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(LADY LAZARUS)Lady Lazarus( BY Lang, Michele)(Author)Mass market paperback [Unknown Binding]

Michele Lang

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book that has a little for everyone! 12 Oct 2010
By B. Negri - Published on
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spirit Rising: Michele Lang's Lady Lazarus 18 Jan 2012
By A. E. Honigsberg - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Spirit Rising: Michele Lang's Lady Lazarus - Alexandra Honigsberg

It has been documented that the first word a child learns to utter is, most commonly, "no". Michele Lang's historical urban dark fantasy, Lady Lazarus (Tor, trade Sept. 2010 $14.99, mass market June 2011 $7.99), and her heroine Magda make a fine art of "no" that turns into a resounding "yes" on the eve of WWII (up to Hitler's invasion of Poland, Sept. 1st, 1939 and the Hitler-Stalin pact), from the cafés of Buda-Pest through Austria, Germany, and Paris, to the booksellers and brothels of Amsterdam and back again! The first installment of the story, this book is as good as it gets. You cannot guess where she will take you, even in the historical bits but, once Lang gets there, it is perfectly logical and believable, even at its most outrageous. Why? Because Lang has done her history, theology, and Bible homework and Knows her Kabbalah in a way that even some whiskery old masters do not. And she makes you believe. Even her undead, demonic, and angelic characters are utterly human and thus you are compelled to watch this tragic train-wreck of a story (after all, we know the atrocities of WWII) that is not without the insanity of hope. Her prose sings--even in her English translations the music of the German, Hungarian, Hebrew, and Aramaic remains. Amidst all the darkness, the light shines, even in some romance with an angel, Raziel (Secrets of God), whose description really is like that of a Greek god (trust me, I know one...wink). But no clichés, here, and no punches pulled, ever--no flinching. People suffer exquisitely for what they believe in, to save their way of life, their people (Jews, witches, vampires, demonesses). Lang tortures her characters in ways unimagined by those not acquainted with the depths of the mystical lore in all its facets, beautiful and horrifying. All to a purpose. Imagine a world where the daughters of men perpetuate their legacy since primordial times, since Eve, where angels fall for their beliefs, and a line of daughters can return from the dead and work great magics, but always at a great price (and Lang's word painting is worthy of renderings in movies and graphic novels)? Can you stop a war? Can you stand back and not even try--hide or run? The entire story hinges on the last two lines of the book: "Who do you love? Do you seek the darkness or the light?" Only, once you read this, and I dare you to be unaffected by it, your definitions of dark and light may not remain so neat and tidy. Sweet dreams. Call on your guardian angels. They will come. They are real.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Lady Lazarus is a highly original, complex historical urban fantasy with a touch of romance that is sure to engage any reader." 15 Jun 2011
By MNix - Published on
Magda is a Lazarus witch, the eldest daughter of an eldest daughter and the last of her kind. She's never used her powers, never even wanted to learn to use them. But life in 1939 Budapest is not all cafés and rumballs. Hitler's evil is spreading across Europe, and Jews like Magda are losing their homes...and if Magda's sister's vision comes true, losing much more than that. Magda knows she cannot stand by and do nothing while her sister's prophesy comes true. She sets out to find the lost Book of Raziel, a book written by the Angel Raziel himself that contains secrets that must not fall into the hands of Nazis. Can a lone woman - one who does not even know how to master her ability to return from the dead - outwit and outrun demons, SS werewolves, and a Nazi wizard in order to lay claim to the fabled book? Even with the angel himself at her side, it won't be easy...

Venture into a world of myth and magic, angels and demons, death and resurrection in Lady Lazarus. Michele Lang has managed to weave an engaging supernatural journey into one of the most heart-wrenchingly awful periods in history with fantastic results.

Good versus evil has never been so compelling, particularly when "good" has to delve into that grey area between black and white on her quest. Magda is an interesting heroine. She begins the tale, not carefree but not really in touch yet with the evil that hasn't yet sunk its claws into her life. That changes as she sets out to find Raziel's book. I adored watching Magda grow up, make sacrifices, and never, ever stop, no matter how indescribably hard her journey was or how much she wanted to give up.

The romance in Lady Lazarus takes a back seat to Magda's quest, as is logical. I can't imagine anyone being a better match for Magda than Raziel. They fit one another like lock and key and I can't wait to see their relationship develop as Ms. Lang continues the series. Their burgeoning relationship brings softness to Lady Lazarus, bringing light to the darkness.

Ms. Lang brings her fantasy reimagining of 1939 Europe to incredible life in Lady Lazarus. I finished the first part of Magda's journey wanting to read the second immediately. Lady Lazarus is a highly original, complex historical urban fantasy with a touch of romance that is sure to engage any reader.

Reviewed for Joyfully Review
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating WW II fantasy thriller 3 Sep 2010
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
In 1939 Budapest, Magda Lazarus is the eldest daughter of an eldest daughter whose lineage traces back to the ancient witch Ein Dor. Magda is the servant of Bathory the vampire. Fleeing Stalin's wrath, a Russian Jew Zihad Juhuri pleads with Magda to help him obtain the Book of the Angel Raziel that only one who has returned from the dead like a Drinker can obtain. He fears the Nazis will obtain the greatest weapon, this biblical tome, ever known. At the same her sister Gisele the seer warns of a pandemic destruction of the Jews by the Nazi abomination.

Magda searches for the tome. On her quest she encounters a horde of diverse supernatural Nazi essences who want to prevent her from becoming the Lazarus witch who can reach the angel Raziel. As she gets closer to completing her mission that she hopes prevents the mass devastation her sibling predicts is coming, she meets and magically duels the King of Lies.

This is a fascinating WW II fantasy thriller that builds its mythos from mostly the Jewish lore sprinkled with some Hungarian and other Eastern Europe myths. The story line is fast-paced as time is running out on Magda while Nazis werewolves, demons, and worse assault her preferable to kill her permanently because she is a threat to their domination. Although the language can turn stilted in an archaic way, which in fairness brings realism with it, readers will enjoy the exhilarating tale of Magda trying to become the Lazarus in order to protect her family, her people and Europe in that order.

Harriet Klausner
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The end of an elegant era 24 Jan 2012
By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lady Lazarus by Michele Lang is a historical fantasy set just before the beginning of World War II, in a slightly skewed version of our world. What makes it skewed is that in this alternate history, magic exists and plays a major role in world events. For example, Hitler's werewolves are literal here.

Perhaps Lang's most controversial decision is that Hitler is in league with, and sometimes possessed by, a demon. Some readers may see this as a cop-out. In my opinion, though, Lang wrote this in the only way that isn't a cop-out. Namely, Hitler is the master, not the servant, in the relationship. Lang doesn't use the demon to absolve Hitler of anything; this is no "the devil made him do it" scenario. It's clear that he'd be just as evil without supernatural help and is simply using the demon as an additional tool in gaining power. And the real-life Hitler was interested in the occult, so to me it's believable that he'd have tried something like this if it had been possible.

The title refers to the novel's heroine, Magda Lazarus, who is doubly in danger in this increasingly intolerant Europe: she is both Jewish and a witch. Specifically, she is a Lazarus witch, which means that she has the ability to return from the dead under certain circumstances. As Lady Lazarus begins, she learns of the dire fate awaiting her people. She resolves to find the long-lost Book of Raziel in order to save both the world and her own small household, consisting of her fragile, prophetic sister and her non-magical ingenue best friend. Magda is a heroine who isn't always wise and isn't always nice, but commands admiration in her willingness to risk not just death but damnation to thwart Hitler's plans. Also compelling is the plight of the angel Raziel, who wants to protect Magda but is constrained by divine laws regarding human free will, and increasingly chafes at these restraints as he becomes more attached to her.

Lady Lazarus has plenty of action but often strikes an elegiac tone rather than that of a thriller. Magda narrates the events of 1939, but is writing them down in the year 1945, and she strongly implies that not all of her loved ones will survive to the end of the series. She mourns a lost world, too, in the form of the cafes of Budapest. Lang paints an elegant setting, embellished with curls of coffee-steam and cigarette smoke, that would be right at home in an old movie; in fact, I realized at several points that I was picturing people and places in black and white. It wasn't for lack of vivid description -- quite the contrary! -- but because it fit the mood Lang evokes. This elegant world is dying as the Third Reich advances, and we keenly feel its loss along with Magda.

The novel has a few issues. Several scenes feel summarized rather than fully shown and might have been stronger if they'd been more fleshed out; the demonesses' attack on Magda and her training at the hands of Lucretia de Merode are two examples. It's also sometimes hard to grasp the magical rules, as in why a type of magic will work in this situation but not in that one. More elaboration on Lucretia's lessons would have helped with that too, come to think of it.

To Lang's credit, however, these problems feel like minor rather than major annoyances. I noticed them in passing, but on the whole was utterly engrossed in Magda's adventures and couldn't stop reading about her or thinking about her. The publisher's blurb comparing Lady Lazarus to a blend of Twilight, Dresden Files, and True Blood misses the mark; it's completely unlike those. If I were to place Lady Lazarus at the intersection of three other books, I might choose Katherine Kurtz's Lammas Night (for its theme of witches vs. Hitler); Annmarie Banks's The Hermetica of Elysium (Elysium Texts Series) (for its plot centering on a woman traveling through hostile territory, seeking a book, and learning to wield magical power); and a little bit of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone (mostly for its Eastern European bohemian cafe atmosphere and maybe for the angel romance, though it's a very different angel romance).

Lang's supplemental guide, The World of Lady Lazarus, elaborates more on the real history and mythology behind some of her tweaks and on her decision to write about this "third rail" topic. It can be found at Smashwords or for Kindle, and is a fascinating read. Magda's story continues in Dark Victory.
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