Review: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter tells us that the world will end. Next Saturday. As foretold in Revelation, the Four Horsemen...moreReview: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter tells us that the world will end. Next Saturday. As foretold in Revelation, the Four Horsemen (or now, Bikers) will ride, Heaven and Hell will fight and the world will end. Crowley and Aziraphale are the only demon and angel that don’t want this to happen. And to make sure that it doesn’t, they have a lot to do. For example, deal with the Antichrist-an 11 year old named Adam who is a generally nice boy. Other things happen too. Lots of other things. I’ve not read much of Pratchett’s work (I think Nation and Maurice and that’s it) and only a little bit of Gaiman’s. But what I have read of both was generally awesome, and Good Omens is no exception! The dramatis personae really sets the scene for this. Quote: Satan (a Fallen Angel, the Adversary). Beelezebub (a Likewise Fallen Angel, and A Prince of Hell), *other Fallen Angels* Crowley (an Angel who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards). Also generally descriptive of this book are the explanation for the M25 being such a hellhole, the Angel’s conversation with the Snake, and the Satanic nunnery in which the nuns are meant to keep talking. If you laughed, liked, or weren’t morally offended by these things, then you’ll enjoy the rest of this. There’s a lot of plots that intertwine with each other eventually. Crowley and Azireaphale running around, Anathema dechipering Agnes’ prophecies, the Four Horsepersons getting together, the witchfinders running around, and Adam and his friendship group. There’s also a lot of shorter plots featuring characters for one block of text and then moving on. For some reason, this works in Good Omens (cameo characters in this volume don’t work in other books). The main characters are all one of a kind. Crowley and Aziraphale aren’t your typical angels/demons, and most of this defys your stereotypical views of heaven and hell. I loved the Four and the way they’re presented-both darkly funny and a little creepy (especially when their disguises drop) at the same time. The thing that really makes Good Omens is the writing. The “Who wrote what bit” of the Q&A proves you can’t say exactly which is Neil’s and which is Terry’s, but I’d say they’re both equally good. The footnotes! There’s more of them at the start, but they crop up throughout in amusing and appropriate places. The writing style of the whole thing contains many pus and is full of sarcasm and dry wit. Overall: Strength 5 tea to a comedy of apocalyptic proportions you just have to read again and again.(less)
Raven has woken up from a coma. Of eight years. The world she wakes up in is one with zombies, infected, so the dead rose again. From then on, we get...more Raven has woken up from a coma. Of eight years. The world she wakes up in is one with zombies, infected, so the dead rose again. From then on, we get the story of her at the Temple, learning how to protect herself, and finding out secrets that maybe should be kept quiet. The world building was very good. The planets we learnt about were all distinctly different, yet familiar-the Cantchi people, for example Chiyo, was what you’d get if the Japanese all emigrated to this new planet. It added a little familiar touch to a brand new world. We got a really clear account of the magic and the magical laws surrounding it. And the zombies....i love the take on them in this book. It’s original, and with a cool twist on them. At the start we got bogged down quite a bit with the world building. We needed to be introduced to the characters and the context, which I find is good, but as we kept switching places from chapter to chapter it was a little confusing. Shardaie/Raven(I only figured this out halfway through)was an interesting character. As interesting as you can get for a character who’s been asleep for more of her life than awake. But I think the mystery surrounding her added quite a lot to it, making you want to read on and see if you can work things out about her life. We got a nice lot of character development, from Chiyo especially. The interaction between the students and teachers was realistic and friendly, and it was easy to follow. Overall: Strength 4 tea to a good story with good characters and a great fantasy new world.(less)
Review: Death Note fans, listen up-this isn’t following the manga or anime canon at all. To understand why L’s last days are spent like this, you need...moreReview: Death Note fans, listen up-this isn’t following the manga or anime canon at all. To understand why L’s last days are spent like this, you need to watch the live acton films, Death Note and The Last Name. If you’ve watched L Change the World, also remember this isn’t an exact novelisation of the film as Boy (revealed to be Near, the albino one with a lot of toys) does not feature in the book, and certain parts have been changed a lot. This book follows L, the world’s top detective, during his last 23 days. During that time he picks up Maki, a ten year old girl whose father was shot down by Blue Ship, bioterrorists looking to unleash a virus on the world that could very easily wipe out everyone. L’s last mission is to keep the virus contained and to pruducde an antidote and stop Blue Ship from getting hold of the recipe for the antidote. As a Death Note enthusiast, I had to read this book. I read it straight after I watched the film though, so I spent half of the time I was reading it comparing it to the film. I shall try and keep this review to the book though. L was kept in character for this, with his intelligence at his normal high levels and his love for sweets as prevalent as ever. Maki was a great character biring an excellent child’s innocent point of view in and complimenting L throughout. The character introductions for the Blue Ship bioterrorists were terrible. As an example, Hatsune’s name was dropped in the middle of a paragraph and we just had to go with it. It would have been nice to have alittle more backtstory to the new characters. The mystery levls were almost as high as those in the canon manga. L’s bluffing and schemes, as well as Blue Ship’s, were intriguing to watch develop and play out. Overall: Strength 4 tea to another addition to the well-loved Death Note franchise(less)
Review: Ananna’s parents have arranged a marriage to Tarrin. She’s not very happy about this. And so she steals a camel and runs away. Tarrin’s family...moreReview: Ananna’s parents have arranged a marriage to Tarrin. She’s not very happy about this. And so she steals a camel and runs away. Tarrin’s family aren’t very happy about this. They send an assassin about her. then she accidentally saves his life, binding them together. They go on a quest to sort this out. From the first few pages, I’d decided I liked Ananna. Throughout, she’s very strong, stands up for herself, and is generally awesome and independent. Naji is really very adorable. He’s also mysterious, and there’s lots of things to learn about. Together, they work excellently together. Their first encounter is not quiet and calm, but there’s a lot of them getting used to eachother, and also a lot of action. I like the fact that the romance is very slow-Ananna doesn’t realise she’s in love for ages. Ananna has a really distinctive voice/dialect/way of speaking. It didn’t take me long to get used to it, and that’s part of what made me love her- I could imagine her, sitting next to me, talking at me. It’s not very often that I can literally hear a character/narration. But it happened here. I love the mix of pirates, assassins and magic. Also, the physical/cultural setting-the mix of middle eastern culture plus the desert is a really magical place to be in. I really really loved this world. I like where it ended. And I didn’t. It ends at a natural place, which is a good set up for The Pirate’s Wish. But at the same time, it’s sudden, it hasn’t wound down to a stopping point for one book, and if you hadn’t decided you were going to read The Pirate’s Wish, you may be a bit let down by the ending. You’re expecting more things to happen but it just cuts off. I think Strange Chemistry should release an omnibus edition to improve the flow some day. I’m sorry this review is so short. Actually, it's not too bad, but I feel there's more I should be able to say about this book.. You know there's just that quality to some books where it’s just “I love this because reasons which I cannot articulate?” this book has it in spades. Overall: Strength 5 tea to a magical adventure with excellent characters. (less)
This book jumps straight into the action, with two teenagers dying in very mysterious ways, at the same time. in the second chapter, we meet journali...more This book jumps straight into the action, with two teenagers dying in very mysterious ways, at the same time. in the second chapter, we meet journalist Asakawa, whose niece died in Chapter 1. in a taxi, he learns about the second mysterious death from the driver, and after doing some more digging, he finds two more teenagers died the same time from possibly the same thing (as they don't know what caused the deaths, they can't say it was the same thing.) It turns out they all stayed at a lodge one week before their deaths, and together they watched a video tape. Yes, that video tape that causes viewers to die in exactly a week after they watch the video unless...er...adverts...static...a chat show...er that's not right. Someone's taped over this at the vital part, and there's no way to recover it. So Asakawa and Ryuji plan to work out how to break the curse, brining up the vengeful spirit of Sakako Yamamura along the way. And they've only got a week to do it... I like the way it starts quickly, but i think the scare with the boy at the junction was much more powerful than Tomoko's death, probably because it was written as seen from a bystander, not just looking over the victim's shoulder. The pacing is really fast, but is also just slow enough for you to not keep losing your place. You really have to be reading closely to follow at every turn. The characters and their reactions are very believable. Ryuji and Asakawa were well fleshed out throughout, but the best character development came right at the very end. Yes, that's when one of them dead. And? The writing was excellent. The tension grips you from the start, and doesn't let you go. Even then, it still doesn't let you go. The cliff-hanger is extreme-life, death and a little family morals come in to it. This (as far as I remember. I read it a long time ago) is NOT resolved in book two, Loop, so your imagination is left to work overtime. And work overtime it does. Of all the books I've ever read, including a few Stephen Kings and classics like Frankenstein, THIS has been the only one to scare me to the point of keeping me awake, not wanting to go to bed. Sadako and her power is creepy. Fact.
Overall: Strength 5 tea to the best ghost story you will ever find.(less)
Review: Iphigenia Laurus, aka Gene, is a girl from a noble family. Micah Gray is a boy who runs away to join the circus. In a world surrounded by myst...moreReview: Iphigenia Laurus, aka Gene, is a girl from a noble family. Micah Gray is a boy who runs away to join the circus. In a world surrounded by mysterious penglass, and having to hide from those looking for them, they discover that they have something in their blood that could change their world. I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this. It must be said that I wasn’t expecting this though! From the beginning, you’re pulled fully into the magical atmosphere of the circus. The genre is kind of fantasy but light on the fantasy, steampunky but without the steam. I’d say... faerie punk? But without the faeries. But anyway. It’s a genre without a name and I love this kind of world. Our main character. So much love!! In the first very short chapter, you see their (I use they as a singular, non-gendered pronoun) rebellious side, refusing to get down after climbing the heights of the circus (which they weren’t meant to do) and refusing to get down and then jumping. Throughout, Micah struggles with intersexuality and bisexuality. It’s all handled really sensitively, going through a lot of questioning, questions about what their body makes them, what gender they present as, figuring out their place and their identity. Micah/Gene’s full story is revealed slowly in the form of flashback. The whole cast of Pantomime is varied and original. Generally, I preferred the circus crew, they’re more full and have better backstories, but those from their life as Gene were also interesting, sticking to formalities mainly and giving Gene a place to break out from. The romance was a nice side story. I’m fully on the MicahxAenea ship, because the adorableness. Drystan is an awesome character too, and the ending to this subplot was a satisfying one, if a bit... [cannot say due to possibly spoiling]. Totally, fully in love with all three characters involved in this love triangle.. The plot is very very character driven. The whole Penglass thing that is drawn attention to in the blurb doesn’t come into it very much, a couple of times during the main book and a bit more at the end. There’s subplots in the relationship between Frit and Bil, and Arik choosing a new direction, and Gene’s parents getting them to go through a procedure to make them one gender. Gender identity and sexuality are treated as two separate things (huzzah!) and this book addresses a lot of question anyone who may be struggling with these things may be wondering. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about intersexuality and to a lesser extent bisexuality being treated as a twist. In plot terms, it makes sense, because Micah/Gene’s parents want them back and they want to not be sent back to be forced to become one gender. In terms of real life implications, it’s different. In terms of getting readership it may work to attract those who would be put off a book that features a MC not tied down by the gender binary. But it also makes it seem like it’s something that should be hidden. And it isn’t. The thing about Pantomime is that it’s a gentle plotline and a fantasy thing, and intersex is just something that the main character is and the story is more than that. This is more a comment on the blurb of this book. The writing is absolutely beautiful. It’s descriptive and full and carries the tone of Pantomime perfectly. The ending. The drama picks up for the end of it, adding in more action. There’s a bit of violence, and then something happens that just left me in shock for a bit of time. Laura is firmly on the list of evil evil writers that I am in love with. It then moves on further, leading to a cliffhanger.
Overall: Strength 5 tea to a magically written story covering lots of different things. Can’t wait for Shadowplay.(less)
Review: Some of you may have heard of Vampire Hunter D, some of you might not. It's post-apocalyptic, set 10,000 years in the future and a few humans...moreReview: Some of you may have heard of Vampire Hunter D, some of you might not. It's post-apocalyptic, set 10,000 years in the future and a few humans are still alive. And there's some other things out there that aren't exactly human and aren't exactly alive either. Vampire lord Count Magnus Lee has bitten Doris Lang, cursing her to transform into a vampire, be fought by her neighbours or marry this vampire. Not a bright outlook. But Vampire Hunter D is able to save her. Add in Rin-Ginsei, rogue who I can't really figure out the point of, and you generally get the plot... Some time ago, everyone seemed to have read or seen VHD, apart from me. So I got the library to buy it. I then got put off it at the content in the first chapter. Which looking back on it wasn't too bad, but to a young and somewhat innocent twelve year old was quite bad. So now I'm older, I went back to it to have another go. The set up is good, with a clear idea of where it can go if Doris doesn't get the help. Doris was a fairly strong female main, able to stand up for herself and handy with a whip, but does rely on D for help. As I said, I didn't see the point of Rin-Ginsei other than as a character to oppose D, but oh well. The vampires in this are traditional ones, with laws and ceremony surrounding wives, and biting and other things like that. The writing was third person and seemed distanced from me through most of it. However, the action scenes were incredibly well written. Overall: Strength 3 tea to a book that I can understand why it spawned a huge franchise, but it just doesn't do it for me. (less)
Review: Its set in a post apocalyptic world, with a war between vampires and humans. We meet Esther, a nun in a very catholic setting who doesn’t seem...moreReview: Its set in a post apocalyptic world, with a war between vampires and humans. We meet Esther, a nun in a very catholic setting who doesn’t seem to do much. We meet Abel Nightroad, a priest from the Vatican who’s job it is to fight the vampires. They agree to fight the vampires together. Good. The first chapter is character intros and a big action scene. This comes from one of Gyula(a high standing vampire) sending one of his vampires to dispose of Abel Nightroad. There’s a big, gory fight scene, in which we discover that Abel is a Crusnik- a kind of vampire that requires the blood of other vampires to survive. The rest of the volume is part action, part flashback, part talk with nothing happening and part confusing. Another character we meet is Machine, who I don’t see the point of being there. There is also Dietrich, who doesn’t do much until halfway, then becomes a major part in events. The characters could be interesting, some of which have interesting habits (such as Abel’s requirement of thirteen sugars in tea), but the action and confusing plot didn’t really let us get very close to them. About the plot, everything that happened seems to be quite random, until the very end of a particular chapter, where it all makes perfect sense, but you don’t know why you are still reading it. The character designs are beautiful, as is the rest of the artwork. I think the style really suits this manga, but the action scenes should be broken into a few more panels- at times, it can be hard to know where to look first. Also, the chibis that come in from time to time sort of ruin it for me, as they don’t fit the dark, gothic manga that clearly wasn’t made with incorporating comedy relief. I would recommend this to anyone who really likes manga vampires, a lot of action, gore, and slightly pointless plotlines. If you’re new to manga, you may not want to though-the confusing bits may put you off. Overall: I give this strength two tea because it was a bit confusing and nothing happens that makes me want to read on. Good idea behind it though and the artwork is beautiful.(less)