The problem is that we also find the defects of the first volume:
A mixture of fuzzy genres: If the balance SF / historical novel is better than in volume 1 (see below), there are still many scenes that ultimately have only the sole purpose of portraying an era and its iconic characters, without bringing anything to the plot centered on the extraterrestrials. We can classify some of the scenes with Heydrich in this category, for example (the author spends too much time showing us “you see? This man is a monster and he terrifies everyone!” No need to multiply these scenes , one or two are enough, after it is filling or so we slip from the novel to the historical essay).
These scenes obviously interest the history lover (Thor’s Hammer), but much less the pure SF player, who will find that they harm the rhythm and are too much. Finally, even if, apparently, we are more sure of the Secret History than of the uchronia, we are still in the dark at this level. At the end of two volumes out of four, it is still a little embarrassing (or the author reserves us major theatrical end of the volume 3 or 4?).
A structure very, very complex , probably too much for some readers: not only we keep the flashback system (plus some flash-forward) of Volume 1, but we go even further in this system (see below) ). Even I, who was not embarrassed at this level during my reading of Volume 1, I had a little trouble with this one. And yet, just take a look at this blog to see that the complex readings (in terms of structure, number of characters or narrative lines about Thor’s Hammer) do not scare me and I’m used to it. I’m a little afraid that the author pulls a little too much on the rope and cuts off those readers who do not like this kind of narrative complexities and prefer a more fluid and direct narrative.
Some characters look a bit too much like those of well-known works : I do not agree that, as some people do, that Saxhäuser is only a Nazi version of Indiana Jones, it must be recognized that at least three characters come straight from the TV series / movies references on the back cover of the first volume. First there is Mr. Lee (the “man with the cigarette”), then the “very neat man” (which evokes that of X-Files, again) and finally Maud Alten, who not only inherits of all the clichés about Nazi spies (see below), but who in addition looks like the twin sister of the character of Elsa in Indiana Jones 3.
There are also changes from Volume 1, and unfortunately some of them are, for me, negative:
The flashback system sometimes crosses another level , and we end up with a return year / month / day and hour / minute: as saying that the fact of having to pay attention to the hour and further complicates a reading which was not always easy.
A cut into micro-paragraphs not always useful : I’ll take an example, the moment when the English fall on the three Germans in the ruins: was it really useful to vary as many points of view, while each paragraph happens exactly at the same time? It would have been better to have the narrative equivalent of a sequence shot, an uninterrupted narration, because there, as it was done, it is unnecessarily heavy.
Useless flashbacks or not useful for all types of readers : I have already talked about flashbacks on Heydrich, but there are others that are even more questionable. For example, what is the point of flashback on the U-Boat’s second in command just before he dies? Apart from filling and giving a glimpse of the cold monster that was Heydrich, frankly, I do not see.
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