**spoiler alert** I finished this book a few days ago. It sure is quite an improvement from "Dynasty of Ghosts" which I read later but couldn't finish...more**spoiler alert** I finished this book a few days ago. It sure is quite an improvement from "Dynasty of Ghosts" which I read later but couldn't finish. There's still quite a lot of "thinking" from the characters but at least, these thoughts are more brief.
I liked much of the worldbuilding but some of the details did get quite repetitive. However, it was quite interesting to learn about Yalen's people as well as the orcish people. Still, I wished the people and the world were less black and white and more morally greyish. And I regret there weren't more events in the story because there could've been more layers to cement their relationship and to really flesh out the world and ongoing plot.
As for Yalen, I liked the powers he had but it was a shame he only learned how to use them towards the end of the book. It would've been far more interesting if he'd learned to wield them midway, under the guidance of the dark warlord. I didn't mind his submissive personality but I found him a bit too restrained for his own good and over-relying on his powers to "save" the day.
I didn't mind the dark warlord but I wished we'd known far more about him. It was a shame he was thrown into the plot and then discarded when he'd outlasted his usefulness. I'd have preferred a bit more meat to his characterisation and to know more about the person himself, than just "I rebelled muhwahahaha so I'm dark and evil". Also, a great pity that he didn't meet with his people again, with Yalen by his side. It'd have been most amusing and interesting to read about their expressions. I guess I didn't mind any sex scenes with him and Yhalen, btw. And most certainly, he made for quite a mysterious and interesting character.
Bloodraven made for an okay character. His resistence to magick was really great at first but I'm really unsure how or why he changed his mind. I really hoped to learn far more about him but sadly, we never really did. Still, I liked the romance between Bloodraven and Yhalen. (less)
To be honest, it was really boring how the whole story turned out. Why is it that so many YA books seem to claim that romance is the cure for any prob...moreTo be honest, it was really boring how the whole story turned out. Why is it that so many YA books seem to claim that romance is the cure for any problem? And the way Addie went on and on about Trebor, you would've thought he was some Almighty Saviour or something.
Also, the writer didn't really fill in too much about the setting and didn't write enough about the Abilities. It was also very predictable how Duke turned out to be lying about his abilities: another case of the popular boy turning out to be a jerk.
I did think the paths were interesting but why were there only 2? I guess the writer limited the alternatives so the plot wouldn't get too confusing.
And why did Addie take so much pains to "Diverge" out her future, instead of trying to think for herself and then Diverge out the more important decisions.
Also, why did they go to so much pains in order to hide the existence of the Compound but send their team to interact with the outside world? Even better, disregarding the fact the players are teens, some would still have felt tempted to use their Abilities in order to get their way. It's just the human nature speaking, right?
It could've been a lot better since the branching of paths was cool but the story was not that nicely executed for me. In the end, it was all about romance, school, friends and nothing much about the Compound or Norm world. (less)
**spoiler alert** Art isn't too bad but many of the fighting scenes in vol1 were very confusing. I've rarely read manga where I couldn't even figure o...more**spoiler alert** Art isn't too bad but many of the fighting scenes in vol1 were very confusing. I've rarely read manga where I couldn't even figure out what's going on. If I'm right, the art and action scenes do get better over the course of the volumes. Character designs are okay and it is at least, easy to tell the characters apart. Pacing is quite fast and action can be fun to look at, once you're accustomed to the scenes.
The plot starts out with some interesting elements like military, gods, conspiracy but overall, it was very bland. The writing is typical of most shounen titles where a lot of details are crammed in and in order for the plot to develop, most of the cast remain quite static and development stagnates after a point. Or the cast will fail to act so the plot can develop. These aren't necessarily bad but the "cons" below far outweighed the "pros".
The setting involves military elements but most of these had poor development. The way most of the characters behaved, suggested very little military training. Also, all fiction is contrived but there were too many coincidences in this story to make any sense. The characters often fall into circumstances that work to their advantage than using intelligence and logic to work things out.
The characterisation for the main character wasn't that convincing and there were far more ways to get revenge than creating a huge ruckus that just about alerted everyone to his intentions. He was supposed to be quite bright, if I'm right and he didn't even use deceit and many other means of warfare, to his advantage.
I also couldn't believe the enemy would let a brainwashed kid run around so he could regain his memory one day. They even allowed such a valuable pawn to enroll in a military academy which posed the risk of Teito using his honed skills and abilities against them, should he somehow regain his memory. And throughout the entire series, on and on went the huge list of mistakes made by all the sides involved. I was unable to suspense my belief after a certain point as strategy was an important point of this story. Also, this was supposed to be a serious story about a conspiracy but much of the conspiracy was sub-par and a real letdown.
I read up to Volume 6 and persisted in the belief that the overall writing would improve far more. The improvement was so-so, I got bored of the plot by then and I gave up on the end.
I do recommend this title for those looking for a passable read, with some action, as long as you don't think too much about the writing. (less)
My favourite story is The Rite which is the most profound. It weaves memories of the past and present,...moreWonderful and touching, also somber and heavy.
My favourite story is The Rite which is the most profound. It weaves memories of the past and present, observations of the incident which have unknowingly touched the narrator in many ways, into a very complex telling of self-identity and even escapism.
It's as though Aki mainly recalls certain interactions related to death, from her past/present friendships. And she has now grown apart from Noboru because he no longer understands her, as he was never there and is disappointed in her inability to let go of the past. Unless both come to an equal understanding the past has reshaped Aki, it's doubtful their relationship will resume. (less)
I was unable to read past Chapter 3. My impression so far, being the entire affair was delivered via chunks of sermons cum some long-winded and dry na...moreI was unable to read past Chapter 3. My impression so far, being the entire affair was delivered via chunks of sermons cum some long-winded and dry narrations where characterisation was dull and hardly impressed on the reader.
Of course, my impression could be false since the book could've picked up. Still, I don't care to read it again. (less)