Oh man do I ever love this book. It was the first Discworld book to really grab me, and so it'll always hold a special place in my heart.
It's awesome...moreOh man do I ever love this book. It was the first Discworld book to really grab me, and so it'll always hold a special place in my heart.
It's awesome because the main cast is made up of women. And there's a canon lesbian couple. And it's such a thoughtful examination of sexism and misogyny that I think everyone should read it.
It looks at the very real consequences of growing up in a society that hates women -- for example, a girl is sent to work in the flour mill. The owner rapes her, and then sends her back to the school. When she gives birth, the baby is given away, and she gets beaten for getting pregnant.
There are some very bleak themes explored, but there is also Pratchett's usual humor and warmth.
So... yeah. Probably not enough to full justify my love of this book, but I assure you, I adore it.(less)
This will serve as my review for the whole series! Also sorry if I spammed the updates page. Also also it bugs me that GoodReads won't list these book...moreThis will serve as my review for the whole series! Also sorry if I spammed the updates page. Also also it bugs me that GoodReads won't list these books in order under my "books read" thing, AUGH.
Right, so let me tell you about Mars and myself.
In high school, there was a three layer bookshelf dedicated to manga. They had the entire Mars series, which is how I first read it.
Falling in love, I decided to try and buy my own copy of all 15 volumes. It took a combination of amazon, Chapters, and a local comic book store to finally complete the collection (though I still need the omake book augh).
To be blunt, Mars is really really good. It's one of those legardary shojou series, and for damn good reason.
The art style is slightly archaic, and that's what I love about it. I mean, funny as it sounds, it's hard to find a manga series where they actually have noses, y'know? The anatomy is some of the best I've seen, and the way she draws eyes is beautiful.
I also love how the series works to tackle a broad range of issues, instead of just going "OH NOES WILL THEY OR WON'T THEY??? BUT THEN A SMALL INCIDENT TORE THEM APART BUT THEN--"
Kira and Rei become a thing fairly early on. They have one fairly major breakup, and it's for completely legitimate reasons.
The brief versions of things is the series deals with; sexual abuse/rape, PTSD/anxiety, mental health issues (such as recovering from a family member committing suicide), and complicated family relationships.
Now, I shall enter spoiler territory.
At the beginning of the series, Kira is a loner who is anti-social and apathetic towards others and herself. She keeps herself composed, and rarely speaks.
Meanwhile, Rei does pretty much whatever he wants, without regard for his own well being or the feeling of others.
When the two of them begin to interact, they grow closer, and help each other become better versions of themselves.
How Kira is at the end of the series -- with a best friend, self confidence, and someone that she loves deeply... It's such a change, but it makes sense, because you're there with her for the entire process.
I really enjoy how the author handles their respective baggage;
Kira was raped several times by her stepfather in middle school, until her mother kicked him out. Later, her mom needs support and invites him back in, essentially choosing stability over her daughter. It's Kira agreeing to live with the stepfather that leads to Kira and Rei's first serious breakup.
Rei was raised by a mentally unstable mother. She stabbed a dog to death, because she thought it was hurting Rei and his twin brother Sei. When their father threatened to take the kids away, she attempted to kill Rei (and then presumably Sei) to "protect them." She is sent to a psychiatric center, is erroneously discharged, and hangs herself. It's the young boys that find her body.
On top of that, Sei killed himself in middle school the day before their birthday.
Alongside coming to care for Kira, and his dream of being a motorcycle racer, Rei's story arch consists of him remembering these events (having blocked them out), and coming to terms with their deaths. Plus, their biological father wasn't their "father", but his brother, who died before the children were born.
This means Rei is estranged from his father (the one that raised them), feeling like they shouldn't have anything to do with each other, and misinterpreting his father's actions as being condescending rather than genuine aid.
Finally, the series looks at the dark part of humanity. Kira kept her violence inside her head, picturing herself killing/dismembering anyone who hurt her or bothered her. Rei was more likely to get into fights and take things too far.
They encounter a character who's a complete sociopath, and who tries to convince Rei that he should be the same.
For all these grim themes, it's the sweet happy moments that I remember best. In particular, when the couple realizes they can't afford to go to Disneyland (both take jobs to support themselves once they reconcile and Kira moves in, which is a nice bit of realism), Rei drives Kira out to a processing factory, who's lights look like a Christmas tree.
Rei notes that when his dad was growing up, there was clear water and fireflies. Now, their generation has the factories and pollution instead. I found it poignant, since I've noticed a change from nature to industrialization even within my own experience.
It deeply upsets me that TokyoPop is out of business, and so this series it out of print. I sincerely hope some other company picks up the title, so future generations can continue to enjoy this magnificent series.(less)
When I first read this book, which was a while ago, I fell completely and stupidly in love with it. It really is a great book for kids to read -- it's...moreWhen I first read this book, which was a while ago, I fell completely and stupidly in love with it. It really is a great book for kids to read -- it's a fairly easy read, and slightly silly, but it also has an amazingly fantastic premise, and the world they move through on their journey is so vivid.
As previously mentioned, it's been a long time since I first read it. But I found myself thinking about it, when caught up in insomnia, and finally decided to re-read it.
Going back to it was... oddly comforting. Most of the story was soothingly familiar, while I enjoyed small details I either missed, or forgot about. The prose itself was much richer than I remember; the book employs a lot of rhymes and song lyrics, and they fit together amazingly well.
I won't go into any plot summaries, or about the characters, because I won't do it justice. But if you like stories about dreamworlds, enjoy reading about characters going on a journey together, or just want a book that will enchant you and stay with you for a long time afterward -- I highly recommend it.
This book is so much more than an expansion of the Pied Piper tale, and is an excellent piece of literature in it's own right, and I love it for that.(less)
I read the first two books -- at least, I don't really remember the third one -- when I was much younger. They captured my imagination, and in a fit o...moreI read the first two books -- at least, I don't really remember the third one -- when I was much younger. They captured my imagination, and in a fit of nostalgia that's the internet's fault, I decided to track down the books again.
Going back to them, I found myself realizing how much they were written for children. Not that this is a bad thing -- there is just this rhythm to the words, the use of numbers and alliteration, and the silly names, that gives the feeling that the book should be read out loud.
Another thing I noticed were the illustrations. They're lovely, black and white and charming, and look like they were drawn with soft pencil lines. I can't remember if the books used to be in colour -- I certainly remember the stories being more colourful, but perhaps that was just because I had a better imagination back then.
The casual violence in these stories startled me, the mentions of beatings and lashings, but maybe that was just a result of the time in which they were written. Or the time they're supposed to take place in, before electric stoves but after trains.
Still, it was lovely to revisit the stories, and to have them collected together so nicely. I am very glad they decided to celebrate the stories' fifth anniversary by releasing this lovely edition.(less)
No matter how many times I come back to this book, I find myself drawn into it.
I like that it isn't just the typical YA novel; rather, it's an explora...moreNo matter how many times I come back to this book, I find myself drawn into it.
I like that it isn't just the typical YA novel; rather, it's an exploration of loss and grieving. As well, it captures the difficulty of being emotionally disengaged from your parents, where there's that unbridgeable gap, because they won't listen and you can't tell them.
So, yeah. I love this book. It's funny, it's sweet, it's well-written, etc.(less)