For most of the book, I was sitting on a two-star rating: the narration, I found, is shockingly unconvincing and most of the characters just not relat...moreFor most of the book, I was sitting on a two-star rating: the narration, I found, is shockingly unconvincing and most of the characters just not relatable in any sense. Nevertheless, the basic idea of the story is unique and refreshing and the plot development is also well-done. In fact, for a little while, it pulled itself up to a 2-point-nearly-3 star rating.
That is, until the last few chapters. I'm sorry...WHAT just happened there??? Talk about incongruity! (less)
Well, if I take the average of all the stars my average rating is a grand total of.... 3.2 stars! However, I rated each book as I finished it, so with...moreWell, if I take the average of all the stars my average rating is a grand total of.... 3.2 stars! However, I rated each book as I finished it, so with the benefit of hindsight, I officially rate the series a study, solid...4 stars! At least.
Although this review is under Death Note: Volume 12, it's actually my review for the whole series. Ok-- so, where to begin?
THINGS I LIKED:
The Plotline: ...just wow... It's ingeniously fresh and original, executed brilliantly and for the most part flawlessly, and carefully layered with delicious detail. No, this isn't strictly-speaking a 'light' read, but it's not so complex as to be boring or lofty, especially as the characters often take time out to explain what's going on (which was, admittedly, on the rare occasion, a bit annoying). I haven't been so entertained in a long time and it's the kind of book (well, series) that leaves you with that feelings...'geez, that was one hell of a ride'.
Themes: *squeal* There's so much thematic analysis that can be done! I'll spare you the majority of my (still incomplete) musings but I will say this: although the whole question of 'what is right and wrong??' has been portrayed and discussed a billion times over, Death Note not only takes this to a new level in a creative and challenging manner, but also manifests the question in so many different ways that it will surely get you thinking all over again.
Characters: OK! I'll admit it!! I rather like Matsuda (^^), despite his underdeveloped personality. And I do like L and Gevanni and even Mello. Should I like them? Maybe not, as for a long time they lacked development and dimension, and yet, after 12 volumes they've kinda grown on you. Or they did on me in any case (I notice plenty of others disagree).
THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE:
Characters: Yes... I've just mentioned it. Most of the secondary characters (so excluding Raito and L) were rather one-dimensional for the majority of the series. Matsuda, for example, was just the blundering idiot (view spoiler)[(which arguably makes his behaviour at the end all the more punchy-- and in the last Chapter, he has clearly matured somewhat) (hide spoiler)]; Ide plays an important role, but we are told rather little about him as a person-- the same goes for Mogi; and Misa?!?!?! She deserves her own section.
(view spoiler)[Having had that little rant though, there were some surprisingly excellent bits of development. I really liked the way Light just disintegrated into a begging, despairing heap at the end. It seemed so realistic. Expected, almost. And Mello was given that extra dimension when Near explained the kidnapping incident. (Just to list two.) (hide spoiler)]
The Women: As if you didn't see this one coming! You may as well say, "what women?" It was bitterly disappointing that girls didn't have a larger role in the series- almost detrimentally so. But I could have suppressed my feminine side if the girls that did make an appearance were worthwhile and represented 'the fairer sex' in all her glory.
All I got was MISA! whose stupidity, immaturity and dependence got oh-so boring quite quickly. I mean, just reading her voice gave me a headache. It was almost embarrassing to see how she clung to Raito and gave herself so blindly. Ew. (In the wise words of Matsuda (I think it was): "All this girl does is hug...")
And then you had Takada. Again, a woman whose sole purpose seems to be throwing herself at Raito's feet and wallowing in homage for him. It was a little bit pathetic.
Other Random Stuff: Sometimes I found the characters inconsistent with their behaviour. Misa, for example, sometimes made some pretty smart moves-- but at no other time in the series indicates that she has any intelligence whatsoever. And... I had another example too, but I've gone and forgotten it now... if I remember, I'll edit this bit and include it...
It was also sometimes annoying how the characters would explain every little thing. I felt a bit 'talked down' to by them. HOWEVER, having said that, believe me-- by the end, I was thankful that they were explaining.
The Shinigami's behaviour was also a bit questionable. At times, I felt that they were getting too involved and letting themselves get bullied by these humans. But maybe that's just my interpretation.
Anyway! That sums up my thoughts. Overall, it was just a stunning series, and reading it for the first time is an experience that can never be re-created. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
You should read it.
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