Title: The Daybreak in Alexanderplatz
Original title: Berlin. L’alba di Alexanderplatz
Authors: Fabio Geda, Marco Magnone
Publishing House: Mondadore (IT), Corint Junior (RO)
Publishing date: 15th of March 2016
Number of pages: 225
The daybreak in Alexanderplatz is the second volume in the series called Berlin, written by Fabio Geda and Marco Magnone. If in the first volume we were introduced into the plot, in the second one we already know the story of the characters, we know their thoughts, their emotions, their desires. We can concentrate better on them and understand what they are going through.
In volume one, they faced dangers coming from other groups. The kidnapping of little Theo started a fight between groups and had unfortunate results. But this time, beside the menacing of other groups and the virus that can take their lives at any point, another threat comes into sight. A creature that wanders around free, attacking, killing and then disappearing as if it didn’t existed.
The children launch into a series of speculations about what the creature might be, but no one imagines that their views are far from the truth, and that the danger that lies in the forest is far greater than they think. Gropiusstadt and Havel groups start again an alliance, this time against the creature, but the group from Reichstag suddenly comes to offer their help. But is it real help, or do they have some hidden interest that they try to keep as secret as they can? In the end, any help comes at a cost, and the two allied groups must pay. But when human lives are at stake, you have no choice but accepting any help you can get.
Death is lurking at the end of the street, waiting for the right moment to strike. The situation is even more difficult as they don’t know the kind of danger they are facing. They start a war against a mysterious thing, like you’re fighting an invisible force for which you don’t know neither the strengths nor weaknesses. You launch yourself into a fight like Don Quijote, hoping for the best. The problem is that when people are in danger, they become selfish and start to turn one against the other. They light fires that are to burn everything around, and there is no one to stop them. People start to lie, betray, attack, only to get to the surface. But in all this distressing context, beautiful feelings start to emerge. Teenage romances start to grow and the children become adults, even if they know that this will bring their death. It is a destiny you have to embrace, from which you cannot escape.
In this book, as in the previous, prevails the idea of uncertainty. If in the first volume the uncertainty lied in the separation between East and West Berlin, this time moved to the creature that is wondering around, spreading panic, fury, pain. Now it is more important than ever for the groups to collaborate, to leave away their divergences and be a team once in their lifetime. But the group from Tegel seems to think other. After the death of Chloe, Wolfrun is the new leader and has some completely other ideas. She decided to mark the territory of Tegel with a symbol that everybody will know and fear, and whoever crosses their lands will have to pay.
The children launch themselves into the search of the creature, armed and ready to strike, but when they meet it, all their courage goes away, as if all the plans they had made were in vain.
East Berlin is now the least important problem for them. It might even symbolize their evolution, their courage, their growing. When the creature appeared in their lives, they had to choose between two things they didn’t know: East Berlin and the creature. They had to decide which one to choose. They have to face too uncertainties, and decide whichever they want to confront.
I liked the way the authors have exposed the plot, describing even what the creature had thought, as if it was human, as if it had thoughts and feelings, as if we would already know how one thinks, what one feels. It was almost touching, as you now had both point of views and realised that both parts were right. Both parts were fighting for the same thing: survival. It was difficult to stay strong when you knew that one of them will have to lose the game. One of them had to go down, to make room for the other, as only the strong resist. Which camp to choose in this case?
This book followed the same line as the previous, with switching between past and future, giving us glimpses into the lives they had, making us understand better some situations, thoughts and feelings that occur in the present. It is difficult to see people fighting for life when they are on the verge of dying and people dying when they are able to fight for their lives. Such a twisted occurance of the events, such irony.
One thing that I appreciate about this book is the fact that the ending is complete. The current story is finished in order to make room for the other. It doesn’t leave us in complete suspense until the next volume. Nevertheless, you are not less eager to read the next one because of this. The authors made sure you’d want to know more, you’d want to take volume after volume until you reached the last one.
What I have noticed though is that all the groups seem to have a well defined purpose in the story, except the one from Zoo, which have very little impact over the plot. They are the neutral group of which nobody seems to care. Will they start to have a more significant role in the next volumes?
While reading this book, I remembered my own trip to Berlin a few years ago, when I saw myself the tower they have so enthusiastically discovered. It gives you goosebumps to think that a place you knew to be so crowded now would be deserted, and even more, that you could see from it a dangerous creature waiting to attack again, thinking that you could be next. It takes a huge strength of character to face something like that and remain sane. Sometimes I think that the children in this book are saner than any person I know. But in the end fear and hunger gives you strengths you never knew you had.
The next volume will be the third of seven volumes that will be the series called “Berlin”. I am curious what the destiny will reserve for them next.