This is it: the finale to this rather short but very interesting series. We finally get the answers as to why Rintaro is in hell, something that I'm s...moreThis is it: the finale to this rather short but very interesting series. We finally get the answers as to why Rintaro is in hell, something that I'm sure that most readers were intensely curious about it. It's heartbreaking when you read it and I have to give Suzumaru credit in that he was willing to go as far as he did. You don't see anything and perhaps that's what makes everything so queasily surreal and horrifying. It's left up to the reader to picture the scene, try as hard as you might to NOT picture it.
The artwork here is pretty well done, although I'll say that the best parts are usually when Suzumaru is trying to unsettle the reader by showing the horror of a certain human being or how gruesome a devil can actually look. It's kind of jarring in comparison to how cutesy some of the artwork can be at times, which gives off an uneasy feeling.
Story-wise, things tend to go fairly quickly in this volume as Suzumaru tries to wrap the story up and come to a satisfactory conclusion. It probably could have extended for at least one more volume, but I'm happy with how things progressed and I think that this probably wouldn't have fared very well by being one of those 6-7 volume tales because the story here is pretty limited once you get down to it and lends itself better to a shorter format.
If you've bought the previous two volumes, this is definitely worth getting. If you're still on the fence and were waiting to read opinions about the last volume before diving into everything, I give it my recommendation. (less)
I have to wonder why it's taken me so long to find this comic series. This has to be one of the quirkiest series I've seen in a while, although I'll b...moreI have to wonder why it's taken me so long to find this comic series. This has to be one of the quirkiest series I've seen in a while, although I'll be honest and say that I'm not sure how well this will age in the long run. Most of its humor and entertainment value come at the expense of today's viewpoints and opinions on sex, so this is the type of work that will probably be considered a classic years down the line but will probably (hopefully) have to be somewhat explained to generations of new readers as "back then opinions on sexuality and your own sexual identity was more confined or repressed, etc".
The artwork is truly wonderful and one of the highlights of the series as a whole. It would have been very, very easy for Fraction and Zdarsky to have skimped on the artwork and relied on the sex and story to carry the series. Others have done it before, so it wouldn't have surprised any of us if we were to have seen artwork that was more aimed towards highlighting the hotness of its lead female Suzie. However that's not the case here and while Suzie is attractive, she's not done up in a way that would be unrealistic or overly unappealing. She's wonderful in that she has is neither an unrealistic beauty nor an overly bland or ugly woman, instead she's the type of person you could expect to meet on the street. The same thing goes for her lover Jon.
What will stand out most in everyone's minds is, of course, the sexual content. Fraction and Zdarsky are unafraid to tackle the idea of someone claiming both their sexuality and their superpowers. Part of what won me over is that they also broached the subject of young children asking questions about sex in general. It reminded me greatly of my own childhood, where educators awkwardly taught us the bare minimum before being told "now don't do this until you're married" and shoved out the classroom door. Most of the stuff my friends and I learned, we learned from checking out books, from overhearing conversations, and from other youths. It's kind of interesting to see this explored in Sex Criminals, especially given the recent controversy over several Planned Parenthood centers being criticized for giving out information to minors. This element is pretty much why I wonder how well this will age in the long run. I can only hope that in 20-50 years we'll have readers scratching their heads and going "why did anyone shame someone for asking an honest question" or "what do you mean, they didn't get a comprehensive education?", making it necessary for people to explain the book's context.
Overall this is definitely a series to check out. Will it age well? Dunno, but for today's day and age it's absolutely fantastic.(less)
This review is for the series as a whole. I have to say that I'm actually very surprised that this series hasn't been brought over to the States yet....moreThis review is for the series as a whole. I have to say that I'm actually very surprised that this series hasn't been brought over to the States yet. It's long running at 15 volumes, but the story isn't stretched overly thin. The only major complaint I have is that it takes so freaking long for the two main characters to pair up that at times I didn't entirely feel the chemistry between the two of them as much as I wanted to.
There's an interesting twist to the series about halfway to three quarters in, which was somewhat unexpected. I knew that there would be an explanation as to why Ichiko has all of her good luck energy, but I wasn't entirely expecting this. It did feel a little abrupt and compacted since it comes into the series a little later in the game, but it's still enjoyable. I also liked the series's resolution, as it was happy (like you expect anything otherwise from this type of series) but a little bittersweet at the same time.(less)
I have to say that I'm still relatively undecided about this series. I like it and I like its fairly refreshing approach to sexuality. It's nice that...moreI have to say that I'm still relatively undecided about this series. I like it and I like its fairly refreshing approach to sexuality. It's nice that Galenorn portrays her characters as unashamed and unafraid of their own sexuality, which is something I've frequently praised in this series so far.
My only big complaint is the slow pace of the book and series. So far there's been a lot of revolving around the idea of Shadow Wing invading and the progress has been slow but decent. I'm a little leery about the reviews I've read for the later books that state that things have slowed to a crawl (at best) and that the series becomes pretty dragged out in later books. I figure I'll still follow along with the series for as long as my library has copies of the audiobooks (awesome narration!) and I'll see how I feel as it progresses. I'm not overwhelmingly fond of series that seem to have no ending in sight ala Laurell K Hamilton, although I've noticed that this opinion seems to be growing more popular with various UF and PNR readers in general lately.
Still, this book does have quite a bit going for it. We have the return of an important character, the introduction of a new sinister character (who I'd guess would be a bad guy even without checking the plot synopsis for future books), and the loss of a character. (Slight spoilers, I guess.) It's enough to where I'm rounding this up to 4 stars (from 3.5), as I did enjoy it- especially the glimpse into Iris's past. Reading her novella is actually something I'm looking forward to.(less)
I've DNF'd this for the foreseeable future. It's not that this is a bad book necessarily, it's just that things go on at such a gentle and slow pace t...moreI've DNF'd this for the foreseeable future. It's not that this is a bad book necessarily, it's just that things go on at such a gentle and slow pace that I can't really find myself all that overly interested in the characters. It's a good idea and it's not badly written or anything, it's just not my thing right now. I would recommend it for fans of gently paced fiction, though.(less)
I admit that when I first discovered the series, I was a little skeptical. It had a fair place of prominence at my local comic book store and came hig...moreI admit that when I first discovered the series, I was a little skeptical. It had a fair place of prominence at my local comic book store and came highly recommended, but it just seemed so unassuming next to the glitzy covers for various mainstream and indie titles. Reassured by the salesman that I'd enjoy the read, I purchased the first two issues and took them home. A few days later I rushed into the store to get the next issue like an addict needing their next fix and was dismayed to find that they'd sold out. I was equally amazed when my comic book peddler told me about how the comic book is created. (More on that later.)
What you need to know first and foremost is that the story here is top notch. Taylor tries really hard to turn a lot of conventional horror tropes on their head by not only making our lead character a murderer, but he also goes so far to make her a fairly normal one at that. She wasn't abused or kept in a dark dungeon somewhere, nor is she without human emotions. Aside from her extremely strong need to kill, Zoey is otherwise a fairly mundane, even laid-back character with family and friends that she loves and is loved by in return. In the first issue she even goes so far as to talk about how conflicted she felt about a murder she committed prior to the series' start. She's actively trying to restrain her inner nature, which causes her no end of conflict with the people around her. Because she's so normal it's easy to empathize with Zoey at times, especially since her first murder was due to fairly traumatic circumstances. She's kind of a female Dexter, but with far more emotions.
The artwork in this is pretty good and what makes all of this so amazingly awesome is how much work is put into it. Larime Taylor, the series' author, was born with a disability that leaves him unable to draw using conventional means and uses his mouth to create everything for the series, from its initial sketches to the shading and lettering. The quality of the artwork here is very good and his control and skill is top notch- better than even some of the more mainstream artists out there. There's a wide variety of character types and styles, but it doesn't feel like he's trying to make your typical "token" characters. (IE, making a character of each gender, color, size, etc to create a multicultural rainbow like you see with some books, movies, and comics.) It's kind of inspiring to see how much work and effort went into the series' creation, which gave me some much needed oomph to keep going during my last semester of my Bachelor's Degree.
I honestly can't recommend this enough to anyone that loves a good story and doesn't want your typical horror movie comic book. I'd compare it to the Wet Moon series as far as it's slow buildup and character development. It's the epitome of the comic book series that isn't very well known but really deserves to be far well known- in other words the typical "Best Comic Book You're Not Reading" sort of fare. I'd even go so far as to say that if you're interested, buy the first volume outright and then buy another one because you'll be handing that extra copy to your friends and telling them "you HAVE to read this!"(less)
It took me a little while to get into this book, but once it grabbed me it had me by the throat and refused to let me go. It was pretty engrossing. Th...moreIt took me a little while to get into this book, but once it grabbed me it had me by the throat and refused to let me go. It was pretty engrossing. The interesting thing I noticed though, is how similar the abuse (unsure of how else to phrase it) was in this book and in the recent "Better Homes and Hauntings" at times. Nina and Tina/Anna did not suffer the same abuse by a long shot, rather I'm referencing the way that their respective manipulators tried to get revenge against them for leaving. Both tried to get even by ruining their credit- a common tactic so it's reasonable that both would have this happen to them- but both men purchased the same items. I'm not entirely sure why I'm mentioning this since the books were otherwise very different, but I figured it'd be worth mentioning.
In any case, I did like the interactions between Tina/Anna and Caleb. I also liked that Tina/Anna was so skittish because that's fairly normal, and I like that Harper tried to explain why she stayed with Glenn. It's easy for people to ask why people stay in situations like that and one of the big reasons is that the abuse is very slow to form and many ignore the red flags because they don't seem so bad at first. Tina/Anna compares it to a frog in a boiling pot and that's a rather apt analogy. The situation in this book isn't the absolute norm, but hopefully it'll help illuminate what goes on in an abusive relationship a little for those who wouldn't normally read books featuring this subject. (Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and romance books don't always cover topics like domestic abuse, although it's not unheard of.)
The only true downside is that this book took a little while to get started. Once it did, it really took off and I finished it within a day. Definitely worth checking out if you enjoy Harper's work overall.(less)
I kind of can't entirely make up my mind about this series. It has some great parts to it, but for everything I like there's something that seems a bi...moreI kind of can't entirely make up my mind about this series. It has some great parts to it, but for everything I like there's something that seems a bit too overly done or familiar. I guess my review could probably be summed up thusly: this isn't a bad comic, but it's the type that would likely be better served as a miniseries rather than an ongoing one.
The setup here is one that you've seen before: a misfit wealthy teenager goes out into the woods to practice some dark magic and ends up getting more than she bargained for, as one friend goes missing and the other is forever mentally scarred. Years later she's in a steady job but is forced home to deal with her past mistakes.
Eve is your typical brassy, gritty heroine, which works both for and against her. It works for her because she needs to be able to be cold and calculated when it comes to some of the stuff she's dealing with. However it works against her at times because it makes her pretty unlikable to where I didn't entirely care if she overcame the Big Bad. This really, REALLY could have used more buildup and more character development. I can't help but think that this might have been better if the whole "forbidden fruit" love interest had been taken out of the first volume entirely, as we have more than a few pages with Eve messing around with the boyfriend of one of her friends. There isn't a huge amount of chemistry between them, so part of me just wished that it'd been removed or at least been left to develop over more issues.
It isn't that there aren't things here that aren't interesting. The artwork is nice and the basic idea of the story is good. It's just that things didn't unwind in as organic and natural of a fashion as I'd liked. Coffin Hill has the potential to be very, very good but it's just not there yet. I just can't help but get the feeling that this was supposed to have been much more, but was boiled down into a fairly average comic book where more emphasis is put on making everything *EDGY* and "Our _____ are different" than anything else. It's OK, but I recommend that you get this one from the library or borrow a friend's copy. I bought mine from the comic book store, but I don't know that I'll get volume two unless the story really improves in the next volume. It's OK, but a little too forgettable for my liking.(less)
I've finally gotten around to reading the Naked Werewolf series. I'd put it off because of my looming TBR pile, but I couldn't help snatching up a cop...moreI've finally gotten around to reading the Naked Werewolf series. I'd put it off because of my looming TBR pile, but I couldn't help snatching up a copy from my local library. After all, I'd have to return a library book so it wouldn't sit around... totally doesn't count, right? I was unaware that this was the second book in the series, though.
I have to admit that I did like this book, enough to where I outright purchased the third book in the series when I bought Harper's Better Homes & Hauntings. I didn't like it as much as I did the HMH and Nice Girls series, but this does have a lot going for it. One of the biggest perks was that I didn't have to have read the first book (which focused on Maggie's brother) to really understand what was going on here. I did get that feeling that I'd have enjoyed it a bit more if I had, for the typical reasons, but I appreciated that Harper tried as hard as possible to make new readers feel like they could just jump into the series.
The characters here are pretty interesting and I really did enjoy the interactions between Maggie and Nick. The chemistry was there, even if the romance and overall story was a little on the light side. Again, I didn't read the previous book and I have a very large suspicion that I wouldn't have felt this if I'd started properly with the first book.
Overall this was a pretty good book and I enjoyed it enough to want to read the other two books in the series, which is always a pretty good endorsement that you want to spend your time and/or money on reading the other books.(less)
I'd been a little lax in keeping my eye out for new Molly Harper books, partially because I've been trying to whittle down my physical TBR pile in the...moreI'd been a little lax in keeping my eye out for new Molly Harper books, partially because I've been trying to whittle down my physical TBR pile in the corner of my room. (My e-book TBR pile is astronomically large, if you're curious.) I'd turned a friend on to Harper's work and I was pleased when she told me that there was a new book out. After stalking a Barnes & Nobles employee, I managed to get my mitts on a copy.
When you get down to it, this is standard Harper fare. By that I mean that if you've read and loved her other books then the odds are very, very high that you will absolutely adore BH&H. It's not as strong as her Nice Girls series, but then this is a standalone book and you don't have all of the slow character building that you can get with a longer series. The characters here are still pretty likable and I absolutely loved the Deacon/Nina pairing. That might be seen as a bit of a spoiler, but then Harper doesn't really try to hide or even really hold off pairing the two of them together- which was actually fairly nice. I admit that at times I wished there was a teensy bit more drama llama goodness, but part of what makes this book work is that most of the pairings in this book are pretty straight forward and honest about everything. I'll admit that I wouldn't be upset if Harper wrote a follow up book or short story somewhere along the lines (maybe have Nina design another garden in another haunted locale?), because I absolutely loved the nerdy-geek courtship between Nina and Deacon. He's pretty much ever nerd girl's fantasy, to put it bluntly, and Nina's a character that most of us will probably be able to relate to in one form or another.
Overall I really did like this book and odds are favorable that I'll read it again, which means that it won't be sent to my local book exchange unless I end up having to downsize my book collection to about 4-5 books. (Every bibliophile's nightmare.) I'll admit that the mystery/action here was fairly light for the most part, but that's partially because we had two major pairings in this book and Harper had to spend time on trying to give each one enough buildup to seem reasonable. It was still fun and I finished this pretty quickly, which is almost always a good sign with me. I can only hope that Harper decides to write some more haunted house-esque books, maybe even making a series about paranormal investigators? (less)
Before I get officially started with this review, I want people to know that this isn't a bad book. It's fairly enjoyable overall and I can see what t...moreBefore I get officially started with this review, I want people to know that this isn't a bad book. It's fairly enjoyable overall and I can see what the author was trying to do with this by turning a few conventions on their head. However the problem here is that while it isn't a bad book by any stretch, it's not exactly the great book it could have been either.
Part of what makes this book work from the start is that Bernstein has this "80s/90s horror movie" vibe that permeates the first part of the novel. It's fun and he does a nice job of setting the characters up so that we have a fairly good idea of who they are, what they want, and who is most likely to end up dying. (view spoiler)[ They all die fairly quickly once on the island, except for Gwen. (hide spoiler)] There's also some decent flashbacks and a pretty interesting character in the form of a Scottish demonologist.
However what ultimately disappointed me was also what initially intrigued me. A large portion of the book is just the group of teens going to the island, and the rest is devoted to the aftermath for the most part. This intrigued me at first, but what frustrated me is that we have some characters that were introduced fairly late in the book and as such, just kind of felt underdeveloped and rushed. Bernstein does try to give them a little introduction, but it came across as a little bit of a deus ex machina and a way to end the book. I really think that if all of these had been blended together a little better, maybe introduce the newer characters a little earlier in the book, then perhaps it wouldn't have felt as tacked on as it was. This just took what was initially a great book and turned it into an OK book. I'm not going to avoid the author's work or anything, but I'm not going to be as rabid a follower as I'd originally anticipated.
This is a decent work for the most part and one I'd recommend, but this just felt like it could have used a little bit more editing for flow.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)