**spoiler alert** I'm not quiite finished with the book, but here are my irked thoughts:
Ehh....well, it wasn't bad at firs**spoiler alert** I'm not quiite finished with the book, but here are my irked thoughts:
Ehh....well, it wasn't bad at first. It wasn't easy getting invested in the narrator, who professes to be completely apathetic to everything and everyone except his mistress, but once the murders started happening, I perked a little to see how he would solve the mystery.
Unfortunately, I was constantly getting distracted with the bizarre antics, switch-arounds, and baffling and inconsistent personalities to really appreciate the solving of the mystery. The main character's grand reveal sort of squeezed out and dribbled limp to the floor. The murderers were never punished, because the police were never brought in. They simply went home on the same plane that everyone else did. (WUT?!) Their motives were never fleshed out clearly, because the bad guys decided they didn't want to talk, though one of them did say something that I'm not even sure I should take seriously.
So as a murder mystery, wow, this just falls flat. The murderers are found out, then are ALLOWED to walk away, and everyone who were next in line to die are simply ok with it. Did it ever occur to them that heeey, just because they failed killing you on a secluded island doesn't mean they might not try again once you're off it?? And what kind of people go about having illustrious careers, are invited to a vacation on an island, attempt right there to become serial killers, then go home and continue their perfectly normal lives??
Not as compelling as the author's other book, All You Need Is Kill. Taking place in modern day, the story follows a laconic, stoic young fellow with tNot as compelling as the author's other book, All You Need Is Kill. Taking place in modern day, the story follows a laconic, stoic young fellow with the compelling personality of a brick as he ploughs through an online game to become the greatest virtual fighter in that game. Somehow along the way, he picks up a girlfriend. I'm a little baffled how, but at the same time, I can sort of fill in the blanks as to how that may ocur in an extremely subtle, understated sort of way...so that's not really my main problem. The primary hurdle to overcome was trying to visualize all the fight scenes. They are written in terms of what you would input into a controller. So the fights boil down to a series of tap-tap-block-throw-interrupt-dash-kick-sidestep rather than a fleshed out, visceral viewing experience.
And there are a lot of fights. so.
The story rounds itself off, ending at just the right amount of time. Then it continues in a sort of epilogue from the view point of another character, fleshing out details of said character, injecting new information, and then culminating the whole experience with the true ending, one which is mild but quite satisfying.
All in all, not bad. You probably won't feel a pressing need to reread it, but it passes the time well....more
Actually, this story is quite the tragedy. But something about the Japanese way of writing makes it all stoic and okay, when any Western author wouldActually, this story is quite the tragedy. But something about the Japanese way of writing makes it all stoic and okay, when any Western author would have been tempted to add ten chapters and wring tears out of you.
An interesting sci-fi tale of an unending war against invasive aliens, with a secondary and very convincing story of finding and losing love on the battlefield....more
As with the other books in the series, it is awesome and fantastic, with an immersive world (down to creating units of measure and new birthing techniAs with the other books in the series, it is awesome and fantastic, with an immersive world (down to creating units of measure and new birthing techniques with the social repurcussions!), a big over-arching plot of the troubles of ruling a kingdom, with the personal stories of three very different girls who converge at the height of the conflict.
I knocked a star off because this is by far the worst editing job Tokyopop has done to date. The other books had typos as well, but this one really surpasses them. Names are mixed up, particles are dropped/scrambled, words misspelled....but the worst part? IT IS MISSING A WHOLE CHAPTER.
Between chapter 16 and 17, there is a bizarre plot skip. Though the story survives without it, I felt a little weird until I searched online and found a fan translation of it (by Eugene Woodbury).
Very bad, Tokyopop. Will they ever fix it in the next edition? Who knows. I'm irritated that my nice hardcover (of cheap paper) is hiding pieces of poo in it's depths, but this series is fabulous enough that I would pay for the paperback too to make it right....more
Piece of poo. Non-existent characterizations, no atmosphere what-to-speak of, cardboard cut-out Evil Hur-Hur vampires, excessive spouting of Church-rePiece of poo. Non-existent characterizations, no atmosphere what-to-speak of, cardboard cut-out Evil Hur-Hur vampires, excessive spouting of Church-related Latin with no sense that anyone is remotely religious, though they may say they are from the Vatican and they say they are priests. I shouldn't be surprised of course, but still. Make me believe!
It's hard to even call this a novel. It's more like a collection of short stories/cases that loosely tie together in a vague story arc. Many of the same characters tromp on and off, but we are given so little personality that it doesn't really matter. Quirks and odd mannerisms do not a character make! And no, it doesn't get better when the robot arrives.
The world seems potentially interesting, but it is almost entirely ignored, except when a name or random location is thrown out. The people feel stupid. The people ARE stupid, good and bad. The pope is a stupid kid getting jerked around by his siblings. The AX agents are only super b/c they're secret monsters, and not because they're any good at investigations.
The only good (or bad, depending on your point of view) thing is that the violent gore scenes are really quite violent and gorey. So the author managed to express something properly, I suppose, if that was his aim. But then again, I was so utterly not caring about the story that I wasn't affected by any of it. Girl gets crotch-grabbed and threatened by perverted vampire? Whatever. Vampire gets head chopped so that it dangles upside-down by the skin? So what.
Save yourself the money and just borrow it from the library if you must....more
I'm sorry, I tried! Borrowed after a friend who never reads recommended it, but.... >_>
I know that the Japanese are taciturn and really like unsI'm sorry, I tried! Borrowed after a friend who never reads recommended it, but.... >_>
I know that the Japanese are taciturn and really like unspoken subtext. I enjoy manly stoicism. However, I cannot understand a "friendship" that consists of one young high-school/college-aged kid foisting himself into the company of a much older, reclusive man who doesn't care about the kid but couldn't even muster the enegery to tell him off.
But that's not the bad part. From that summary alone, an author can create all kinds of interesting situations.
Arguably, the old guy enjoys the kid's company because he tolerates the visits and walks. But THEY NEVER TALK. They NEVER SAY ANYTHING OF CONSEQUENCE TO EACH OTHER. Gawd, they don't even say enough to get to know each other. It is full of the awkwardness of two strangers with no curiosity.
They might take a walk for several hours and say maybe 3 sentences the entire time about the nice weather. The kid will ponder, "I wonder what's going on in his head?" or maybe "A strange expression just passed across his face. Why?" and then shut his mouth.
The kid will sit in the guy's house and drink tea, and make really boring, inconsequential chitchat with the guy's wife. If you've seen traditional Japanese wives in action, you know the conversations will be allll politeness and leave you absolutely no openings to hinge a conversation on.
Life goes on for the kid, and their friendship continues plodding on with no point! There may have been some secret angst involving a gravesite (or am I mixing it up?), but predictably, the old guy didn't want to talk about it, the young kid was too chicken/polite to ask, and the wife knows diddly-squat.
So in summary: GENRE: plotless Liiiiterature about life WRITING STYLE: Japanese-translated, so a bit stiff and quite distant. VERDICT: BORING...more
Coming off of reading Yamada's GitS:Innocence novel, Aphrodite was almost a bit of a let-down, because it didn't immediately have any of the aspects tComing off of reading Yamada's GitS:Innocence novel, Aphrodite was almost a bit of a let-down, because it didn't immediately have any of the aspects that made the GitS novel so wonderful: the interleaving of action-packed conspiracy, Batou's philosophical meanderings on his own humanity or lack thereof, and the simple story of a man looking for his dog. I found Batou's first person narrative voice to be incredibly engaging and often downright humorous, even as he never veers from his stoic, stodgy, and lugubrious personality.
Aphrodite, on the other hand, addresses its characters in a 3rd person limited voice, which is a POV that I am particularly fond of, except that Yamada uses it with such distance, that I feel like I am watching an artsy film from which I am totally removed. It might be described as the difference of sitting, locked in traffic, and idly watching a nearby parking lot as a shopping cart rolls steadily along and into a parked car, versus standing at the scene with your grocery bags, watching the shopping cart while the owner is in front of you chasing after it like a loon.
After awhile, I just realized that the book was simply 'Japanese'. It is a distillation, the barest you can get away with and still conceive the aura of loss, happiness, and growing up and away from your childhood dreams. The concept is unique, the execution solid, and the pacing is steady. Just don't expect to get too caught up in the character's life, because it's designed to keep you at arm's length....more
Arrgh, very disappointed. Previous Vampire Hunter D books all had the same tropes, the same repeated descriptions of D's gorgeousness, etc. but I wasArrgh, very disappointed. Previous Vampire Hunter D books all had the same tropes, the same repeated descriptions of D's gorgeousness, etc. but I was able to overlook the flaws because of a great sense of futuristic fantasy with hints of squee. But this latest book failed, perhaps because the author tried to stretch the story out across two books. His 'light' writing style finally fails, as he jams in too many characters, too many repeats of gorgeosity, too many "strongest, fearsomest, most bad-ass ever!" fighters who get knocked off like bowling pins, only to NEVER STOP COMING BACK in a million "Whoops! Gotcha!" moments. None of the new characters have much personality besides being evil, and even when they do have some nobility or something of interest, the author's style of writing inserts the information in a very forgettable way.
Also, the author has written one of the most unsexiest sexy women ever in the face of the world. Maybe it's the translation, but...no. The Sexy Temptress lady was just beyond lame. ...more
Beautiful, fascinating world with interesting characters. The main character might be considered annoying because he is very weak-minded and apologizeBeautiful, fascinating world with interesting characters. The main character might be considered annoying because he is very weak-minded and apologizes constantly for things that aren't his fault...but it's a 10 yr old boy whose self-confidence has been eroded to nothing because he was born in a world he did not belong in. And the way it was presented evoked my sympathy very easily.
The flow of the English seems to be better than the first volume and I didn't notice any glaring grammatical/typographical errors as in the first volume. On LJ communities, it's interesting to see what people say about the outright insertions the translator made that are not backed up by the original text. But again, that seems to have been done fewer times than with the first volume of the series....more
Another anthology of short stories and comics. Predictably, it was a mixed bag. The short comics were too short to satisfy, as were the very short ficAnother anthology of short stories and comics. Predictably, it was a mixed bag. The short comics were too short to satisfy, as were the very short fictional/nonfiction? essays at the very end.
The first short story, an excerpt from Nisioisin's xxxHolic novel, was decent enough, though I think the animated episode that derives from it was a bit more effective if only because xxxHolic relies very heavily on the fantastic visuals to convey the atmosphere and supernatural.
The 2nd short story by Kouhei Kadono was awesome-- not distant the way many Japanese fiction is, with fast pacing without forgetting to delve where it needs to. Enjoyable and interesting. The only flaw is that I wish it didn't end. I'll definitely be checking out this author's other works.
The 3rd short story was ridiculous-- trotted out as a gem of "avant-garde", this story was essentially some weirdo monologuing without end his deviant sex dreams. The dreams themselves don't have any plot that I could tell (but I stopped reading halfway through); like real dreams, they make very little sense when spoken (or written) aloud, and get very tedious very fast. Just a lot of splashy, "cutting-edge", messed-up, sexed-up imagery.
The 4th story was boring. Heavy tie-ins with Doraeman, which I never watched, so I can't appreciate the nostalgia that the story was banking on. Takeshi Obata's art is very nice, but ya know...that's not enough.
The 5th story....yeah. >_> I lost interest in that point. It's too bad, I may have finished it if it was placed before the 4th story....more
Absolutely fabulous. Although the skinnest of the Twelve Kingdoms books by far, it packs in just as much story, perhaps because it no longer needs toAbsolutely fabulous. Although the skinnest of the Twelve Kingdoms books by far, it packs in just as much story, perhaps because it no longer needs to explain as much of the world as in previous volumes. The focus is several hundred (at least) years prior to the first volume, concerning the affairs of the Kingdom of En, its kirin, and its king. Shoryuu and Enki are by far my most favorite characters from Twelve Kingdoms, and the author describes their lively personalities and exploits with just enough Japanese spareness to allow the imagination to fill in the blanks without distancing or frustrating the reader. The political sitations are handled with intelligence, and feels so much like various Chinese historical dramas/reenactments of Han Dynasty, etc. (albeit more simple) that I've seen that this fantasy world simply feels absolutely real. SO Chinese. And all without having to access the stereotypical "This Is What You Use To Create an Asian Setting!" trappings of yin-yang, zodiac animal symbology, dragons, mahjong, mysticism, monks, martial arts, incense, fortune telling, demure girls in cheungsam, Shinto priests, ninja, etc. etc. Not that there is anything wrong with the aforementioned....it's just been done so much! And this book avoids them all completely.
A must read, although I don't know if I would recommend it without reading the prior two....more
meh...had trouble finishing, though eventually I made it. Basically the luster of VampyD has worn itself away...The plots are usually the same, very fmeh...had trouble finishing, though eventually I made it. Basically the luster of VampyD has worn itself away...The plots are usually the same, very formulaic with D appearing mysteriously to help vampire-plagued person/people, spunky girl who is a decent fighter, and a host of crazy monster fighters who are out of this world. There are sooo many out-of-this-world fighters that it's just not interesting anymore to see them one-up each other. Character-building is as flat as ever, and in a long-running series like this where the plot is recycled, characters are very very important. There was some promise, as a couple of the antagonists had murky motivations and interesting shades of honor, but in the end, it was all stamped flat and not explored....more
Now this was worth $5! Truly a "light" novel. I breezed through it happily and was neither strained, stressed, disbelieving, or bored. I suppose it fiNow this was worth $5! Truly a "light" novel. I breezed through it happily and was neither strained, stressed, disbelieving, or bored. I suppose it fills in some backstory and details of the characters in the anime, but it probably follows much of the same events? Not sure since this is the first volume. But even though I've seen the anime twice, the story engaged me enough that it didn't feel old....more
Fun, decent, quick, undemanding and yet satisfying. I believe it follows the events of the anime (or rather, the anime follows the events of the novelFun, decent, quick, undemanding and yet satisfying. I believe it follows the events of the anime (or rather, the anime follows the events of the novel), but I felt that an extra dimension was added to all the characters that may not have made it into the show. It's a shame Tokyopop decided not to publish any further....more
Interesting and fun, despite the protagonist becoing rather annoying and very unsympathetic, the over-profusion of enigmatic characters who pop in andInteresting and fun, despite the protagonist becoing rather annoying and very unsympathetic, the over-profusion of enigmatic characters who pop in and out of scenes spouting cryptic information, and the general squandering of the sprawling, interesting world with a rather unbelievable plot....
But somehow, despite all these flaws that would normally be over-staggeringly unforgiveable, I ate the book up in a couple hours. This novel has achieved the trademark of light novels-- that unexplainable addictive quality that lets you breeze along, tickling the imagination enough for you to want to keep going, nevermind the potholes. I may not be willing to pay $12 for its sequel, but if it's in the bargain bin......more
You know...supposedly Hideyuki Kikuchi is the Steven King of Japanese horror but I haven't found a single one of his books to be creepy. After his VamYou know...supposedly Hideyuki Kikuchi is the Steven King of Japanese horror but I haven't found a single one of his books to be creepy. After his VampyD novels took a turn for the idiotic, I decided to try a new series of his in hopes that he would have improved his game with a new concept. With this book, he sort of succeeds. I found the narrative voice appealing, the urban fantasy backdrop fascinating, and the pacing good. The only problem?
GRAPHIC DEMON RAPE SEX RAPE OF COURSE ITS THE GIRL
Yeah, tentacles and the whole works. =_= And I still wasn't creeped out! It was just gross. why o why couldn't the author trade the gummy gore for some real atmosphere?...more