An Ember In The Ashes

Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Released:  April 28th 2015
Pages: 446
Rating: 4/5 ★


Summary

“What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution?

For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.
For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.
When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape.


If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.
But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself.”

from Goodreads.

Opinion

Phuuu, this book was something! It started out as confusing as it ended but I liked it.
Firstly, the way of writing is pretty good, you get a sense of all the brutality and violence surrounding the main characters Laia and the Mask Elias.

It reminded me very strongly of “The Young Elites” just with more violence and a significant part missing: Hope. I searched for it but everything the characters do or survive or live through seems to be … meaningless. There is just more blood, more desperation waiting for them (Okay, except the last ten pages).

This is the reason why I’ll take one star away from my rating – Hope should be worked into the story as an underlining common thread. Yes, clearly, I’ve enjoyed the read (to stay awake until 2am to finish this book is an obvious indication), but I’ve never seen the hope Elias and Laia are definitely having (everyone has hopes, right?) until the very end.

Never mind this disappointing flaw – everything else was superb. The brutality, the violence and the creepy ruler ship of that “Empire” scared the crap out of me (Even though I didn’t fully understand this political system…).
… and I loved that delicate romance going on between those very fascinating characters of Elias, Hel, Laia and that red-haired Resistance-boy (I forgot the name. He wasn’t that interesting I suppose).

Also, Laia really learned so much in that “short” time. At the beginning she was a coward but she managed to survive a brutal master and much more brutal treatment. I like strong characters that start out weak. It’s realistic that you’re scared and have to learn to become brave. So, thumbs up for this one!

Gif from here.

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Love Letters To The Dead

Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Ava Dellaira
Released:  April 1st 2014
Pages: 327
Rating: 5/5 ★

Summary

“It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person.

Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. […]

It’s not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was—lovely and amazing and deeply flawed—can she truly start to discover her own path.”
from Goodreads.

Opinion

I should probably admit that it didn’t got me from the first page. I was warily and unconvinced because the main character – Laurel – was so young and I didn’t believe that I could connect with a 14-year old girl.
But I was wrong. This has nothing to do with age itself, more with “coming of age”  and the problem nearly everybody faces: to find yourself while you’re losing yourself in other people.
My english isn’t developed enough to describe the beauty of language, music and story in this book but I’ll try.
There are three things I really liked: The way Laurel spoke about music and art (the Letters she wrote to Kurt Cobain and Amy Whinehouse), the way she made me understand that music and biography of the artists aren’t two different things and how everything that’s broken can be fixed – not perfect & neat, but glued together and beautiful.

There are a few lines I’d like to quote:

” […] He plays the guitar so well, you wouldn’t believe it. But he doesn’t have a band. And he doesn’t try really hard to get one. He mostly plays alone in his room instead. That’s what Kristen says.
I think he does this for the same reason Hannah doesn’t turn in her work when the teachers say she is smart.
I think a lot of people want to be someone, but we are scared that if we try, we won’t be as good as everyone imagines we could be.”

Bam. There you have it. One of my biggest fears and it seems that everyone else is afraid, too.

This is just a tiny piece of what I was touched by and I really recommend you to look into this beatiful book.
Also, I’ve started to listen to Nirvana and Amy Whinehouse again, because I feel … connected.

However, the lesson I’ll remember from this book is simple: Don’t think about what life is supposed to be like and look at what it could become. Life is not perfect that’s what makes it so real.

“Magonia” – You tricked me!

 Title: “Magonia
Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Released: April 28th 2015
Pages: 309
Rating: 3 / 5 ★

Summary

“Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.
Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.
So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.
Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming (No, she doesn’t. I’m sorry, but this is the start of a misleading Summary!).
Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. (… no! You can’t say it like that because it arouses expectations which can’t be fulfilled!)
Where do her loyalties lie?”

Opinion

It’s so hard to give a book objectively nearly 5 stars while you feel like you’ve been betrayed by the Cover and the misleading Summary all along.
This story is truly beautiful and makes you long for more … BUT!
I knew I was going to be disappointed because I’ve got my hopes so high that even J.K. Rowling might’ve had trouble fulfilling them.
We’re going to make it very easy here – I can recommend this book without doubts, but you have to make yourself clear that there is no promised “war” and that “fate”-thing going on! This is misleading and a very wide interpretation of what’s really happening.

Aza is a great main character, she’s smart (usually) and sarcastic and her death seems to be unavoidable (because of that lung disease, remember?). Jason, her best friend, is also quirky and smart which makes them a perfect team.
Well, I was waiting nearly over 70 pages to finally get to the “Magonia”-Part and after Aza finally discovered that she was actually magonian – this is where the book is starting to fail (slowly). I loved reading about the world where sky ships are sailing the winds and clouds, accompanied by bats and whales and stormsharks doesn’t that sound amazing?!.

But there was no time for exploring, adventure or so as I’ve hoped for, Aza was told what to do and she did it and then she didn’t and the book was over. I’m trying not to spoil youthe story, okay? It was a bit too … thin. This book could’ve been made into a 400 pages opening of a beautiful series, surrounding Magonia, Aza and Jason and all the struggles they’re facing together. So many questions are unanswered and I’m not satisfied. This book had definately not enough pages!
I just sat there thinking nothing but “Really?! That’s it?”.
I was waiting for the “Awesome-Factor” to kick in but it didn’t because my expectations were to high, remember?.
BUT despite these little flaws I’ve enjoyed the way of writing, the characters and the wonderful world Maria Headley created.
I’m googleing right now if there’s going to be a sequel (I hope so!).


… THERE IS! Someone on Goodreads is saying that the sequel is coming out in April 2016. … I CAN’T WAIT!
There you have it – another bad Review unhelpfull and confusing for the reader.

Images via here, here and here.

 

“Der Kinderdieb” – BROM

Titel: “Der Kinderdieb”
Autor: BROM
Seiten:  648
Rating: 4.5/5 ★

Wenn dich Peter Pan vor den Alpträumen der Realität rettet und dir im gleichen Atemzug eine neue Welt voller Abenteuer verspricht… Es gibt mehr verlorene Kinder, als man glauben mag.

 Eine Nacherzählung? Nein, definitiv nicht.

“Leise wie ein Schatten streift ein merkwürdiger Junge durch die Straßen von New York. Er nennt sich Peter und ist auf der Suche nach Kindern und Teenagern, die dringend Hilfe brauchen. Peter rettet sie und bietet ihnen an, sie in sein magisches Reich zu führen, in dem niemand je erwachsen werden muss. Doch er verrät ihnen nicht, dass dieses Land im Sterben liegt und dort nicht nur magische Geschöpfe und das Abenteuer ihres Lebens auf sie warten, sondern auch größte Gefahr… ”

Meinung

Hier scheiden sich die Geister und ich kann das absolut nachvollziehen. Das Cover hält auf jeden Fall was es verspricht. Die Geschichte ist nicht süß, niedlich und voller Hoffnung, im Grunde ist sie zerstörerisch, spricht von Kampf, Verlust, Grausamkeit, Gewalt und wie viel man bereit ist für etwas das tief in einem verwurzelt ist zu riskieren.

Peter Pan – hier nur Peter, wurde schon als Kind von seiner menschlichen Mutter verstoßen, denn er hatte spitze Ohren und schien anders als die anderen Kinder. Doch statt im Wald zu sterben, überlebt er und kaum, dass er sechs Jahre alt geworden ist, scheint er schon Grausamkeit und Gewalt zur Genüge gesehen zu haben.
Auf Avalon findet er seine Bestimmung – der “Dame” zu dienen (unten rechts), die den kleinen Peter mit ihrem verlorenen Sohn vergleicht. Diese Welt ist geprägt von Magie, von Zauberei und von einer alten Regentschaft der Kinder der Götter gestützt auf Elfen, Trolle und was es noch alles gibt.
Warum also die verlorenen Kinder?

Das alles erfährt man erst im Laufe der Geschichte und bis zum Ende hin ist es erschreckend.
Nick, ein “verlorener Junge”, den Peter durch den Nebel geführt hat, scheint als Einziger nicht wirklich angetan von dem Jungen zu sein, der ihn auf die magische Insel geholt hat. Denn ihm wird schnell klar, das ist keinesfalls ein Traumland, nein, in Wirklichkeit kämpfen die “Teufel”, wie sie sich nennen, ums Überleben der Insel.

Das ganze Buch über war ich hin- und her gerissen. Es ist so schwer festzustellen was “richtig” und was “falsch” ist. Tatsächlich hat jede Seite Gründe, warum sie tut was sie tut und Nick ist der Einzige, der allem grundlegend misstraut. Hinter diesem Buch steckt so viel mehr als ein zauberhafter Ausflug in ein Land wo niemand altert, hier wird wirklich ein Krieg gefochten, aber an mehreren Fronten.

Das Nachwort des Autors hat mich zum Nachdenken angeregt. Er schrieb, dass die ungekürzte Fassung von “Peter Pan” tatsächlich schwarze Züge an sich hatte. Kinder, die scheinbar zu alt wurden, hätte Peter “ausgejätet.” Hier hat er Recht, was soll das bedeuten?! Diese Version hat ihren eigenen Peter und beschreibt tatsächlich, wie Kinder reagieren, die entführt und auf brutalste Weise kämpfen und sterben.
Ich kann es nur jedem ans Herz legen, auch wenn man sich am Ende fragt: “Wozu das alles?”

Peter kennt die Antwort. “Zeit für ein Spielchen”, flüsterte er und blinzelte [den Sternen] zu.

Bilder von hier, hier und hier.

Waiting on Wednesday #13 – “The Sword of Summer”

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“Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill (breakingthespine) that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.”

Title: “The Sword of Summer” (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard)
Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 528
Release date: October 6th 2015

What’s happening?

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

Why?

WHY? Seriously? I just remembered the way I stuffed myself with Percy-Jackson-Books until I realised there are no more books to come (Harry-Potter-Revival). The Kane-Chronicles were good as well but I’ve only read the first two books (Books in Germany are expensive and I couldn’t bring myself to buy them all.)
Nevermind, I’m SO excited for this series, my first fantasy books were all about the nordic mythology – this better be good, Riordan!


….and as many realised earlier on Goodreads – there will be Loki in it (hopefully! I mean, come on. We love the Avengers (I should correct myself: We love Tom Hiddleston as Loki and if that one is half as badass as Tom’s Loki, thank God! If not .. okay. I’ll ly awake at night and cry myself to sleep).

What are your thought’s? What did you pick for your WoW?

“Stardust” – Neil Gaiman (Book vs. Movie?)

Titel: Stardust
Autor: Neil Gaiman
Sprache: Englisch
Seiten: 148
Rating: 4/5 ★

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Inhalt

“Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.”
by Goodreads


Meinung

Vorweg sollte ich vielleicht erwähnen, dass ich vorbelastet bin: Ich habe den Film gefühlte 1000 Mal gesehen und liebe ihn noch immer wie beim ersten Mal! Deswegen waren meine Erwartungen auch entsprechend.
Ich fange mal von vorne an – Tristan ist tatsächlich ähnlich beschrieben wie im Film, der arme, nette Trottel, der sich in das schönste Mädchen in “Wall” verguckt hat (allerdings ist sie hier keine ordinäre Zicke wie im Film, sondern tatsächlich dem Tristan zumindest manchmal überlegen).

Wer den Film gesehen hat und sich die gleiche Handlung erhofft, wird natürlich enttäuscht sein. Warum schreibe ich natürlich? Mir hätte von Anfang an klar sein sollen, dass der Film natürlich nur eine Adaption ist, wobei ich ihn sogar plottechnisch weiterentwickelter finde als das Buch *hastig-in-Deckung-geh*.

Normalerweise bin ich diejenige, die jede Buchverfilmung verdammt, denn ein Film kann nie an die Bücher heranreichen (Außer bei Stephenie Meyers “Seelen”. Den fand ich bei Weitem besser als das Buch.). Es gibt natürlich Ausnahmen und dazu zählt Stardust.

Während es Buchs (ein altes, abgegriffenes Exemplar mit vergilbten Seiten, das mir ein Kommilitone geliehen hat – himmlisch. Ich liebe zerlesene Bücher! – keine Ironie!) hab ich mir mehr Tiefe gewünscht, Tiefe im Sinne von Gefühlen. Alles wurde erzählt wie ein Märchen, dabei kommt man den Figuren nur so nah wie es im Märchen von Aschenputtel, den zertanzten Schuhen oder eben Rotkäppchen eben möglich ist. Man bleibt ein wenig außen vor.

Aber vielleicht ist gerade das die Besonderheit – es ist ja ein Märchen, ein Märchen erzählt über einen jungen Mann, der auszog seiner Angebeteten den vom Himmel gefallenden Stern zu holen. Wenn das nicht märchenhaft klingt, dann weiß ich auch nicht.

Sich diesen “Klassiker” mal durchzulesen kann ich jedem nur empfehlen.
Auch wenn mir der Film mit mehr Wendungen und Abenteuern ein wenig besser gefallen hat. (Haut mich doch.)