Author: Michele Lang
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Alternate History, Romance, Adult
Publication Date: January 2012 (expected)
Synopsis: Magda Lazarus was a reluctant witch until the dire threat of Nazi Germany convinced her to assume the mantle of her family’s ancient powers. But though this young, beautiful Jewish woman has fought off Hitler’s SS werewolves and the demon who would rule through the Führer, she has been unable to prevent the outbreak of World War II.
As long as Magda can summon spirits, there is still a chance to save people from the dire threat of the Holocaust. Her family’s guardian angel, Raziel, stands beside her in the battle against the human and supernatural forces of evil arrayed against her people and all of Europe.
In Michele Lang’s Dark Victory, as the Nazis prepare to invade Poland, Magda and her beloved Raziel marshal their own army, a supernatural force that will battle Hitler’s minions to the death…or beyond.
☆: 1/5 – avoid at all costs. Not even kidding.
Review: Oh boy. I really have to tread carefully, because I barely made it through the first three chapters of this book. Note that I have not read the first book in this series, and I do have to thank Tor for sending me an advance copy of the book. However, it took all of my strength not to hurl the book at the wall because it offended me pretty deeply. And honestly? I’m a very difficult person to offend. Seriously. Don’t get me wrong – the idea of SS werewolves is hilarious – but only when it’s a joke or satire. I loved “Inglorious Basterds”, as this has been often compared to in other reviews, but comparing the two is just plain wrong and an insult to Tarentino.
Why am I so angry about this book? The subject matter is not satire. While I will once more repeat that I have not read the first book, the implication that Hitler was possessed by a demon and that’s why he wanted to kill off all of the “inferiors” to his master race…well, as I was born Jewish, it’s kind of a slap in the face. It’s an easy way out for a very obviously evil man, demons or not. And to sell books based on that is a huge dick move. I mean seriously. I can appreciate an alternate timeline with the supernatural taking part in real historical events in our real world – if anything, I love stuff like that. I usually say “Hey, bring it on and let the lulz ensue!”. But I draw the line when it comes to talking about the wholesale slaughter of my ancestors when it’s obviously not in a satirical way.
But Usagi, you say, the protagonist is an awesome Jewish witch and it’s empowering and stuff! I won’t argue with you there – I did like the protagonist’s gumption (yes, I really did just use that word in a review) in wanting to save her people from the Final Solution (conveniently seen by her younger sister in a vision), and it was nice seeing some strong feminism in a time when feminism was still evolving as a movement, but the author went about it all wrong. And it wasn’t enough to make me keep reading.
I’m not even going to touch the technical aspects of the novel – the overused tropes of paranormal romance where an Angel gives up his Angelhood to be with the human he loves, the need for at least two mor drafts when it comes to POV and the use of “I” versus the use of in media res when starting sentences, and witches using prophecies in order to save the world. However, I will give the author points for trying urban fantasy in the 1930s and in Europe, where we rarely see that happening. That’s the only reason why she gets that star, along with the feminism.
To be honest, I don’t know why people are gushing over this series. It’s seriously puzzling. What part of “Hitler was seriously evil and using a demon/alternate history as an excuse is not okay” isn’t clear? Would you read a book where a woman gets raped and murdered because the person is possessed by demons and then be okay with it? Because that’s basically the same thing, but on a more massive scale.
Otherwise? I’d like to thank Tor for being kind enough to send me a copy of the book for consideration, but this was just a bad match.