Series Review: A Silent Voice

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A few months ago, I was watching trailers for various anime looking for something new to watch and to check out what movies were coming out in the future. Among the many that I watched then, was the trailer for A Silent Voice. I was intrigued by this anime and added it to my list to watch. Since it was based upon a manga, I wanted to read the manga first before eventually watching the movie, mostly so I could experience the original content first.

It took me a little bit to get into the story. One of the issues I had, right from the start, was how similar the two main characters names were. Shoya being the bully of Shoko, and they both occasionally went by the nickname of “Sho”, so sometimes it was confusing as to which Sho someone was referring to.

The series consists of seven volumes, with the first one setting up the backstory for the main characters, establishing Shoya as the bully and Shoko his unfortunate victim. As a bully victim myself, I sometimes have a hard time reading about bullying, and yet at the same time I wish there were more books out there that dealt with this issue. That is why I was drawn to this series, because so much of it’s story revolves around bullying, both the act as it happens and the long term effects it has on everyone, from the victim, the bully and the bystanders.

One thing I liked about this series is now it shows that the bully can also be deeply affected by what they have done. We all know the bully victim takes a beating every day, and that there are often long term side effects that stick around for many years, if not the rest of their life. But many people think that the bully is never affected in any way by all of them. Perhaps for some that’s the case, and they go on with life without any ill effects from what they did to others. But in the case of Shoya, he did feel shame and regret over what he did and wanted to make things right again.

Seeing the characters change over the course of this series really was great. It showed that people can change, that the bully can feel remorse, that the victim can forgive them. It also showed various reactions from those who had watched it all happen, and perhaps even participated a bit in the bullying themselves. I did have a few issues with it. For example, I find it really hard to accept that a bully victim would become friends with their bully later on in life, and even go as far as to have slight romantic feelings towards them. I can’t say that this would never happen in real life, but as someone who was bullied before, I can safely say that I would never ever be friends with the people who tormented me – I could forgive them, but never trust them enough to let them close to me. I also didn’t care for Tomohiro, someone who becomes friends with Shoya in the second volume, because I felt he was too much like a bully and was only going to complicate things – and in a way he did but not completely.

I feel like the one thing that didn’t translate well in the art was the sign language. Obviously it’s hard to draw people communicating through sign language when in manga form. It’s the one aspect of the series that I think will be better expressed in the movie.

Overall, I enjoyed this series. I didn’t absolutely love it, but it was good. The artwork was wonderful. I would recommend this series to anyone interested in it, and those looking for books that have bullying in them. I feel like it does a great job is portraying it. I will one day watch the movie to see how it compared to the manga. I will also be on the lookout for more by this author.

Book Review: Moving Target A Princess Leia Adventure

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When I received this book in May, sent to me by my amazing OTSP Secret Sister, I had to read it right away. I love Star Wars, have for many years, and Princess/General Leia is definitely my favorite character, so a book that focuses on her is high on my priority list. Plus I was looking forward to seeing more story added to the new canon, which in my opinion is lacking in overall appeal when compared to the old Expanded Universe. However, I was a bit disappointed when the story focuses on something that happens between Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi. For a book labeled as “Journey To The Force Awakens” I was expecting something to fill in that 30 year gap, not go between two of the original movies. That being said, I still enjoyed this book.

It’s an interesting thing to get essentially a reboot of a series. And that is what is happening with the new canon books. Because of this, we get a whole new look at what happens before, during, between and after the movies. So while I was hoping for something between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, it was also nice to see focus on Princess Leia and what she had to do to ensure the success of the Rebel’s plans that would come to fruition in Return of The Jedi.

This story shows off Leia ingenuity, bravery and her willingness to put herself into the line of fire for the greater good of the Rebellion. Now obviously we all know Leia isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, to do what must be done to try to put an end to the Empire, but I feel like this book did a good job of showing just far she was willing to go. Not only that, but it showed how others rally to her in times of need. Of course, not everyone agreed with Leia’s idea initially, but she was able to convince them that not only that it had to be done, but what she was a key component of it all.

Really the only reason why I didn’t give this book a higher rating is because I wanted the story to help fill the huge gap between the original trilogy and The Force Awakens. Sure, this was still a good and very quick read, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I hope to see more Leia focused stories as the canon books come. For those who enjoy Star Wars, this book is a must read. I’ll be looking to read the rest of the Journey To The Force Awakens books – especially the two that focus on Han and Luke, in the future.

Book Review: The Battle of The Labyrinth

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

There’s not much to say about this one. I started off this series a couple months ago really enjoying the first book, but with each book I liked it less and less. I don’t know if it’s series syndrome, where the first book is the strongest and nothing can hold up to that, or I’m just missing something that makes me under appreciate the story as it progresses.

This book felt so darn slow. I was constantly waiting for something to happen, especially something amazing that would lift the book up to the level that The Lightning Thief was. I kept reading, waiting for that something to occur, and I kept reading, and kept waiting, and still nothing felt like it was happening. The whole traveling through the labyrinth part felt like the author was just trying to make the book the same length as the previous book, but while there were some things happening during that large portion of the book, I just didn’t care. I’m starting to hate Percy and even Annabeth is getting on my nerves.

I’m glad that this series is almost over. Part of me just wants to stop here, but with only one book remaining, I will eventually continue on so that I can say I finished the series, but I’m honestly not looking forward to it.

Book Review: Scarlet

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

After finishing Cinder, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series, I wanted to jump into Scarlet. Much like with Cinder, I decided to go blindly into this book. All that I knew was that it was a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and that somehow it would meld into Cinder’s story.

This book was a bit slow at first. I found myself not entirely pulled into the story, though I felt that it would get better with time, and it did. Needing to introduce a whole new cast of characters and a new setting, of course it would take a few chapters to get things rolling. However, it took a lot longer than I expected for me to really get into the story. In fact, it wasn’t until the last hundred pages that I really got into this book. It was during that last hundred pages that the book truly shined and it made up for all the slowness from before.

One thing I really loved about this book was Scarlet herself. The fact that she was a farmer made me instantly love her character. It is certainly not something you see in YA books and I would honestly love to see more of them in other series. Outside of the farmer aspect, she character did feel a little flat at times, but throughout the story she did get some good charcter devolpment that made her better overall. I liked that we got a more background on Cinder and the connection that some of it had with Scarlet and her Grandmother.

I have to admit though, and I’m probably one of the other people who felt this way, but I really didn’t care for Captain Thorne. I found his character annoying and I just wanted him to stop talking.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Sure it had it’s slow moments but I feel like the last bit of it completely made up for that. I would definitely recommend this series, at least up til this point, to anyone who hasn’t read it yet. I look forward to continuing the series and seeing who lies ahead for these characters and what the other characters along the way will be like.

Book Review: Cinder

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

For a few years now, I had been avoiding reading Cinder. It was all over every blog I went to, and it seemed to always get rave reviews, and so I avoided it like the plague. I figured, that from my experience, most YA books that get nothing but great reviews are generally a disappointment when I do read them, so I figured the best thing to do was to just not read this book. Then, one day I spotted this one for five dollars at the bookstore, and decided to get it, figuring that if it was bad, at least it didn’t cost me much to buy it. I would have never guessed in that moment, that I would enjoy this book as much as I did.

I went into this book blind. Only knowing it was a retelling of Cinderella and that the main character was a cyborg. Other than that, I couldn’t have told you anything about the book. I think that not reading the blurb on the back was a good decision.

I have to say, that reading that first page, especially with that whole wrenching the foot off scene, instantly sucked me in. I mean, come on, what a unique and fantastic way to start a story. I felt like only one of two things would happen after that. The story would either continue to hold my attention right to the very end, or it would sudden crash and I would loose interest. I’m happy to report that it kept my attention.

Everything about this novel captivated me. I loved the characters, the world, the sci-fi elements. While it is considered a retelling of Cinderella, I found that that element of the story was very small, which I feel actually made the overall book better. I admit that I was worried the focus would be too centered upon trying to tell the story with a sci-fi flair to it, but that was not the case. The basic elements were there, and yes the story did revolve around them somewhat, but there was so much more to it as well.

I feel like I can’t probably describe everything I loved about this book. It’s a book that is too good for words, I suppose. Really my only regret is that I didn’t read it sooner, so that I could sing it’s praises along with everyone else that read it as soon as it was released. And yet, at the same time, I’m glad that I waited because I do not need to wait a year for the next book to come out, I can immediately start the next book and read the whole series back to back if I so choose.

If you haven’t read this book, I would high recommend doing so. There is something very special to be found within it’s pages and I am looking forward to continuing on with this series and seeing just where the story goes.

Book Review: The Titan’s Curse

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Review contains minor spoilers – but come on, this book is 10 years old so it shouldn’t be that much of a spoiler.

Oh this book. I started it with excitement, and then part way through, hit a major reading slump. When I picked it up weeks later, I was eager to finish it and yet I didn’t want to. I couldn’t be certain if it was the after affects of the reading slump or the fact that I just hadn’t really loved the first hundred pages. Maybe this book had succumbed to the dreaded mid-series slump that I find in many series, when they start strong, slack in the middle and then either pick up again at the end or struggle to bring things to a close cleanly.

I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t love it either. There was something in this book that just didn’t seem to jive. I don’t know what it was. I will say, that I was glad to see that there was a greater presence of Gods and Goddesses in this book, something I was craving in the previous two novels. Having Artemis in this one was great, and I really liked the way she was portrayed. It made total sense in a way, even if at times it was a little weird.

I think the biggest disappointment for me, revolved around Zoe. I loved this character and yet, we lose her as quickly as she comes into the story. I understand why it happened, and it made sense in the end, but damnit, I was more Zoe and I know that won’t happen.

Even though this book didn’t feel as amazing as the previous ones, I am still looking forward to reading the rest of the series. If you haven’t read this series yet, now may be the time to do so.

Book Review: Violet Grenade

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Oh this book. I don’t even know what to say.

Initially, I was fairly excited about this book. It sounded so intriguing when it was first introduced by the author months ago. Then I was lucky enough to get an early copy to review.

When I started reading this book, I was sucked into it pretty quickly. I didn’t want to put it down, and I wanted to know all that would happen. I read most, if not all of it, in one sitting. There were times when it felt repetitive, mostly involving things in the house, but otherwise, I still enjoyed it. I didn’t really fully understand Domino’s character at times, but I figured it would all make sense the further into the story I got.

Then I got to the end of the book and…hell, I don’t know what happened, but almost as soon as I finished the book, all the details of the books faded from my memory. I couldn’t remember most of it and honestly couldn’t tell you why I liked the book so much while I was reading it. I can’t explain it. I still don’t understand it myself, even a month later. I guess it’s just one of those books that doesn’t stick with the reader.

That’s it. Can’t really talk more about it since I honestly don’t remember the details of the book. If you haven’t read it and are curious about the story, go ahead and read it. You might like it, you might now, but you’ll never know until you read it.