As much as I love to read, manga was a complete unknown to me before Death Note. I'd seen a few anime, and even found myself really into Japanese liteAs much as I love to read, manga was a complete unknown to me before Death Note. I'd seen a few anime, and even found myself really into Japanese literature, but somehow skipped manga until this. Despite having worked for a few years at a comic book store, I've only recently gotten around to reading manga. Although it feels like I may be a bit older than the target audience, I found myself completely enraptured by Boredom, the first volume of twelve in the Death Note series.
The story follows Light, a straight A student in Japan who finds a mysterious black book called a Death Note. There are instructions inside, which tell Light that all he has to do is write the name of a person inside of the book while thinking of their face and they will die within minutes. It even gives him the option of customizing the method of their demise, defaulting to a heart attack if he doesn't fill in the details. He is shortly thereafter joined by Ryou, the demon from another realm who left the Death Note on Earth, seemingly purely for his own amusement.
Death Note wastes zero time in getting really exciting. It asks interesting questions about power and about whether killing is ever really justified, as Light begins his story by knocking off known horrible criminals. He believes himself to be righteous, despite the fact that the body count is getting bigger and bigger by the day. The dynamic between Light and the bemused shinigami Ryuk is part of the charm in the story, as their back and forth is amusing and interesting to read, as they are the big players in the story while also being the ones discussing whether what's going on is within the scope of moral behavior.
The only minor criticism I have of Boredom is that the dialogue can occasionally approach a point that is too cheesy for my liking. Although I think the majority of this problem comes from the translation rather than any bad writing, it did come across as a bit over the top at times. Still, it's a minor hiccup in a story that is really well written overall with interesting characters and a lot of big questions. It definitely lends itself to binging through the whole series. ...more
The Drowning Girl, the Nebula Award nominated novel by Irish-born writer Caitlin R. Kiernan, is arguably the best example of how effective an unreliabThe Drowning Girl, the Nebula Award nominated novel by Irish-born writer Caitlin R. Kiernan, is arguably the best example of how effective an unreliable narrator can be. It isn’t a commonly used storytelling device, but works so perfectly with the style and feel of this story that it’s surprising that it isn’t used more.
The novel is a book within a book, the story of a woman named India Phelps, called Imp by her friends, who struggles with trying to put her history of mental illness onto paper. She tells fantastic stories about mermaids and sirens, often contradicting herself within a single paragraph. What makes the unreliability more interesting is the fact that India actually acknowledges that she’s contradicting herself; she is fully aware that she isn’t completely sane, but swears that every version of the story she tells feels real in her own mind.
[Review originally from Android Dreamer, a website dedicated to mostly indie sci-fi & fantasy.]
Ever since the whole Harry Potter multimedia empire[Review originally from Android Dreamer, a website dedicated to mostly indie sci-fi & fantasy.]
Ever since the whole Harry Potter multimedia empire began, stories about young wizards and various other magic-tinged fantasy novels have become a dime a dozen. Whereas previously just about every work of fantasy had been trying really hard to be the next Lord of the Rings, the trend in fantasy now is to try to be the next Harry Potter.
Firebrand, the first in a planned trilogy by R.M. Prioleau, fits comfortably into the mold of these young-boy-becomes-wizard stories. The keyword here is “comfortably,” for better or worse. The story follows a young man and his little brother, who are sent away by their completely unlikable parents to be part of a magic school, where they are trained from a young age by essentially a very angry, bitter Dumbledore/Gandalf-type wizard.
The storyline itself follows typical progression. There is some early struggle, but Kaijin, the protagonist, gets a hang of the power and becomes an above average wizard. Very few stories are told of the wizard whose abilities are just “meh.” Naturally, evil is a foot and there is much fire and undead creatures and general ne’er do-welling.