Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, V

Review: Vengeful (V.E. Schwab)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 29 on My Book List 2020

“Some people were matches, a bit of light and no heat. And some were furnaces, all heat but little light. And then, once in a blue moon, there was a bonfire, something so hot and bright you couldn’t stand too near without burning.”

I loved this so much!! And I’m saying this not only because I’m Victor Vale trash – which I obviously am – but because V.E. Schwab knows how to tell a story! The way “Vengeful” was told is nothing but amazing. We have four weeks ago in the present, we have the past and the longer the story proceeds the closer we get to the actual present events and the final climax of the story. And yes, I chose my words carefully here because while reading the book I couldn’t help but find parallels to Victor’s condition.

“Vengeful” builds up like one of Victor’s energy charges and after the discharge you’re as drained and dizzy as him. This book however isn’t only about Victor but also about Eli, Sydney and Mitch. There are a lot of new players that enter the scene, like for instance Marcella, June and Jonathan. Not to mention all the countless EO’s EON found and arrested as well as the ones Victor found and … well you know Vic doesn’t do things by halves. ;-P Neither does Eli, so it was only a matter of time until our old friend began scheming once again.

This time it’s not all about Victor and Eli though and I was really happy to discover that we got a lot of female power to counterbalance our two boy’s ongoing feud! XD Believe me when I say that every single one of those characters has their own agenda and that they are not squeamish when it comes to enforcing their ambitions. We basically get a gathering of ruthless and powerful people who literally walk over dead bodies in order to achieve their goals and do I even need to say it? Yes? Well, my inner faerie had a field day! *lol* And before I go on and on, I better head to my character’s section and gush over there! 😉

2

You know what they say about Rome? All roads lead to Rome. Well, in this case it’s Merit so: Welcome to Merit! The city in which Victor Vale and Eli Ever started their vicious and vengeful vendetta. Tread carefully when you enter, you might get right smack into the middle of their fight and parts of spoilers could hit you at every corner! Consider yourself warned.

Victor Vale:

”He had craved a lot of things – power, revenge, control – but sex was never one of them. Even with Angie… he’d wanted her, of course, wanted her attention, her devotion, even her love. He’d cared about her, would have found ways to please her – and perhaps found his own pleasure in that – but for him, it had never been about sex.”

First things first: I still LOVE and ADORE Victor Vale. <333 His character was every bit as intriguing and morally grey as it was in “Vicious” and it was such a pleasure to watch his mind at work. I was glad to discover that his habit of using text markers to blot out words hadn’t changed, even though I’ve to admit that – in this context – it broke my heart. Victor is all about logic and control and in “Vengeful” the two things he always relied on were taken away from him. He has no control over his body’s degeneration and even though he knows that he’s doomed the solution-oriented part of him just can’t accept his predicament. He’s a man on a mission and once he sets his mind to something he just can’t let it go. The truth is Victor clings to his life because he actually wants to live! He doesn’t want to leave Sydney or Mitch behind and he’s desperate to find a cure. It hurt to see him struggle and to know that he was just a shadow of his former self, but after that ending I have hope again! Maybe Victor will have a comeback in book three?! Please?! *asks nicely*

”You’re such a weirdo sometimes.”
“Only sometimes?” asked Victor. “I’ll have to try harder.” Those blue eyes flicked to Eli. “Normal is overrated.”

”Look at me,” he said coldly, catching Sydney’s chin in his hand. “The next time you point a gun at someone, make sure you’re ready to pull the trigger.”

”Victor was used to being the strongest person in the room, and it was both familiar and unsettling to see that confidence on someone else.”

Sydney:

”Victor haunted her. His pain haunted her. His dying haunted her.
Because it was Sydney’s fault.”

Ahh little Sydney has grown so much over those last five years! It was good to see that she became a part of Victor’s little family and that they got along so well. (Well is a loosely used term though because they are a super dysfunctional family but it somehow works? *lol*) If you ask me I don’t think that Sydney doesn’t age, I think that she does, but she does it very slowly. Maybe it has to do with the ice? It could have slowed down her metabolism and therefore she’d age really slowly? The concept of cryo-preservation exists for a reason after all. 😉 Also it was good that she worked on her abilities. I’m curious to find out what she might be able to do after she had some years to get accustomed to her powers. Hopefully I’ll be able to see it in the third book. XD Plus, I think now that she made peace with Serena’s death it might be easier to handle her powers. The emotional trauma of losing her sister might have influenced her abilities and I can’t wait to see her really grow into them.

Eli Ever:

”Eli’s faith had faltered in that room.
He had found Hell in that room.
And the only sign of God was that, no matter what Haverty did, Eli continued to survive.
Whether he wanted to or not.”

I hate that I feel sorry for him, but since this was obviously Schwab’s intention I can blame it all on her. *lol* No, seriously. No one deserves to have a Dr. Haverty in their life and what he did with Eli was just cruel and inhuman. It was torture and no matter what Eli did it was wrong to experiment on him. Of course to some degree a person like Haverty was necessary to find Eli’s weaknesses and to explore them, because otherwise there would have been no way to stop him if he ever escaped. Which he ultimately did and Dr. Haverty was there to provide a solution. So yeah, I actually saw that one coming so I wasn’t surprised by the ending. Still, there were other things I didn’t expect: For instance Eli’s past. I began to wonder if he might have become a different person if his father wouldn’t have hurt him so much. How many of the things he believed were indoctrinated? How would he have turned out if his father’s religious fanaticism wouldn’t have shaped his thinking so much? It boggles the mind if you think about it too hard. In the end Eli was nothing but a little boy that got hurt by his own father and this actually made me really sad. =((

”He prayed that the pastor would stop seeing whatever he saw, while he carved new feathers into the torn wings of Eli’s back.”

Marcella:

”How many men would she have to turn to dust before one took her seriously?”

Now, if Marcella wasn’t the embodiment of a femme fatale, then I really don’t know! XD That woman was burning like a wildfire and consuming everything in her path. And just like a wildfire she wasn’t put out easily. 😉 Which quite honestly, only made me love her character even more. *lol* I liked the idea of a strong and independent female villain that strove for more than life was willing to offer her and I was glad she posed a real threat to Stell. Hell, Marcella even posed a threat to Eli and he was basically what you would call “extremely hard to kill”. Plus that woman had style! She took what she wanted and did it openly without hesitation. It’s rare to find a villain like that, especially a female one, which is just one more reason to love her for it! XD It’s a shame Eli managed to kill her, but without Jonathan she would have never been able to hold out for so long.

”She was done playing by other people’s rules. Done hiding. If you lived in the dark, you died in the dark. But stand in the light, and it was that much harder to make you disappear.”

”And what happens then?”
“Oh,” mused Marcella, tracing the veins in the stone, “I imagine that Director Stell will decide I’m more trouble than I’m worth.”

”Jesus, Marcella, anyone ever told you that you’re batshit crazy?”
Marcella pursed her lips. “Several times,” she said. “It’s an insult men love to aim at ambitious women.”

June:

”I saw became I think I saw became I couldn’t have seen became I didn’t see. Eyes were fickle. Minds were weak.”

Okay, let me say it: HOW COOL ARE JUDE’S POWERS???!!! OMG! A living shape shifting voodoo doll!!! Gosh, I’d love to have abilities like that!!! She can’t only change into every kind of person she wants to be, no, she also can’t be hurt while she wears that person’s skin! That’s like a Mystique 2.0 version and I’d be so ready to have superpowers like that! XD Of course I’d try not to get killed while wearing another person’s skin, because really, that would be more than just unfair to the poor person who would have to die. Still, the sheer possibility of being a different person every day or choosing your favourites to change every once in a while, just amazing! It doesn’t really surprise me that Jude became an assassin with skills like that; I can’t help but feel like there is way more to her character than we ever got to see though. I still have so many question marks when it comes to Jude and the more I read about her the more intrigued I became. I just hope that some mysteries will be solved in the third book because for now I’m left wondering and I’m getting a serious headache whenever I think too hard about it. *lol*

”Was it worth it? Syd had asked her that night, when she confessed to giving up her face, her life, herself. And it was, it was, but that didn’t stop June from craving the light of recognition in someone’s eyes. The comfort of being seen, being known.”

3

Victor & Sydney:

”Sydney, I am alive because of you,” he said firmly. Tears spilled down Syd’s cheeks. Victor reached out and touched her shoulder. “You saved me.”
She met his eyes then, ice blue laced with red. “But I broke you.”

Aww those two! I loved to see Victor’s gentle side and no matter how much he tried to deny that he loved Sydney, he actually did/does! Syd felt terrible for causing him so much pain, but funnily enough Victor never held it against her. He always knew that her powers are limited and he tried to protect her from the truth. Well, at least as long as he could. It had to come out eventually and my heart broke for both of them when it did. >_< To leave her with Mitch and Dol was the right decision even though it hurt to see them part. But Sydney knew because she’s probably the only person, aside from Mitch, who knows when Vic is lying. T_T I just hope that Victor finds a solution and that they will reunite at some point. Their story isn’t over yet and I’m convinced they’ll meet each other again. ❤

”He could read the question in her face. It was the same one crashing through his own head.
What have I done?”

”There’s something I have to do.” Sydney was already shaking her head, but Victor reached out and put a hand on her cheek, the gesture so strange, so gentle, it stopped her cold.
“Syd,” he said, “look at me.”

Victor & Eli:

”It frightened and thrilled Eli, to be seen, and to see himself reflected. Not all of himself – they were still so different – but there was something vital, a core of the same precious metal glinting through the rock.”

How come those two men barely had any page time together, but their chemistry was still off the charts?! It’s so damn obvious that in some twisted sort of way they are in love with each other. Their obsession and the fact they can’t let go is indication enough. I mean Eli thinks Victor is dead but still talks to his ghost?! You usually only do that with loved ones! And I swear, I could feel Eli’s relief when he found out that Victor isn’t dead. He wants to kill him once again? That’s just an excuse to see him! They both need each other, they give each other purpose and I wonder what’s going to happen with Victor now that Eli is truly dead. Or is he? I’m still not all too convinced that he’s really gone! I mean what if Dr. Haverty’s drug didn’t take?! Or its effect weakened? Is it possible for Eli to heal even if he’s dead? Would he be able to come back? ADFKASDKFADJSAKLMNÖ! Talk about things that boggle the mind. I guess I’ll only get answers once I read book 3! >_< (whenever it will come out. Ahhhhh! T_T)

”Victor wondered if that was why EON hadn’t gotten closer. Not because their pet had failed to see Victor’s hand in the killings, but because he had.”

”Victor stared at the wall as if it were still a window. “He doesn’t know how patient you are,” he said. “Doesn’t know you like I do.”
Eli cleaned the blood from his hands.
“No,” he said softly. “No one ever has.”

”Run, thought Victor, and he could see the response in Eli’s coiled frame.
Chase me.”

”Victor.” A pause. “You were supposed to stay dead.”
“It didn’t take.”

Sydney & June:

”June could think of a dozen reasons to make sure Victor was dead, and only one to stay her hand.
Sydney.”

So what exactly has been going on between those two? I have a lot of theories about June’s motives but I don’t know if any of them hits close to home. My first theory is that she’s in love with Sydney and a lot of the things she thought seemed to confirm that suspicion. I mean she referred to Syd as “her girl” and she didn’t only want to protect her but also wanted her to choose her over Victor. A person she knows Syd loves. Mhmm… but then again with the little we know about her past she could also be related to Syd? I don’t know how exactly but it could be possible? ARGH! I have no idea, seriously for all I know June could be her grandma and I’m not even kidding here. *lol* June is the most opaque character I ever encountered because we got NOTHING about her background. Well, at least nothing tangible. I get the feeling Schwab made her like that on purpose and I’m sure we’ll see a lot of her in book three. Considering Syd deleted her number from her phone it might take some while until they meet again though. >_<

4

This sequel was everything I hoped for and even more! ❤ I loved to read about all the new players that came into the game, I was happy to read about the old ones and I still can’t get enough of their morally ambiguous stance on certain things. The world needs more books like this and I’m so ready to read them all! And yes, I’m going to admit it: I’m Victor Vale trash and I’ll never be sorry for it! *lol* Can we have book three now, Victoria? XD

Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Red Seas Under Red Skies (Scott Lynch)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 23 of My Book List 2020

”I’d lay even odds that between the people following us and the people hunting us, we’ve become this city’s principal means of employment. Tal Verrar’s entire economy is now based on fucking with us.”

Now if that isn’t an accurate assessment I dunno! ;-P In fact this is a pretty good summary of the entire book and I could probably leave it at that. Since I’m me and since I always feel an almost overwhelming need to put in my two cents I’ll go a little bit more into detail though. (Don’t say you didn’t see that coming! ;-P) So apparently the shit hit the fan in “Red Seas Under Red Skies” – big time I may add – and Locke and Jean are neck-deep in trouble once again.

How they managed to infuriate an entire city? Well, I think you’ll have to find that out for yourself, all I’m going to say is that they seem to have a special talent to attract the unwanted attention of bigger fish. And I’m not talking about sharks here, I’m talking about sea monsters. *lol* Both figuratively and quite literally speaking. XD They have more enemies than you can count and if this wouldn’t already have been enough the Bondsmagi of Karthain are still pissed off because of their – let’s say – quite unique way of dealing with one of their own. I swear the scene at the market gave me the creeps. *shudders*

I’m sure Locke and Jean can’t drink enough Lashani Blue to get their warning out of their heads. XD I might be able to though, so if any of you know where to get a bottle of this hellish stuff I’m ready to buy it and share! ;-P It sounded truly delicious! Anyway, let’s not have one over the eight and focus on other things instead! XD For instance the plot: What I really enjoyed was that the book started with another planned heist but went in an entirely different direction after more and more players came into the game. At first I wasn’t all too sure if I liked that change but damn did Scott Lynch persuade me to board that new ship! Quite literally once again, because they were actually heading out to the Sea of Brass. *lol* And the rest? Well, the rest will hopefully become your next bedtime story. ;-P

2

Welcome to Tal Verrar! The city of gambling where winning will get you to the next level! At least in the questionable establishment of the Sinspire which truth be told, actually sounds like a legendary place to be! *lol* Selendri and Requin the owners of said gambling den don’t mess around though so prepare to be spoiled at every gambling table! Spoiled AND robbed of course! Keep your enemies close and your money closer! ;-P

Locke Lamora:

”And I miss them,” he said, his voice nearly a whisper. “Gods, I miss them. It’s my fault they’re dead. I can’t… I can’t stand it –“

I swear the Locke at the beginning of this book had my heart bleeding! I never thought I’d see him so broken but after what happened at the end of the last book I should have known that he wasn’t going to recover quickly. =( I’m really glad that Jean was with him and forced him to face his problems because otherwise he would have never come back! And come back he did! *lol* I loved to watch his journey and how he changed during the book. The loss of his friends made him stronger and more serious but every once in a while there were moments when the old Locke reappeared. His sass and his charming personality will always cause me to root for him and I just love this man, okay?! XD He could charm the last penny from my pockets and steal my heart all at once and I still wouldn’t mind it! <33 And if he wouldn’t already be such a great thief and con man I’d totally be ready to read stories about Captain Orrin Ravelle! *lol*

”Oh,” sighed Jean. “Well, aren’t you the clever little bastard.”
“Yes on all three counts, actually.”

”Captain Orrin Ravelle,” said Locke, drawing a dagger and placing it against the captain’s throat. “Of the good ship Tal Verrar is Fucked! You stop in and let them know I’m in the neighbourhood!”

”Once a Big Lie was let out in the world, it seemed to grow on its own and needed little tending or worry to bend to the situation.”

Jean Tannen:

”When I get this door open, you’re dead, Jean!”
“When you get that door open? I look forward to many long years of life, then.”

Jean is THE BEST!! ❤ I loved how he dealt with morose Locke and his creativity was quite impressive! Who would have known he had it in him? XD I think Jean changed a lot in this book too and I really liked his character arc. To lose his fellow Gentleman Bastards was bitter pill for him as well, but he dealt with it in an entirely different way than Locke did. Jean tried to build something new and watched out for Locke which is so typical for him. He’s the best friend you could possibly have and despite his grief he never lost hope. Still, it’s undeniable that his priorities changed and this led to quite a few arguments between him and Locke. I think Jean only wants peace now but as it seems this just isn’t in the cards for them. >_<

Ezri Delmastro:

”Touch a weapon, or try to take one from one of the crew, and I guarantee you’ll die on the instant. We’re touchy about that.”

I ADORED this woman! Ezri was so amazing and I’m very thankful Scott Lynch decided to invent her character and to make her a part of this book! She’s definitely a girl that doesn’t take any shit from anyone and I just loved her for it! Ezri is a formidable fighter and the men on her ship listened to her. I loved that she had the respect of the crew and that she was able to fight for herself. No damsel in distress here, just a strong woman that knew exactly what she wanted and took it! That’s how awesome female characters are done! I loved how unapologetic she was and seriously, when I grow up I want to be like her! *lol* She could be very compassionate and gentle though and I can’t believe it had to end like that!!! WHY SCOTT LYNCH??!! WHY??? Ezri deserved so much better than that! T_T I’ll never get over her sacrifice… never. >_<

”Del, if it’s not too much trouble, we’re planning to attack that ship just ahead of us, so could you-“
“Oh, yeah, the fight for our lives. I suppose I could help you out for a few minutes, Captain.”

Captain Zamira Drakasha:

”Oh good,” she said a moment later. “Because after that, Mummy needs to fetch her armour and her sabres. And then she needs to go and board that lying motherfucker’s ship and sink it like a stone.”

A female pirate captain and she owned it!!! Zamira was such a strong character! I really liked that she had two children and was a caring and loving mother as well as a total badass when it came to boarding an enemy ship! Some might say that her children were her weakness but I think her love for them only made her even stronger. She saw through all of Locke’s lies and wasn’t fooled by him and that led to him being honest with her which was amazing! I think Locke needed an honest friend like Zamira and someone that brought out the best in him. And in some way or another she did exactly that! At the end of the book Locke and Jean left her ship but I really hope that she’ll reappear in one of the other books. The world sure as hell needs more characters like Captain Drakasha!!!

Stragos – The Archon:

”The Bondsmagi distort our world with their very presence. They rule us in many ways that have nothing to do with politics; the fact that we can hire them to do our bidding is immaterial. That little guild looms over everything we plan, everything we dream.”

Now that man was quite a nuisance! Stragos is one of those privileged people that buy their mercenaries and alchemists, but have no idea how to use them properly. I must admit he got the better of Locke and Jean when he made them drink his wine, but if it wouldn’t have been for his dangerous little games he would have been no threat to them. He seemed to be the kind of man that loves to plan things and sets them into motion, but ultimately has no foresight to predict unexpected events, let alone to take them into account. His plan to use Locke and Jean in order to stir the pirates was pretty half-baked and it was no surprise that it didn’t work out. If you ask me he got exactly what he deserved and hopefully his current predicament will teach him a valuable lesson!

Selendri & Requin:

”I wonder if there is anything that you don’t distrust.”
“Distrust everyone,” she said, “and you can never be betrayed. Opposed, but never betrayed.”

Now those two were the real deal! They were quite the antagonistic pair and I kind of liked their attitude. Those two didn’t mess around; they were a force to be reckoned with and definitely even more of a threat to Locke and Jean than Stragos ever was. You wouldn’t have thought it by just looking at them but they were quite formidable and skilled. 😉 The interesting thing about them is that no one would have assumed them to be so clever. They were highly underestimated which ultimately benefited them in the end. Also can we please acknowledge how interesting the Sinspire was? I would have loved to take a closer look at that place and to spend a night there! *lol* And don’t even get me started about the irony at the end! XD Requin’s final move was artfully done indeed. ;-P Something tells me that we haven’t seen the last of them yet and that this Duo Infernale will reappear in one of the other books. A girl can always dream, right? *lol*

’Difficult. “Difficult” and “impossible” are cousins often mistaken for one another, with very little in common.’

”All that remains,” said Requin, “is for your other judge to concur that you are still a risk worth taking.”
“Other judge?”
Requin gestured toward Selendri. “You’ve heard everything, my dear. Do we put Leocanto out of the window, or do we send him back down to where you fetched him from?”

3

Locke & Jean:

”Maybe I’ll just hold fast after this bottle,” said Locke.
“Hold fast is a nautical – “
“I know,” said Locke. “I’ll kill myself later.”

Their friendship is still everything and I can’t believe that Locke doubted him for even a second! Then again he might have thought he wasn’t worthy of his friendship anymore – because let’s be blunt here – he truly acted like an idiot at the beginning of the book. He was grieving though and Jean being Jean knew that it was Locke’s way to cope with things. It certainly wasn’t the best way but it’s probably the only one Locke ever knew. Still, with Jean’s love interest there came an interesting and new dynamic into their friendship and I think Locke had to get used to his best friend being in love. It’s something we all have to deal with when we grow up and it might have happened rather late with those two but it did happen nevertheless. 😉 Jean’s priorities might have changed over the course of the book but this didn’t mean that he was wrong. There was nothing wrong about wanting a quiet and easy life and Locke eventually realized this too. Hell, at the end he wanted this kind of life as well and was ready to take a shot at it with Ezri and Jean. It’s such a pity that Stragos didn’t let them have it. =((( And URGH!!! I don’t know how often I used this sentence for books already but THE ENDING!!!! >_< It kills me to think that Locke might die a slow and painful death now but I can totally understand why he did what he did! <333 Jean means everything to him and is his family and after all the things he did for him he just wanted to make sure that he’d be alright. That bastard! You can’t even blame him for taking away Jean’s choice because it was such a noble and right thing to do. T_T ARGH! I swear, one day Locke Lamora will be the death of me! ❤

”Fuck you. You’re ten pints of crazy in a one-pint glass.”

”He is extraordinary,” Locke whispered. “He continues to save my life, time and time again, even when I don’t deserve it.” He returned his gaze to the Orchid’s roiling, glowing, monster-haunted wake. “Which is always, more or less.”

”He realized that he was strangely disquieted that Jean hadn’t followed him, relentlessly at his heels, looking after him as always.”

”It is a favour,” said Locke. “A favour to me. You saved my life all the time because you’re an idiot and you don’t know any better. Let me… let me do it for you, just once. Because you actually deserve it.”
“I don’t understand any of this,” Jean whispered. “You son of a fucking bitch, how can you do this? I want to hug you. And I want to tear your gods-damned head off. Both at once.”

Ezri & Jean:

”It is a fine match. Maybe you could do better –“ Locke grinned to let Jean know that there was no actual need to knock his brains out of his skull. “but I know for a solid fact that she couldn’t. Ever.” So saying, he squeezed Jean’s hand. “I’m happy for you. You’ve gone and stolen something back from this whole dead-end distraction Stragos has shoved us into. Hold it tight.”

*sighs* I adored them so much! They were really damn cute and I found myself grinning when they interacted. Yes, they were that sweet! They were a fine match indeed which made it even sadder that Ezri died while saving them all. That woman was so perfect for Jean, I swear! She gave her life for her friends and family just like Jean would have done. And I think the worst thing about it all is that Jean can’t even be angry at her because if given the chance he would have done exactly the same thing. >_< I’m actually kind of pissed off myself and have an axe to grind with Lynch as well! How dare you to introduce such a great woman just to kill her off again? It’s not fair!! *sniff* I shipped them really hard but I also knew that it wouldn’t last. Truth be told I was afraid Ezri would die the moment Jean really fell for her. It was too good to be true. T_T

”Always a way to attack,” Jean mused between kisses, “always a way to escape.”
“Of course,” she whispered. “Hold fast, and sooner or later you’ll always find what you’re after.”

4

When I thought that Scott Lynch couldn’t surprise me anymore he proved me wrong and took this book in an entirely different direction. I would have been content to follow their Sinspire heist but Lynch had other plans and I’m really thankful for it! This book had everything I love: Intriguing and clever characters, a deadly gamble, a heist, pirates, strong female MCs, an amazing plot and last but not least a wonderful world I could get lost in. If you’ve already read the first book and loved it, do yourself a favour and read this one too! I’m 90% certain you won’t regret it. 😉

A - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

Review: Circe (Madeline Miller)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 27 on My Book List 2019

”Of all the mortals on the earth, there are only a few the gods will ever hear of. Consider the practicalities. By the time we learn their names, they are dead. They must be meteors indeed to catch our attention. The merely good: you are dust to us.“

I thought long and hard what to write about “Circe” but when it comes down to it the first words that always pop into my mind are: “I loved this so damn much!!!” *lol* Which is neither especially eloquent nor particularly significant. So what to do? How to describe my love for this book in words that would do this masterpiece (and yes, in my opinion it truly is a masterpiece) justice?

”I felt myself tremble, but I would not let him see it. Great gods smell fear like sharks smell blood, and they will devour you for it just the same.”

I guess I might start with what it is not. “Circe” is definitely not like “The Song of Achilles”! To be honest those books couldn’t have been any more different even if they tried. Whilst the main topics of “The Song of Achilles” were the Trojan War and the undying love *weeps* between Patroclus and Achilles the major themes in “Circe” were her solitary life in exile and her encounter with Odysseus. This setting alone makes for an entirely different story and sets a completely different pace. The tale of Circe is slow and unfolds over time, the many centuries that pass away giving the reader not only a good sense of the change of the world but also an insight to our heroine’s lonely life. Just like the love between Patroclus and Achilles was almost tangible in every single page from “The Song of Achilles” Circe’s solitude is palpable in every written line.

”I had no right to claim him, I knew it. But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”

The remarkable thing about her is that she didn’t let it get her down. She might have been in exile and shunned by her family but she never got bitter because of it. Quite the contrary. She took what she had and changed it according to her needs and she adapted to her new life and made the best out of it. And even more important, she defied the gods by doing so. It might have been small gestures and little actions but with every breath she took she refused to give them any satisfaction. Circe was a strong-willed, skilled and formidable woman and I couldn’t help but love her for it!

”We lit no tapers. The room was dark and warm from the day’s heat. Shadows draped the bed. No frogs sounded, no birds called. It was as if we had found the still heart of the universe. Nothing moved except for us.“

Despite her bravery and strong will it’s undeniable that she was a very lonely woman though. This however doesn’t mean that she didn’t know love. There were quite a few lovers and mortals she didn’t only take to her bed but also into her heart and whenever she did it; it left a mark on her soul. Circe loved deeply and gently and she always felt compassion for those men that came to her island and crossed her path. Well, at least until one day that changed everything.

”They moaned and squealed, and pressed their snouts to the earth. We are sorry, we are sorry.
Sorry you were caught, I said. Sorry that you thought I was weak, but you were wrong.”

And tell you what? I could understand her anger and wrath, because I think this was the first time she truly realized what had been done to her. The gods didn’t intervene on her behalf and left her to her own devices instead and the trust she had given to those who had needed her help was betrayed in the worst possible way. Add to that her acute loneliness and you get a goddess that becomes embittered and vindictive.

”And so,” he said, “which do you change, and which do you let go?”
“I change them all,” I said. “They have come to my house. Why should I care what is in their hearts?”
He had smiled and lifted his cup to me. “Lady, you and I are in accord.”

Who knows what would have happened if Odysseus would have never come to her island? Which kind of person would she have become? I guess we’ll never find out and I’m pretty sure that’s good the way it is. And here comes another scene that brought me immense joy, the moment Circe and Odysseus meet for the very first time. XD Gods, I loved their conversation so much! The tension and the way they tried to gauge each other’s reactions by talking about seemingly simple things! This was so masterfully done, I can’t even! One of the best book moments ever, I swear! <333

”I confess I’m in awe,“ he said, „they’re never so quiet for me. You must have had quite an effect on them.“
I heard a humming, like before a spell is cast. His gaze was a honed blade. All this had been prologue. As if we were in a play, we stood.

I’ve always loved Odysseus and I’ve been a huge fan of him ever since I read the Odyssey. I know he is a hero with many flaws and more morally grey than anything else, but this was always the reason why I loved him so much. He’s human, he’s intelligent, skilled, sly, he’s honourable (most of the time) and he knows how to manipulate people in order to get what the wants. Some might say he’s a dangerous man and they’d be completely right with it. So what’s not to love? *lol*

”The world was made of mysteries, and I was only another riddle among the millions. I did not answer him, and though he pretended frustration, yet I began to see that it pleased him in some strange way. A door that did not open at his knock was a novelty in its own right, and a kind of relief as well. All the world confessed to him. He confessed to me.”

Well, anyway! Those two meet and they clash! And yes, I savoured every single moment of it. Their conversations were really intriguing and it’s obvious Odysseus had a notable impact on Circe’s life. In more ways than one, I might add. ;-P Considering the circumstances this actually sounded kind of dirty now. *lol* Never mind my particular choice of words. XD

4

It’s undeniable that Madeline Miller has a way with words and no matter which kind of story she tells, she always seems to be able to turn it into gold. I loved how she managed to weave so many different parts of Greek mythology into “Circe’s” tale and I adored that our heroine was a constant part of it all. The pacing of the book might have been very slow, but this didn’t take away any of my enjoyment. Whilst the ending of “The Song of Achilles” made me ugly cry, “Circe’s” ending had an entirely different effect and gave me a sense of contentment and peace. This was definitely another one of Madeline Miller’s masterpieces and all that’s left to say is that I can really recommend it! 😉

 

P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Color Purple (Alice Walker)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 4 on My Book List 2019

”You got to fight. But I don’t know how to fight. All I know how to do is stay alive.”

When I think about “The Color Purple” the first few words that pop into my mind are: classic, banned and touchy subjects. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone with that. I mean it’s a book every reader heard about. Some of us had to read it in school, others saw the movie, and still others only knew that it’s one of those highly controversial books. I belonged to the latter category and even though I read a few reviews about it, I definitely wasn’t prepared for what I was about to read.

”I feel like something pushing me forward. If I don’t watch out I’ll have hold of her hand, tasting her fingers in my mouth.”

This book surprised me, but not in the way I thought it would. I expected abuse in a man’s world, the suppression of women and yes, even rape because my bestie warned me about that one a few years ago. What everyone forgot to mention was that this is also a story about strong women and two sisters that write each other for years. One of them is living with a violent husband and the other lives in a colony in Africa and deals with completely different problems than her sister overseas. To follow their lives was very intriguing and I enjoyed Nettie’s letters from Africa a lot. It was interesting to read how she lived and how the native people dealt with the missionaries that came to them.

”Who you think you is? he say. You can’t curse nobody. Look at you. You black, you pore, you ugly, you a woman. Goddam, he say, you nothing at all.”

Celie however had to deal with an entirely different set of problems though, and I can’t say how much I despised Mr. for his behaviour! He’s your typical run-of-the-mill obnoxious and violent husband and I just couldn’t deal with him. If I’d have been Celie I would have left him as soon as possible. But where to go if you’re a penniless woman without any family ties? Well, Celie certainly found her own way to deal with him and I’m very proud of her for standing up to him. It took time and courage but she eventually managed to do it. =)

What load of bricks fell on you? I ast.
No bricks, he say. Just experience. You know, everybody bound to git some of that sooner or later. All they have to do is stay alive. And I start to git mine real heavy long about the time I told Shug it was true that I beat you cause you was you and not her.”

A very important part of this book which was never mentioned in any of the reviews I read is the fact that there is a f/f relationship in “The Color Purple”. Yes, you read right: A f/f relationship between a lesbian and a bisexual woman! (At least I got the impression it’s a lesbian/bi relationship) Which aside from the violence and abuse is probably one of the main reasons this book is banned in so many countries and schools. In my opinion Walker made sure never to explicitly touch the subject but from the little you see, you can glean that they are in love with each other and have a sexual relationship. I know some people claim that there is graphic sexual content but either I read too much smut in my life (pretty likely! *lol*) or I have a different concept of graphic than the average person. (also very likely due to all of the smut! ;-P)

”He love looking at Shug. I love looking at Shug.
But Shug don’t love looking at but one of us. Him.
But that the way it spose to be. I know that. But if that so, why my heart hurt me so?”

If this would have been a modern book I would have been very unhappy with the bisexual rep, but since it’s an old one I decided to take it the way it is. No need to rant about it when I know that people had a completely different outlook on bisexuality back then. >_< Let’s just say I didn’t like that the bi character was represented as a rogue that only thinks with her loins. *lol*

4

“The Color Purple” addresses a lot of sensitive issues and considering in which time it was written this was a pretty bold move. Walker doesn’t shy away from bringing up difficult topics though and instead decided to introduce us into the life of a huge family that works in its own way. It’s complex, it’s multi-layered and at times it’s tough to read, but if that’s your jam I can totally recommend this book to you. 😉

”I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you’ve found It.”

P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

 

”What’s going on?”
“I don’t know, Jeevan. That’s the short answer. I don’t know what’s going on. It’s a flu, that much is obvious, but I’ve never seen anything like it. It is so fast. It just seems to spread so quickly –“

This is one of the rare times I’m actually searching for the right words and if you know me, you know that this doesn’t happen all too often. *lol* To describe this book is kind of hard though so bear with me when I don’t always manage to convey my thoughts and feelings. It’s not easy with a book like “Station Eleven” because it’s so unlike any other post-apocalyptic book I ever read.

Sure, it begins with the Georgia Flu that wipes out about 90% of humankind, but unlike other books it doesn’t focus on the illness, but rather on the lives of the few people who survived it. AND it centres on the life of Arthur Leander, an actor who died on stage shortly before the flu broke out.

”This is my soul and the world unwinding, this is my heart in the still winter air.”

The narration of this book is kind of complicated because it doesn’t only jump between different POVs but also alternates between different timelines. There’s the one after the Georgia flu and there’s the one before the flu. The one that tells the story of a man who lives in our modern world. A world with electricity, running water, i-phones, divorces and tv screens, a world with medicine and airplanes. A world in which everything is still possible and in which everyone takes everything for granted.

”What I mean to say is, the more you remember, the more you’ve lost.”

This sentence stuck with me, because it explains the book and the characters that live in it so well. If you lived in our world, if you were a child and got a taste of it, you remember what it used to be and how easy everything was. Can you imagine a world without the internet? Without flushing toilets and electricity? Without supermarkets that provide you with food? Well, once you know this comfort it’s kind of hard to live without it. Believe me and take the word of a person who’s been at plenty of music festivals that went on for four days and nights. *lol* I know what I’m talking about. ;-P

”Beneath the fury was something literally unspeakable, the television news carrying an implication that no one could yet bring themselves to consider. It was possible to comprehend the scope of the outbreak, but it wasn’t possible to comprehend what it meant.”

This book is not about the Georgia flu and it’s outbreak, no, it’s about people and their lives before and after “the unspeakable” happened. There are items that connect those people throughout the course of those years and I really loved that aspect of the book. It gave me comfort, it gave me hope. Just to know that the past wasn’t forgotten, that a simple paperweight and the “Station Eleven” comic books survived and were passed on. That some of those characters actually remembered!

”First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.”

Kirsten Raymond, Jeevan, Arthur Leander, Miranda, Elizabeth, Clarke and Tyler. They are all connected with each other, they just don’t know it. Their lives are interwoven, in the past, the present and the future and no matter if they are unaware of it or not, a little part of them continues to live on. The experiences they made, the past they shared, the effects of it on their future, it’s one big cycle and it’s their story to tell…

“Station Eleven” is an intricate and interwoven piece of literature that makes you not only think about the things you lost and left behind but also inevitably forces you to gaze at everything that lies in the future ahead of you. It gives you hope and when everything is said and done, when your world turns dark and lonely, it’s exactly this kind of hope that helps you to carry on.

„Survival is insufficient.“