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text 2017-07-26 11:36
Erster Satz | Kai Erik: Das böse Buch
Das böse Buch: Thriller - Kai-Erik Peiponen,Thorsten Alms

Während der dreißig Jahre, die Mickel Backman an der Åbo Akademie gelebt und gelehrt hatte, war der Etat für das Literaturwissenschaftliche Institut ständig gekürzt worden. 

 

Die schlechte Wirtschaftslage hatte die ganze Universität in Mitleidenschaft gezogen, aber ganz besonders die kleinen Institute und die weichen Fächer. Als Hochschullehrer hatte sich Mickel vor dem Fakultätsrat den Mund darüber fusselig geredet, dass dieser Abbau zu einer Oberflächlichkeit führte, die den Sinn und Zweck der Literaturwissenschaften aushöhlte. Alle hörten zu und nickten und murmelten Zustimmung, aber der Druck zu mehr Effektivität und schnelleren Abschlüssen kam von oben und nahm kein Fach aus. 

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review 2017-07-12 05:45
I enjoyed a lot
A Taste of Honey - Kai Ashante Wilson

A Taste of Honey is the Hugo, Nebula, Theodore Sturgeon, and Locus finalist novella that N. K. Jemisin calls "a love story as painful as it is beautiful and complex". One of BookRiot's "Best Books We Read in November."

Long after the Towers left the world but before the dragons came to Daluça, the emperor brought his delegation of gods and diplomats to Olorum. As the royalty negotiates over trade routes and public services, the divinity seeks arcane assistance among the local gods.

Aqib bgm Sadiqi, fourth-cousin to the royal family and son of the Master of Beasts, has more mortal and pressing concerns. His heart has been captured for the first time by a handsome Daluçan soldier named Lucrio. In defiance of Saintly Canon, gossiping servants, and the furious disapproval of his father and brother, Aqib finds himself swept up in a whirlwind gay romance. But neither Aqib nor Lucrio know whether their love can survive all the hardships the world has to throw at them.

A Taste of Honey is a new novella in the world of Kai Ashante Wilson's The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Review:

Dear Kai Ashante Wilson,

I have read your story as a part of the Hugo voting package and I really enjoyed it. Readers please note that I have not read “The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps” but the story did not left me feeling confused at all. Oh there were features in the world building I would have loved to know more about but I thought that for this story just enough was revealed and several whys that I had did not stop me from easily following the plot.

Readers please also note that after I finished the story I have read several reviews and some of the readers seemed confused by the non -linear narrative in this novella. Honestly I didn’t understand that complaint at all. Yes, the narrative jumps around *a lot* chronologically. There are no flash backs per se, but it is certainly not linear at all. However, the writer clearly marks every jump – for example, fifth day or tenth night or 52 years old.  My advice will be just to pay attention to these marks and you will not be confused.

I always enjoy the book which has gay love story front and center as this one most certainly did. Is this a romance though? I don’t know. See I cannot answer the question whether the ending was happy or not. For me it most certainly was, but I acknowledge that it is most certainly open to interpretations.

The language is so beautiful and I thought that language itself played an important part in the story. I cannot reveal more details because I feel  most of the revelations about this novella would be VERY spoilerish.  I do understand that it makes the review vague and less satisfying unfortunately. I wish I could quote from the ebook, but I cannot because as I said I have not bought the story, I read it as part of the Hugo reading, but please do check the sample and see if the writing is for you.

I loved the settings – the story mostly takes place in the fictional country of Ollorum as blurb describes it for you where Aqib and Lucrio meet. I thought Ollorum came to live based on some African influences and no, I cannot place it within specific real country context unfortunately. Dallucam seemed Rome inspired. 

I said previously that I am not sure if the story belongs to the genre Romance despite having gay love story front and center however there is also not much of the development of the relationship going on – they fit well together, but they fell in love pretty fast, so there is that. I didn’t think it made the story any less beautiful by the way.

There is a VERY significant plot twist in the last few pages of the book – the plot twist which surprised me in this story even if I saw such plot development ( in a very general way, I am almost looking at the whole trope behind this twist) before, but I was pleased that it happens here. I appreciated it.

The only reason why I am not giving this novella a perfect mark is because there was another plot development which was mentioned in the middle of the book but was not fully explained and I could not believe that the writer did not explain it. It could have been intentionally of course, but it almost felt as if the author forgot about it and I was annoyed.

Grade: B+

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url 2017-06-07 14:18
Celebrate Pride Month (from TOR.com)
Passing Strange - Ellen Klages
Down Among the Sticks and Bones - Seanan McGuire
The Drowning Eyes - Emily Foster
River of Teeth - Sarah Gailey
Runtime - S. B. Divya
A Taste of Honey - Kai Ashante Wilson

TOR.com article linked to notes more about the linked books saying  "We’re kicking off Pride Month with a list of Tor.com novellas featuring LGBTQ+ characters. . . . Join us later in the month for a list of novels!..."

Source: www.torforgeblog.com/2017/06/01/celebrate-pride-month-with-tor-com
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review 2017-06-03 01:39
ARC Review: Symbols by Mario Kai Lipinski
Symbols - Mario Kai Lipinski

Gosh, I wanted to love this book. I mean, read the blurb - the bullied kid who's spent his days hiding from everyone slowly falls for the gentle giant at the high school they both attend, until an act of violence threatens to tear them both apart... yeah, I signed up immediately for the ARC.

And for the first half or so, this book held me in its grip, as the story between Matt, the bullied kid, and Shane, the gentle giant, unfolds, as Matt begins to trust Shane, as they fall in love and forge a path together.

Yes, sure, there were some issues with the dialogue, which I attributed to the author not being a native speaker and not living in the US so research into how teens talk these days would have been tricky. And yes, sure, the principal pontificates to Shane when he first starts about there being a zero-tolerance policy at the school, and yet she has no idea that Matt has been bullied for years, hiding in corners, shaking and utterly miserable, terrified, in tears, something that even the cafeteria cashier has noticed, yet the principal has no clue - how's that possible? And why wouldn't the cafeteria cashier talk to an adult at the school? Many of the bullying incidents happen in hallways or inside the cafeteria, and yet nobody addresses it.

Still, it was engaging, and was invested.

However, right about the time, Matt is beaten up and ends up in a coma in the hospital, this book took a massive nose-dive. The asshole detective that arrests Shane for allegedly causing Matt's injuries (he didn't), the subplot with Shane engaging Matt's long-time nemesis to find the real perpetrator, the court date, the dramatic last minute rescue by Shane's former friend, the drama with Matt's mother's reaction to Shane's size, the nasty old woman on the bus, and, and, and - it was just all too much and too over the top and too unrealistic in how much was piled on Matt and Shane's shoulders.

Look, I got that the author tried to make the point that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, i.e. a teenager by his size and tattoos, but good grief, that point wasn't just made so much as hammered home time and again. And Shane, whom I adored, just took the judgments time and again, making all kinds of excuses for people's reactions to him. I hated that he did that. I hated that people would judge him just based on his looks and not his actions. For Matt's mother to think that Shane had hurt Matt, for anyone to think that Shane would hurt a fucking fly just because he's super tall, just pissed me off.

And yeah, I knew who the villain was going to be, but the reasoning behind the violent attack was pathetic. The perpetrator's characterization up to that point didn't indicate anything like what was given as a reason - I didn't buy it at all, and thought that it was just too convenient.

I loved both Matt and Shane, and I loved how gentle Shane was with Matt, and how Matt came out of his shell over time, and became the stronger one of the two. Their relationship was well done, and the author did a fantastic job bringing across the emotional bond between the two young men. What I didn't like so much were the multiple incidents of miscommunication and false assumptions that both of them make, but I chalked that off to them being young.

I think it can be very difficult for a non-native speaker to successfully write authentic dialogue as language continually evolves, especially in this day and age, and that the manner in which teens talk cannot be gleaned from, say, books, TV shows, or movies.

The premise was fantastic - the execution not so much. Still, three stars is nothing to scoff at. I did enjoy reading this book for the most part, and I did love Matt and Shane.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-04-14 17:28
Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson
The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps - Kai Ashante Wilson

Series: Sorcerer of the Wildeeps #1

 

Sorcerer of the Wildeeps follows Demane, a human with godly blood who is a guard for a caravan. A friend of mine really liked it so I came in with fairly high expectations. There’s a gay romance angle that’s kind of sweet, but largely I just couldn’t get into the book. I think I agree with others who complained that the sequences with the guards in the caravan before they got to the Road through the Wildeeps went on too long. There were also some weird tense shifts that contributed to the lack of cohesion of the novella. It was more fun once they actually got to the Wildeeps but it was a case of too little too late, and I found the twist near the end too well telegraphed. I don’t think I’ll be reading the second one.

 

Overall it’s an interesting world but I wasn’t drawn into the story. I also wasn’t drawn in by the language; I don’t see why others found it so appealing.

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