Amano is one of my favourite artists and I really enjoy mythology and folklore and fantastical things so I ended up buying Fairies.
The cover art of a swan maiden is one of my favourite of the illustrations from the book. It's painted with golds which is a little different from Amano's usual paintings. If you take off the dust jacket, there are also illustrations on the front and the back. I love it when books have these little surprises when you take off dust jackets.
The book is divided into 25 sections, each one containing information about a fairy in a form of a story or a poem and an illustration by Amano.
I didn't expect to enjoy the stories and poems about the fairies, but they were fun to read and I learned quite a bit about different kind of fairies, ones I've never heard of like Habetrot and Ainsel and common ones I have heard of like Goblins and Pixies. Besides the first section, A Midsummer Night's Dream (which has a bunch of text from Shakespeare's play and Amano's illustrations of it), the other sections consist of two pages of a story or poem about a fairy and an illustration of it.
It also has a pull-out poster.
As for the illustrations themselves, they're some of my favourites of Amano's work. They're very colorful, dream-like, ethereal and they feel like they can flutter out of the pages at any moment. Amano's unique style definitely brings something different to the many paintings and illustrations of fairies.
From the looks of the illustrations, they seem to have been painted from different points of Amano's career. So you have some really wonderful ones like the swan maiden and some very unpolished looking ones. Though I'd say most of the illustrations were really good, there was this one really hideous illustration.
Some pages also have these neat doodles on the side.
At the end of the book, there's an essay titled: The Celtic Fairies, Changes of Figures in Japan. It talks about the origin of fairies and its place in Japanese mythology. It was an interesting read, one thing that I really liked was that the word fairy is apparently derived from the Latin fatum, or fate.
Overall, Fairies is an artbook full of colorful and ethereal illustrations of fairies. I would recommend this to any Amano fan. The illustrations are also slightly different than his usual ones as they're less inky and more colorful but as always very fantastical. For anyone that loves fairies, mythology, or folklore, I also definitely recommend this as it has a lot interesting stories about different types of fairies and some gorgeous illustrations of them!...more
Cover: I really love this Puffin Chalk edition. The cover is a chalk illustration and the book and font are the perfect size.
Writing: (2/5) At first I really loved the writing and I found so many lines and descriptions that I really loved:
“When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.”
But there were so many times where I had to reread a line or paragraph. No matter how many times or how carefully I read it, I could not understand what the author was trying to say.
The author also had this annoying habit of letting the narrator tell you what will happen in the future and it basically spoiled huge portions of the book. This was also jarring because one second he's talking about what's presently going on and then next he's talking about what will happen. The first time he did this, I was so confused about what was going on and what the characters were talking about.
Setting: (2/5) I really liked the idea of Neverland with the pirates, beasts, fairies, mermaids, and the Piccaninny tribe.
But I felt that Neverland was barely explored. Most of the book was set either in the Darlings' house in London, or Peter Pan and the Lost Boy's home in Neverland.
Plot: (2/5) The plot was fun up until Wendy and her brothers got to Neverland, then it just got really awful and chaotic. The book became more and more of a mind screw and the children became more and more demonic. When Wendy landed on the island, one of the boys shot her with an arrow to the heart. Wendy becomes more and more unhealthily attached to Peter (even when she's a fully grown woman). The boys kill pirates near the end. Looking back, I don't understand what the whole point of this book and the characters' actions was, but I guess it was to illustrate the author's theme.
The book has a really terrible theme "the selfishness of childhood". That's basically what the whole book is about. Wendy and her brothers are selfish. Peter Pan is selfish. The Lost Boys are selfish. You won't find one child here who's sweet or has any good traits.The more you read, the more demonic they become. They disappear without a trace and go on adventures not caring how worried their parents are for them.
The author has this disgusting idea that little children are selfish and they don't care about their parents' feelings. They're not selfish, they're innocent. They don't know any better. There's a difference. And I don't know about you, but anytime a kid sees their parents unhappy or sad, they tend to burst into tears. The author never had any children of his own and that doesn't surprise me.
Main Character: (2/5) Some people consider Wendy to be the main character, but I personally consider Peter Pan to be. He is the center of the story and really the whole point. Wendy can be taken out completely and we'd still have a story, but Peter Pan cannot be taken out so easily. He is the story.
Now, don't get me wrong, I really love the idea of Peter Pan. The whole idea. I like his name. I like that he's a boy that never grows up. That he still has his first teeth and a baby's gurgle. I like that he wears clothes made of skeleton leaves and can talk to fairies. But that's it. I really love the whole idea behind Peter Pan, but I hate the execution.
For one, what was the point of the Darling family? They just distracted from Peter Pan and Neverland.
Another thing is that Peter Pan was inconsistent. The author did not give us a specific age. From his descriptions of him, I guess him to be around 8? But from how he acts in the story and how all the girls are in love with him (Wendy, Wendy's mom, Tiger Lily, Tinkerbell) you think he was a teenager.
Peter Pan was also very disturbing. He kills others on a regular basis. He constantly forgets his experiences or who someone is to preserve his youth. And mentioned very offhandedly: "Sometimes, though not often, he had dreams, and they were more painful than the dreams of other boys. For hours he could not be separated from these dreams, though he wailed piteously in them."
Also, for the life of me, I really don't know what his personality is. Is he a little boy that likes adventure and fun? Is he cruel and savage? Is he nice? I really don't know. Every personality trait you can think of, Peter Pan has shown it.
Overall, I love the idea of Peter Pan, but that's it. It was a good idea, but the author used it terribly. I actually preferred other portrayals of Peter Pan, like Peter Pan from the TV series Once Upon A Time. You know an author is terrible when people can use their own ideas better than them.
Villain: (3/5) Captain Hook is easily the best character. Again, like Peter Pan, I really liked the idea but his personality was inconsistent. He was supposed to be very calm and intelligent, but he is the complete opposite of this sometimes in the book.
Also, the author kept telling and telling you about Hook. He really never showed you anything. It was all telling. Hook was this, Hook is thinking this, Hook is going to do that, etc.
I did like his ending though, I'll give him that.
Other Characters: (1/5) What I hate the most about this book was all the other characters (besides Hook's crew):
Wendy Darling: I liked Wendy from the Disney adaption and I thought she would be similar, but yeah right she was. I hate Wendy. For one, can't she pick if she wants to be Peter Pan's mother or his girlfriend? She acts like she's both, which is distributing. She does not care about the other boys' horrible actions and even encourages it. But at the end of the day I hated how, like every female in the book - and I mean every female (Wendy, her mom, Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily, the mermaids, even a female BIRD) - cannot keep their hands off Peter. It's disgusting. He's a little boy. And is that all the female characters amount to? Being part of Peter's Pan's little harem and having a cat fight over him?
John and Michael Darling: Easily the two most boring and useless characters. There was the Lost Boys, so what was the point of them?
Mrs. Darling: I have no idea why there's so much stress on Mrs. Darling. The author goes into more detail for her than he does with anyone else, besides maybe Hook. Also it was creepy how she acted around Peter Pan, as if she had a thing for him like the rest of the females in this book. She's also such a ghastly portrayal of a fake and stereotypical mother.
Mr. Darling: Mr. Darling is constantly abused by the other characters and the author to appalling degrees. Also, like Mrs. Darling, he's such a stereotypical father.
Tinkerbell: I liked the idea of Tinkerbell. Her talking sounds like bells, the whole mythology of the fairies, and her being Peter's companion. But she's such a horrible little creature. She tried to kill Wendy numerous times because of her jealousy. She's portrayed more sympathetically in the Disney movie, but not at all in the book.
The Lost Boys: There's six Lost Boys. The author introduced all of them in the same breath, so I never had any idea who's who. The Lost Boys were a waste of space.
Overall: (12/30) Peter Pan had loads and loads of great ideas: Peter Pan, Hook, Tinkerbell, Neverland, etc. But that's it. That as far as it went. He barely focused on or used the ideas to their full potential. Not to mention the book had a horrible theme and most of the characters were terrible people. The book was extremely unpleasant to read.
I don't recommend reading Peter Pan. Watch the Disney version, it's a hundred times better. ...more
Cover: This is a pretty boring cover (not to mention the title doesn't sound noteworthy or have anything to do with the book). I wouldn't have given it a second glance if I didn't see the illustrations in the book. I really liked the art, which makes you wonder why the cover turned out like this.
Writing: (1/5) The chapters (the text part of the book) weren't that long. They were 2-6 pages each, but they were so hard to get through. They were so dull. I read a couple of chapters a day, even though they were so short, just because I couldn't stand how boring they were. Was the art so good that they were lazy with the writing?
Art: (5/5) My favourite part was the art story. I would sluggishly try to read through the text chapters just to get to the art story. It was so much more interesting, probably because the art wasn't as dull as the writing. I really liked the style and the colors. There was just so much more life to it than the incredibly flat writing.
Setting: (1.5/5) Most of the book is set in a boarding house in Maine 1900. The setting in In the Shadows was incredibly lackluster. I wouldn't call it a cardboard backdrop, but it wasn't really good either. Like the writing, it was just incredibly boring.
Plot: (2/5) The book has two separate storylines that eventually intertwine in the end. One is told in text and the other through the art (without any words). The text story was the most godawful boring thing ever. I'm not sure if any effort was even put into it.
The art story on the other hand was so much more interesting and the only reason I didn't drop this book. I really liked that there were no words. The separate text story and art story felt like such a gimmick. The artist should have just tried to make his own story, the text only held the book back.
Main Character: (2/5) The main character is probably the main character in the art story, but I can't really spoil who that is. I did like him, but because there was more emphasis on the text story, we didn't really see his personality play out that much.
Villain: (1/5) The villains were poorly constructed. Their dialogue was trying too hard to be evil and impressive and just ended up being cringe-worthy. They were unmemorable. Not to mention there were just too many of them.
Other Characters: (1.5/5) The text story focuses on five characters: the sisters Minnie and Cora, the brothers Thomas and Charles, and Arthur. There are chapters from all their point of views.
Minnie was energetic and irresponsible. She was the opposite of her sister Cora, who was nice and responsible. I hate when they have two sisters and give them opposite personalities.
Thomas and Charles are boarders at the sisters' family boarding house. Charles is sickly and Thomas worries for him. Thomas was easily the most boring character. I liked that Charles didn't care much about his impending death, but that was about it. I found the brothers to be completely pointless. You could have taken them out and the story would have worked fine without them.
Arthur was probably the best. He's very cliché, brooding, and with a dark past. He was the most interesting though, probably because he actually had some kind of conflict. The brothers did not feel like they should have been in the story and the sisters were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
There was also the local "witch" Mary, who is one of those poorly constructed crazy characters I loathe.
And there was the sisters' mother, who runs the boarding house. I liked her motherly personality and it sadly felt like she was the best character...
Overall: (14/35) The book is told through a text and art story that eventually intertwine. While the art story was fun to read through, the text story was so dull and poorly constructed that I can't recommend this book. Not even for the art story, considering it was so intertwined with it....more
Cover: I really like the covers for this series. So much effort was put into them. I especially like the antlers on either side of the palace. The book also included a nicely drawn map. I also really like the chapter title illustrations. A lot of effort was put into the book's design. I can definitely see why though. YA lately are the same thing over and over, at least this one had something slightly different with the Russian and fantasy setting.
Writing: (3/5) The writing was clear and very easy to get into. I definitely found the writing better than most YA books. I really liked the prologue and the epilogue's writing, probably because it was written in third person. The rest of the book is written in first person and Alina is such an annoying narrator. She was so much more tolerable from a third person narrative. I really wish the whole book was in third person, it would have been so much better.
Setting: (2/5) The setting was medieval and it felt like it was spray painted with a "Russian" setting. On one hand, the setting was fun and I did enjoy it to a certain extent and there were one or two original things. But on the other hand, it was flimsy and more importantly, beyond cliché.
Plot: (4/5) Ordinary girl finds out she has power. Taken away by organization and trained. You wouldn't believe how overused this plot line is in fantasy. Despite this, Shadow and Bone threw in a couple of surprises and it was really fun to read. After I finished reading the book, I didn't understand why it was so popular. But looking back, I was way too harsh. I really enjoyed it and it was such a fun read. Most YA books (maybe you can say like all YA books) focus on romance. Let's not pretend it's not true. It's romance with a dabble of plot and fantasy. I sort of felt like Shadow and Bone was the opposite, it was plot and fantasy with a dabble of romance (mind you I didn't really enjoy what romance it had and just wish the author would have cut it).
Main Character: (1.5/5) Alina...where do I start? Well, let's start with her name. I don't really care that her last name is inaccurate in Russian (although a quick Google search could have remedied that). My problem is her first name...Alina. What is wrong with authors and choosing the whitest sounding name? I wish her name was Lyudmila or even Olga or Miroslava. That would have made me like her so much more. God, I hate these names in fantasy books...I really don't feel like ranting so let's just move on.
Alina is an orphan. And by orphan, I mean her parents are conveniently gotten ridden of. How original!! Especially for a fantasy!
Alina is ugly. I would consider her plain but no, she's ugly. She's described as sickly and you could have actually worked with that, if she actually looked sickly. But no, it felt like she was just one of those brown haired and brown eyed heroines, because anybody with that combination is doomed to be ugly or plain (whatever, YA books act like it's the same thing). It's downright disgusting how much Alina whines about her looks. I actually was counting and that was amusing until I lost count.
I don't like assuming things about authors, but considering the author of Shadow and Bone was a make-up artist, maybe that says a lot about Alina...I'm just saying...
I did like the whole sickly thing but it was executed so terribly and, at the end of the day, I don't like females being defined by their looks.
There's just so much to complain about and I don't feel like getting into it. There are so much reviews on people hating Alina that I don't think I'll be adding anything new.
The only interesting thing about Alina was probably her power. It was kinda neat. Everything else was ugh!?
Villain: (3/5) I liked the villain. I think everyone likes him. He's probably my favourite character. It has to be that contrast with Alina being so useless and him being so much more competent. She's like a fat friend.
Other Characters: (2.5/5) The characters were meh. I enjoyed some of their interactions. They weren't brilliant nor terrible, just meh. Though I hated "Mal" (ugh another white sounding name), Alina's childhood friend. I hate him more than Alina and that's saying something. And before anyone starts, it's not because I want Alina to be with the Darkling. I hate the romance. The book would have been so much better without it. Anyway, back to Mal...I really don't understand what the point of him is. He's also such a poorly constructed character. One second he feels like an egotistical bastard that can't be bothered with Alina and next he's all moody and extremely annoying. I hope he dies. PLEASE, someone tell me he dies.
Overall: (16/30) Shadow and Bone has an annoying main character and the setting and plot is pretty cliché. But it was a very fun read and I still enjoyed it. There were also a few original things here and there. I'll be picking up the sequel....more
Story: (3/5) So far this volume was episodic, which was kind of surprising. I liked this better though as it was more interesting. I usually hate seinens as I find most of them to be far too dark and gritty. Gangsta. was lighter in that area but still pretty dark as it has to do with Mafia and gangs. So far I found it pretty unoriginal, but the episodic and the flashbacks to the main characters' pasts made it more interesting to read.
Main Character: (3/5) The two "Handymen" Nic and Worick take jobs that no one else is willing to take. My favourite thing about this manga definitely had to be Nic. Nic is a swordsmen that is "tagged" - incredibly feared fighters that wear specific dog tags. He's deaf and communicates through sign language, although he occasionally speaks. I really liked his character and found him to be really amusing and intriguing. If I end up continuing with this manga, it will be for him.
On the other hand, I really disliked his partner Worrick. He had this happy-go-lucky and annoying personality that really irritated me. I also didn't like his line of work, which I don't really want to spoil.
Other Characters: (1.5/5) The rest of the characters are made up of the people who inhabit the city, mostly criminals it seems. Alex is a prostitute who gets taken in by Nic and Worick and starts helping them with their jobs. Her personality is fine I guess, but I couldn't really get past how she was introduced as a prostitute. Then there was Chad, the local officer. He was fine and I liked his close relationship with Nic. Besides him and Nic though, I found the other characters to be too unlikable.
Setting: (2/5) The manga is set in the city of Ergastulum. It seems to be a crime-ridden city and although I like city stories, I found this particular city to be too bleak and unoriginal.
Artwork: (3.5/5) I liked the clean art, which is pretty rare for a seinen.
Overall: (13/25) I found Gangsta. to be too bleak and grim for my taste and completely unoriginal. Most of the characters were unlikable. The only thing I really liked was one of the main characters, Nic, who I found pretty original and intriguing. I probably won't be continuing with this series. I only recommend Gangsta. to those who don't mind reading a grim seinen....more
Cover: I love the cover for this book! It's basically the only real reason I picked it up, which I assume is the same for a lot of others. The paint splattered looking background, the flower crown, the typography, I love all of it!
Writing: (2/5) The problem with the writing was that the author would go on for pages and pages to describe the most insignificant things. Anything remotely pretty, the author would go on to describe it. While this did give a better sense of the setting, when this is the bulk of the book, what's the point?
Setting: (4/5) I did like the setting. It was a mix of arthurian legends, with alternate historical, plus the book would go on to describe tons of things that were basically "pretty" like clothes. Add that with palaces and balls and I'm pretty sure that was the whole point of the book. The setting and how pretty it was was basically what the author focused on.
Plot: (1/5) Ha ha, plot. What plot? "The plot" kicks in around 340 pages later. The most hilarious part is that it tells you all the plot points: so and so was evil, I did such and such to stop them, this was their plan, etc. Wow, I don't recall ever reading a book where the whole plot was done behind all the characters' backs and it was explained to me in the last chapter of the book!?
The whole book is about the pretty setting, add a bunch of rich teenagers and their love lives, and we got a soap opera that goes nowhere. And I really mean it goes nowhere, not even the rich teengers' love lives.
Oh, and if you read the synopsis of the book, that basically goes nowhere. The whole: Two girls. Which one rules? thing.
Main Character: (2/5) This book has more than one main character and storyline, like all great soap operas. I would consider plain and sweet Marie to be the protagonist though. Marie-Victoria is the heir to the Franco-British Empire. Marie was OK, her kindness felt genuine. Considering there was no plot though, I didn't really buy any character development that happened with her. I also don't like how the "plain" one has the largest role. Why? So all us ugly girls (or plain, whatever, books act like it's the same thing) can relate to her or something?
Villain: (1/5) As I said in the plot section, who the villain was was told you. You never witnessed them being a villain or anything. You didn't even know they were a villain until the end. This had to be one of the most poorly constructed plot twists.
Other Characters: (2/5) Aelwyn Myrddyn: The bastard child of Emrys (Merlin). For her being one of the two girls from the synopsis, it's funny how much we barely saw her.
Ronan Astor: An American who wants to marry rich to save her family from decline. Another character that basically goes nowhere.
Isabelle of Orleans: Ex-fiancée of Prince Leopold, who wants him back after his sudden engagement to Marie. Her whole plot was stupid to begin with and she had such a horrible and unfair ending.
Leopold: Heir to the Prussian Crown. His character got sleazy and then it got beyond stupid.
Wolfgang: Second Prince of Prussia and Leopold's brother. He probably had the best ending, but his whole plotline in the book was pointless.
The characters had entertaining personalities and they could have been really good if they had a plot or even a point!?
Romance: (1/5) There's tons of romance and pairs but, like the rest of this book, they all go nowhere.
Overall: (13/35) The highlight of The Ring and the Crown was the pretty setting and that's what the book focused on. There was no plot to speak of. It's not like I didn't enjoy reading it, and I did like the setting, but it was one poorly constructed book. It was a royal teenager soap opera that went nowhere....more
Cover: I find it neat that the lashes are made of feathers, which seem to be a symbol for Adam, a bird that is. The eye looks like it's crying by the dropping of a couple of feathers.
Writing: (2/5) Adam's point of view is very different from Juliette and Warner's because it's coarse and he curses a lot, which I hated. It's very obvious to me that the author is trying to change your feelings for Adam through this and I didn't like that.
Setting: (2/5) The setting seems to be a very loose backdrop that's not touched on much.
Plot: (1/5) The novella starts from near the end of Unravel Me (chapter Sixty-Three), except from Adam's point of view. This novella is beyond pointless plot-wise, as novellas tend to be. Like Destroy Me, its sole purpose is changing your opinion of the narrator. While Destroy Me was meant to make Warner more sympathetic, Fracture Me's purpose was to make Adam less sympathetic. Also, Destroy Me clearly had more work put into it and is a story in its own right while Fracture Me seems like it was thrown together last minute.
Main Character: (2/5) I don't mind making characters more sympathetic or likable, but I absolutely hate it when a character is deconstructed to be more unlikable. And it's for the sole reason of making Warner seem less wrong and more of an attractive match for Juliette. I don't care who Juliette ends up with because I love Juliette and read the series for her. But if you have to resort to these kinds of methods, I think it's clear who Juliette should be with.
So this novella tells me that Adam would choose James over Juliette. So what? He's a 10-year-old child that he raised. Is that so bad? Juliette loves children too and would admire Adam's love for James. To pit family and love interests into a contest of who you would choose over the other is wrong.
Or is the author trying to say that it's OK if Adam doesn't get Juliette because he still has James?
But what I hate the most is that this battle for Juliette is done through these novellas and so out of Juliette's hands. It doesn't seem to be a battle for who's right for Juliette, it's chosen on who's more attractive to the author. I haven't read Ignite Me yet, but it seems obvious who Juliette will end up with.
Also, I find it laughable that Adam's actions are kind but his thoughts aren't while Warner's actions are cruel but he means well!?
Other Characters: (3/5) It was really interesting seeing Juliette from Adam's point of view. I liked seeing how she appeared on the outside to others, especially when she's lost in her head as she tends to be. I also really liked Adam's relationship with Kenji and James. The characters were slightly clouded though because Adam saw them in an unkind light.
Other Comments: It's obvious that the books after the first were not planned. The two novellas are meant to manipulate you to change your opinions about Adam and Warner. Basically, their purpose is to contradict the events of Shatter Me. If this series was planned, it wouldn't be so disjointed and these novellas would be completely unnecessary.
Overall: (10/25) This novella was all about deconstructing Adam and making him more of an unattractive match for Juliette and I really didn't appreciate that. ...more
Cover: The cover is made from laser-cut paper art, like the five illustrations within the book. The blue part with the title can be taken off to see the full cover. Really love the cover. When I got my copy I couldn't stop staring at it.
Writing: (5/5) I think why Shakespeare's writing is so remembered is because every sentence, every word, is so well thought-out. You can't read it quickly, and it's not because it's old English. You're more likely to grasp the entire play and writing, if you savor every word. And it seems every time you read it, you gain more. I read Hamlet back in school, so this is my second time reading it and the experience is even more rewarding and enjoyable the second time.
Hamlet is a play so, for the most part, the whole thing is dialogue. I was really fascinated by how much the dialogue got across the characters' personalities and gestures and with so much layers and depth too. And I mean really? All they were really doing was talking.
Also no joke, I wanted to read it again as soon as I finished it. Lately I've been really fascinated with beautiful writing and language, so I thought I should probably read Shakespeare. When you give it a chance and carefully read it, you really see that Shakespeare is a master of language.
Setting: (5/5) Hamlet is set in Denmark, and for the most, in the royal castle of Elsinore. I've always wanted to read something that is mostly set in a castle and in court. Most fiction doesn't give you that, it's about an exiled or runaway prince or a peasant who discovers he's a prince and the castle and all the nobility are not that important besides being antagonists. Hamlet is the direct opposite of this.
Plot: (5/5) Hamlet probably has one of the best constructed plotlines I've ever seen. I always remember plot points, but I don't ever remember the entire plotline because they're not that memorable.
Another thing I feel everyone forgets is that characters make a plot, not the other way around. The plot gets more intense because the characters themselves get more intense as the stakes get higher. The conflict is internal and caused from the characters themselves and not external (like war or a desolate setting), and that's what makes all this memorable. Because at the end of the day, plots are just plots, characters are what's memorable. Call it character driven, but things that are purely plot driven are cheap entertainment. There's a reason classics are remembered.
Main Character: (5/5) OK, I didn't like Hamlet. He was my least favourite character. He's so indecisive that it's irritating, but he's such well constructed character that I can't bear to rate him any lower. Hamlet's not a hero in any sense of the word. He was so caught up with his revenge that I felt like he got really carried away and started to go insane. When Hamlet meets the ghost of his father, he wonders if this is indeed his father or a demon, meant to deceive him:
What if it [the ghost] tempt you toward the flood, my lord, Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff That beetles o'er his base into the sea, And there assume some other horrible form, Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason And draw you into madness? Act I, Scene IV, Lines 75-80
And I think he was a demon actually (maybe even the devil) that caused Hamlet to fall. That's my current interpretation of this play. A prince who went astray because he believed too much in the whispers of the devil. So much that he kept throwing away his logic and reason, which he is so highly praised for.
That's my interpretation anyway. The thing about Hamlet, and all Shakespeare's plays, is that there are thousands of ways to interpret the characters. You can talk about them for hours and days because they're just that complex.
Villain: (5/5) Claudius, Hamlet's uncle/step-father, is the King of Denmark and my favourite character. What I loved about him the most is his charisma that is really evident from his speech and language (some of my favourite lines from the play).
I felt he was the opposite of Hamlet, where he's a people person and charismatic, Hamlet came off as a loner and even antisocial. He decides something and follows through with it (even if it's wrong) and Hamlet is just plain indecisive.
He also seemed to genuinely love Gertrude (Hamlet's mother and his wife) and I even felt he tried with Hamlet. And yes, he is cunning and is willing to kill to get what he wants, but I see a lot of guilt. If Hamlet didn't become so reckless and melodramatic, I wonder if the situation could have been turned around. If he focused on Claudius' guilt for his actions, would the story have been different and even a happier one?
Other Characters: (5/5) Gertrude: Gertrude seems to love her son very dearly. But her love for Claudius really clouded her judgment. She doesn't seem to want to admit she's done anything wrong. She came off to me like she's trying very hard to pretend she didn't do anything wrong. The mother-son relationship with Hamlet was very interesting because I really don't see much of that (whether good or bad).
Polonius: Polonius is clever and a snake of a royal adviser and although I've seen many of those, none have been pulled off as convincingly (or at all, actually) as Polonius.
Ophelia: I'm still musing about Ophelia. I would say she's my second favourite after Claudius, but I'm still thinking about her. She doesn't really come off as a weak-minded maiden to me. There's more to that, I feel. And I really loved her air of femininity that fiction is so lacking because people feel it's inferior to masculinity or something. Maybe Ophelia is a bad example, but I hope you know what I mean.
Laertes: Son of Polonius and brother to Ophelia. To me, Laertes was noble and honorable, but being a hot blooded youth, he didn't think clearly sometimes.
Horatio: Horatio reminds me of Benvolio from Romeo and Juliet. He's by far the kindest character in the play and the most honorable. Beyond a loyal friend. He's wasted on Hamlet. Now when I think about it, he's probably my second favourite.
Artwork: (5/5) This edition has five beautiful laser-cut illustrations within each act.
The only thing I didn't like was that they're very fragile, so you have to handle them with care. It also has matching artwork throughout the book in blues and reds.
Other Comments: The edition has, on the left side (like the above picture), explanations for some words, phrases, and allusions that I found extremely helpful. It also includes essays that were very interesting to read if you want some background information on Hamlet.
Overall: (35/35) For anyone who likes words and beautiful language, read Hamlet. If you want characters with layers and layers of depth, read Hamlet. And if you want to read one of the best constructed plotlines I've ever seen, then read Hamlet. I even recommend reading Hamlet again. Every time you read it, it's like a complete different experience and I was tempted to read it again as soon as I finished it.
For collectors, Shakespeare lovers, and anyone who loves beautiful editions of books, I recommend Sterling's Hamlet Signature Shakespeare. The paper art is gorgeous. I would even recommend it to Shakespeare beginners as I found the explanations to old words, phrases, and allusions to be extremely helpful. ...more
Cover: I like the illustration of Eleanor and Park on the front and that their names are under their illustrations. I also like the headphones that connect them. I don't really like the beige color of the background though, I find it sort of depressing.
Writing: (5/5) The writing felt unique to this book and really suited it. The book was set in the 80s and the writing suited that period. I tend to not like teenage slang or when authors try to make the language suit a teenager, but Eleanor & Park pulled it off very well. Again, it was probably because the time was slightly different than now, but also because it was uniformal.
Setting: (5/5) I don't like contemporaries, but part of the reason I enjoyed reading Eleanor & Park was because it wasn't quite a modern. It was set in the 80s (1986 to be exact) and that was just more interesting to me.
Plot: (3/5) Since I don't like contemporaries very much, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Eleanor & Park. The book was so engaging and I can see why a lot of people love it. The plot has a perfect pace that reflects Eleanor and Park growing closer and closer to one another. The largest problem, I felt, was that the conflict with Eleanor's stepfather was ended so abruptly. Although the last couple of pages ended the book on a pleasant note, that abrupt ending really stood out in my memory in a bad way.
Main Character: (1.5/5) Eleanor and Park are our main characters. The book is told from both their perspectives and as YAs tends to be, they obviously fall in love. To me Eleanor and Park were OK to begin with, but they slowly kept getting really unpleasant.
Eleanor wasn't a nice girl. The book kept saying that over and over, like being kind was such a horrible thing. OK, Eleanor is definitely not kind, but there's nothing likable about her. There are plenty of characters I love that I wouldn't consider nice or kind in the least, but they have a redeeming quality or are at least very amusing. Eleanor, on the other hand, has no redeeming quality. She's very unpleasant and more so as the book progresses.
I liked Park better than Eleanor. I liked his attitude and how he always made himself so small, but as the book progresses, he gains more confidence in himself. I was disgusted though, absolutely disgusted, with how he was treated as this exotic creature. Park is half-Korean and at one point he says how nobody finds Asian guys attractive:
"Nobody thinks Asian guys are hot," Park said finally. He had to look away from her when he said it – way away, he turned his head completely. "Not here, anyway. I assume Asian guys do all right in Asia." "That’s not true,’ Eleanor argued. ‘Look at your mom and dad …" "Asian girls are different. White guys think they’re exotic."
One, why in the world would you want white people to find you "exotic" to be begin with? That's so dehumanizing. And two, the above quote was such a lie because soon after, it goes on to detail how exotic Park is. He's treated like some kind of fetish for Eleanor.
At first, I thought it was great how so many Asians are portrayed in fiction lately. But then you see how many of them are treated as fetishes and exotic creatures and not as individuals. Honestly, if it's going to be like this, don't even bother. This is so much worse than them not appearing at all.
And how did the author get this view of Koreans? Korean Dramas? K-pop!?
Other Characters: (2/5) I really liked Park's family, his brother and parents, who have a really close relationship. Eleanor on the otherhand, I hated her family and Eleanor even more. They had no relationship, it didn't feel like they were related at all, just a bunch of strangers. I hated her stepfather from page one, simply because of how overused abusive stepfathers are in fiction. Not to mention the conflict with him went nowhere. It was just an excuse to make Eleanor and Park's relationship more taboo. Her stepfather added conflict that just went nowhere.
Romance: (1/5) When I read Eleanor & Park to begin with, I really liked them slowly growing closer. It slowly got worse though. Eleanor was an unpleasant character and how Park was treated as this exotic creature made their relationship just plain horrible. Not to mention, I had no idea why they even liked each other to begin with. They're just lusty for each other, being hormonal teenagers. From the title and how much Romeo and Juliet was mentioned in the book, that's the depth of their relationship. Hormones and being so desperate for love.
Other Comments: I think I'm done with contemporaries for a while. I read quite a few this year and I swear the main characters are always the most horrible and unpleasant people you'll ever find. What is this? Is this supposed to be realistic? Are you telling me that the world is a horrible place and there's a lot of unpleasant people? Yeah, thanks, I think everyone knows that. What a revelation. The most important element of a book will always be the characters and if the best you can do with them is make readers feel depressed and show how horrible real people are, I think you really need to rethink what the purpose of stories are.
Overall: (17.5/30) Eleanor & Park had good writing and the plot was engaging, but the characters were all so unpleasant, especially Eleanor and Park, that it just left a bad taste in my mouth....more
Story: (1/5) At first the story was interesting enough, but then it got pretty chaotic. The story was straightforward to begin with: Tsukimiya is a half blood (half angel, half demon) that's cursed and will die from her mark. She meets Hinata, one thing leads to another, and they both end up sharing the curse. Now as the story continues from there, the manga kept adding all these random characters and conflicts and I just got confused and bored. I was also annoyed with all the fake deaths. I hate when the plot twist is "Oh, wait they didn't die, they're alive!"
Main Character: (1/5) Seems to have two main characters: Tsukimiya and Hinata.
Tsukimiya is one of those cold girls. But I've seen those types of girls in manga/anime so much that she didn't really wow me or leave me with a strong impression.
Hinata was kinda of annoying. I didn't like his overly flirtatious and fickle personality. I didn't like how you were never sure who's side he was on or how you were never sure if he was serious or not. He's just an annoying character overall. I feel this comes more from the author not being sure what kind of personality she wants him to have.
Other Characters: (1/5) Ugh, the other characters were all poorly constructed and obnoxious. I really didn't like any of them. They also added a new plotline that didn't seem to have anything to do with Tsukimiya and Hinata. Why would you add a new conflict so early in the manga when you haven't really finished with the other one? This manga would have been so much better if the author just focused on the two main characters and their adventures in trying to undo the curse or something.
Setting: (1/5) The setting was really bad. I wasn't sure what era they were in. Modern, past, or some alternate universe. Not to mention there were barely any backgrounds so the characters were usually in this white void.
Artwork: (1/5) If you couldn't already tell from the cover, the author seems to have no idea how to draw a normal-portioned human. The result is pretty laughable. There's barely any backgrounds so the characters usually look like they're in a white void. Probably some of the worst artwork I've seen. The author also didn't do any original character designs or outfits or anything that might have at least made this manga more unique.
Overall: (5/25) The main characters were nothing special and the art is terrible. The plot gets too chaotic and random characters are introduced later on. Not to mention there isn't a single original thing about Bloody Cross. It's just a bunch of rehashed overused ideas. I'm dropping this manga. I don't see it getting any better, on the contrary I see it getting worse. ...more
Story: (4/5) Staz is the vampire boss of a district in the demon world. Unknown to most, Staz has no interest in drinking blood and is obsessed with Japanese stuff. He meets a Japanese girl that is soon killed and turned into a ghost. He decides to turn her back into a human and the story follows this. I wouldn't say the story was original, but it was very fun and comedic. It especially got really interesting near the end as we start learning about Staz's past and meeting his family.
Main Character: (3.5/5) Staz was my favourite character in the manga. He was aloof yet humorous. Although his obsession with Japanese things was funny, I did feel it was a little out there. Staz had a strange fascination with Fuyumi (the Japanese girl) when she was a human that seemed like infatuation. When she turns into a ghost though, he doesn't have much interest in her. It seems to me that he's not really in love with her, he just has blood lust. I'm curious to see how that will play out as the story continues. I'm also interested to learn more about his past and family.
Other Characters: (2/5) Fuyumi: I hate Fuyumi. She's walking fan service. She's an airhead and submissive just so she can add more fan service to the manga.
Mamejirou: A ferret-like demon with three eyes. It can talk and has the ability to see the future. I didn't really like or hate him. I just hope he doesn't become the manga's mascot or something.
Saty: A demon girl with three eyes. Like Mamejirou, she's also clairvoyant. She doesn't talk much (at all actually) and I liked that just fine. I hate loud and obnoxious characters that seem to litter manga.
Dek: Staz's right hand man. He has the most common sense.
Yoshida: A mimic who takes Staz's place while he's away. He looks up to Staz. It was funny seeing him pretend to be Staz and I hope we go back to him and Dek more in the next volume.
Hydra-Bell: A treasure-hunter demon with the ability to teleport. I honestly found her presence completely pointless.
Wolf: A friend and rival of Staz. I didn't really like that they added a werewolf main character just because there was a vampire in the manga.
Liz: Staz's younger sister who despises him. I'm probably the most curious to see how things will turn out between them, especially after the ending of this volume.
Setting: (2/5) The setting was just a mash-up of a bunch of overused demon concepts in manga. I know this is a parody, but I wish the manga was more original.
Artwork: (2.5/5) The artwork is OK, but although I like Staz's design (and his family), I really don't like everybody else's. They're possibly the most horrible designs I've ever seen.
Other Comments: This volume is actually an omnibus (2 volumes in 1 of the Japanese edition). It's 360 pages long.
Overall: (14/25) The side characters were obnoxious and I hated the female lead. She seems to be there purely for fan service. I also didn't like how unoriginal the manga was and I've never liked parodies in general. I did like the main character though and the story was a fun read. It especially got interesting near the end. I'll probably be continuing with this series. ...more
Setting: (3/5) Nothing particularly special about the setting. It starts out where Max and Co. live, a secluded house in the middle of nowhere. The rest of the manga has them traveling to "The School" to save Angel. The School is where it gets interesting (setting wise), it's a secret laboratory of sorts where various experiments are done to create mutant humans. Our main characters in this series are some of these mutants, who have escaped The School years before.
Story: (5/5) Like the novel series, the story is pretty fast-paced, but what I love about the manga series is that they didn't try to pack the entire novel into the manga. The manga instead is about half of the first novel. When they adapt novels into graphic novels/manga, usually the largest flaw is that it's pretty awkwardly done. They try to pack everything into the manga, which a lot of times means they have to leave out pretty crucial explanations and details. The end result is that only fans of novel series can truly enjoy the adaptations. I don't think that's the case with the Maximum Ride manga series. The story is about a group of kids who are avian-human hybrids (basically people with wings and some enhanced abilities). Years prior to the story, they escaped The School with the help of a scientist, and ever since then they thought that they could live their peaceful lives without any interference. However, when the youngest member of their group, Angel, is kidnapped, they know they're dead wrong and that The School wants them back. "The Flock" go on a journey to save Angel from The School.
Artwork: (4/5) I loved all the characters designs! As someone who has read the novel series, this is pretty spot on of how I imagined them. It looks like they stuck to giving Max blonde hair and brown eyes, because in the novel series her hair and eye colour kept changing. The art is very well-done and the panels flow perfectly. The only problem was that a couple of times, I thought that the expressions were off.
Main Character: (5/5) Max is fourteen years old, and as the oldest, is the leader of the flock. I found her to be a motherly figure to the younger flock members and a sturdy leader for all the rest. She was nurturing, bossy, and gave off a "tough" vibe. She does have her awkward moments and flaws, such as being rash. I believe Max was a great main character who I know I'll continue to enjoy as the manga moves on.
Other Characters: (5/5) I loved the strong bond all the Flock shared with one another and their distinctive personalities and chemistry definitely promises more in the future. The rest of the Flock consists of:
Fang: Quiet and thoughtful, he's a little younger than Max.
Iggy: The same age as Max and Fang, he's blind although he doesn't act like it. He loves explosions just like Gassman.
Nudge: Nudge is pretty feminine and seems to want to be normal instead of a mutant bird kid.
The Gassman "Gazzy": A mischievous little boy, who always seems to get into trouble with his antics.
Angel: Gazzy's younger sister, she's a sweet little girl who has the power of telepathy and shares a strong bond with Max, Max particularly raised her ever since she was a baby.
Originality: (4/5) People who's lives have been ruined and taken away from them because they were experiments done for a sinister purpose is not necessarily unheard of. But I loved that the Flock being avian-human hybrids was a big part of who they were, and the whole idea of their many enhanced abilities, different body structures, and of course their wings! As well as the Erasers, who are werewolves of sorts, that kidnapped Angel and hunt down the Flock throughout the manga to bring them back to The School.
Overall: (25/30) A lovable cast of mutant bird kids, a fast-paced plot, well-done artwork - this is a manga series I urge you to try! And, in my opinion, it's better than the novel series. ...more