Title: Lady Lazarus


Author: Michele Lang
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: August 2010
Paperback: 320 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Review copy

Guest Review by Jo

RATING:6/10 – Good, would probably recommend
With the romance of Twilight, the suspense of The Dresden Files, and the delicious thrills of True Blood, the enthralling saga of Magdalena Lazarus unfolds. Descended from the legendary witch of Ein Dor, she alone holds the power to summon the angel Raziel and stop Hitler and his supernatural minions from unleashing total war in Europe. The Nazis have fighters more fearsome than soldiers, weapons more terrifying than missiles, and allies that even they are afraid of SS werewolves; the demon Asmodel who possesses a willing Adolf Hitler, and other supernatural creatures all are literally hell-bent on preventing Magda from possessing the Book of Raziel, a magical text with the power to turn the tide against Hitler’s vast war machine.

Magda, young and rebellious, grew up in the cosmopolitan city of Budapest, unaware of her family’s heritage. When her mother dies, Magda—ready or not—is the Lazarus, who must face the evil that holds Europe in an iron grip. Unready to assume the mantle of her ancient birthright, but knowing that she must fight, she sets out across Europe searching for the Book. Magda is desperate enough to endanger her soul by summoning the avenging angel Raziel. When she sees him in the glory of his celestial presence, her heart is utterly, completely lost…


Set in Europe at the start of World War Two, Lady Lazarus is a good historical fantasy.
In a world inhabited by the supernatural as well as us mortals, Magdalena is a Lazarus, meaning she is descended from a witch and has the power to come back from the dead. After being told a prophecy by her sister regarding Hitler and his intentions, Magda is tasked with finding a magical book which could prevent war.
Lady Lazarus is slow to start, inviting us into a world and history we recognise, but one which we also know nothing about! Nazi Werewolves? Demon posessed Hitler? Hmmm. I do like this premise about Nazi Germany being controlled by evil entities which would explain such horrific and inhuman actions by Hitler but, I hate to say that it also felt slightly sour that this can be rationalised by be a demon posessing him. I know it’s fiction, and liberties can be taken – which is why I’m quite apprehensive to mention it. This is a completely personable thing though!
The writing is reserved, but beautiful. When I say reserved though, it almost left me feeling like I was being kept at arm’s length throughout the book and I couldn’t fully immerse myself into the story. I must mention however, that the author really went above and beyond for research, it’s meticulously done and I couldn’t fault her dedication and effort for this era. Too often in books, the heroine is given modern clothing or modern speech but Lady Lazarus holds true to the age it is set in. The characters are again, reserved which didn’t make me feel like I wanted to root for Magda and her cause. The prose itself is beautiful to read – I just didn’t feel connected in any way. Raziel felt flat, and not the powerful Angel I expected.
I didn’t like the fact that the blurb mentions Twilight and True Blood. If you go into with those expectations you will be disappointed because this is a completely different direction than teen angst or oversexed Vamps and Weres! It’s a slow moving, yet interesting story and there is a hint of a love story. I believe there will be a sequel, and now the groundwork has been set in this installment I’m hoping for a more fast paced successor.


While slow to start at first, if you stick with the story you will be treated to a tale of demons, war and adventure in 1930’s Europe.
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Jo lives in Surrey. Reading is a huge part of her life and her taste in books is eclectic. While she enjoys any genre she tends to read more Science Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. [Jo no longer reviews for the site.]

1 Comment

Laura Summers (BCC) March 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Good review Jo :)
I'm not sure I'm convinced though, like you the demon-possessed Hitler put me off a little. I like the fact it was well researched though.


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