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review 2019-07-17 10:14
Druidische Dreieinigkeit
Shattered - Kevin Hearne

Angehenden Schriftsteller_innen wird oft geraten, das Buch zu schreiben, das sie selbst lesen möchten. Kevin Hearne, Autor der „Iron Druid Chronicles“, nahm sich diesen Ratschlag zu Herzen. Er begann die Reihe um den Eisernen Druiden Atticus, weil er Urban Fantasy – Romane lesen wollte, die sich mit dem irischen Göttergeschlecht der Túatha Dé Danann beschäftigen und keine fand. In dieser Marktlücke sah er seine Chance, denn das Pantheon ist bezüglich seiner Rollenverteilung im europäischen Raum einzigartig: es verzichtet auf patriarchalische Strukturen. Hinsichtlich Einigkeit und Harmonie unterscheiden sich die irischen Götter und Göttinnen hingegen nicht von anderen Pantheons: sie zanken sich mit Inbrunst, was Atticus im siebten Band „Shattered“ schmerzhaft am eigenen Leib erfährt.

 

Er hätte es wissen müssen. Ein Geschenk der Morrigan, ha! Als Atticus O’Sullivan erkennt, wen die Göttin auf einer Zeitinsel konservierte, entgleisen ihm alle Gesichtszüge. Es handelt sich um seinen alten Lehrmeister. Owen Kennedy war bereits vor 2.000 Jahren ein griesgrämiger Stinkstiefel – Atticus hat so eine Ahnung, dass ihm die Anpassung an die Moderne gar nicht schmecken wird. Während er Owen die Vorzüge von Toiletten, Handys und der englischen Sprache beizubringen und gleichzeitig die Verschwörung in Tír na nÓg aufzudecken versucht, stellt sich Granuaile in Indien einem sensiblen Kapitel ihrer Vergangenheit. Ihr Vater ist vom Geist eines bösen Hexers besessen und läuft Amok. Mithilfe von Laksha muss sie einen Exorzismus an einem Mann durchführen, den sie eigentlich nur aus Briefen und Postkarten kennt. Zu spät begreift sie, dass sie in eine Falle tappt. Ragnarök rückt unaufhaltsam näher und Loki ist nicht dafür bekannt, fair zu kämpfen…

 

Uiuiui, was ist denn in Kevin Hearne gefahren? Da mausert sich jemand langsam, aber sicher zu einem richtig guten Schriftsteller! Ich bin entzückt! Es freut mich sehr, sein Wachstum als Autor zu beobachten. Urban Fantasy eignet sich nicht unbedingt dazu, mit schriftstellerischer Finesse zu glänzen, weil sie als reine Unterhaltungsliteratur oft einfach nicht den Rahmen für tiefgründige Betrachtungen liefert, doch mit „Shattered“ gelang es Hearne, ein neues Niveau zu erreichen. Der siebte Band der „Iron Druid Chronicles“ fühlte sich für mich geerdet und ausgeglichen an, obwohl die Handlung erneut actionreich ist und Hearne nun sogar mit drei Perspektiven jongliert, die in parallel verlaufende Erzählstränge münden. Neben Atticus und Granuaile erhält Owen, Atticus‘ alter Mentor, die Gelegenheit, seine Sichtweise zu ergänzen, was ich sagenhaft spannend fand. Nicht nur bietet er Einblicke in Atticus‘ Vergangenheit sowie seine Ausbildung, er vermittelt darüber hinaus eine einzigartige, faszinierende Einschätzung der modernen Gesellschaft. Ich dachte viel darüber nach, ob er die Jahrtausende jemals überbrücken und sich anpassen kann. Sollte er diese Herausforderung meistern, dann nur dank seines gradlinigen Dickkopfs und seiner Bereitschaft zur Selbstkritik. Die Dreiteilung gefiel mir somit sehr gut, weil sie die Geschichte um eine Facette erweitert, die ich nicht erwartet habe. Die Drei ist im druidischen Glauben eine magische Zahl, deren Macht sich ebenfalls aus der Einheit der Figuren ablesen lässt. Sie bieten sehr unterschiedliche Blickwinkel, die die verschiedenen Phasen im druidischen Leben symbolisieren. Während Owen Erfahrung und Weisheit des fortgeschrittenen Alters personifiziert, erleben wir Atticus in der Blüte seiner Jahre und Granuaile als junge Druidin, die einsieht, dass ihr Dienst für Gaia trotz allen Vorteilen immense Opfer fordert. Sie bilden eine Dreieinigkeit. Meinem Empfinden nach lassen erst Owen und Granuaile die Geschichte harmonisch schwingen. Atticus brauchte Gegengewichte. Ihre distinktiven, individuellen Stimmen bereichern „Shattered“ und ermöglichen es Kevin Hearne, sich auf der weiten Spielwiese seiner alternativen Realität voll auszutoben. Ich liebe es, dass er die gesamte magisch verbundene Welt als Bühne nutzt, in jedem Band mehr oder weniger exotische Länder und Kulturen besucht und ich dadurch immer etwas Neues über Religionen lerne. Dieses Mal traf ich indische und japanische Göttinnen, trank mit Jesus in Montana Tequila und lernte Yetis im Himalaya kennen. Cool, oder was? Hearne betont außerdem noch einmal den menschlichen Glauben als zentrale Kraft seines mythologischen Systems, wodurch sich einige vergangene Ereignisse relativieren. Göttliche können physisch sterben, solange auf Erden jemand an sie glaubt, bleiben sie metaphysisch jedoch quicklebendig und können sich nach Belieben manifestieren. In Zusammenhang mit Ragnarök verspricht das interessant zu werden, denn die Menschen wissen nichts von der drohenden Apokalypse und werden nicht plötzlich aufhören, an göttliche Entitäten zu glauben. Da fragt man sich doch, wie viel Erfolg Loki überhaupt haben kann.

 

Für mich war „Shattered“ emotional wieder ebenso einnehmend wie die ersten Bände der „Iron Druid Chronicles“. Die Handlung ist aufregend, erschien mir allerdings deutlich kontrollierter und weniger chaotisch. Ich glaube, dass Kevin Hearne sich langsam auf das Finale der Reihe vorbereitet und deswegen einige offene Baustellen abarbeitet, zum Beispiel die Verschwörung in Tír na nÓg, die sich im siebten Band endlich aufklärt. Vielleicht wurde ihm klar, dass er die Konflikte der Geschichte eingrenzen muss, um sie befriedigend abschließen zu können und entschied aus demselben Grund, Atticus außer Granuaile auch Owen zur Seite zu stellen. Die beiden stützen und festigen ihn. Ich hatte den Eindruck, dass sie ihn nach zahllosen schlechten Entscheidungen wieder auf den rechten Weg führen. Zu dritt haben sie meiner Meinung nach eine echte Chance, Loki die Stirn zu bieten und Ragnarök aufzuhalten. Offenbar ist die Rettung der Welt eine Aufgabe, für die es mehr als einen Helden braucht. Es braucht ein Trio.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/17/kevin-hearne-shattered
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text 2018-12-03 15:14
Monster Porn Monday

Monster Porn Monday ~ Erotica Mature 18+

Only one book, but it's an anthology. Yay for variety!

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2018/11/avr-weekly-news-266th-edition.html
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text 2018-10-01 15:30
Monster Porn Monday

Monster Porn Monday ~ You're welcome.

 

This will be my last MPM for awhile. Can you believe I've run out of monster porn to review? Well, free ones anyway. Or ones with my free KU membership which is expiring soon. I don't pay for monster porn because, well, it's not usually worth it in terms of quality.

 

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2018/10/monster-porn-monday.html
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review 2017-12-18 03:01
My Quest for the Yeti
My Quest for the Yeti: Confronting the Himalayas' Deepest Mystery - Reinhold Messner

A bit of background: Reinhold Messner is, as you may know, a famous, record-breaking mountaineer. He was the first to climb Everest without supplemental oxygen, he was the first to climb all of the 14 eight-thousanders, and many other incredible feats. However, in the mid-to-late 1980s, he became the target of much mockery when the media picked up an interview in which he apparently claimed to have seen a yeti (which is not what happened, as this book explains). 

 

When I first saw the book, I must admit that I rolled my eyes. I looked at the title and thought "Oh, dear. Here we go - it's the story of Reinhold and his Yeti." Still I was intrigued, and now I am glad to have read it, because it is not what I expected.

 

While it is about Messner's encounter with an unidentified creature, he does not claim the creature to be a yeti. The book actually takes a look at the myth of the yeti while investigating what the creature he saw might have been. He also looks at why the story made the headlines and how the mis-reported interview caused a rather cycnical reception.

Why this skepticism? The answer is simple enough: explorers and discoverers see what they want to see. Like all of us, they perceive reality through their own preconceptions.

Messner's descriptions of his trekking and travelling in Tibet is phenomenal. He clearly loves the place and has a lot of respect for its land, people, and culture. His knowledge of the area is remarkable, and he comes across a fairly grounded person - except when he thought his girlfriend left him stranded in Lhasa. 

 

He visits many different areas and interviews locals about the yeti myth. His conclusion is that the yeti exists only as a myth, but that the creature he encountered was likely a rare Himalayan bear.

 

This book was published in 1998. Since the time of the precarious interview with an Indian newspaper in 1986, Messner had been subjected to quite harsh ridicule, and his credibility as a writer and mountaineer really suffered. 

Considering this undeserved treatment and considering that Messner's theory of a rare bear as the origin of the yeti myth, it has been satisfying and delightful to learn that the scientific community now (in the last month or so as I am writing this) seems to consider Messner's idea as a valid explanation. Well done that man!

 

Still, even with the latest articles supporting Messner's ideas, it is still worth reading this book. Messner's writing in parts is absolutely gripping as he avoids being arrested by the Chinese police, or as he walks across Tibet by himself with nothing but a backpack and a sleeping bag (not tent). 

 

The other part that I found really gripping was the part where he described his observations of the Chinese regime in Tibet. He gives some background to the political situation of his visits at the time that the book is referring to but he also adds his first hand experiences.

As I have learnt from this (and his Everest book), he doesn't hold back and he doesn't seem to embellish, which makes the paragraphs on Tibet quite a decent work of journalism (in any case much better than what I encountered in Forensics recently, not that this is a high bar to set). 

 

This is from a visit in 1988:

 

"One day, I was in the middle of Parkor when suddenly plain-clothes policemen carrying guns and radios went running past me. The Tibetans scattered in panic; an old woman next to me began crying, and a distraught cripple, who had been cringing by the roadside, dragged himself into the nearest doorway. A truck blocked the way of the fleeing crowds; tear gas was in the air. Six young lamas who had been carrying a banner proclaiming "Free Tibet!" were hauled into a truck, which raced off, sirens blaring. Columns of soldiers marched in; then came trucks and more soldiers, their clean olive-green uniforms clashing starkly with the Tibetans' dirty rags."

Not long after this scene, the Chinese government closed Tibet to foreign journalist as the number of protests in Tibet increased. Incidentally, this prevented Messner from being able to conduct more research into the yeti myth for a number of years. 

For clarity, Messner's concern in the book is not for the disruption to his project for the welfare of the people in Tibet. Not that he spends much time on political issues, but, as I mentioned earlier, he has a very high regard for the country and its people. 

I found Messner's writing about Tibet absolutely riveting. In many ways, I could not help comparing it to Heinrich Harrer's book Seven Years in Tibet, which is an equally riveting story. Both books show their authors concerns for the country, and though they have been written in different times, they shared a common outlook.  

"The Chinese paid no attention to tourists, and the Tibetans seemed preoccupied with mumbling their prayers, as they had done for centuries. Traditionally, prayers were written on strips of paper, then rolled into cylinders and stuffed into containers the size of a fist. These were set in motion by a swipe of the hand; a weight revolving around a metallic rod in the middle of the cylinder kept it spinning. Once a Tibetan symbol of faith, these prayer mills were becoming increasingly rare, and the paintings of gods on rocks were fading. But the mumbling continued. Most Tibetans are indifferent to the rise in living standards brought about by China's rule. Spiritual life is dying out, and they have nothing to counter this with except their mumbling."

As far as books go, this was one of the most surprising reads this year, and I love that the books has changed my own preconceptions of the author. 

 

 

Previous status updates:

 

Update 1

Update 2

Update 3

Update 4

Update 5

Update 6

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review 2017-12-17 16:28
My Quest for the Yeti
My Quest for the Yeti: Confronting the Himalayas' Deepest Mystery - Reinhold Messner

I admit it: I went into this book thinking that Reinhold Messners narrative about seeing the yeti in the Himalaya would be the rambling of a madmen. But this book took me by surprise. 

 

Following his encounter with a strange and foreign creature, Messner digs into the yeti myth and tries to explore the meaning behind this myth to give a possible explanation for it. Could it be an animal that lies behind the origin of the elusive yeti?

 

First off, there is nothing madmen like about this book. Messner establishes a theory which isn´t preposterous or ridiculous, yet everyone back in the late 80s and early 90s treated him like he was a nut job:

 

"Go back to your yeti!" shouted an old man as he passed me on the street in the town where I live in Austria. My daughter Magdalena was with me. "Why do people yell at you about the yeti?" she asked me solemnly.

"I don´t know," I replied, "maybe they don´t like what I say about it."

"But it´s none of their business!" she exclaimed, still upset.

"Yes, it is. The yeti belongs to anyone who has heard of it, and no one wants to give up the picture they have in their head. Everyone sees it their own way."

"The real yeti couldn´t care less, right?"

"Absolutely right. The yeti is really thick-skinned. He has no idea that half the world is thinking about him," I said as we drove him.

 

Messner attitude and the way he deals with vicious people and stupid journalists is pretty great and even though he sometimes comes across as a very rude guy in interviews (at least I perceive him as such), he seems to be a down to earth guy. He says things that very well could be true, but no one is actually listening to him and thus he became "the crazy guy, who has suffered from altitude sickness and, during a hallucination, saw a yeti".   

 

Besides his personal experiences Messner looks at the different theories surrounding the yeti and its possible link to a type of bear called chemo, he explores the connection between the Nazis and the yeti myth and he gives an insight into the strained history of Tibet.

 

The whole book was a fascinating read and I really enjoyed reading this book. Thank you BrokenTune, for suggesting the buddy read. I would never have picked this book up without you.

 

And I can count this book towards the 16 tasks of the festive season, which is awesome.

 

Book themes for Bodhi Day: Read a book set in Nepal, India or Tibet, –OR– which involves animal rescue. (Buddhism calls for a vegetarian lifestyle.)

 

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