Title: Berlin. The Fight of Gropus
Original Title: Berlin. La Battaglia di Gropius
Publishing Date: 20th of September 2016
Publishing House: Montadori (IT), Corint Junior (RO)
Authors: Fabio Geda, Marco Magnone
Number of Pages: 221
Cover Type: Hardcover
After the first two volumes of the series called “Berlin”, The Fires of Tegel and The Daybreak in Alexanderplatz, the journey continues with the third volume, “The Fight of Gropius”, one that is more intense and more alert than the other two. The plot becomes more and more captivating with every volume.
After a deadly virus has taken over Berlin since 1975, the adult population has been exterminated, leaving the children and teenagers alone, living out of improvisation and remaining of the ones that were once stores. They got organised in groups led by one of the teenagers chosen by voting or by nomination from the latest leader.
After the kidnapping of little Theo in the first volume and a deadly creature wondering around and killing everything in it’s path in the second volume, this time the menace comes again from among the groups, from the hunger for supremacy and power. The group from Tegel is this time led by the fearless Wolfrun, who is decided to do whatever she wants, regardless of the consequences. Why? Because she wants to and because she can do it.
And so starts a war that is initiated in Havel, where they burn the castle from Pfaueninsel, making the girls to run wherever they can to escape the fire. Wolfrun threatens that she will attack Gropius next, and that if they want to at least have a chance they would do well to let them know.
Time passes quick, and soon the youngsters from Gropius and Havel see the members of Tegel getting close with all their forces. They are outnumbered and far less prepared, but they hope that their strategy will help them win the battle.
The relentless war starts, leaving behind many people wounded, frozen and sometimes lost. Fear lures them all, but the hope guides their way, making them find powers they never though to have. But is the force the most powerful weapon that one can have?
I perceived this volume as being one about love. The love between a man and a woman but, most important, the love between people in general. The characters are starting to reveal their strength, their emotional strength and their power to be…human with all the inhuman conditions they are forced to live in. Although this time it was not about revealing stories from the past, we did find out a lot about Wolfrun, about why she is who she is, about why she is so angry and relentless, which confirmed my theory that there are no bad people, but only people who are hurt. Wolfrun is a good person deep inside, but she tries to heal her pain through hurting others, thing that isn’t always moral, but which sometimes happens. Not that it is an excuse for her behaviour, but it is an explanation that might take away from the resentment we might have towards her.
I also liked in this volume the way Christa and Jakob evolve. They become more and more aware of their feelings and more courageous about their acts. Jakob evaluates the importance of Christa’s presence in his life and realises that he sometimes has to choose between love and responsibility. Being a leader is not an easy job. Especially when you didn’t asked for it. You have to always care for the good of the community, to make strategies, to secure the well being of the group. And things become even more difficult when a war is approaching. A war that you didn’t asked or wait for, or even wished for, but one that makes you at the same time glad and sad. Sad because you know that people will be hurt, and glad because you have the opportunity to prove yourself.
This volume puts in the mirror three diferents plot lines. First of all, it tells us about Wolfrun, about the fact the she sometimes is, or looks, a bit crazy.
On the other hand there is the fight for power in Reichstag between Claudia/Roberto and Timo which almost ends in casualties. Things start to really go crazy when Claudia finds out a way to beat the virus, or at least she thinks so, but she refuses to share it with the others in order to gain a reputation, to be seen like a goddess, to make the others worship her.
And third, the alliance between Havel and Gropius is again highlighted in this volume, giving it again the necessary importance.
I don’t know if I already said this, but if I did I think it would be no harm to bring it again into the discussion. I realised how the groups were made to reflect the world we live in. There are the ones from Tegel, the evil ones, the ones from Reichstag, the mischievous ones, the ones from Gropius, always helping, the girls from Havel, pursuing their own interest but ready to jump in case someone needs them, and the ones from the Zoo, mostly neutral. More or less these are also the people that we are. The groups kind of represent the world with all it’s diversity, and the fight of Gropius reflects the wars that were fought for greed and power, although not at the same level of atrocities. The fight of Gropius is one that is not intended to harm, but to conquer, while the war’s were fought to conquer by destroying everything in it’s path, people, animals, fields and everything that was at hand.
The entire series is actually very realistic in it’s presentation, although the probability that a virus to overcome the world and kill only the adults is very unlikely, if we take into account the medical aftermath that can result in this case, although I am no doctor and I cannot say that I am a subject matter expert. Secondly, literature is not only to reflect reality as it really is, cause reality sometimes may be merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one, as Albert Einstein was saying. So, for the sake of the plot, we can accept the fact without questioning whether is it actually possible or not.
The plot will continue in the next volume, The Wolves of Brandenburg. I will come back with the review in a while after I have read it, so stay close.
You can find the review in Romanian here.
© picnicontheshelf, August 3, 2019