Reviews

The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, by Jesse Bullington

neko_cam's review against another edition

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3.0

The last third was notably less enjoyable for me, else I’d give it a 4/5 rating.

haliahli's review against another edition

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3.0

This book is amazing in the fact that it challenges human compassion and forgiveness. You want to feel bad for the Grossbarts but they're so horrible that you think they deserve it. It's a constant toss of emotion. Unfortunately the ending was quickly thrown together (most likely due to a deadline). Because of this the ending was hard to get through. ..it seemed choppy and not nearly as intriguing as the first 3/4 of the book.

babybabayaga's review against another edition

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4.0

There are very few times where I've read a book and found myself rooting for the bad guy. While the brothers Grossbart are horrible horrible people, I still wanted them to triumph and was pleased when they did. Kudos to Bullington for making such terrific bastards into near likable fellows.

dluman's review against another edition

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5.0

A dynamic debut for this unique author - a retelling of a central European set of tales, Bullington takes great care to research and present the most authentic view of their characterizations as his, now typical, anti-hero archetype. These men, though professedly not killers but just "good men been done wrong" are killers and are bad men, but by the end of the novel, we at least understand why.

catsy2022's review

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adventurous tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

kmishara's review against another edition

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2.0

12 disk set, I only listened to half - the first 5 and the last because I Had to see how they would end up after all of that. Might have been better as a physical book rather than an audio book, because I could then skim through the repetitive gore.
It didn't offend me; it just got tedious. Okay, here's another life threatening situation, I know they'll impossibly beat the evil demon, witch, etc - and the scene would go on and on and on - I guess it takes a lot of words to describe gore.
I have to give the brothers credit for having such unshakable faith in themselves, against all odds and opposition. That got me through two disks, just to see how they held up; but it was finally too much. When I woke up in the morning and Wasn't looking forward to hearing the next chapter when I got in the car....I knew it was time to move on.

I'm giving it two stars, ONLY because of the "Reader" (Christopher Lane). His voice was fascinating, as he moved from strange to stranger, with all the odd creatures and situations. His range is amazing, and is the only reason I got as far as 5 disks to start with.

mjtucker's review against another edition

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adventurous dark funny lighthearted mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

tbr_the_unconquered's review against another edition

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2.0

Anyone who has seen a Hindi movie from the late 80's would pick up this basic storyline. Two brothers who stick to each other through thick and thin, Orphans who battle insurmountable odds and survive unscathed in the end walking off into the sunset with the hands of two damsels. Except for the damsels part, this book has them all. Not an exciting read but reads like a screenplay of a gorefest.

Of all the things in the tale, I liked the backdrop and the setting the best. The 13th Century Europe with the battles between the Church and the Heretics and also of the Bubonic Plague forms probably the entire backstage curtain for the dramatic and violent lives of the Brothers Grossbart. Hegel and Manfried Grossbart are grave-robbers and ruffians par excellence. They are what would form the ideal picture of macho,chest-thumping, ultra violent manliness more in lines with Conan or Tarzan of Pulp Fiction. Brief romantic encounters and many fights later finds them on their way to Egypt to rob the tombs of the Pharaohs. It is on this travel from Germany to Egypt that they come across many an interesting character from men to demons to witches and other such creatures of myth.

There is a lot of gore in the tale, with every fight the author regales us with the gory details of the thrusts,jabs and punches and which sometimes acts as a deterrent. There is one interesting thing in the tale : When the brothers are drunk on wine, they are prone to debate theology which though profane at times proves to be fun at later points in the book.

Although not a great book, a fun read nonetheless...

oleksandr's review against another edition

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3.0

There is a fantasy novel set in the Medieval Europe during the period masterfully described by [a:Barbara W. Tuchman|137261|Barbara W. Tuchman|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1229046503p2/137261.jpg] in her [b:A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century|568236|A Distant Mirror The Calamitous 14th Century|Barbara W. Tuchman|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1403200553l/568236._SX50_.jpg|227267]. The story tells about two brothers, Manfried and Hegel and their travel across war-torn and devastated by plague Europe.

The brothers Grossbarts are bad. As the book says at the start “To claim that the Brothers Grossbart were cruel and selfish brigands is to slander even the nastiest highwayman, and to say they were murderous swine is an insult to even the filthiest boar. They were Grossbarts through and true, and in many lands such a title still carries serious weight. While not as repugnant as their father nor as cunning as his, horrible though both men were, the Brothers proved worse. Blood can go bad in a single generation or it can be distilled down through the ages into something truly wicked, which was the case with those abominable twins, Hegel and Manfried.”

Unlike many stories, were a person introduced as bad, but in reality is good, this is not the case. The story starts with them coming to a farmer who beat them as boys when they stole from his garden. They start punching him, and when farmer’s wife tries to run them off with an axe, they kill her and later cut a throat to the farmer’s son and set fire to his house, killing two daughters. What is worse, they think that they are completely justified in doing so, proud (!) of their righteous deed.

As such the book is well researched and well written. The author clearly alludes to [b:The Canterbury Tales|2696|The Canterbury Tales|Geoffrey Chaucer|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1261208589l/2696._SY75_.jpg|986234] and to sophistic debates from the period. Brothers’ heresy is quite interesting and in line with medieval sensibilities. At the same time, on emotional level it is very hard to read about people committing heinous deeds and then calling in full seriousness each other a Living Saint.

geekraver's review against another edition

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1.0

Admittedly I could only take two chapters of this. Incredibly violent and seemingly pointless. Not a good combination.