This volume is a collection of a Korean Manhwa Webcomic. A couple notes:
All the characters are amazing. The setups of the world, fighting system, etc.This volume is a collection of a Korean Manhwa Webcomic. A couple notes:
All the characters are amazing. The setups of the world, fighting system, etc. are interesting The plot is very reminiscent of the 1984 movie The Karate Kid. Actually, the story is almost completely the same with manhwa differences and additions. There is a bit of a harem, which I usually find really irritating, but this one is somehow not as annoying. In fact, it can be hilarious. This fact is probably due to the hilarious and amazing characters. The art is absolutely GORGEOUS. Full color, clean work, great designs of everything. Including the occasional parts where the comic goes to a more blue-print/infographic exposition style. So. AMAZING. Don't know why that one lady has cat ears, but I don't care. This manhwa is great....more
Finally, since I reread Little Brother, I got around to reading its sequel. It was... fine I guess. Unlike the first book though, there were quite a fFinally, since I reread Little Brother, I got around to reading its sequel. It was... fine I guess. Unlike the first book though, there were quite a few bits that I found were going too fast, or slogging because I've either seen it before, or didn't find them that interesting.
Marcus is back, and life isn't going so well. Both his parents are laid off, costing him his college education, and he is still sort of in a state where he doesn't really know how to feel about and handle his droves of M1k3y fans. It's kind of refreshing to read. Just because he became a hacker hero whose work sort of saved San Francisco from its unconstitutional-police state, doesn't mean he's elevated in society and everything results in an unglamorous, real-life... life.
I'm trying to figure out what I had issues with, and it's kind of tricky to point out exactly what the problems were. Other than the pacing issues, maybe that's the problem: there's too much happening. However, Marcus has A LOT to handle in his life, and the books is told first person by him.
The book starts out with Marcus and Angie chilling at the Burning Man's festival (kind of like a pyromaniac desert festival). He runs into cool people, strange people, then Marsha and Zeb. They give him a flash drive containing over 800,000 files about the corruption of America and instruct him to release it to the public if anything happens to them. It names names, and is altogether very dangerous to have. First off, Marcus is scared. Another element I liked about this book. Again, Marcus was the hacker-hero of book one, but, unlike most book protagonists, he isn't some SUPER-BADASS who handles everything in his life with ease; he's an ordinary guy (ordinary, meaning outside of him being a computer programmer, hacker, mechanic and machines-in-general TECH SUPER GENIUS).
That is the main plot thread, Marcus and company trying to figure out what to do about this particular volatile trove of terrible terrible secrets and conspiracies. On top of that, he is worried about a new job (webmaster for an Independent running for Californian Senator), the effect his actions have on his relationship with Angie, the tension with his old friends when they get together, the stress of his parents' financial situation, spying, Carrie Johnstone, the government, riots, more kidnappings, and just a bazillion other things. I felt stressed out just reading the book.
The main problem is that, with so much happening, inevitably, a lot of plot threads seem to get crushed in the periphery. For example, we don't see much beyond the interview when he's hired webmaster. Hundreds of pages later, when someone expresses disappointment in him for not performing as expected, I was thinking "I'm surprised he was performing at all, considering how little he refers to that seemingly very-important part of his life. He talks more about cold coffee and sleep-deprivation". That might have been the point, but it gets bad when almost ALL the plot threads and lots of characters seemed crushed at one point or another.
Speaking of sleep-deprivation and cold coffee, those pacing issues I mentioned earlier? A lot of the book is technical explanation. Now I usually don't have a problem with them, as the simplified terms about web-security and analogies make them very interesting (for me) to read. However, Marcus's inner monologue does focus a lot on technical explanations for a lot of, frankly unnecessary stuff. He goes into great detail about the Burning Man Festival. Then he rambles for ages about his special chilled-coffee: about how he makes it (in detail), the chemistry about coffee taste, how it's underrated, and how he's been converting anyone and everyone to its awesomeness. Then he goes off explaining the concept of "random" That's nice (and admittedly interesting), but did it really add to the plot? With the novel being nearly 500 pages was all that detail necessary?
I understand that the first book has about the same length and also had a few in depth explanations of unnecessary but interesting tidbits. The first one, however, had one major plot point (San Francisco's police state and X-Net fighters trying to take it down), and stuck with it. Yes, it too was gloriously messy and complicated, but that was the main conflict; it's sheer size and difficulty was enough. Everything the characters did, came up with, programmed, hacked, etcetera was to address the huge, very complicated problem. There were no easy answers, and they were very clever in figuring out exactly what to do. There was also great character establishing moments and development, making the whole fight from the perspective of real people.
The second book too had the main problem, but it was scaled down. Instead of "how to make people interested in fighting back against this totalitarian state and the corruption without ending up dead-or-missing-by-government" it was "to leak or not to leak" and how? Once that is figured out, what to do about the results? Marcus sort of becomes a bit of a pin-ball hero, not really affecting the plot anymore, but just being bounced around by it. There we go. That's the problem.
Did I like the book? Yes. There were some really awesome parts in it too that stuck out (MIC CHECK!) Was it as tight and as well done as the first one? Unfortunately, no.
I realize this review is all over the place and rambling in places. Kind of like the book. I'll edit it later. ...more
OOOOOHHHH... (view spoiler)[ Zuko is Ozai's son, not Ikem's. (hide spoiler)] Well, that's fine. I was initially shocked that such a revelation was revOOOOOHHHH... (view spoiler)[ Zuko is Ozai's son, not Ikem's. (hide spoiler)] Well, that's fine. I was initially shocked that such a revelation was revealed in the comics, comics that I guess about 1/3 of the original viewers of the show know about/actually read. But the explanation was well done.
I suppose the reason why I love this series so much is because it's about Zuko and Azula. The main heroes from the show almost take a back seat in this arc, as the story focuses so much about this particular pair of dysfunctional siblings. They are both such interesting and complex people. I love how Zuko hasn't turned bland in turning to the good side. (view spoiler)[ Likewise, I love how Azula ran away halfway through. She has gone crazy, yes, but her mom admitted to her and apologized for not loving her as she should have. I really want to know what happens to Azula. She's probably at the start of some sort of long torturous turn to the good side like Zuko or ends up a poor soul who refuses to be redeemed and ultimately has a tragic end. But it's a kid show. Of course they wouldn't go down that route. But it's Avatar, a show famous for not dumbing down major themes and epic stories... maybe... I don't know. (hide spoiler)]
Anyway, we find out about Zuko's mom. It was pretty darn good. I love the design of the face spirit (view spoiler)[ and her relationship with KOH, and Zuko's initial "not wanting to tell new-face mom about himself because of her happiness. (hide spoiler)] This final installment of THE SEARCH won't disappoint....more
What can I say about this book? It's beautiful, both in story and in illustration. Conor has to deal with his mother’s vague terminal illness, and oneWhat can I say about this book? It's beautiful, both in story and in illustration. Conor has to deal with his mother’s vague terminal illness, and one night he is approached by a monster. A monster that, surprisingly, Conor has no fear of. It is there to help him, make him listen, make himself look at the truth. The tales of the monster are fascinating, Conor's reactions realistic. The way it weaves the stages of grief in and throughout the book are evident, but not shoved into your face. This is what I feel like The Book Thief should have been. Conor is very likable and his emotions very real. Well, maybe not. I can't really say for sure because I am lucky enough never to have lost a very very close person to a terminal illness before. But they were relatable all the same.
I need to repeat how amazing the illustrations are. They are the greatest monochromatic I’ve seen since Shaun Tan's The Arrival. Very well done. ...more
Poor, poor Jamie. I bought this book on a whim for a buck at the library because I saw the immortal name S.E. Hintonadorning the cover. This has got tPoor, poor Jamie. I bought this book on a whim for a buck at the library because I saw the immortal name S.E. Hintonadorning the cover. This has got to be good! Then I read some reviews on goodreads and got disillusioned. Not as good The Outsiders, Hinton really fell off her game. About a vampire? Seriously? Well, anyway, I read it. And loved it. And, if I'm being completely honest, it's probably because I love Jamie (view spoiler)[ Hard childhood, rogue sailor, abused vampire slave. How much more woobish can a character get? Especially after Grenville steps into the picture, he reminded me very much of Smike from Nicholas Nickleby. Anyway (hide spoiler)]. He's is a charismatic, handsome, young man with the tough, raunchy personality of a sailor. Which makes sense considering that he is. Ex navy, spends time smuggling and feels most at home at sea. One day, when he's at a small town of Hawkes Harbor, he hears of the legend of Hawkes Island. It's haunted, they say. Don't go there, they say. So what does our hero do? Guess. (view spoiler)[ There, he accidently lets loose a vampire and his life changes forever. Grenville Hawkes bites him, but lets him live as a servant. Well, not really a servant, but a poor abused slave. Jamie's very biology gets rewritten as his very high pain tolerance is gone forever, and his nerves and free-spirit are broken. Grenville goes to a Doctor Louisa Kahn to see about reversing the curse that makes him a vampire as Louisa takes advantage of the situation to observe (conduct research or whatever) a vampire and his slave. Jamie, on the other hand, gets shot on a kidnapping charge, ends up in a mental hospital, etcetera etcetera etcetera. His life becomes hell. Read the book if you want more. (hide spoiler)]
Stylistically, this book is a little choppy. Well, very choppy. It's one of those that jumps around timelines. I bothered to read it through and figure out the chronologic timeline, and I think she actually made a mistake in one of the dates. I can see how that would turn readers off, as the brain wants chronologic order dammit! Even after I put them in order, they still feel choppy. One day, Jamie's freaking out about candles, thinking about that one time he didn't understand language or whatever. One day, out of the blue, Grenville (view spoiler)[ is interested in Katie to transport the soul of his long dead beloved wife into. What the heck? Where did that come from!? (hide spoiler)] There are a lot of mini-plots that are super under-developed. Too bad this isn't popular. S.E. Hinton could have made this book twice as long easily is only she'd explain more things. How did Grenville become a vampire? What the heck with the ghost? When exactly did Louisa start making progress with the cure? What happened between the time Jamie was hospitalized and Terrace Hall? There are so many blanks that could have been filled by zealous fan fic writers if not the actual author. Plus, there is the bad rap that vampires get because of it's highly popular romanticization lately. You know what I'm talking about. Now everything even remotely vampiric BEGS to be compared to Twilight. I just want to say that this was written BEFORE it. Yes, literature that had vampires living in modern society existed before that immortal piece of shlop was written. And this vampire, Grenville Hawkes, isn't nice. He's abusive, cold, can turn into a bat, doesn't freaking sparkle, bites people, is strong, fast, intelligent. In the end, (view spoiler)[ I like Grenville. Sure I don't know how, when exactly, or why he suddenly became human and nice and guilty for the way he treated Jamie, but when he does, it feels genuine, and their bond is very nice to read. (hide spoiler)] Maybe I'm giving Jamie too much credit. Grenville along with several other characters combined made this book interesting. This book is definitely flawed, but I liked it anyway.
Final notes: My major complaint is that (view spoiler)[ I hated Louisa Kahn. The bitch feels bad for Jamie but takes advantage of him as much as Grenville does? Blackmailing him with sending him back to Terrace Hall (even though she took him out of it too early... he was definitely not cured what the hell) thinking that Jamie doesn't really believe it? What? If he didn't actually take your threats seriously, lady, then he wouldn't be so compliant! Why did you bother blackmailing him like that if you thought he didn't really believe it? Then of course Jamie somehow shakes her grip but he still thinks she and Grenville should get together? Yeah right. That subplot got absolutely NO development and irritated the hell out of me. Lousia Kahn is the reason for 4 stars. Yeah. She's a bitch. And we're supposed to like her? NO. I liked the cold-hearted abusive vampire better. >:( Anyway. (hide spoiler)]...more
I hated this. The Clutters were murdered, and so Capote shows up on the scene with an apparent crush on one of the murderers and writes a book about hI hated this. The Clutters were murdered, and so Capote shows up on the scene with an apparent crush on one of the murderers and writes a book about how innocent and kind and abused he was. Yes, Perry is a woobie. But he was a MURDURER of AN ENTIRE FAMILY. Kind of disrespectful to their memory much? The stylistic prose, making it seem fiction was just stomach churning. I remember reading a newspaper article and told my friend OMG THEY GOT THE DEATH PENALTY! and he goes "geez! spoilers!" Seriously? IT HAPPENED. IT WAS REAL. SIX PEOPLE DIED. And Capote turned it into "omg spoilers they die at the end!" He wrote a fanfic about a freaking quadruple murder and the resulting death penalty. I can hardly believe it was classified as non-fiction. It may have been "based off a true story", but it's NOT NON-FICTION. It just makes me angry. Two stars for the prose....more