Thérèse. Me. Because you said yes to me. Do you remember? You said Yes. And in saying yes to me, you are no longer allowed to say no."
Die vierzehnjährige Mara möchte eigentlich nur ein normaler Teenager sein. Doch düstere Visionen vom Weltuntergang suchen sie immer wieder heim. Bald schon wird klar, dass das Mädchen wirklich eine "Seherin" ist und Ragnarök, die Götterdämmerung, bevor steht. Zusammen mit Dr. Reinhold Weissinger, einem Universitätsprofessor für germanische Mythologie, macht sie sich daran, die Welt zu retten. Dabei gerät sie immer tiefer in einen mysteriösen Sog von Ereignissen um einen Feuerbringer, die das Abenteuer ihres Lebens versprechen.
Schon lange war ich nicht mehr so gespannt auf einen Film wie auf Mara und der Feuerbringer. Schließlich liebe ich die Bücher heiß und innig weil sie es schaffen so viele Dinge richtig zu machen, die andre Jugend(fantasy)-Romane ab und an ein bisschen vermasseln. Zum Beispiel haben wir statt der Aussage 'alle Erwachsenen sind nutzlos' die Aussage 'Wenn du vor einem riesigem Problem stehst und deine Eltern dabei, aus welchen Gründen auch immer, keine Hilfe sind: versuche einen anderen Erwachsenen zu finden'. Der Hauptcharakter ist ein Teenager, der sich tatsächlich wie ein Teenager verhält, es ist einfach saukomisch und die nerdigen Anspielungen die übers Buch verteilt sind wurden von jemandem geschrieben, der tatsächlich und unzweifellos selber ein Nerd ist und nicht irgendwo mal gelesen hat, dass es in Herr der Ringe um einen Ring geht und dieses Wissen jetzt meint anwenden zu müssen.
Die Erwartungen an den Film waren also dementsprechend hoch.
Aber sie wurden definitiv nicht enttäuscht. Im Gegenteil.
Ich kenne mich, ich habe die Angewohnheit bei Buchverfilmungen jedes 'das war aber nicht so wie im Buch' zu Tode zu analysieren und mich zu fragen warum das jetzt geändert worden ist und ob das wirklich nötig war. Bei den (wirklich wenigen) Änderungen in Mara war die Antwort jedesmal 'Ich verstehe warum und ja es war wirklich notwendig weil das so wirklich nicht auf der Leinwand funktioniert hätte.'
Sehr gut war auch die Idee an manchen Stellen ein Voice-Over mit Maras Gedanken einzufügen. Viel vom Humor der Büchern steckt nämlich in Maras Gedanken und ohne die hätte einfach was gefehlt. Gleichzeitig ist es nicht mit einem ständigen Voice-Over überfrachtet oder man hat das Gefühl, dass einem damit der Film erklärt werden soll. Es trägt einfach zum wunderbaren Humor des Films bei (der im übrigen sowohl bei der Zielgruppe als auch bei den Eltern der Zielgruppe, die selbige evtl. ins Kino begleitet ankommt).
Alles in allem ist Mara und der Feuerbringer ganz großes, deutsches Fantasy-Kino das man sich nicht entgehen lassen sollte.
It's one of those books again:
It is set in France, the main-characters are all French but occasionally they use French phrases mid-dialogue. I assume these are moments where they feel especially French or something.
And it's not stuff like 'Bonjour' which I still would be able to get despite the fact that at school I had English, Latin and Russian but no French. Not that I think it makes sense to have stuff like Bonjour in an English book set in France (I get the convention to leave Madame/Mr/Frau untranslated because it would sound really odd if you did but there is no reason to keep other words for which there is a perfectly valid translation) but at least those are phrases that have no reason to be kept untranslated but that I also understand. No, here we have stuff like 'Ma biche' and 'Merde a la puissance treize' which I had to run through Google Translate to get ('My doe' and 'shit to the power of 13' which at least is a nice curse to remember...and no I did not need Google Translate for 'merde', I know that much French) which is far more work than I am willing to put in a book that has been merde so far anyway.
Our heroine has a terrible life you know. Because she's just that beautiful. And her tits are huge. Which is horrible because all men are care about are her looks. Nobody cares that she also has a proper education.
As one of 11 children of a peasant-family.
Growing up in pre-revolutionary France.
But don't worry. She's not perfect. She has flaws.
She had horrible habits that included using her acting skills to get what she wanted, biting her nails and falling asleep in her corset
See? She's basically a mess. Nobody wants a woman with these major flaws.
Meanwhile our hero has a tragic past. He was severely bullied by his older brothers. Which included tying him up somewhere outside and leaving him there for days...which he apparently survived without starving, developing pneumonia and his parents never wondered where he was.
But now his brothers are dead and he has to avenge them because he loved them just that much.
I am only at the 19% mark and I didn't even get round to mentioning the massive WTF-just-happened-I-am-dying-from-second-hand-embarrassment-sex-scene.
Melanie Clegg is offering all her books for 99 cent/99 p for all of April! I only read From Whitechapel so far (because I have an unhealthy obsession with Victorian serial killers) and enjoyed it so much that I decided to grab all the others (minus Minette which I already own but haven't read yet because my tbr-pile is out of control), so if you like historical novels and Jack the Ripper: grab it. Or The Secret Diary of a Princess if you want to read about Marie Antoinette. Or Blood Sisters/Before The Storm for the French revolution in general. Or Minette if for the English Civil War.
Or get more than one. Or all of them.
Disclaimer: this book is only for very massive The Three Musketeers -geeks. I am not talking about 'I enjoyed the book and [(the movie with Michael York/Charlie Sheen)/Dogtanion and the three Muskehounds was a really nice show]'. I am talking about 'I have read the book and the sequels (possibly more than once), have spent an unreasonable amount of time hunting down and watching obscure movie-adaptation of it (including the one with David Hasselhoff let us not speak of this ever), once bought a bottle of wine just because it was called 'The White Musketeer' and still have the wrapper of that d'Artagnan chocolate-bar'-level geekery.
(Obviously I would never do any of these things. I have a friend who does. Yep. She's also writing this review. Really. I am not a weird person at all. *tries to smile reassuringly*
SEE! Nobody can prove anything. Nobody!)
Anyway...back to the book. It is not particularly...thrilling. About 2/3 of it is "d'Artagnan gets into trouble because he couldn't keep his pants on but gets quickly out of it again because he is just that awesome". No seriously...this guy has more romantic adventures than all the Musketeers in all the various adaptations put together.
And yes, this includes BBC!Aramis
(I should clarify: 2/3 of the edition I was reading: a German translation where the translator pointed out in the afterword that he heavily edited/shortened it and that he considered the sexy adventures much more interesting than the description of battles and of political stuff (which Sandras got mostly wrong anyway apparently))
The rest is mostly about work he does for Cardinal Mazarin (and whining about how much of a penny-pincher he is) and the occasional trouble he got in for reasons other than 'could not keep his pants on' (those are rare...very rare).
There is no actual red line in the book. With the exception of Mazarin there are almost no recurring characters, people appear for a few pages (if they're female d'Artagnan sleeps with them, if they're male they get angry at him for sleeping with their wives) and are never seen or even mentioned again.
For a Musketeer-geek it's still interesting to see where Dumas got his inspiration from. Though if you expect this book to be a less polished version of The Three Musketeers you will also be disappointed. In the first quarter there is some stuff that will be familiar: the very beginning is quite similar to TTM, including the scene with Rochefort (who has a different name here), Athos, Porthos and Aramis are mentioned (though only two or three times), a character that was very likely the inspiration for Constance appears and so does Milady but that's it. Not much swashbuckling adventures, no secret letters that have to be delivered...so without a strong interest for Dumas (or perhaps the time-period this was written) you will probably be bored very quickly. But if you're enough of a nerd this is just the book for you at least my friend says so.