Dark Japanese-influenced fantasy is one of my favorite things. When I read that this book dealt with spiritual realms and had a chubby loner for a hero, it was elevated to a MUST READ RIGHT NOW on my list.
The "dark fantasy" part was satisfied beyond my expectations; the characters that Melanie meets in the Half World are truly grotesque and horrifying, and Mr. Glueskin's party trick freaked me the f out. Melanie's initial experiences of the Mirages Hotel are a sensory delight.
The reason I was unengaged for the majority of the book, however, was the lack of character development. There's a disappointing shortage of backstory about Melanie, which I found odd given that the jacket copy emphasizes her chubby lonerdom. The book is also written in a very anime style, with a lot of onomatopoeia and lots of exclamation points! In fact, the whole time I was reading my main thought was that I'd rather see this as an anime film drawn by the amazing Jillian Tamaki than read it as a book.
I was going to give it two stars, but the end was sweet and I enjoyed the secondary cast of animal characters so I bumped it up to a three.
WHERE ARE MY FREAKING PRESENTS?