One of the things I really appreciate about Japanese manga is their ability to combine the wacky and the horrifying with a straight face. Others mightOne of the things I really appreciate about Japanese manga is their ability to combine the wacky and the horrifying with a straight face. Others might place the reader at a safe distance to be able to laugh at the absurdity of it all, but the manga writer wants you right in the middle of it, only able to scream, "What the hell is HAPPENING?" I love it.
I've only gotten into manga pretty recently and I already know that the cute little girl who is really a terrifying killer is not a new idea, nor the "It was looking to be another normal, boring day and then my entire class was slaughtered" concept. MGA is as aware of these as it is the Magical Girl concept it is skewering; where it exceeds is dialing these concepts up to 11 and making sure those beats of rest you expect in a narrative like this are shorter than you expect before pulling the rug out from under you again.
I'm certainly looking forward to the next volume....more
So here's my question: as the highly sexualized female nudity (and rape apologist attitude - the "honorable" young male character actually says afterSo here's my question: as the highly sexualized female nudity (and rape apologist attitude - the "honorable" young male character actually says after throwing a jacket at the naked girl he's just rescued, "Put it on or I might attack you myself"!) and violence means that this is expected to largely be read by a young male audience, why does the (non-sexualized) male nudity need to be pixelated? Are young men really so disturbed at the sight of their own genitalia? School showers must be hell.
A comment in another review suggests that things get better after about ten volumes. Why on earth would I want to invest that much time and money in reading something that I admit has promise but still makes me want to punch someone?...more
In some ways this feels like the YA dystopia I've been waiting for, one where the characters are literally trapped in high school. That being said, thIn some ways this feels like the YA dystopia I've been waiting for, one where the characters are literally trapped in high school. That being said, there's nothing particularly special about the writing or the plotting, and the characters run the bland gamut of straight mostly white middle class teens (with one flamboyantly gay drama kid - quelle surprise). It's like a movie you'd watch all the way through at least once if it happened to be on TV, but not something worth buying. It's fun enough that I'm probably going to read the next two books in the trilogy, as long as I can get them from the library....more
This is not "literary horror"; this is literary fiction that uses horror elements, at best to add elements of magical realism, and at its worst in a dThis is not "literary horror"; this is literary fiction that uses horror elements, at best to add elements of magical realism, and at its worst in a dismissive ironic hipster way. As someone with a deep appreciation of the way horror can give us unique insights into the human condition, I find this tendency aggravating and all too frequent in writers of contemporary literary fiction.
But wait, there's more.
The psychiatric hospital in this book is very familiar to anyone who's read much. It's a warehouse containing people who don't really belong there or who will be institutionalized for the rest of their lives, with a tragic few who end up a member of both categories, in large part due to the fact that such institutions have little ability to actually help anyone, so instead they just medicate everyone enough to make them manageable.
I'm also someone who has dealt with mental illness since childhood, and it is depictions of psychiatric hospitals just like this that led me to avoid seeking treatment until my thirties.
I'm not saying that the abuse and neglect written about psychiatric hospitals in fiction doesn't exist, but I'm tired of it being the ONLY way they are depicted. There are mentally ill people to whom a psychiatric hospital is a place of safety and help. Some of them even leave without escaping, still mentally ill, but having gotten the help they needed.
I really would have liked to have given this a better rating; there is much about the writing to compliment. But I'm not convinced that it's a story that needed to be told....more
I'd been debating reading this for a while and I finally let myself be swayed by a review that compared it to Waxwork, a movie from the Eighties I'm qI'd been debating reading this for a while and I finally let myself be swayed by a review that compared it to Waxwork, a movie from the Eighties I'm quite fond of. Unfortunately the imaginative touches that made Waxwork so enjoyable are completely missing here. The "movies" the characters found themselves in were dishwater-dull and neither the larger plot nor the characters themselves were interesting enough to make up for it.
There are some things I did appreciate. The female characters are by and large not there simply to scream and quiver with fear sexily, which is still depressingly uncommon in this strata of horror fiction. Also, at one point one character calls out another one for making transphobic jokes (using another kind of slur in the process, but still pretty good).
Between things like that and the general quality of the writing, I would not be averse to giving the author another try in the future....more
By the time I actually started reading this I had forgotten what it was that made me interested in this book, I just remembered that something had. ItBy the time I actually started reading this I had forgotten what it was that made me interested in this book, I just remembered that something had. It certainly wasn't the publisher's description, because rereading that made me wonder if I was in for disappointment.
I can happily report that whatever the source of that forgotten recommendation, I was right to trust it: this is a solid horror novel, skillfully constructed and likely to stay with me for some time.
It is not for the faint of stomach, but the body horror and animal abuse are intrinsic to the narrative and aim to make the reader disturbed and uncomfortable, not titillated. (The violence against animals was upsetting enough to me that I kind of wish I hadn't read it, but I absolutely believe it was necessary to the story, and besides I'm getting more sensitive with age anyway.)
The comparisons to Lord of the Flies, while probably inevitable, are fairly inaccurate. This is about five boys over a handful of days, hardly the material of a microcosm of a civilization. Group dynamics do come into play, and things do get nasty, but it is based on the character and behavior of individuals.
My only significant complaint about it is the extent to which women are absent from it. Obviously the main group is all-male, but they are noticeably absent from the supporting characters as well. Even the boys' mothers are barely sketched out ciphers. What made this sausage fest particularly egregious to me was that the monster in question is derived from something that our culture mostly inflicts on women. The failure to acknowledge that is frustrating.
Besides that I'd still happily recommend this to anyone with the taste and temperament for unsettling fiction....more
On the one hand this really IS just a trashy zombie novel. That being said, the use of the setting and historical figures was handled pretty well, andOn the one hand this really IS just a trashy zombie novel. That being said, the use of the setting and historical figures was handled pretty well, and the story involving gods from multiple pantheons and the larger cosmic roles many of them play was a really pleasant surprise. I found it worth the money. Probably won't appeal to those who like their zombie tales on the juicier side, but that suited me just fine....more
After reading this I'm thinking that it's possible Batman has reason to be grateful his parents aren't still around.
We do get a little more into The FAfter reading this I'm thinking that it's possible Batman has reason to be grateful his parents aren't still around.
We do get a little more into The First in this volume and it's kind of amusing. The doctor and his staff are missing - I do hope they return - and overall it's much thinner than the first volume, but with a greater overall cohesiveness. ...more