Lang (Netherwood) makes a laudable attempt to develop an urban fantasy relying on Jewish history and myth, but her tale bogs down in sentimentality, incoherent motivations, and a tangled magical system. Magda is a Lazarus, eldest daughter of an eldest daughter, and the servant of the vampire Bathory in 1939 Budapest. After a Russian Jew begs for help obtaining a magical book that only vampires can get, Magda's beloved sister, Gisele, a seer, warns of coming devastation for the Jews. Magda sets out to get the book, encountering various otherworldly beings en route to a climactic magical duel with Hitler. Anyone familiar with WWII will find that the sketchy setting, corny dialogue ("Who are you to put the world in peril to save three girls from a fate greater than any of you can even understand?"), and cartoonish characters are overshadowed by the horror of real history. (Sept.)
An absolutely unique protagonist in an engaging tale set against the backdrop of the greatest clash of good and evil in human history. What's not to love about Lady Lazarus?” Jim Butcher, bestselling author of The Dresden Files series
“With lyrical prose, a fascinating heroine, and a darkly powerful, emotional narrative, Lady Lazarus is simply magic. Intriguing, beautiful, and impossible to put down.” Meljean Brook, bestselling author of The Guardians urban fantasy romance series
“This unique story set in Europe in the late 1930s may confuse some readers. However, once you suspend your disbelief, you will not be disappointed. While real-life situations and people are depicted, this retelling of the beginning of World War II with angels and demons has an otherworldly feel that will stretch readers' imaginations. Lang's fantastic tale will have you rooting for the heroine and holding your breath to see if a lone woman and her guardian angel will be able to free an entire continent from evil.
In this supernatural alternate history, Magda Lazarus, a young Jewish witch, must try to stop the Nazis from taking over Europe. To halt Hitler's scourge, Magda must reach the magical Book of Raziel, however her mission becomes complicated when evil witches, demons and werewolves also start searching for the angelically written text. These dark, supernatural beings are assured of victory, but they fail to foresee the strength and determination of one woman who can travel through death and back and refuses to see her people destroyed” RT Book Reviews (Four Stars)
“In this supernatural alternate history, Magda Lazarus, a young Jewish witch, must try to stop the Nazis from taking over Europe. To halt Hitler's scourge, Magda must reach the magical Book of Raziel, however her mission becomes complicated when evil witches, demons and werewolves also start searching for the angelically written text. These dark, supernatural beings are assured of victory, but they fail to foresee the strength and determination of one woman who can travel through death and back and refuses to see her people destroyed.” RT Book Reviews (Four Stars)
In 1939, Hitler stands poised on the brink of plunging Europe into war. Magda Lazarus, a member of Budapest's vulnerable Jewish population, realizes that as a descendant of the legendary Witch of Ein Dor she possesses the ability of "the Lazarus," a being able to transcend death and summon to her assistance the angel Raziel. With this power, she can save many lives from a terrible evil, but to do so she must risk everything she holds dear. Inspired by her parents' wartime experiences, the author of Netherwood launches a historically based urban fantasy series featuring a remarkable and unusual heroine. VERDICT A skillful blend of fantasy adventure and period fantasy, this elegant story belongs in most fantasy collections and should appeal to fans of Jim Butcher's "The Dresden Files" series and Kat Richardson's "Greywalker" books.
A young Hungarian woman prepares to fend off Hitler (and his army of Nazi werewolves) in this busy supernatural thriller.
When we meet Magda, the narrator of this first novel in a planned trilogy, it's the summer of 1939 and she's living a quiet life in Budapest, working for a vampire in a café. Magda knows her lineage as a witch of the Lazarus clan, but she's only modestly skilled with her powers. She gets an opportunity to improve quickly, though. Her sister, Gisele, is having horrific prophetic visions of the war and Holocaust that will soon consume Europe, and because their Jewish heritage puts their lives in danger they plot not only to make their escape from Hungary but also to do battle against the evil spirits Hitler is marshaling. Doing so requires getting hold of an ancient book, The Book of the Angel Raziel, and keeping it out of the Nazi's hands, though the power contained in the book isn't entirely clear. This novel is largely a travelogue of Magda's journey across Europe to find the book, and through the astral plane as well: Devoured by a pack of SS werewolves, she's sent to heaven, but capable of returning if she so chooses. That flexibility plays into the theme of free will with which Lang infuses the story, as Magda confronts spirits, family members and soldiers on both sides of the imminent war. That gives the novel some philosophical heft but relatively little action, and the codes of conduct in Lang's spiritual world sometimes seem arbitrary. Firm prohibitions against calling on certain spirits, for instance, prove to be toothless, and it's not clear what harm, if any, death brings. The book is enlivened by a couple of entertaining cameos by war photographer Robert Capa and from Hitler himself, accompanied by his "paramour, the werebitch Eva Braun," but the story culminates in a battle that resolves little.
The World War II setting and supernatural cast are promising, but a great deal of the narrative feels like place-setting for the next installment.