Author Archives: unrulyginger

Lockwood & Co. #1: Die seufzende Wendeltreppe – Jonathan Stroud

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2,5 Sterne von 5

Wie bereits erwähnt gebe ich dem Buch 2,5 Sterne/Punkte/Würstchen/Wasauchimmer. Normalerweise – wie auch hier – runde ich in einem solchen Fall auf. Aber, ebenfalls wie bereits erwähnt, hätte ich hier fast mal abgerundet.

Jugendbuch hin oder her, das sind die mit Abstand unsympathischsten und abschreckendsten „Ermittler“ seit Books & Braun. Und nein, da verbessert es die Lage auch nicht, ein noch unsympathischeres und abschreckenderes Ermittler-Team reinzuschreiben. Blöde Charaktere bleiben blöde Charaktere.

Wobei Lockwood ja eigentlich noch geht. (Ich war übrigens echt happy herauszufinden, dass nicht nur ich denke, dass Lockwood sehr Sherlock-artige Züge aufweist.) Aber die anderen beiden sind absolut unerträglich.

Das Schlimmste bei allen dreien ist allerdings dieses ständige, kindische und absolut unnötige Rumgestreite! Das geht einem nach einer Weile so unendlich auf den Geist! (Geist. Haha. Verstehste? Sorry. Der Wortwitz war nicht beabsichtigt.) Vor allem, weil ein Konflikt (so bescheuert und an den Haaren herbeigezogen er auch sein mag) nie wirklich gelöst wird, sondern es wird einfach irgendwann aufgehört zu streiten. (Meistens durch irgendeine Unterbrechung von außerhalb, wie z. B. dem ebenfalls unerträglich unsympathischen BEBÜP-Inspektor.) Ja, nee.

Außerdem geht es, finde ich, immer schief, wenn Ich-Erzähler sich selbst beschreiben. Es klingt immer eingebildet. Vor allem, wenn es junge Mädchen sind, die von einem männlichen Autor geschrieben werden. Überlasst doch einfach mal was der Fantasie der Leser! Gott, wie mich das nervt! „Ich habe lange blonde Haare, bin schlank und durchtrainiert und habe einen super-sexy Schmollmund, aber meine Nase ist total schmal und unansehnlich. Die geht ja gar nicht. Deswegen bin ich auch so hässlich und kein Junge beachtet mich.“ Nee, is‘ klar!

Es dauert unglaublich lange, bis in dem Buch wirklich mal was passiert. Also, nein. Anders. Eigentlich passiert gleich am Anfang was – was auch ziemlich spannend ist – und dann… kommt die komplette Vorgeschichte. Und die BEBÜP. Und sinnlose Streitereien. Und zwischendurch ein kleines bisschen ernsthafte Recherche, was aber viel zu wenig ist, um mich in irgendeiner Weise zu fesseln. Und wenn mir die weibliche Ich-Erzählerin noch ein Mal erzählt hätte, dass sie ja nur und ausschließlich mit Rock und Leggins rumläuft, wäre das Buch vermutlich an die Wand geflogen.
(Was ich übrigens auch nicht so ganz verstanden habe, war die Aussage: „Ich interessiere mich ja nicht für Kleider.“ Oder so ähnlich. Und? Was soll uns das jetzt sagen? Man kann nur dann eine starke, unabhängige und selbstbewusste Frau – oder, wie in dem Fall, ein junges Mädchen – sein, wenn man Kleider hasst und wie ein 90er-Jahre-Emo rumläuft?)

Dass ich nicht abgerundet habe, liegt an der Idee an sich, die ich wirklich gut fand (nur eben schlecht umgesetzt) und am letzten Viertel des Buches, das tatsächlich mal spannend und gut geschrieben war. Außerdem habe ich mich redlich bemüht zu berücksichtigen, dass das ein Jugendbuch ist (auch wenn ich es dafür trotzdem noch ziemlich banane fand.) Daher drei Sterne. Irgendwie. Aber auf jeden Fall lese ich keines von den folgenden Büchern.

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The Green Mile – Stephen King

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Five stars out of five

I was very reluctant to read this book for a very long time.
Mostly because I absolutely hate to read about innocent people being killed because they are not-white, retarded, poor or all of the above.
The incredible unfairness of something like that upsets and infuriates me to no end and never really leaves me. So, yeah. I usually tend to avoid stories like that.

But “The Green Mile” is not about that.
Well, it is, but not entirely.
The difference is John Coffey’s view on everything plus the fact that almost everyone in this book gets what they deserve. Or even want. So the initial unfairness is kind of “balanced out” quite nicely.

It also helps that Paul Edgecomb and his three most trusted colleagues (and/or friends) are imo thoroughly likable characters, and the real villains are complete assholes. That doesn’t mean it’s all black and white (no pun intended), but seriously? With some people in this book (and I daresay even in our real lives) it actually is just that easy.

Once more a beautiful (even if at times heartbreaking) story wonderfully told.
(Though I’m still angry about Mr. Jingles’ fate. Yes, I’m looking at you, Stephen! That was quite unnecessary!)

Read it! And keep your hankies ready! I dare you not to cry at the end. Or in the middle. Or at least once at any point while reading this book.

(And beware of the first-person-narrator if you don’t like that kind of thing. I don’t like them much myself, but in this case I really recommend you’d give it a try.)

Salem’s Lot – Stephen King

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4,5 Stars out of 5

Yes. This is definitely still one of my favourite books.

But be aware: this book takes its time before anything actually happens, so you’ll need a bit of patience. And I’m talking about pretty much half the book here, so consider yourselves warned.

Stephen King uses roughly the first half of the book to establish some kind of every-day-life-routine for Salem’s Lot and its people. He introduces a lot of characters (and by “a lot” I mean about a metric ton); not only the main ones but also supporting characters which don’t always play a larger part, but still pop up now and then, and just add to the “this is a small-town community feeling”, imo. The characters are not all likable (tbh, most of them aren’t), but then, you have many of those in RL small towns, too, so…

Anyway. Yes, this book is off to a slow beginning, but the story itself is beautiful. Long, heartbreaking, creepy and brutal, but beautiful nevertheless. It might remind you of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, but at the same time it’s completely different. (And the best thing of all? Those vampires don’t sparkle in the sunlight. They are good old-fashioned vampires who just want your blood by all means necessary, and consequences be damned!)

You won’t get to keep all your darlings. A lot of them will die. (If they’re lucky.) And I still think of “Salem’s Lot” as one of my favourite books. Knowing me (as some of you do), this is a rare occurrence indeed.

Skulduggery Pleasant #5: Mortal Coil – Derek Landy

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5 starst out of 5

I still think that Wreath and his strange high priest have completely miscalculated. Yes, Valkyrie likes the powers of a necromancer, but she’s not stupid. Conceited, arrogant, vain maybe, but not stupid. (Well, actually she is sometimes, but not in that regard.) And she’s careful. Sometimes. But every time it counts. So… Whatever they have planned, they already rely too much on Valkyrie’s compliance, and I can’t see that happening.

Apparently “Team Skulduggery” is not at all perfect. Underestimating the enemy (especially like that) is not only negligent but also incredibly stupid.
We get to see a more vicious side of Skulduggery, too, in this book, however briefly. The cold and clinical way he hurt Dalrymple was… I wouldn’t say OOC, since we still don’t know all that much about his character, respectively his character’s past, but it was rather telling.

Wow! The “Toxic Twins” are the first mortals to find out Valkyrie’s secret. I have to admit I didn’t see that coming. At this point I actually thought no one of the “normal people” would find out. Huh. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

Val, please stop calling your reflection stupid. Even you should have realised by now it’s (she’s?) anything but!

And, GOD! Can you just leave the good characters be for one bloody book??? As soon as I like someone they die, are possessed be Remnants or turn out to be traitors! Seriously! It’s worse than Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter combined!
I still hope that not everyone who died stays dead, but so far none of the others came back (Skulduggery notwithstanding), so… *sighs*

Nye was effing creepy, but I loved the whole sequence!

Fletcher is now “together” with Valkyrie. Hmpf. And I already feel some kind of “love-drama-triangle” coming (possible with Caelan). Meh.
*reads about five pages more* Oh, look! There it is already! The Love-Drama-Triangle. Oh, barf!
I still find Fletcher highly irritating, and Caelan is even worse. He’s like all the men in the world who can’t take no for an answer. I don’t understand that boyfriend/love-triangle thing in general. Why is this even in there? Because it’s “the done thing”? Because the story itself would’ve worked just as well without Valkyrie having a love-life.

***SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS***

Davina Marr died far too quickly. Can we get her back and kill her again, just slower?

I was utterly gutted by the death of Kenspeckle Grouse (poor Clarabelle!), but what hit me even harder was the loss of Tanith. I have no words.

You know, with folks like Tennebrae, the Remnants and Madame Mist around, I would totally understand if Val got full-on Darquesse to just kill those ugly low-lives, and consequences be damned. I probably would.

Skulduggery Pleasant #4: Dark Days – Derek Landy

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5 stars out of 5

I really, really hate Davina Marr.

Okay. Here we go. A kiss from Fletcher Renn quite close to the beginning, and at the end they’re “together”. Yes, it’s still pretty low-key and even Stephanie’s… And maybe I should really start calling her Valkyrie… okay, so Valkyrie’s reaction to said kiss was quite understated, but… irchz. Let’s just wait and see. (But really: experience tells me that it usually gets worse from that point onwards.
And I actually agree with China on that one: there can’t come anything out of it. I don’t think Valkyrie has realized it (yet), but at this point she is neither willing nor able (not to mention old enough) to have any kind of serious relationship, plus, she loves “adventuring” with Skulduggery way too much. I don’t see Fletcher deal all that well with playing second fiddle all the time. Maybe for a while, yes, but I’m pretty sure he’ll be fed up with the way Valkyrie’s handling this relationship thing at one point.

I don’t think it’s a spoiler when I tell you that Valkyrie’s mother is pregnant. At this point I’m just exuberantly happy that it’s not Valkyrie who’s pregnant. I mean: book 4. Many writers of dystopian novels (not that I’m saying this series is dystopian, but still) would’ve probably jumped at the chance. Then again, in a lot of dystopian novels Valkyrie would have fallen in love for about five times by now, so…

Wow. Skulduggery is really messed up from his time in the parallel dimension. Almost just like his “before-self”, but with quite an edge. I thought it was a lie when he told Valkyrie that it was just ruse to fool Marr and Guild, and that his “messed-up-ness” will flare up again at some point, but apparently he was telling the truth, because his time over there is never mentioned again. (Or just once. Briefly.) Which is a pity. I would’ve loved to see more of a slightly disturbed Skulduggery, and his friends doing his best to help him back on track.

Solomon Wreath reveals his own agenda; and, while I knew he had one, I didn’t know it would be quite that big. Anyway. Good luck with that. I’m not entirely sure yet, but I still think Valkyrie will knock them dead. (Whether literally or metaphorically I don’t really care. Apparently it’s true and all Necromancers are a) not to be trusted, b) not very nice people, c) idiots and d) idiots – no that’s not a typo, that point just bears repeating.)

The case itself is pretty straightforward: The bad guys try to destroy the Sanctuary. Well, it’s a bit more complicated, but essentially that’s it. This books lead bad guy also wants to take revenge on Guild (which I can totally understand), and goes about it in a very smart way. Once more Team Skulduggery has to really work for it to save the world (again), or at least a few thousand people. I liked it.

Also: Clarabelle is unsettling.

Also no. 2: There was a point in this book where Remus Crux wanted to kill Valkyrie to make her “pay for the crimes of her ancestors”.
“Original Sin” was, is and ever will be the most stupid, ridiculous, useless and just plainly idiotic concept ever thought of, and I will never be able to like, respect or take seriously anybody who actually believes in it.

And, of course, as if things weren’t bad enough already, the book ends with quite a bang. I’m sure this will get even more interesting than it already is.

Like I said, dark days is a very apt title. Dark days, indeed. And they’re probably going to get a lot darker.

***SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS***

Davina Marr is the most horrid, despicable being on earth and deserves a slow and painful death a hundred times over. Myron Stray wasn’t a very nice man, but nobody deserves to endure what he did. Except Davina Marr. Actually she should be kept in a time loop, reliving his last 72 hours forever.

And thank you so much, China, for killing that moron Remus Crux.

Valkyrie is Darquesse. Or… will become Darquesse at one point. I’m curious how they’ll get out of that one. If they do at all.

Skulduggery Pleasant (#3): The Faceless Ones – Derek Landy

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5 stars out of 5

Once again a few new characters, all of them very well-written. I wanted to kill Remus Crux practically instantly after having “met” him for the first time, but Finbar Wrong is probably one of the best characters ever written. (Even if he doesn’t have much “screen time”, so to say.)

Fletcher Renn is incredibly irritating at first, but he gets better towards the end.

Solomon Wreath is intriguing. I wonder what he really wants to gain. I’m not buying that altruistic reasoning for a second.

But seriously: If Thurid Guild and Remus Crux are supposed to be “good guys” (and the Grand Mage is supposed to be a good guy), I’ll stay with the bad ones. What a pair of jerks!

The scene in the “pretend house” beneath Gordon’s actual house was absolutely terrifying. I loved it!

There’s a very, very nice twist at the end! I’m usually good at spotting things like this, but I didn’t see that one coming. Clever.

Will we ever get to learn more about Skulduggery’s past? Kenspeckle Grouse seems to really despise him, and I’m curious as to why.

It’s starting to get a liiiittle bit “romance-y”, but so far it’s all veeeery low-key and pretty much non-existent, so I can live with it – for now.

A great book, but not for children, I think. Melting eyes, adhering lips and bodies turning inside out are hard even on me, and I’m an adult (at least age-wise).

***SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS***

I can’t believe they killed Mr. Bliss!! *wails* Our only hope of getting rid of that stupid Grand Mage Thurid Guild!!

And seriously: can’t Stephanie see that the reflection might become a problem? I know she has a lot on her plate, but she can’t be that stupid, right?

Paddy being Batu was just… wow! I never suspected him for a second! I mean, yeah, I knew something was a little off about him when he started this kind of “philosophical discussion” with Stephanie, but I just thought he’ll turn out to be a sorcerer in the end. Or he’ll have some magic, but nothing “spectacular” or something. Huh. I guess his tactic worked better than anybody thought, if even the readers were fooled. Hats off to Derek Landy!

Skulduggery Pleasant (#2): Playing With Fire – Derek Landy

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5 stars out of 5

I don’t know what it says about me, but for some reason I can relate more to the “bad guys” than the heroes. (With the exception of Vaurian Scapegrace. Christ, what an idiot!) I usually like them better, too. Especially Springheeled Jack. I mean, I could totally do without the killing-innocent-people thing, but both attitude- and humour-wise they’re really charming. (Yeah, I know, I’m weird. I’m reading a book about a skeleton detective. Are you really surprised?)
At least the straight-forward ones. I absolutely hate Thurid Guild and everybody from the so-called Sanctuary (ha!). Mostly because they’re arrogant, stupid, unreasonable and completely unable to actually listen. Plus, they think they know everything better. This combined with their other character traits makes them all utterly despicable.
The really evil ones (and the heroes, too, I suppose) chose a side, and chose it clearly. They don’t try to hide that fact or bully someone with “regulations” and “laws” and whatnot. They just want to kill you, and you always know where you stand with them. Those Sanctuary guys are slimy little weasels who got it all horribly wrong, but are too vain, dumb and/or rigid to admit their mistakes and learn from them. I really hate people like that.

Anyway.

A very good read. Again.

I still love Stephanie’s parents (especially her father), because they’re so decidedly normal, yet totally weird in an utterly adorable way. Sometimes I wish they knew what was going on with their daughter, sometimes I wish they’ll never find out.

Still no love stories. Yay!

The ending was a tad too dramatic for my liking, and I found the “Stephanie-saves-the-day”-thing a bit… irritating, but well. She is the main character. Still. I hope she won’t turn out to be yet another “Super-Mercy”, like the main character in a different book series. Let’s see.

***SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS***

I’m curious about the consequences of shooting Stephanie’s reflection. I mean, yes, the reflection isn’t suppose to feel things, but it had been made very clear that, since Stephanie uses it every day, it seemed to have changed quite a bit. Like, gaining more self-awareness, leading an independent life, parallel to Stephanie’s, or the “memory transfer” that’s not complete. Sure, there are maybe about a few seconds missing, but it’s still not like it should be. And, of course, since Stephanie is Stephanie she doesn’t tell anyone about it, but I really think this reflection business will come back to bite her in the arse. Big time.