Saturday, September 25, 2010

Review: Lady Lazarus

Lady Lazarus
By: Michele Lang
ISBN: 0765323176 (ISBN13: 9780765323170)
Series: Lady Lazarus Trilogy
    1. Lady Lazarus
    2. Dark Victory
    3. Rebel Angels

The Magic of Fabulous (novella)
The World of Lady Lazarus (free companion guide to the series)
“The Witch of Budapest” (coming soon: short story)

Summary from the back of the book:
Adventure, Romance, and Magic on the Eve of World War II

Summer 1939: Czechoslovakia has already fallen to Nazi Germany; Poland braces itself as the F├╝hrer speaks of "freeing" Danzig next. And throughout the Third Reich, Jews are systematically robbed of their homes and livelihoods.

In Budapest- the magical city where East meets West- beautiful, young Magda Lazarus has managed to make a life for herself in a dangerous world that teeters on the edge of war. Then her sister has a terrible vision: Nazi Germany overruns all of Europe, and their family and Jews from all across the continent- along with millions of others- are exterminated.

Magda is the last in a long line descended from the legendary Witch of Ein Dor. But before her mother died, she had resisted talk of their family's ability to return from the dead. Now Magda realizes she must somehow learn to use those powers to claim the fabled Book of the Angel Raziel, lest its secrets fall into Nazi hands. Alone, persued by SS werewolves, a Nazi wizard, and demons, including the one that has possessed a willing Adolf Hitler, she has no choice but to believe the family legends and summon Raziel. When he appears, in a blaze of power and majesty; she realizes this guardian angel is her only hope to save herself, her family, and Europe. And when she stands in his celestial presence, her heart is utterly, completely lost...

Favorite Quote (page 83):
"What about my sister and Eva- who are both depending on me to survive? How could you enforce judgment on me and not that wizard, when Gisele needs me? She's completely innocent. I am riddled with flaws, but reveal to me one of hers. One!"
     Raziel's face broke into a smile. It was like the sun coming out from behind a thunderhead. "She snores."
     His answer dumbfounded me. I sputtered, "But snoring isn't a sin!"
     He started to laugh, and I remembered to breathe, forced myself to smile back."

As much as I loved Michele Lang's previous books, this one book blew them out of the water. When it comes to historical fiction of any kind I tend to be really particular. What this means is that if you write historical fiction, I want the story to make sense and follow history properly (unless of course, you are in another universe). For example, if you write about a woman during the Revolutionary War, she isn't going to be running around in a leather mini-skirt. In regard to historical accuracy, Michele Lang did a fantastic job. She did amazing research which pulled things from history that are not extremely well known such as the SS Werewolf Unit or the fact that Hitler called himself Wolf. Not only did Michele Lang bring the historical knowledge to the plate, in this story but also the emotional aspects. She brought Magda's family to life in such a way that it made them very real and relate-able.

As I have said previously, the best part of Michele Lang's books are the fact that she dumps you into this new world and you have to figure it out as the characters do. Through this act, she creates a much greater depth to her characters and their settings. When you follow Magda through Budapest it will be as if you are walking alongside her because the story is so detailed and yet never loses momentum. Michele Lang's characters are very multi-dimensional even the less obvious ones. For instance, when you read the first couple of chapters you will encounter a trader whom you will hear about for the rest of the book but not only in a context of good or evil but rather the shades of grey that are part of real life.

In this book, Michele Lang pushes you and her characters further than ever before and in many ways that are not expected or even fathomable. The conflicts faced by Magda are quite unique and complex, all while she is just learning what it means to be a Lazarus. Some of the conflicts are facing down werewolves, battling an evil wizard, and staring down a horde of demons in such a way that by the end you are quite amazed and stunned.

Lady Lazarus also contains a great forbidden romance that is so subtle, and yet so apparent, it makes your heart melt. As a matter of fact, Michele Lang did such an amazing job of knitting the romance into the story in such a subtle way, when you get to the end you are in for quite a surprise.

This stunning book will have you on a roller coaster of emotion that doesn't stop at the last page. Not only will you want to "ride" again, it will have you waiting with bated breath for the next chapter in this trilogy. Honestly, this book has a little bit for everyone with it's mixture of history, romance, humor, action, and adventure. I enjoyed this book so much I read it twice. I have to definitely rate this book a five not only for everything I mentioned above but also because both times I read it, it gave me something new to love about it.

Why I Read This Book:
I decided to read this book because I have enjoyed all of Michele Lang's previous books. I also find historical fiction intriguing because it fits in with my "what-if" questioning of the universe. Plus I can't resist a story with a dynamic heroine.

Why I Finished This Book:
I couldn't put it down! Down to the last page, you are being flung through a series of events that will leave you guessing and begging to know what happens next.

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