Back in high school, my friend and I watched Inuyasha religiously. We would plan entire weekends to binge watch the newest DVDs, staying up into the wBack in high school, my friend and I watched Inuyasha religiously. We would plan entire weekends to binge watch the newest DVDs, staying up into the wee hours of the morning. I bought plushes and action figures; I did my best to draw fanart (and yes, some was sadly posted online). Said friend cosplalyed as Yura of the Hair for Grand Rapids' JAFAX convention one summer (I went with her, of course, but had problems putting together my Kagome costume). We freakin' painted our nails to look like the tips were bloodied. We drew black holes in the palms of our right hands for a Wind Tunnel. We were Inuyasha fangirls before the term 'fangirl' was really a thing. That said, during that time, I only read the first 3 volumes of manga. It is finally time to rectify that. I know the story line and I know the awesome characters, but reading the manga "for the first time" brings all the hype back into my giddy fangirl heart. I love everything about this story. I could go on and on about the little things, but what anybody needs to know if they're considering starting this series is this: Rumiko Takahashi is one of the best storytellers ever. She knows how to build relationships and sprinkle them with just the right amount of drama, softness and cruelty. She knows exactly where to put that glimmer of hope. She knows how to make you feel for everybody and every thing. And don't get me started on her world building. THE WORLD BUILDING! The little things on the surface work so well because they float on an incredibly deep sea of a concrete system. Any successful fantasy has to have a strong foundation and a base for its reasoning. Takahashi rules. As an added bonus, her art style is incredibly unique and amazing. That is all. I am extremely looking forward to omnibus-ing my way through one of my favorite stories....more
When it comes down to it, this book has a case of “not what I expected.” The description is straight-forward, bOkay. I liked it.
Okay. I liked it. But…
When it comes down to it, this book has a case of “not what I expected.” The description is straight-forward, but I don’t feel like that’s what I got. What Dumplin’ ended up presenting was a rather average high school drama, with a few unique touches. I wanted more of the pageant, since it sounded like quite the centerpiece. I wanted more of the positive body image and confidence. I wanted a main character who didn’t fall back on norms and go against what I thought this book was supposed to be about. And I did not want another frickin’ love triangle. When the story put those issues aside, it was very enjoyable, but it somehow managed to slip every time it gained momentum.
Issue one: More pageant. I’m certainly not a pageant queen, nor have I ever watched one outside of Miss Congeniality. But I really liked the idea of a group of “non-beauty queens” taking on this big tradition and ruffling some feathers. What I ended up with was a bunch of pageant gossip and tiny snippets. Even when we finally get around to the pageant, it takes up maybe a half hour of reading, and it ends just as quickly. What should be an extravgent display of awesome girls being awesome, was cut down to one interview question, a couple swimsuits and a two-sentence finale recap. I realize it’s a backdrop for the characters to grow, but it also seemed like a missed opportunity.
Issue two: Body image + I really thought the whole point of Willowdean’s character is to show how fatter girls can still be happy in their bodies and be just as confident as skinnier ones. I’m perfectly fine with characters having doubts. That’s very realistic. But Willowdean really didn’t own it, and it made the story more about how fat girls can’t get what skinny girls can, that they don’t deserve the same things. Willowdean herself pauses every once in a while to admit that this notion is bullshit, but she doesn’t follow her own ideas. She refuses to be with Bo because she can’t get over the fact that she’s fat and he’s not. What message does that send to readers who may be going through the same thing? Willowdean thinks it’s okay to go out with the football linebacker because he’s big too; but, the handsome and popular basketball player is off limits because “people would talk.” Honey, people talk about whatever they want, and it shouldn’t matter to you. Disappointed in this book’s lack of positive body image. We could use more of a Fat Amy person in this role. At least she owned it.
Issue three: Love Triangle Not that it couldn’t happen, but this is one of the last books I expected to have a love triangle. At first, our linebacker Mitch was a good contrast to Bo. He proved that Willowdean can have whoever she wants. He was nice, and then he was used. It really bugged me how Will treated him, especially after she came to terms that she was using him. Didn’t she realize that two guys were interested in her? And that still made her mope and gripe about how girls like her couldn’t get boyfriends? It threw me off. Bo didn’t make the situation any better. He came on strong, gave literally no reason behind it other than he “couldn’t help himself” until she asks him in a very blunt manner why he wanted her (at the very end of the book, no less). He gave off a creepy vibe at times; and even though he turned out to be a nice boy, he didn’t make things easy for Willowdean. She should have tried harder to meet him halfway, but that’s covered in the above paragraph. No confidence + commitment issues = odd couple. Cute, but odd. Willowdean screwed up a lot of each relationship, but it wasn’t entirely her fault.
And while I do have these personal gripes, I’d recommend the book to teens. I think it’s a great look into your average teen mind, despite its flaws. It’s sex positive, ends on a positive note about body image (even though it struggled to get there), and has real friendship problems along the way. It deals with overcoming grief in multiple ways, encourages diversity and understanding, and includes the subtle message that calmly standing up to bullies is better than kneeing them in the balls. You were good, Dumplin’. Just wish you reached a little higher. ...more
I only read the short story from the Old Kingdom, which is what I wanted :p. And right now, all I had time for. I'm sure this entire book has a higherI only read the short story from the Old Kingdom, which is what I wanted :p. And right now, all I had time for. I'm sure this entire book has a higher rating. I already know Nix is a phenomenal writer and an amazing world builder, so I don't have to tell you that. Most readers of this collection are Nix veterans. We know he's great. I really wish this had more Old Kingdom stuff in it, though.. -_- Especially considering it's on the cover. We've been waiting so patiently for more of Lirael's story. This can only hold me over for so long. I got a little taste of the Old Kingdom, but not enough. Morghan's story is interesting, true. But the only bit of Abhorsen-related stuff in the story is some necromancy at the end. It read very much like a set-up for a much larger story, which is why I feel I can't rate it higher. It's obvious that we could blindly choose any minor character in the Old Kingdom and Nix can weave their entire history for us. That in itself is fantastic. Doesn't stop me from wanting more from the main characters I love! I'll likely come back to the other short stories in this volume at a later date. Reading some of the other reviews, they are worth it....more
I probably made the mistake of reading this in two chunks. I read about three-quarters of it in one sitting and had to put itWell... that was a trip.
I probably made the mistake of reading this in two chunks. I read about three-quarters of it in one sitting and had to put it down. When I picked it up again for the last quarter, things took an unexpected turn and I was more than a little lost. So, even though I'm finished with the story, I cannot tell you exactly what happened, why it happened, and definitely not how. While the first 3/4 was relatively "normal"--or as normal as this story could get--the last 1/4 reached into the realm of unbelievable and, well, trippy. I'm all for bizarre stories, and Asano probably did his best to get his story across. I more than likely missed something in the background or between the panels.
Still, imaginative plot, creepy yet passionate characters, and a whole lot of people who need help. This story will not leave you feeling well... about anything. And while I do think there are some important lessons mixed in with all the craziness, as well as a harsh public statement, it's a little difficult to take it all seriously because of the lingering supernatural qualities. It's some dark stuff, covered by a sad longing in all the characters to simply find something to live for, some kind of good to look forward to. Unfortunately for them, they live in a town of a jerks.
Art was unique and well done. The sequencing helped for an interesting flow, even if some parts lost me. For the right reader, I'm sure this title will be glorious....more
Interesting enough to continue to the next volume; however, I was not blown away. My biggest issue is how similar the main characters are. They all taInteresting enough to continue to the next volume; however, I was not blown away. My biggest issue is how similar the main characters are. They all talk the same and act the same, outside of their individual supernatural abilities. But if you picked out a random dialog bubble and asked me who said what, I would not be able to say. Is it really necessary for every character to use the word "fuck" or "fucking" in every single phrase? Nope. And I got tired of it really fast. Good dialogue does not have to be peppered with that stuff....more
The Devil in the White City has tons of information, and therein lies its main problem. While I do give it three stars, I feel it deserved those simplThe Devil in the White City has tons of information, and therein lies its main problem. While I do give it three stars, I feel it deserved those simply because of all the facts Larson was able to compile into one book. More can definitely be said about the Chicago World's Fair, but a very large portion was covered. And the additional tidbits on Holmes were interesting, but not necessarily connected. In the end, this book--for me--ended up being a giant hodgepodge of information that conveniently happened at the same time in history. While fascinating at parts, others were very grocery-list-like. I've recommended this book to patrons often enough; and one of my main selling points was that it read like fiction. I'm not sure I'll be using that in the future. The characters were indeed very real (hey, they were real), but they became somewhat cardboard-stiff through Larson. I thought this book was going to be more exciting than what I got. I was first introduced to this title back in '09, when I was beginning an internship in Chicago. One of my roommates was reading it at the time, and would fill me in with a few plot points as she read. From what she kept telling me, I thought this story was indeed "murder, magic and madness." I'm not sure what was lost in that translation, but I failed to be swept up in this story. As odd as it may sound, I was really hoping for more on Holmes and his exploits. There may not be a whole bunch of records on what he did and why, but the information we are given is sprinkled throughout the body of the work in such a way that his character becomes an afterthought. So, if anything, Larson should have titled the book differently. He recounts many aspects of the World's Fair very thoroughly, giving us crucial and fun facts about its planning, building and demise. But a concrete mash-up of Mayhem and Murder this is not. By all means, read this for information on the fair, not for the murder mystery. And be prepared for some very long-winded chapters and choppy structure. There were times I could have sworn the paragraph I was listening to was a mistake. How does that relate to what just finished? It really doesn't... and four to five paragraphs later, he backtracks to a previous point. The formatting didn't jive with me. Timing was screwy, and more and more people kept being introduced to the line-up. I lost track of who was who and what they were doing and why. By the end, I just rolled with it. Yes, Mr. X did that. I'll take your word for it. To all those patrons out there who took this book on my recommendation, I'm not sure if I should apologize. You did get some cool information about a pivotal event in America's history, and you may have enjoyed it more than I did. But I, personally, will unlikely pick up another Larson. Unless he decides to drastically revamp his style....more
I can always expect a solid, good story from Kenneth Oppel. This was quite the historical adventure, with a touch of the supernatural. Certain elementI can always expect a solid, good story from Kenneth Oppel. This was quite the historical adventure, with a touch of the supernatural. Certain elements of his stories may not be the most awe-inspiring, some of the writing may not be "anything new"; but every time I pick up one of his books, I'm transported completely into the little world he's created by his extraordinary ability to capture character. His characters are always so vivid, even without extensive physical description. If I remember correctly, our only base for Will is that he's taller than his father, has pale-ish skin, and has dark red hair. But he's so much more than that. I love how Oppel draws characters through actions and language and dialogue. My rating of this book may also be a tad biased because of three things.
1.) I've consistently rated Oppel's books in such ways. I haven't read all of his stuff yet, but I've always thought it was above average, and a great story. And if you know you enjoy an author, you're more likely to equally enjoy his other offerings. So, safe bet for me.
2.) I listened to the audiobook version of this story because I needed something for a car trip. I was ecstatic to find out that it was read by Nick Podehl... my audiobook crush. No shame; I have a crush on this guy over how he reads books. He is such a phenomenal voice actor, that I knew hands-down it was going to be awesome. And I wasn't wrong. He can suck you into a story, even if you couldn't care less about the actual material (not the case for this story, though). As the popular phrase goes, I'd listen to him reading the phone book. *whisper* It's even more awesome that he's local (West Michigan)! I'm not a stalker! I just support Brilliance Audio.
3.) It's Tween Historical Fantasy. It's mostly a historical piece, but the fact that Oppel managed to sneak in Sasquatches (is that the plural?), bog hags, and the fountain of youth into a time piece about railroad construction and early century circus performers... I mean, how cool is that?! Tickled me pink.
So, if that all sounds like something you'd also find entertaining, pick up The Boundless! Because along these epic tracks and miles of cars, there be monsters. ...more
I can't help but feel a little disappointed. I enjoyed it as a general Warriors story; but for a conclusion to anDear Erin Hunter,
That's your finale?
I can't help but feel a little disappointed. I enjoyed it as a general Warriors story; but for a conclusion to an entire arc, it was quite anticlimactic.
The big issue at hand--dealing with Slash--never truly happened. It's a very big loose end, and I can't overlook that. The clans are finally in their place, they're pretty much happy, and then the villain they need to fight kind of disappears? There is no triumphant battle, no real sense of security at the end. That's not like you, Hunter. Some loose ends are fine, but that's a big one. Where were the awesome battles, the epic revelations, the soulful showings of mercy?
Which brings me to another small complaint. Where was StarClan again? It may be my personal preference, of course, but I always liked that part of Warriors. Dawn of the Clans lost that element in a big way, with only a few pieces to sample. And those parts were the best! The First Battle was so good, and that was because of its Starry finale. The Clans are not themselves without StarClan, and so I cannot call these groups fully formed yet. Hopefully, the new super edition coming out soon with Moth Flight will give me the answers I'm looking for. Because otherwise, while I liked this one, I have to say that it could have been better.
Though the final chapter did deliver the feels...
One of the best parts though? Cats learning to Chi Block! ...more
"Just a story. It had become one of the defining truths of my life that, no matter how I tried to keep them flattened, two-dimensional, jailed in pap"Just a story. It had become one of the defining truths of my life that, no matter how I tried to keep them flattened, two-dimensional, jailed in paper and ink, there would always be stories that refused to stay bound inside books. It was never just a story. I would know: a story had swallowed my whole life."
<3 Thank you for an awesome set of stories, Random Riggs....more
3.5 Stars. Obviously winding down here a little bit, and I think we've finally seen some of Mitaka's true colors. To be fair, his uncle is not a cool g3.5 Stars. Obviously winding down here a little bit, and I think we've finally seen some of Mitaka's true colors. To be fair, his uncle is not a cool guy to be handling his nephew's "affairs" in such a way; however, Mitaka himself is not doing the best job of it either. I mean, he's the rival to this story and we're supposed to feel for him a tiny bit.. but I never really cared for him as a character. And now? After this volume? Come on--excuse me--but, what a dick! Any ounce of respect I had for you is now gone.
But that means good things for other players, huh? I think it finally got into Godai's head that he has to complete his education and his goals for himself alone, and not "for Kyoko." My future is mine first....more