Age of Empyre (The Legends of the First Empire #6) by Michael J. Sullivan
Book Review / April 28, 2020

Age of Empyre by Michael J. Sullivan My rating: 5 of 5 stars “The stories I write might be fantasy, but the depiction of the feelings people share for each other is real.” I’m cheating. The above quote is not from the actual content but from Michael’s afterword. I chose it for the simple fact that, to me at least, this is what makes Michael’s books “work” for me. But we’ll come to that yet… First, I have to admit that I was actually afraid of reading this book. “Age of Death”, this book’s predecessor, was not exactly my favourite. It felt long, uninspired, weighed down by metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. The creative playfulness, the lightness, was mostly missing and those were important reasons I really liked the books before it. Would “Age of Empyre” “fix” this and as easily achieve what the first four books did? Not quite… “Brin felt altogether miserable. The written language was her one thing, her life’s achievement. She’d spent years creating, refining, and polishing the system. It was the accomplishment she was proudest of, at least until a moment ago.” … where early on the wheel was invented and Michael actually managed to make me believe…

A Birthday Lunch (Bruno, Chief of Police #11.5), by Martin Walker
Book Review / April 25, 2020

A Birthday Lunch by Martin Walker My rating: 1 of 5 stars Another short story from the “Bruno universe”. Unfortunately, like the later novels, this one didn’t have any appeal for me. A large part of it is basically simply a narrated recipe… “He beat the yolks and eggs together with a hundred fifty grams of sugar until they were creamy.” … and that really doesn’t float my boat, sorry. The rest is just plain boring. Moving on. View all my reviews

A Market Tale (Bruno, Chief of Police #7.5), by Martin Walker
Book Review / April 24, 2020

A Market Tale by Martin Walker My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is a nice and typical Bruno short story. It’s a good sample for the early Bruno novels since it represents everything that’s good about the series: Bruno is so wonderfully likeable, friendly and empathic.The market obviously plays as an important role as in many of the novels.There’s a small conflict but Bruno congenially solves it. I felt right at home with this short story. View all my reviews

The Happy Ever After Playlist, by Abby Jimenez
Book Review / April 21, 2020

The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez My rating: 4 of 5 stars After not just one but two less than stellar reads in a row, I wanted to read something that was a) unlikely to disappoint (because I didn’t have high expectations in the first place), b) uplifting and c) easy to “digest”. “The Happy Ever After Playlist” was almost exactly that. It started right by being funny… “I snorted and descended into manic laughter again, putting a finger to my twitching eyelid.” … and went on to be just “nice”, good-natured maybe or – as my daughter might put it – “wholesome”… “Ten days. I’d had Tucker for ten wonderful, fur-on-my-bedspread, wet-kisses-in-the-morning, tail-wagging days.” It felt pretty much like watching an old favourite TV show from childhood. Exactly what I wanted. Of course, a (mostly) simple romance like this, featuring a hot bone-marrow-donating (to save a little girl!) rock star, Jason, and a curvy blonde, Sloan, who falls for him, is pretty much as cliché as it gets.Thus, I read this alternating between smiling (and sometimes giggling) and cringing (“I wanna get my hands on your pipes.”) – sometimes even simultaneously. What helped was how effortless this…

False Value (Rivers of London #8), by Ben Aaronovitch
Book Review / April 19, 2020

False Value by Ben Aaronovitch My rating: 2 of 5 stars “If there was ever a candidate to be patron saint of computers then it would be Alan Turing. Mathematician, war hero and tragic victim of homophobia.” And the above quotation is pretty much the only redeeming quality of this entire uninspired mess of a book. As seems almost mandatory among “hip” authors these days, we have completely unnecessary jumps in the narrated time between chapters. Why can’t people tell their story linearly?! It’s not that hard and Aaronovitch stops jumping around the middle of the book and nothing of value is lost. So, why do it in the first place? There’s no character development, no furthering any story arc, nothing. Not even the mediocre story of mixing magic, the generally supernatural and technology is fully explored but lacklustrely told and unconvincingly at that. Even worse: Apart from countless allusions to the Hitchhiker’s Guide, “False Value” alludes to other works of Aaronovitch (probably those graphic “novels”) which I’m not in the least interested in reading. This book was so boring, I’m surprised I managed to finish it. If you’ve been a fan so far, skip this one and hope for…

Opfer 2117 (Sonderdezernat Q #8) von Jussi Adler-Olsen
Book Review / April 9, 2020

Oder “Bullshit-Bingo mit Jussi”Oder “Alle Probleme dieser Welt – in einem Buch!” My rating: 1 of 5 stars “Erst da begriff Carl, dass Assad gerade auf der Kippe stand – der Kippe zwischen Mensch und Killermaschine.” Meine Güte, Adler-Olsen, was tun Sie da eigentlich?! Sie haben unglaublich sympathische Protagonisten: Carl Mørk, behäbiger Ermittler, der gern mal an seinem Schreibtisch schläft und seine Fälle eher widerwillig, aber beharrlich löst.Assad, sein Kollege mit scharfem Verstand, viel Empathie und arabischem Migrationshintergrund, der immer wieder für amüsante Sprichwort-Verwechslungen sorgt, aber auch ein dunkles (?) Geheimnis mit sich herumträgt, das ihn schwer belastet. Diese beiden eigentlich grundverschiedenen Menschen raufen sich Buch für Buch zusammen und lösen mit Verständnis, großer Humanität und Einfühlungsvermögen schwierige “Cold Cases”, die häufig auf Themen der Zeitgeschichte bezug nehmen. In bisher sieben Büchern habe ich Carl und Assad “begleitet” und es weitestgehend genossen. Dieses achte Buch jedoch… Lieber Leser, nimm Dir einen Zettel, und schreibe alle halbwegs aktuellen Herausforderungen der Menschheit des späten 20. und frühen 21. Jahrhunderts (außer COVID-19!) auf. Ich warte solange… Ok? Laß uns mal vergleichen: – Bootsflüchtlinge? ✓– Seenot-Rettung? ✓– Unhaltbare in Flüchtlingslagern? ✓– Iranisches Atom-Programm? ✓– Videospiel-Sucht? ✓– “Die Jugend von heute!!!!!!1!!1!!!!”? ✓– Presse-Schelte? ✓– Schwangerschaft…