6 Following

Muh, das Telefonbuch

Currently reading

Brave New World
David Bradshaw, Aldous Huxley
Men of the Otherworld (Otherworld Stories, #I)
Kelley Armstrong
Tales of the Otherworld (Otherworld Stories, #2)
Kelley Armstrong
Mein Herz so wild - Jane Eagland, Ingrid Weixelbaumer Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier.


England at the end of the 19th century: Louisa Cosgrove isn’t like most girls her age – and especially not like she should be. She wants to lead a self-determined life, but right now things are as far away from that as possible. Without her knowledge, the 17-year-old is sent to a psychiatric “clinic” where she’s told that her real name is Lucy Childs. Louise claims that they must be mistaken, that they got the wrong person, but she can try to prove her sanity as much as she likes, barely anyone is listening. How did she end up here, anyway – who sent her here and why?

The German title of “Wildthorn” is “My Heart So Wild” (don’t know whether the word-for-word-translation really works here ...) and it suits Louisa rather well, at least if you consider women’s place amongst society back then. If it was for her mother – and the majority of society –, Louisa would learn to lead a proper household, to take good care of her children und to speak politeness as her mother tongue. Instead, Louisa wants to learn other things, read books, explore the world and become a doctor, in which at least her father supports her. She doesn’t fit into the picture in any way – no wonder, given the small world she’s supposed to be satisfied with.

When I started to read this book, I really wanted to like it. There so much I like about its premise: a young woman defying the Victorian image of women, to name the most obvious. Women’s movements didn’t only exist since the 20th century and the discontent has to come from somewhere. So, nobody has to be afraid that Louisa might be too “modern”, she simply wants to live her own life, which, partly, would have been possible in our times – not quite either, though, which is probably the most bitter realization of “Wildthorn”.

How Louisa fights for her right to be herself and how she fares in the clinic ... this is something I wanted to read about. The novel itself was nice to read as well, despite the fact that, in the German translation, “where” was used to refer to a point of time, which really gets my hackles up. So, everything was fine to begin with. Louisa is instantly sent to the clinic, but the chapters dealing with her present situation take turns with others telling us about her past life, starting eleven years ago until those chapters catch up. This way, we get to know little Louisa and her thirst for adventures, who already won’t fit in. Her relationship to her father, her brother, her mother ... we are told about all of that, just as we are about what happened that could have brought her into the clinic.

My problem is that the novel stayed interesting, but also became predictable. I couldn’t guess everything instantly and with every possible detail, but “Wildthorn” never really managed to surprise me. My even bigger problem is that I don’t know how to judge this. Is it predictable because the author created a weak plot? Or is it predictable because she let happen what logically had to happen back then? I lean towards the second option; there were people who wanted to support women like Louisa, but there were even more sticking to old system in any way possible. Can I take points from my rating for that? It seems unfair, especially when you consider that “Wildthorn” already has some unfair ratings that have nothing to do with the book itself but people’s limited worldview. On the other hand, I’ve never been swept away, not really, so here’s a compromise: I take away half a point which doesn’t even show in the statistics. Just so you know!

There’s one question left I’d like to ask other readers – maybe you can help me to understand. However, this contains some spoilers, so please don’t read it if you don’t know the book yet and are planning to read it.
I skimmed through some other reviews and fortunately I saw just one person giving the book a one-star-rating because of Louisa’s homosexuality (while claiming she’s not homophobic, of course not). But what I read more often was an actual warning of the sex scene in the end, usually combined with the remark that they would still consider it bad if it were about a woman and a man instead of two women. (Yeah, sure ...) I could understand that, partly, if the scene was very detailed, but it’s written so flowery, nearly chaste and isn’t even one page long – where’s the problem, really? I just don’t get it.

“Wildthorn” is the story of a young woman in the 19th century who wants to live her life after her own standards and strengths – and who gets punished for that without ever hurting anybody. It’s an intriguing, but never thrilling book, though the time it is set in might be responsible for that. However, it’s worth a look – at least if you’re not restricted in your thinking.

Lovesong - Gayle Forman, Bettina Spangler Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier.

Mia stayed, but not with Adam. The accident happened years ago, as did Mia breaking up with him. There isn’t much left of the Adam we got to know earlier. Instead, he’s estranged from the band and dependent on calming medicine – despite his success with his music, life is tearing him down. Then there is this one night when he meets again the woman who never told him why she left him. They have one night to talk to each other and maybe answer some of the questions they both have – but can it truly be enough?

Surely, I haven’t been the only one who was sceptical when the sequel to the much praised “If I Stay” was announced. Not only did I worry that the second book wouldn’t be as good as the first one, but its very existence meant trouble for the protagonists I wished only the best for. When I read the blurb for the very first time, I felt heartbroken. Mia and Adam aren’t together any longer? Why? I had hoped for a better future for both of them, and – seeing as things were back then – this meant a future together to me. This might explain why it took me nearly two years to finally pick up this book.

On a formal basis, “Where She Went” works much like “If I Stay”. The story starts rather quickly, though the accident happened much earlier and it takes some more pages for Adam to meet Mia. We are in the present, but thanks to numerous (though never too many) flashbacks we get to know what happened in the past – partly this includes Mia’s and Adam’s shared past before the accident, but also the time after Mia woke up, as well as the time Adam spent alone again. Step by step, it is revealed what happened back then, why Adam has such problems with the other band members despite all of them being very close, and also why Mia left Adam.

It’s the book’s big question, which glued me to the pages the whole time. I won’t lie: my heart bled for Adam. Whether it’s always justified or not, he suffers and that rather obviously. Not only because of Mia, though her absence is linked to many of his problems and one of the main reasons for his grief and anger. We quickly get an idea as of why she acted that way, and I can say at least for myself that I could understand it, in a way, before she explained it. It’s the how I felt uncomfortable with, and that hasn’t changed yet. “Where She Went” highlights something which was known before but has never been stressed that much: Adam lost Mias’s family, too. Gayle Forman never belittles Mia’s loss, but she shows that such tragedies can scar other people just as much. We as readers already get an idea of it: we only know the Halls from one book, but as soon as there is only a mention of Ted we start mourning all over again. After all, a “good” ending doesn’t mean that everything will get better. You have to work for that and it takes time and insight – still, there is no guarantee that it will work in the end.

You see: Gayle Forman managed again to upset me, to bring tears into my eyes, to make me feel with the characters and to let me hope – not as much as she did in “If I Stay”, but enough so I don’t regret reading the sequel the least bit. The only negative I can say about it concerns the German translation: it seemed adequate, being Adam’s voice, though I never compared it to the original. However, the lyrics at the beginning of some of the chapters sound ridiculous in German – which doesn’t change the fact that I would very much like to hear Adam’s songs.

With “Where She Went”, Gayle Forman wrote a good though not as outstanding sequel to “If I Stay”. All in all, it’s the search for answers – what happened, why things are the way they are. If you are keenly interested in those, you’ll have problems to stop reading.

Royal Lip Service - Marika Paul "Royal Lip Service" war am Anfang eigentlich ziemlich cool. Der Zeichenstil gefällt mir, auch wenn ich ihn noch lieber hätte, würde die Anatomie stimmen. Manchmal sind die Köpfe doch noch ein bisschen zu groß.
Aber es war witzig, Arjen und Victor haben sofort meine Zustimmung erhalten (als würden sie die brauchen ...) und so langsam leiten sich Romanze und Mysterium ein. (Außerem hab ich Till mit seinem Sächseln prompt ins Herz geschlossen. Dabei hasse ich es normalerweise, wenn jemand tiefstes Sächsisch spricht.)

Dann aber macht die Geschichte einen ziemlich großen Sprung: Die Beziehung der beiden ist auf einmal bereit, mehr zu werden, natürlich nicht ohne ein bisschen eingeschobenes Drama. Ehe sich aber klären kann, wer Arjen die Drohungen schickt, ist das Ganze auch schon vorbei. Es wird lediglich in eine Richtung gedeutet und der Hintergrund dazu war ein wenig zu vorhersehbar.

Sei's drum, ich hatte meinen Spaß und les gleich weiter. ;)
(Für die damaligen Leser muss das aber schon frustrierend gewesen sein: Keine Auflösung und zwischen Band 1 und 2 liegen knapp anderthalb Jahre!)
Der Traum des Schattens - Lena Klassen, Maja Winter 3.5

Die Schlacht um Akink ist vorbei, doch der Krieg ist noch lange nicht gewonnen. Solange es sowohl Schatten als auch Krieger des Lichts gibt, wird der Konflikt weitergehen – Mattim ist nicht gewillt, seinen Bruder Kunun einfach in Ruhe zu lassen. Doch dieser hat seinen ganz eigenen Plan ersonnen, Mattim zu verletzen und ihm das zu nehmen, was ihm das meiste bedeutet – Hanna. Die beiden müssen sich etwas einfallen lassen, um die Sache ein für alle Mal zu beenden. Doch wem kann man in einer Welt voller Schatten schon noch vertrauen?

Ich bin, ehrlich gesagt, ein wenig unsicher, was ich mit „Der Traum des Schattens“ anstellen soll. Es ist eine Weile her, dass ich die vorherigen beiden Bände gelesen habe, aber ich hatte zumindest den zweiten Band wesentlich besser in Erinnerung. Was mir damals so an den Büchern gefiel, war die Spannung, die trotz der Romanze nicht abhandenkam, der schnelle Einstieg in die Geschichte (zumindest im zweiten Band, im ersten ging es zu schnell) und die Tatsache, dass die Vampire – Schatten – hier sich von ihren „Artgenossen“ unterscheiden. Ich find es immer noch klasse, dass ihre Wunden nicht geheilt werden können, so dass unter Umständen auch mal jemand zerstückelt daliegt und unfähig ist zu sterben.

Ganz so brutal ist es natürlich nicht die ganze Zeit über, die richtig üblen Szenen kommen eher selten vor, sind dann aber sehr willkommen. Auch so kann man dem Buch nicht absprechen, dass es spannend ist – im Gegensatz zu den vorherigen Bänden ist das aber nicht durchweg der Fall. Ohne zu viel verraten zu wollen: Es passiert hier etwas, das die Geschichte immer wieder zwingt, eine kleine Pause zu machen, damit bestimmte Charaktere sich kennenlernen können. Es geschieht trotzdem einiges nebenher, so dass die Handlung nie zum Stillstand kommt, es gibt nur eben einige Längen, die einen je nach persönlichem Geschmack mehr oder weniger stören können. Ich für meinen Teil bin kein Freund von Melodramen.

Dafür steigt das Buch beinahe sofort wieder in die Handlung ein. Ich hatte befürchtet, dass es zunächst einige Zeit dauern würde, aber da hätte ich mir wirklich keine Sorgen machen müssen. Die Handlung startet zwar nicht mit der ersten Seite gleich durch, aber lange muss man auch nicht darauf warten.
Mein Problem liegt aber vielmehr bei den Charakteren; schon beim Vorgänger hatte ich das Gefühl, dass Mattim der alleinige Hauptcharakter des Buches ist und hier hat sich das nur noch einmal bestätigt. Hanna ist zwar noch da, ja, und spielt keine ganz unwichtige Rolle, aber wir sehen bei ihr keine Entwicklung. Zum Teil liegt das auch daran, was sich Lena Klassen für sie ausgedacht hatte und auch wenn es zum Teil für weitere Spannung sorgte, war ich zum Großteil von Hanna nur noch genervt.
Ohnehin wird es hier schwierig, Charaktere zu finden, mit denen man zurechtkommt, da die meisten, auf die das zutrifft, nur sporadisch auftreten. Mónika, Attila, Wilder, Goran … teilweise ist ihnen nur ein Auftritt vergönnt. Bleibt nur noch Mattim, was auf Dauer ein bisschen wenig ist.
Die anderen dagegen … Kunun ist und bleibt ein Bösewicht, Farank darf sich als schlechtester Vater aller Zeiten bewerben und so oft Réka auch behauptet, sie sei mehr als eine pubertäre 16-Jährige, sie ist die meiste Zeit über genau das. Mich stört weniger, dass ich nicht viel mit ihnen anfangen kann, sondern mehr, dass es bei ihnen kaum Entwicklung gibt – von Mirita und Atschorek einmal abgesehen.

Ich habe das Buch trotzdem genießen können und egal, wie die Charaktere konzipiert sind: Es gab einige interessante (unter anderem auch neue) und nicht nur mit diesen konnte ich mitleiden. Abgesehen davon erhaschen wir mehr als nur einen Blick auf Magyria und was wir da zu sehen bekommen, lässt mich fast hoffen, dass es irgendwann ein weiteres Buch aus dieser Welt geben wird. Nur nach Möglichkeit aus einer anderen Perspektive, Hanna und Mattims Geschichte ist erzählt.

„Der Traum des Schattens“ kann nicht ganz mit seinem Vorgänger mithalten, da das Buch Fehler der vorherigen Bände wiederholt und nicht alles genauso gut macht wie noch „Die Seele des Schattens“. Trotzdem ist es ein spannendes Abenteuer, das zwar ein paar Längen hat, die insgesamt aber nicht zu sehr ins Gewicht fallen. Wer die Reihe zuvor mochte, sollte diesen Band jedenfalls nichts verpassen … wer bisher Zweifel hatte, sollte es sich vielleicht noch einmal überlegen.
Black Heart - Holly Black Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier.

This review contains spoilers for the previous books.

If you told Cassel that he would work for the government some week ago, he would have laughed at you. His mother constantly clashes with the law, his brother seems unable not to lie, the girl he loves will be the next mafia boss in the city – he himself is anything but an angel. And still working for the government is what he does right now; even worse: Barron, too. Nobody must know, because any other possible betrayal couldn’t have been worse. But we all know how these things work, don’t we? It never rains but it pours. Soon, Cassel is involved in way too many conflicts, and each and every one of it could cost him his head.

Why make it easy when it can be complicated as hell? That seems to be what Holly Black thought (again) while writing “Black Heart”. Of course, Cassel can deal with all that trouble, but he really earned himself a break.
Instead, he trains to become an agent, solves his mother’s problems, gets his heart broken (which is partly his fault), mediates between his friends and puts his life at risk more than once. That his marks are on a vacation in the underworld will hardly surprise anybody.

“Black Heart” has what I partly missed in “Red Glove”: the surprise, the suspense. It’s not the same as in the first books but things don’t have to be the same to be good. Here, secrets big and small will be revealed, we get answers to questions we didn’t even know we had, so that sometimes I just sat there open-mouthed. Some of the secrets are hilarious, some are perfect brooding material and others are a little bit sad. You get an offer from every site of the emotional plate, so it really doesn’t get boring.

Besides, the characters wouldn’t even allow that. Cassel is someone you can only be sorry for, at least most of the time. Just take his relationship with Lila – he likes her and she likes him, only he doesn’t want to get that; if you could punch some more self-respect into someone, I would have done it with him. Still, you simply have to admire his way of getting away with everything; also, you have to admire he still finds the strength to try it – it’s nice really, because despite everything, you still want the best for the charming part-time criminal. Though our views differ as to what the best actually is.
Anyway, this book causes a lot of feels – whether that concerns Cassel and Lila, the Sharpes as a family, Cassel’s friends or the workers‘ situation in general. We never get to know the whole Sharpe family, Cassel’s father is long dead after all and the times in which the boys could live a careless life are over. But we get glimpses and that this life isn’t there any longer hurts. It’s the same with Sam and Danceca; I guess I’m not the only one who wants to see them happy – preferably together? That’s the question and even now I can’t say whether I could answer it. And of course the workers, who work for the good guys and the bad guys, who sometimes aren’t left a choice, who misuse others and are misused, who mostly only want to live life without the fear of persecution. How could you not suffer with them?

The workers are actually part of the point that bothered me the most (though not too much). I had hoped for more politics; I want to know what will happen to the workers’ rights. We get an indication as to which direction things are going to take, but that can change quickly enough. It would have been nice to get to know more about the whole thing, even though it only partly concerns Cassel who has to worry about other things as well. Who knows, though – maybe Holly Black will work on a fourth book one day and more of my questions can be answered.

So that’s it with Cassel Sharpe and us – for now, at least. It has been quite the trip that made lots of fun, but was responsible for less nice emotions as well (in a good way, though). Fortunately, “Black Heart” is better than “Red Glove” and even though you can consider the ending as closed, I wouldn’t mind another book in the series.

Red Glove  - Holly Black Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier.

This review contains spoilers for the previous book.


It sucks to be Cassel Sharpe. His brothers betrayed him; his mother cursed his crush into loving him – now he doesn’t even know if he can trust his best friend’s words. Nevertheless, he tries to do as good as he can. The curse has to wear off finally and then he can believe what Lila tells him again, can’t he? Then his eldest brother is shot, though, and Cassel is supposed to find the murderer. Too bad it’s the FBI who wants him to solve the case, while the boss of the local mafia still wants to see the young man in his ranks – letting down either side could result in something worse than “bad”.

What I really loved about “White Cat” was that you couldn’t trust anyone – but you only realized that after some time. Brothers became traitors, and at some point all you could do was staring open-mouthed at the text. Who would have thought that any of this lurked behind the façade of the still somehow charming family?
Now we know it. There aren’t much more surprises, at least concerning this matter, though there are still rather shocking details. Already that you would do something like that to your own, little brother … but this can’t carry the whole story. This applies to other secrets as well as the shocking details; instead, we have the big question as to who murdered Philip – at least that’s what you would expect. The murder case isn’t that big a part of the plot because Cassel has so much else to worry about: who did he kill himself? How should Lila and he treat each other? Besides, you should always abide the school rules. As much as is possible, anyway. There is much going on, but not everything serves the purpose.

It isn’t boring, but the pace has already been a problem in the first book. The story takes its time to really get going. In “White Cat”, this hasn’t been much of a problem, but in “Red Glove” there aren’t constantly new realizations that keep the story going. Only at the end it makes ready for the sweeping blow, so we get a little suspense there.

Anyway, there’s still Cassel and you simply have to like him. He’s far from perfect, and even though he tries really hard to be a good guy, he isn’t always one. How could he when he still wants to protect his family who is entirely without scruple? (Admittedly, some of the mother’s moves are impressive.) I had hoped we would get to know more about his friends; anyway, it isn’t as if we don’t see them at all. Also, at least you can see the bond between Cassel and some members of his family, even though it is not as impressively displayed as in the first book.
But there’s Cassel whom you will have a lot to suffer through with. As I said, it sucks to be him. Few would be able to live through what he has to experience. It’s a good thing he’s a cunning chap with some amount of criminal energy – he’ll work it out somehow.

I’ll give the book an extra point for the political aspect. The workers are still forbidden to use their magic – and if you fight for their rights you are treated like a second-class citizen. On the one hand, government wants to take actions against the mafia-like unions of workers. On the other hand, they themselves work with censorship and oppression – I really hope this aspect gets even more attention in the next book. If there’s still time left besides Cassel’s other massive problems, that is.

“Red Glove” is not as good as “White Cat”. The story misses some surprises and realizations, but it’s still entertaining. Of course, Cassel can take most of the credit for that – that guy really earned himself a huge hug.
Breath (Riders of the Apocalypse, #4) - Jackie Morse Kessler Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier.


Xander Atwood is a teenager like any other else, the usual worries and wishes included: is my crush going to go on a date with me? Will I even dare to ask her? What will I do when I finish school? Add to that a newborn brother and you can imagine that Xander has enough on his mind. Nonetheless, it’s Death himself who is one day suddenly on Xander’s balcony – ready to jump. Without death there won’t be any life, but what can Xander possibly say to save the world?

There’s much to say about the fourth and last instalment of the “Riders of the Apocalypse” series. It’s different from its predecessors, and in my opinion it’s also the best book of the series. So far, the plot concentrated on the human protagonists. The Riders were by no means unimportant, but it was only in the third book that we got to know the Rider as Rider and not as a power the protagonists are now able to wield. During all this time, there was one constant: Death. The others might change; he was always there and remained the same.
That changes now. Death lost his humour – but that’s not everything. He lost something essential, something that kept him going and let him bear eternity. Now, he can’t and doesn’t want to go on, which is why we see less of his charm, but get more information about his past. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that he is the actual main character. They both are, Death and Xander. But Death definitely plays a bigger role than all the Riders before him.

Still, it’s Xander who is responsible for the suspense; in his partner’s case, it even results in the opposite. When it comes to Death’s past, they talk with each other for nearly 50 pages. The information might be interesting, but the presentation dragged on a little bit.
Anyway, back to Xander. It gets clear rather quickly that he is not all right. It starts with memory gaps, continues with “what he has done”, as well as a beep sound that never fits the context. I quickly had some theories as to what is going in. At some point, surely everybody will guess the truth before it is explicitly mentioned in the book, but in this case this is nothing bad. Partly, those were thoughts such as, „Oh no, he didn’t …?!” which results in the sudden urge to hug Xander and to help him. Plus, you might guess what is going on, but have you considered all the consequences? I surely didn’t. Only bit for bit I realized what this means for the story. Even thinking about it now, I can only formulate new theories, but I can’t say for sure what really happened. Instead, I look like this:
I can’t say more about it without spoilering you – so let’s continue with something else, shall we?

There’s a little but nice bonus in giving us some chapters about the other Riders again. Did you always want to know what happened to Lisa? Or whether Missy gets along? Did you wonder whether Billy became Pestilence in the end or not? You’ll find an answer to those questions – and more – in this book. Well, sort of. Maybe. I don’t even know myself, thanks to the spoiler secret. However, this is what makes the whole thing so cool!

Besides, “Breath” is, just like the other books, well written. I’ve marked so many passages it looks as if I studied the book instead of reading it. Trivial wisdoms such as that you haven’t really lived if you’ve never been called names by a pigeon while passing by on your flying horse will be found as well, though.
In this, you’ll find thoughts about love, friendship, betrayal and life itself. What’s love worth? What is our love worth? Can we trust our friendships? And isn’t there – maybe – always something to make life worth living? In her dedication Jackie Morse Kessler writes, „If you’ve ever had your trust broken so badly / You asked yourself, „What’s the point?“ / Then this book is for you.” And it is.

“Breath” is a great ending for a great series – it might have its mistakes and this books isn’t perfect either. Still, I’ll hope you’re all going to read it; it’s better to know the other books, but not exactly necessary. Be it as it may, the little wisdoms hidden here are worth it – and especially the brooding after finishing the book.

Dark Currents: Agent of Hel - Jacqueline Carey Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier.

Resentful beings call Daisy a hell-spawn – and in a way they’re right. She isn’t the daughter of the devil himself, but her father is a demon and if she gets too close to being like him, this might cause chaos or even the end of the world.
So far, she isn’t interested in her father’s proposal and lives a more or less normal life, ignoring the fact she is the liaison of Hel, who rules over the local underworld, and carries out her law. This always meant reprimanding supernaturals who step out of line, but that changes with a young man found dead. Soon it’s clear magic has been involved, but who is responsible for it? Daisy gets involved in the investigations, though that provokes situations in which her father’s words seem more tempting than ever.

While some authors always stay in one genre, Jacqueline Carey explores what fantasy has to offer. Now it’s Urban Fantasy’s turn, so the story is set in our modern world, only that it is inhabited by supernatural beings. The locals know about it, though most never see one of them. Usually, nobody tells what he really is to avoid the prejudices. Daisy is an exception as her heritage is well-known.
The author presents many creatures. Of course there are vampires and werewolves, obviously demons, too, as well as fairies. That’s not all, though. We get naiads, undines, a lamia, ghouls, hags, Nordic deities such as Hel along with a frost giant and norns and so on and so forth … there are even more deities out there, for example the Slavic Peklenc. And well, yes, demons are fallen angels, so those have to lurk somewhere, too.
You have to like such a muddle, and I didn’t mind it. Why should only one mythology be the right one? It’s fun to see them all together for once, especially since the supernaturals keep to themselves and don’t know much about others, though they could learn a lot.

It’s a book by Jacqueline Carey, so you can expect it to be well written. You shouldn’t expect a second (or rather ninth) Kushiel book though; “Dark Currents” has with Daisy its very own voice: casual, sometimes thoughtful, gladly sarcastic and definitely likable. It’s obvious that the 24-year-old didn’t have it easy thanks to her heritage, but she’s getting along. It’s because of her mother who raised her despite everything and did it as a loving mother not someone who does their duty. Mrs. Johanssen loves her daughter and others do the same: Daisy’s best friend Jen, her part-time cat Mogwai kind of too, her sort-of-godmother Lurine and the chief at the police, whom she works for now. Those are the main second characters and they are a varied group. I didn’t love all of them instantly, but they all struck me as interesting. Still, my favourite is Daisy; I just had to read that she has a tail – thanks Dad – and she had already won me. Of course it helped that she is a strong and funny woman (like most in this book) in her own way. However, being like that is only possible because of her family and friends; it’s a nice message. Even a “child from hell” can be good; it is only a question of how you treat it.
Talking about the characters: There are three men who should be mentioned. All three of them Daisy might choose as a partner or none at all. To call it a love triangle (or rather love quadrangle) would be exaggerated. There is some mention of the looks and her (partly sexual) interest, but otherwise the book takes it slowly. Daisy has had a crush on Cody – a werewolf – for forever, meaning: since school. Whether there will ever be more between them cannot be said just now; Daise put her cards on the table, now it’s up to him. The other two she only meets in this book. We don’t get to see much of Sinclair, the only human of them, because he gets introduced rather late. Likewise, I wouldn’t say we really get to know Stefan. He’s a ghoul and therefore someone who feeds on emotions and is immortal. Otherwise? He seems to be a polite and patient man, who expects loyalty from those who swore it to him. Seeing that he is very old (not literally of course), there is still much we have to learn about him. Be it as it may, all three of them are likable; we’ll see how it ends.

Mainly, this is a criminal story though. Daisy is supposed and wants to solve the murder; everything else is a secondary plot. The pacing of the case solving is rather slow, which I didn’t mind too much. Daise and Cody are doing police work and it doesn’t matter how much you try; you won’t have final results the next day. Besides, other duties are not willing to wait. So, I was rather content with the pacing, though there’s no doubt I would have enjoyed a quicker one with more suspense a little bit more.
The story partly lives through its characters; I might have wanted to know who the murderer is (the butler didn’t do it this time), but that alone wouldn’t have kept me reading – however, I’ve never been a big fan of crime stories to be honest. The resolution wasn’t entirely surprising, but neither was it foreseeable. It’s a solid part of the book.

Another problem that is addressed is not new: some people who know about the supernaturals aren’t exactly happy about an underworld being under their very feet. They’d prefer to destroy it or at least ban the supernaturals from their everyday life. They don’t seem to realize that they are privileged here, as they cannot be held accountable for crimes against the supernatural population – those have no papers, so officially they don’t exist. Maybe they don’t want to see it. It will be interesting to see how Jacqueline Carey is planning to go on with that aspect.

“Dark Currents” is a good book, though not outstanding. It convinces with a solid crime story, a likable and interesting protagonist and a lot of secondary characters you will be looking forward to meet again. It’ll be fun to see where Jacqueline Carey is going to take us and Daisy – especially when it comes to her career and the city’s future.
The Rising  - Kelley Armstrong Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier.

Part of the group was able to flee – but for how long? Many eyes are looking for Maya and her friends and they have no idea how to get out of the mess they’re in. They got a tip as to who might be able to help, but there is no guarantee for that. Constantly on their guard, they travel through Vancouver looking for help and any information they can get – they will make some surprising acquaintances on the way, but there won’t be much time to get to know each other. Somebody wants their research projects back, at any price.

I admit I never like Maya & Co. as much as Chloe and the others. Not that I would not like them, too, but I kept thinking about my favourite necromancer and her grumpy werewolf of a boyfriend a lot - I didn’t forget the “Darkness Rising” kids after finishing the books but I didn’t think much about them either. That’s why I was looking forward to “The Rising” all the more: the old group was supposed to appear as well. They did so rather late and besides Chloe and Derek, we didn’t see much of any of the others, but the book was still worth reading for that alone.

Otherwise, the book isn’t bad either. While nearly nothing really happened in the second book, the protagonists are barely able to catch their breath in this one. They’re always on the run, need to split up and find each other again, only to run further. There isn’t much time for anything else, which is a good thing as it creates suspense after all; and that’s something I appreciate much.
The best scenes belong to the characters, though. Even though I like the other group better, this one has, as before, a variety of characters that varies and grows. It was fun to watch them being together, especially when they did find time for some banter. Some characters will even surprise you – turns out not everybody who is with the bad guys is actually a bad guy themselves. I’d advice to not read this book in the middle of the night, though. If you start howling with laughter at 4 a.m. this might wake someone up and that’s that with your fun.

However, something happened I was afraid would happen since the second book. Even there some sort of love triangle seemed to be on its way; even though I hoped it wouldn’t come to that, it did. It doesn’t get very dominant; it’s Kelley Armstrong we’re talking about after all. But I didn’t buy it, neither from the author nor Maya. Yes, I did think Maya’s and Rafe’s relationship developed a little bit too quickly in the first book. Yes, it was obvious that Daniel liked Maya more than he would admit. But that she was into him, too? I never saw any signs for that, and now she wants us to believe that there were some. I’m not too happy with that development, but it didn’t bother me too much. The characters have a lot to deal with right now, so they push this particular problem back to solve it later without any drama – it didn’t expect any less from the author.

Some criticism concerning the cover is still required, though, even though it’s not part of the rating. This is hardly the author’s fault. Maya’s family is part of the Navajo, a Native American people. The book actually addresses the problems and racism people with that heritage have to face: They’re seen as drunkards and junkies and treated as such. So why did the publisher decide to use a cover model that’s obviously white? Don’t they read their books? Unfortunately, we all know whitewashing is nothing new in the publishing industry.

And now it’s over – for now, anyway. There is still something to tell about the characters, just not now but when they’re older. Who knows, maybe there will follow some stories or even books. In the meantime, all of you who haven’t read the “Women of the Otherworld” series yet can do just that. If I understood that correctly, some of the adult characters in this series appear there as well.

“The Rising” is a worthy conclusion to the “Darkness Rising” trilogy, even though it wasn’t as good as the “Darkest Powers” trilogy. Meeting Chloe and the others again here is most welcome, as is the fact that the third book has a mentionable plot again. I wasn’t happy with every development, but after finishing the book I can say it’s a satisfying one. The hope remains that there will be more books one day – there is left enough to build on.

Babe in Boyland - Jody Gehrman Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier.

As „Dr. Aphrodite“ Natalie publishes a column with love tips for everybody who wants to know in her school’s newspaper – unfortunately, she doesn’t know much about the topic herself as she lacks the experience. Instead, she tells the (female) readership what they want to read, which the others are pretty much fed up with. After her newest column she is confronted with those accusations and realizes after some time that they are right. In order to be able to give better advice in the future (and to have a topic to write about for a competition) she needs to find out how boys really think. As nobody wants to give her proper answers, she tries something else: disguised as a boy she enters a boys’ school near her own. Too bad she still has to learn how to be a guy without attracting unwanted attention – falling in love with your new room-mate definitely does not help.

There are books you need to be in the mood for, and “Babe in Boyland” is one of those. To be honest, there’s much you get confronted with here: There are rather stereotypical characters I couldn’t really identify with, at least not with the girls. (I’d probably sit on Tyler’s table.) The story leaves much to be desired as well. Natalie’s friend just happens to know someone who can hack into the school’s system and enrol her as one of the pupils. Nobody seems to care that this can have severe legal consequences. Nobody really wonders about this surprise student either. In between, the story keeps going thanks to coincidences, for example when Nat’s on a date (yes, with a girl) and someone who could blow her cover pops up. Well, who would have expected that. There were several points within the story that provoked rather snarky comments from me.

But. Damn, this book is fun! You have to be in the mood for something fluffy, sometimes illogical and definitely not perfect, and then you can perfectly enjoy “Babe in Boyland”. It’s one of those feel-good-books; even the drama was fun (since it was more embarrassing than heart-wrenching; I hardly dared to continue reading). If you are a rather expressive reader I advise you to read this one at home. I personally laughed my head off, literally howled (with laughter and because I was horrified), hit my desk way too often and giggled inappropriately. “Babe in Boyland” lives on its situation comedy. Nat doesn’t know much about boys (and didn’t think too much about that stunt either) and stands out. She asks inappropriate questions (I wouldn’t even ask my friends that stuff), has trouble finding someplace unobserved to change her clothes, survives a basketball between her legs without much pain and has rather big problems not throwing up when experiencing the questionable pleasure of occupied urinals. It’s not easy for her but it’s her own fault, so I didn’t mind laughing at her too much.

You do get to know some interesting characters you wish all the best for, even though I won’t keep any of them too long in my mind. There are some things addressed that are not unimportant, but most people who actually believe in equality know that their lordships are simply humans as everybody else. On the other hand it’s nice to have book showing such simple truths: the one already mentioned plus the fact that it’s best to be yourself instead of what others expect you to be. There are worse things for books to show and if the whole thing includes a lot of fun … I’m on.

“Babe in Boyland” is neither very deep nor original, but it’s a fun read. You really have to be up for that kind of book in order to be able to enjoy it and ignore the discrepancies – otherwise this might get as uncomfortable as Nat’s experiences in the boys’ lavatory.

Fractured - Teri Terry Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier.

Slating is used to completely wipe former criminals‘ minds, so they get a second chance to live an honourable life. That, at least, is the theory and Kyla had to learn that it is not necessarily the truth. She has memories, which are so fragmentary she still doesn’t know who she used to be. Now, people who might help her getting back the memories enter her life – if she is careful enough. Her own “father” has his eye on her and anything that results in a report to the Lorders might make her one of those people who suddenly disappear and never come back. Kyla can’t take too much care, though. She does not only have to find herself, but also friends and her very own role in this game. The Lorders need to be stopped, but at all costs?

I want to like Teri Terry’s books, really – and partly that’s what I do. When I bought “Slated” I was studying in Ireland; it was my “Yay, I got through my first exam!” book, so despite its faults it has some sort of emotional value for me. It’s an Ireland book after all. Therefore, I was looking forward to reading the second book in this series, to see whether it could keep up with my expectations or not. Again I have to say: partly yes, but only partly. I don’ even know how to rate this one!

A big problem in the first book was for me the pacing; it worked perfectly to begin with, but then Kyla got more and more independent without the pacing to increase, which became a little bit frustrating. My hope for the second book was some change in that matter. I wanted development chasing development, so it would be interesting and thrilling instead of only the former. This is what happens on the last hundred pages, even though the author takes her time again before that. Kyla might know some more about her; she still has no idea who she really is. How could she without any real memory? She ventures into new and dangerous territory, though, to gain some knowledge. By doing that she gets involved in things that conflict with each other. The tension is rising and it’s on those last hundred pages the tension finally breaks. In retrospect, I don’t mind the book’s slowness that much. However, you need some patience for reading it.

There were other wishes I had for this book. I wanted some answers and those I got. When it comes to the informational content in “Fractured”, there is nothing else you could ask for. From the beginning on Kyla’s dreams throw up new questions. As the story goes on they change, answer some of the questions and raise new ones. With every chapter Kyla’s past is reformed and that is definitely something I liked. Besides, we get an explanation for Ben’s rather sudden change of heart at the end of the first book – I take back my criticism from then!

That leaves Kyla herself whom I found hard to understand in “Slated”. It wasn’t so much of a problem later, but now it’s back again, together with her memories. I don’t see that as something negative, seeing that Kyla is combining several personalities: who she used to be and who she is today. Both are hardly the same, those personalities are actually conflicting, which again is understandable. I couldn’t understand all of her decision, but how could I? I barely know anything about the girl she once was, and Kyla is in more or less the same position. We do not have this insight (yet) and it would be strange if we could go along with everything that happens. The only thing I found slightly annoying was Kyla’s constant change of mind. First she says she would do anything to reach a certain aim, and then she has doubts about it, only to promise to do anything again, to have doubts and so on and so forth. It has to do with the story, her past and her current “fractured” state of mind, but it still got on my nerves.
It is a pity, too, that many promising characters where left behind, especially Kyla’s “mother”. She is still promising in “Fractured”, but just as the other characters, who partly only appear now, she gets barely any space in the book.

“Fractured” did some things better than “Slated” and nothing worse. Add to that the terrorism aspect I found very interesting. We all know Lorders do as they please, but it would be too easy to assume that anyone working against them is doing the right thing. Teri Terry addresses this good-vs.-bad principle and how far we should accept it. We get to know that even Lorders might be victims, at least some of them. They are not all bad; there might be information we should gather first before we judge them individually and not everybody all the same. It gets rather clear that not everybody is necessarily doing an evil thing just by working for them, though it is definitely naïve. And you’re definitely not wrong if you do not use violence against them. In the first book, we already met an activist and it seems as if more people are more comfortable with that approach than any other else. Hopefully, that will be explored further in the next instalment.
Back to the terrorists, though, because that’s what they are. The end does not justify the means and we all know that. However, Free UK completely ignores this proverb, though not every member knows how cold-blooded some of the other members are. It was thrilling to go along with them and see where some of them stand and whether some eyes might be opened or whether it is too late for that. I admit I sometimes wanted to throw the book against the wall because people had the power to decide important matters even though they really shouldn’t have – that’s the point, though, I think. It is easier for us than for Kyla to see things for what they are, and why that is so gets explained as well. In the end, the book is some sort of (indirect) essay about violence only causing counterviolence, which never ends well. That you don’t have much to laugh and enjoy while the book explores that thought is nothing you can hold against it.

I’m still unsure how to rate this book. Does it rather earn three and a half stars instead of four? But it was better than the first book – and that again was better than three stars. That’s why the result looks the way it does. “Fractured” is mainly a calm book, which changes only at the end. Those last parts utterly convinced me and before that all those dreams and half returned memories left me wondering, even though I could not really relate to Kyla – it’s hard if she doesn’t even know herself. I also liked the political aspect of the story, at least objectively – subjectively, I wanted to punch some characters’ faces. All in all, Teri Terry’s new book is a good one, though none you will have fun with in the common sense.

The Nightmare Affair - Mindee Arnett Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier.

Dusty Everhart is a nightmare – literally. True, she is only half one as her father is a normal human, but she is still capable of working with magic and has to feed from other people’s dreams. The result: she makes a habit of breaking into stranger’s bedrooms, sits on their chests and enters their dreams. It is as strange and awkward as it sounds.
When she enters Elijah Booker’s dream, nothing is as usual: the dream is too real and especially terrifying because Eli is dreaming of one of Dusty’s classmates, or rather of her corpse. It gets even worse when that classmate is actually found dead, murdered. Now it is Dusty and Elijah’s task to find out who did it and why – and particularly who is going to be the next victim.

I admit it: if Marissa Meyer had not recommended the book, I probably would not have taken notice. But she did, and so it landed on my wish list, later in the shopping cart; my one and only treat, I swear! I did not regret it, but “The Nightmare Affair” is different from what I expected – those expectations were based on what Marissa Meyer writes, though, and it would be pretty boring if one author is just like the other.
What you can expect of Mindee Arnett’s novel is this: a lot of banter, humour and also some corpses.

Anybody who is looking for perfectly developed, round characters please leave now. Dusty, whose actual name is, much to her dismay, Destiny, is a likable protagonist you can easily laugh and suffer with and whose humour is perfectly integrated into the text. Of all the other characters you mainly get an idea, and some of them look an awful lot like stereotypes. For example, Katarina is the beautiful but mean girl that likes to make Dusty’s life hell; on the other hand, Dusty makes her unsure of herself which is why she is not exactly well-disposed towards her. Unfortunately, we usually get to know such important information trough other characters, by telling – Selene, who is a siren like Katarina, knows more about her than Dusty, so she can tell what is going on in Kat’s head; we do not get to know Katarina well enough to understand it ourselves, we have to be told. It is the case with most characters here, but I got interested in them and that is something. After all, there is still hope for the upcoming books.

I had fun with the characters or at least with what they were allowed to show; I did not even mind that much the typical love triangle Mindee Arnett included. The protagonist is not caught between two guys as it usually works. Instead, she gets to know one and has a crush on him, starts a relationship with him just to see, you know how it works – she really likes him, but that does not mean that she cannot find other boys attractive, which is the case here. Dusty does not suddenly decide to “try out guy #2”. She gets to know him and realizes that they might like each other more than they thought. First and foremost, they are friends; time will show whether there is more to come, and that is okay, good even. You will not get any hasty love promises here or unnecessary drama because two guys like the same girl, so I was perfectly fine with the boys’ little squabbles and could enjoy both their presences.

The book’s best part is still the story and the world it is set in. Magickind lives hidden amongst humans and are taught in secret school; yes, it does sound a little bit like Hogwarts, but Harry Potter was not the first boarding-school story to be ever written. The whole thing is important in the end, and here we get various magical kinds whose power lies within themselves, the nature or in others; there are fairies, mermaids, sirens, wizards, witches, demons of a sort... and nightmares, of course, even though they are rare. It was fun to get to know some of the kinds with their own oddities and characteristics, and that especially accounts for Dusty, who can do some pretty cool stuff in other’s dreams. All of that and the investigation created suspense and left me wondering what is going on. The resolution was not entirely unpredictable, but I never knew for certain how it would end. The result is nice: I would love to continue reading right away.

You really should not expect too much depth of Mindee Arnett’s “The Nightmare Affair”, but if you are looking for something nice and fluffy that is thrilling and funny at the same time, then this is the book you should read. It is pure fun to venture into this magical world; who would have ever thought one could truly enjoy a nightmare?

Sturmherz - Britta Strauß 3.5

Zunächst dachte Mari noch, dass sie nur einen angeschossenen Seehund entdeckt hat; ihr Vater und sie nehmen das Tier mit nach Hause, um ihm so gut es geht zu helfen, auch wenn die Chancen nicht gut stehen. Dass er sich auf einmal in einen jungen Mann verwandelt, damit hatte niemand gerechnet. Was darauf folgt, ist eine Liebesgeschichte mit ihren Stolpersteinen, der erste versperrt gleich die ersten Meter: Louan ist ein Selkie, Mari ein Mensch, was heißt, dass sie Feinde sind, auch wenn beide sich gleichermaßen nach dem Meer und nach einander sehnen. Sie versuchen, was sie können, doch die Gier der Menschen hat noch nie Grenzen gekannt – und Mari ist nicht die Einzige, die von Louan weiß.

Ich habe nichts gegen Liebesgeschichten an sich, nur etwas gegen die meisten. Der Grund dafür ist schnell gefunden: Die Protagonisten kennen einander kaum oder gar nicht und statt das Ganze als Faszination darzustellen – was ja durchaus realistisch ist –, ist gleich von Liebe die Rede, was normalerweise der Punkt ist, an dem mich das Buch nach und nach verliert.
Leider macht „Sturmherz“ genau diesen Fehler, allerdings auch noch ein paar andere Sachen, die mich zum Teil wieder mit der Geschichte versöhnen konnten. Vorerst aber fiel mir das böse L-Wort viel zu schnell, zumal es dem Ganzen eine unnötig melodramatische Note verleiht, mit der ich mich noch nie anfreunden konnte. Es ist nicht mal so, dass die beiden keine Gelegenheit gehabt hätten, sich kennenzulernen. Später im Buch liefert die Autorin die ideale Gelegenheit, stattdessen muss Mari feststellen, dass sie Louan ja eigentlich gar nicht kennt – das fiel ihr aber schnell auf.
Ironie mal beiseite, das hat mich wirklich geärgert, denn auch wenn man eine Beziehung langsam angeht, muss das Ganze weder weniger „magisch“ noch viel zu keusch sein. So aber sprang der Funke bei mir nie ganz über, und emotionale Distanz ist bei einer Liebesgeschichte eigentlich das Schlimmste, was passieren kann.

Dabei startet das Buch ziemlich gut. Die Handlung legt sofort los und genau wie Mari habe ich fasziniert mitverfolgt, wer da gerade in ihr Leben gestolpert ist. Genau wie Mari wollte ich mehr wissen, ihn noch einmal wiedersehen, auch um mehr über seine Welt zu erfahren – nur dass es ab einem Punkt dann zu rasant ging. Zunächst war das aber kein Problem und das Interesse für die Selkies und das Meer ebbte während des gesamten Buches nicht ab. Besonders schön fand ich, dass die Autorin hier nichts zensiert. In Louans und Maris Beziehung ist Sex ein Thema, und ebenso wird die brutale Seite sowohl der Menschen als auch der Natur nicht verschwiegen. Louan geht Unterwasser auf die Jagd, ebenso wie er gejagt wird; andererseits liegen Tiere tot am Strand, weil sie der Technik der Menschen in die Quere kamen. Allein schon die Verwandlung ist zwar nicht direkt schmerzhaft, aber dennoch legt der Selkie seine Haut ab – wortwörtlich, ein bisschen Blut darf also nicht fehlen.
Das hat mich tatsächlich begeistert, genauso wie es das Meer vermochte. Auch wenn einem der jährliche Urlaub an der Ostsee besonders während der Pubertät auf die Nerven ging, am Ende war ich immer gerne dort. Gebt mir Meeresluft und ich fühle mich gleich ein bisschen heimisch, obwohl ich im Landesinneren geboren und aufgewachsen bin – dafür hat auch „Sturmherz“ passagenweise gesorgt, weil die Autorin das Meer wunderbar zu beschreiben wusste und den Leser außerdem mit einigen Ausflügen unter die Wasseroberfläche beglückt. Der einzige Nachteil: Ich möchte jetzt auch unbedingt einmal mit Orcas schwimmen, so selbstmörderisch das vermutlich ist.

Aber apropos Beschreibungen: Der Schreibstil der Autorin wird oft gelobt und Unrecht hat da keiner. Britta Strauß spielt mit Worten, kennt aber auch die Regeln – die sie aber nicht immer ganz einhält. Manchmal wurde es ein wenig zu blumig. Ich hätte zählen sollen, wie oft von der „pikanten“ oder „gewissen“ Stelle die Rede ist; bezeichnend ist aber eigentlich eine Umschreibung der Halsschlagader: „[…] und suchte nach der Ader, die er zerfetzen musste, um mich innerhalb kürzester Zeit verbluten zu lassen“ (Seite 206). Es klingt natürlich dramatischer als eine simple Halsschlagader, das geb ich zu.
Einer meiner größten Wünsche in Sachen Sprache betrifft aber das Lektorat: Da möchte man demnächst doch bitte etwas genauer drüber sehen. Immer wieder liefen mir falsche Imperative über den Weg, genauso wie kleine Kommafehler, Schusselfehler à la „Das“ statt „Dad“ und noch ein bisschen mehr. Es übernimmt keine Überhand, kommt aber oft genug vor, sodass es mich irgendwann sichtlich störte.

Was bleibt zu sagen? Die Liebesgeschichte steht um Vordergrund, ein bisschen Spannung bekommt man aber auch geboten. Mari mag von dem Selkie begeistert sein, andere werden sich mit dem Anschauen aber nicht begnügen und Profit aus dem Ganzen schlagen wollen. Dass es in dieser Hinsicht Ärger geben wird, wird schnell klar – allerdings passiert dahingehend so lange nichts, dass ich es für eine Weile tatsächlich vergessen habe. Irgendwann muss das Unglück aber seinen Weg gehen, sodass ich das Buch am Schluss trotz Müdigkeit weder aus der Hand legen konnte noch wollte.
Ganz einwandfrei war trotzdem nicht alles. Ab und an gab es Szenen, bei denen ich nicht ganz verstanden habe, was das nun sollte. Da wäre zum Beispiel Mari, die behauptet, alle Jungen in ihrem Alter seien unreif und, plump ausgedrückt, blöd. Das mag auf die Jungs auf der Insel zutreffen, aber wirklich alle? Das ist doch deutlich übertrieben und mir fällt auch kein Grund ein, der eine so extreme Darstellung rechtfertigen würde. Louan ist außerdem schon besonders genug, da muss man nicht alle anderen neben ihm wie Idioten aussehen lassen. Andere Szenen wirken beinahe willkürlich, wenn beispielsweise ein Charakter mehr oder minder aus dem Nichts auftaucht, um dem Geschehen eine Wendung zu geben, die dadurch aber leider auch ein wenig erzwungen wirkt.

Wenn es um „Sturmherz“ geht, herrscht ein ständiges Für und Wider. Die Geschichte und die Beziehung der Protagonisten starten toll, dann geht es aber zu schnell. Der Schreibstil ist sehr schön, manchmal übertreibt es die Autorin aber auch ein wenig, zumal sich einige Fehler im Text finden lassen. Das Buch ist durchaus spannend, nur sieht man davon zwischenzeitlich gar nichts. Letztlich ist es das Meer, das das Buch wieder lesenswerter macht, auch wenn zu viel schiefging, als dass es richtig gut sein könnte. Ich bin mir aber sicher, dass andere mit diesem Buch mehr Spaß haben werden als ich.
Ink - Amanda Sun Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier.

After her mother’s death, 16-year-old Katie Greene has to move to her aunt – who happens to live in Japan. Everything there seems to be too much for her, especially the language which she does not get along with very well. When she meets Yuu Tomohiro, he changes her whole life again: a drawing he had made and she found actually moves. She did not imagine anything as it happens again later. What is all this about? Who is Tomohiro really? Hopefully, he is not actually that bad guy that everybody sees in him, who hurts his best friend badly and cheats on his girlfriend while impregnating the other girl … because slowly but surely Katie is falling in love with him.

You think it is strange that someone falls in love with a guy who seems to be a complete idiot? I agree with you, then, but it is still what happens in “Ink”. Katie instantly realizes that there is more to Tomohiro because she sees his true emotions in his eyes when he drops his guard for a moment. So, she simply cannot not stalk him – initially she planned to call him on his behaviour, but somehow got lost in the translation – and eventually she falls in love. How could it be any different? After all, Tomohiro is not a complete idiot; at least that is what the author wants us to believe.

As you can see, I am not a great fan of the book. It does have its good aspects, only they are not exactly numerous. There is the fact the story is set in Japan which is definitely something different and has the advantage of Japanese words leaking into the text. If you love the sound of Japanese as much as I do, you will be delighted and if you did not have much contact with the language in the past, you should not worry: there is a glossary at the end of the book. Still, Japan is only the setting in the end – this means that there is a bentou for lunch, that you wear slippers in school and that you can learn kendo – but the Japanese culture is never such a big part of the story that it could not take place anywhere else.
Then there is the idea. I do not know enough about Japanese mythology to say how close the author kept to it. Most of the names and terms were familiar, but that does not have to mean anything. Fact is, it has been a nice beginning to a new concept and unfortunately, it does not go further. As the story evolves we get to know a little bit more about the whole matter, but it is not much.

There is one thing to blame for that: everything is about Tomohiro. Of course he is linked to the supernatural part of “Ink”, but he knows less than others and so the knowledge is kept from the reader as well.
It is also in other respects a great disadvantage of the book. If there is something I very much dislike, then it is a boy becoming the centre of the protagonist’s whole life. I have already mentioned that Tomohiro is not the nicest guy, and besides that, Katie actually has enough to worry about: a foreign culture, the loss of her mother … to some extent, she deals with those topics, but the most prominent thing on her mind is always Yuu Tomohiro. It even gets so bad that she only really tackles her grief when he tells her to.
So, it is no wonder that she claims she cannot live without him anymore before half of the book is read. Quickly, there is talk of love, while you will have a hard time to feel any tension between them. It makes it even more unforgivable that the author later romanticizes sexual harassment. Already at the beginning our “hero” breaks off with his girlfriend rather coldly to protect her; never mind that he makes decisions for his partners without asking them; he also goes way too far when he brings Katie, without her knowing, into a so-called “love hotel” (where you can rent a room to have sex without being disturbed) and does not stop touching her even though she already said she does not want any of this. In the end, this is supposed to be a selfless act to help Katie – excuse me, but NO. There are borders, and abuse and harassment of any kind that are depicted as legitimate and worth striving for clearly cross these borders. Besides, it is not as if Tomohiro would have had no other possibilities of action.

The story leaves much to be desired, because the motivation for everything is Tomohiro. Nothing that happens is about Japan or Katie’s family or her well-being – it is always about her “loved one”. That does not only annoy me, it is also very boring especially when you would like to get to know more about the other aspects of the book. Consequently, this information is left behind. “Ink” is also very predictable to some extent. For example, this concerns both things of the past and the ending, which is why I do not feel the need to continue reading this series.
Additionally, the other characters are rather flat; at best they spill a secret or two and add some drama, and that is that.

“Ink” is not a completely bad novel; at least the setting and the main idea are nice. However, in the end this is not a fantasy story with romantic elements but a romance with fantasy elements. Still, even the romance is not able to satisfy, because it is mainly about the protagonist’s love interest, who crosses some borders that should not be crossed. That is not only boring, but also unacceptable.
Zom-B City  - Darren Shan The author already mentioned that the story would only really start with book 4, that all the books so far were more of an introduction. Still, "Zom-B City" was sort of a let-down for me as it felt too much like a filler book. There isn't much going on; we get introduced to the most important structures in London that were established after the zombie attack and that's that. Basically, it's B roaming the city.

Therefore, the book wasn't exactly boring, but not very thrilling either. Only a few scenes in between and the cliffhanger in the end got me again and that's why I'm looking forward to "Zom-B Angels". Hopefully, it will have more of a plot to offer; so far the series was very good after all.
Timeless  - Gail Carriger 4.5