Bannwald* by Julie Heiland
Wald Trilogy #1
Published by Fischer FJB on May 21, 2015
How all of this happened? How it always happens.
The strong scent power and subdue the weak.
We, the clan of the Leonen, are followers of the white magic. The magic of nature. We heal, we create, we do good.
The others, the clan of the Tauren, have conspired to the dark magic. They rule cold-blooded, they destroy, they kill. Even us. But I will no longer allow it.
17-year-old Robin belongs to the clan of the Leonen, which has been suppressed by the clan of the murderous Tauren for generations. When Robin one day is hunted by the young Tauren Emilian, she expects her death – but it all comes differently.
Bannwald is the first of three books from an author, who was when I read this book about a year ago, completely new to me.
The blurb sounded interesting and the cover got my attention. Well, you can´t always judge a book by its cover, can you?!
Robin belongs to the clan of the Leonen, who live like the people of the Middle Age. No electrical power at all, no technical equipment like a washing machine or a computer. She and her folks live in the middle of the wood – as prisoners. But not a prison like you are used to, this prison has no visible fences, no visible guards. Only an invisible border keeps the Leonen in their place. If they overstep that line, their dead are unavoidable. The Tauren are known for their barbarity, for their lust to kill – just because they can. They have the power, the technical equipment, money, and they keep the Leonen like slaves. And when one Tauren lets Robin escape for no obvious reason, a deadly cat-and-mouse game begins. One that threatens the lives of all Leonen and Tauren alike.
One day, when Robin crosses by accident that invisible border, she´s cornered by Emilian, a Tauren. He is responsible for a certain part of Robin´s prison. But instead of killing her right away, he lets her run and from now on she lives in permanent fear that her life could be over any minute, ´cause everyone knows that only death can make good, what she´d done wrong.
The author shows in her novel Bannwald a cat-and-mouse game that unfortunately misses the real thrill. Her style is kind of dull. Her sentences are very staccato-like and the story reads very choppy, and in combination with some of her characters, it was really a bit strange and then annoying to read.
Some scenes in this novel play in the world of today like we know her, others in the deepest Middle Age but no matter where the tone is kind of morbid and strange. But I have to say, that some of the scenes in the forest are really great. The author has a wonderful way of describing how it feels to walk over pure forest soil, to feel the connection with mother nature, to have her magic run through your veins and all the colors, noises and animals – yes those scenes are really the best of this book.
Strength, power, brutality, passion, and weakness – that and a lot more present the author in her figures. Nothing bad, not at all, but when it comes to her male characters of Robin´s folk; you can smoke some of them in a pipe!
Laurin is one of those figures. He is protective, nice, helpful and a real good friend to Robin. But watch him. Whenever he can he betrays her trust by running to her stepfather and telling him all her secrets, fears and what she wants to hide from him. And that behavior brings her in serious trouble. Great friend, yes! You don´t need an enemy when you have such friends around you.
And the rest isn´t any better. One of the men is so eager to become the next leader of the Leonen he does everything to undermine the power of the current one. But when it comes to the real deal, and he has to face the Tauren and to fight for the freedom of the Leonen, he is nowhere to be seen. Oh yeah, you can really say, the men of Robin´s folk are real wimps – and genius in being so.
What an odd and demure novel. I am wondering if this was about zodiac signs or the blindness of the world in the here and now. After I finished it I didn´t know at all what this book was about. Sad to say, but no recommendation from me here.
*At the time of this review, the book was only available in the German language.
Julie Heiland, born 1991, lives nearby Munich. She studied journalism. Parallel she made an acting and rhetoric apprenticeship and played in some TV films.