How Ornithology Saved My Life by Michael H. Bernhart || Review


Since I don’t have to read any books for uni in the coming weeks, I finally get to read more books for myself and my blog again! And so I did! Today’s review is on How Ornithology Saved My Life by Michael H. Bernhart, the second novel in de Max Brown series.


Life doesn’t seem to get any easier for Maxwell Smythe Brown IV. He thought he could settle down with his soul mate, Sally, but the thugs who once worked for Indian intelligence are on his trail with both money and mayhem on their minds. Set on a pleasant resort island off Holland’s coast, this, the second installment chronicling Brown’s travails, finds him questioning his value and his values. Drawing on rusty skills – and a trick he learned from a bird – he tries to protect himself and those he loves from a determined and vengeful gang who torture and behead for sport.


My first thought when I saw the title of this book was that it was going to be a non-fiction, selfhelp book. But then I read the title for the second time and I thought it was quite a weird title for a selfhelp book: How Ornithology Saved My Life? So, to get to the point, it isn’t a selfhelp, but a thriller/action novel about the life of Max Brown. Or well, part of his life. I started with the second novel in this series, because it is set in the Netherlands and that got me really curious! It was really nice and fun to read about Dutch people from a non-Dutch perspective.

When I read a book and I want to really like that book, I have to be able to really identify myself with the characters, which wasn’t really the case with Max and Sally. After finishing this book I had the idea that I still didn’t have a good view on Max’ life, because it seemed quite chaotic to me (but then again, it IS quite chaotic if not only your life is being threatened, but also the life of your family and you have to change homes and names). So, I’m really curious about the events in the other book and if they are able to give me a better view on Max’ life and family, because I think Bernhart did a great job on building a funny character; I won’t forget Max Brown any time soon!

After every chapter you get to read a small piece of writing from the journal of Max’ mother. These pieces are about the Native Americans and their traditions and way of living. I didn’t quite get why these were added to the story, since they weren’t really about the events that took place in the story. Or well, they addressed things that were going on in the novel like marriage and pregnancy, but in the Native American way. The ones who threaten Max’ life are Indians and not Native Americans. So, as I said, I just didn’t quite get what it added to the story; why about the Native Americans? But maybe I have to read more of this series to be able to understand.

Sometimes the writing got a little too technical for my liking. A lot of time in the story was spent in a plane. I’m not a pilot myself and I have absolutely no knowledge about planes whatsoever, so I read over those slightly too technical parts quickly to get back to the real story again. That was also the moment I noticed that a real big part was devoted to describing the flight and what forces of nature were involved. I didn’t really care (sorry) about those parts, but for those who do; there is a glossary where a lot of the words I didn’t know are explained! Also a lot of Dutch words that were used during the story.

Overall, I really liked the story and it was very different from all the other action/thriller stories I’ve read!

3.5/5 ★

*I received an paper copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

3 thoughts on “How Ornithology Saved My Life by Michael H. Bernhart || Review

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