Series Review: Read or Dream

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Ever since first seeing the Read or Die anime, I wanted to see more, but I honestly had no idea if there was more to the series or not. Fast forward a couple years into the future, and I finally got off my duff and started looking into this. It was during that time that I discovered the Read or Dream series, which is set in the same world as Read or Die, but involves all new characters that possess the power of paper. The problem was, I couldn’t actually find these books anywhere, and the odd time I did find them, they were severely overpriced. But then I found them, the whole series, in a used book store and I couldn’t grab them off the shelf quickly enough.

This series revolves around three sisters, Michelle, Maggie and Anita, and they run the Paper Sisters Detective Agency. They also all have the power to control paper, turning it into anything they want, which honestly is a pretty damn awesome power. This power is also the biggest connection this series has to the Read or Die series. The sisters definitely could not be more opposite from each other. Outside of their powers, and their mutual love of books (minus Anita because she doesn’t like them), they really have nothing in common, and yet they work well together – most of the time. I think it’s these differences that really allows them to function together and to come solve the cases that come along.

For the most part, the individual stories throughout the series don’t seem to have any connection to each other. It’s just like a collection of random adventures and incidences that occur. But then, at the end of it all, things finally come full circle and something that happens in the beginning finally connections several of the events along the way. This made it finally feel like a complete series instead of a random collection of short stories that centered around the same characters.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty good series. It has definitely made me want to seek out the original Read or Die manga, as well as eventually watch the Read or Die Tv series.

Advertisements

Series Review: Saga Vol 1-8

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

For quite some time now I have been seeing Saga in book stores and was intrigued by the covers, yet for some reason I never even bothers to really look at them. Then more recently, I have been seeing Saga showing up on a lot of blogs and seeing rave reviews about it. Now normally, when I see so many positive reviews on the same book, I tend to ignore that book from then on, because history has taught me that the more positive reviews that surrounds a book the less likely I will enjoy it. But, I also really wanted to check it out. So, I made the snap decision to dive into this series. I was sure enough that I would like it, that I went ahead and bought all of the current volumes, seven in total, and that was one of the best decisions I made.

This series is so damn good. I meant to read just one of the books at first, but the next thing you know I had read all seven volumes and was dying for more. The characters, the world building, the story line, everything in it is just so phenomenal. I will admit, that some of the things within the volumes are very strange, and yet they work so perfectly with the book. The artwork in this series is downright gorgeous, and it really helps to truly tell all of the story.

I felt so many things reading these books. I felt the joy, sadness, fear, anger and every other emotion of the characters. I cheered them on, I mourned with them.

One of the really neat things is how Hazel, the child of the story, is essentially narrating her own story along with the main story. It’s such a neat way to tell things, and adds an extra layer to everything.

I have to say that I found Volume 8 to not be as strong as the previous volumes. It was still really good, but felt more like a side story that the main story arc I had come to know and love.

I can’t really go into too much more detail, because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read this series yet. But I will say that I’m glad that I finally read this one, and in a way, I’m glad that I waited so long, because I was able to get through seven volumes in one go.  I have a feeling I will be rereading this series countless times because it is so darn good. If you have been thinking about reading this series, I would highly suggest that you go do so. Really looking forward to continuing with this series as each new volume is released.

Book Review: Your Name Another Side: Earthbound

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

If you have not read or watched Your Name yet, please do so before reading this book. Not only is the story itself amazing, but everything will make so much more sense if you do.

As soon as I saw that this book was coming out, I knew that I had to read it. I have fallen in love with the story of Your Name and to get to see this little side story involving those in Mitsuha’s life, and how her experiences with Taki have affected them as well. This book is broken into four different stories, each focusing on one person in Mitsuha’s life.

The first story is focused on her friend Saya. I honestly felt that this was perhaps the weakest story of them all. I don’t know if it’s because Saya’s reaction to everything wasn’t as shocked and concerned as everyone else, or if it was something else, but Saya herself even had a fairly small presence in this story. Still, it was fun to see how she did react to a couple of things that happened, things that you don’t get to see in the movie.

Then there was Teshi’s story. He had already been a big presence in Saya’s story, but he was even more so here. I definitely had a couple of good laughs during this one. I also felt that this really allowed us to see more depth in Teshi as a whole. The Teshi we see in the movie is very serious, and he certain maintains that throughout a vast majority of this story, but there is this whole other side to Teshi that really shines here. I love how he is both confused by this new Mitsuha, but also embraces many of the changes he sees – often accounting it to stress in Mitsuha’s life, so doesn’t really see all that bothered by things.

Next up revolved around Mitsuha’s younger sister, Yotsuha. I was pretty interested in seein gmore of her thoughts on Mitsuha’s changes. We get to see a pretty good amount of it during the movie, but there was bound to be more. The best part is, as a younger child, Yotsuha’s understanding of many things in life is obviously lacking, so watching her try to figure things out herself. Her line of thought could be quite deep at times, and it really added a whole new level to her character, and gave a glimpse of the person she would become as she grew older.

Finally there was the story about Mitsuha’s father, Toshiki. I’ll admit, I didn’t particularly like Mitsuha’s father in the movie, but we also know so little about it, that it was hard to know why he was the way that he was. Unlike the previous stories, this one doesn’t focus so much on his opinions of what is happening to Mitsuha, but is a reflection on the past, how he met his wife, more about the Miyamizu temple and it’s traditions, as well as those of other temples, and also the start of their family. All this leads up to why he abandoned his family, the temple and his why he pursued the role of mayor. I felt like this story helped me to understand him so much better, and it also helped him understand his daughter as well. I definitely have a bit more respect for him, even if he is still a total jerk in the end.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I am now hoping that they come out with another novel like this, but where it’s the people in Taki’s life showing how him switching affects them.

Book Review: Warcraft Legends Volume 4

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Once again, this volume holds four different stories, so I will break it down based upon each story.

First up was Fate, a continuation of the Trag story that started back in the first volume. I want to like this story, because it is the only one that has been in each volume of this series, but I still have issues with the font used. I should not have to hold a book an inch away from my face and squint in order to figure out what the words say. This alone makes this my least favorite story in this volume, and the previous ones. Ignoring that, it’s a pretty decent story, and this section of it was fairly interesting.

Next was Bloodsail Buccaneer. This was my second favorite story in this book. There are a lot of great characters, action and the story itself is one that grabs you and doesn’t let you go. I thought that the main characters grew a lot over the course of this story, as they were really pushed to their limits and had to learn how to survive in order to return home. I would not mind getting to revisit these characters in a future volume to see what is happening in their lives.

The third story was Blood Runs Thicker. This was a story set around the Darkmoon Faire. I’ve never really paid much attention to the Darkmoon Faire when it’s active in game, but this story definitely gave me a new appreciation for it and the characters found within. Let’s face it, as game players, we know next to nothing about these characters, but I think this story really helped to shed a bit of light on them. Plus it gave a nice dark side to the Darkmoon Faire. This one is lied with the previous story as my second favorite.

Lastly, there was A Warrior Made – Part 1. This was by far my favorite story of them all. Anyone who has played Warcraft, or even just read the books, knows the story of Thrall, but so little is known about his parents, and especially his mother Draka. This story focuses on her and her struggles to find her place in the world. I really enjoyed this one, as it goes from her birth until she is an adult, and though the story is not complete (it will finish in the next volume) I really felt like I was finally getting to see what made Draka the orc she is and can see a bit of her in Thrall as well. I really look forward to seeing how the rest of her story unfolds – though obviously I know how it ultimately ends.

Overall, this was a really good book. I think this one was my favorite of the series so far and I cannot wait to reach the next and final volume. Highly recommend to anyone who has an interest in Warcraft and wants to see some stories that don’t necessarily follow the main story of Warcraft.

Series Review: Death Note

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Death Note is one of those series that I had been wanting to read for a while, but never really put the effort into finding the books. Then, last summer, I spotted the entire series at a used book store and knew my time to check out this series had finally come.

I didn’t really know what to expect out of this series. Really the only thing I knew was that the main character, Light, somehow got a notebook that can kill people by writing their names in it. Honestly, it sounded like a pretty darn interesting concept, so I was eager to dive in.

This was certainly not your typical manga. Usually, it’s the pictures that tell the story, as the dialogue and minimal descriptive text just helps the story along. That is not the case with Death Note, as it the text often overtook the visual aspects page after page. Not only that, but most of the characters spoke, or thought, a lot and in very long, drawn out moments. I felt in a way it took away from the manga, because it was more like reading a novel that just happened to have pictures in the back ground than an actual manga. This made me dislike the series in a way.

As for the characters, well there are quite a few of them throughout this series. Some remain from volume one and go through to the end, while others have very small roles. I have to say, I didn’t really care for Light all that much. He was an interesting character for a while, but then his analytical ways started to bother me. This was the same for L, but I really hated his character right from the get go. Between the two of these characters, I felt my desire to keep reading and see how things played out starting to wane. I did also feel like the series was a bit long. It probably could have been condensed down into six volumes or so and still had everything in it, just in a more fast paced and perhaps interesting way.

I feel like this series would have been much more enjoyable as a light novel. That way the walls of text wouldn’t seem so bothersome. I’m still glad I read this series, but I honestly don’t know if I would recommend it or not. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would enjoy it and those who wouldn’t as well. I may eventually watch the anime series just to see if it is more enjoyable than reading the manga, but we’ll see.

Book Review: Wolf Children Ame & Yuki

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

For a while now, I’ve had my eye on Wolf Children, yet for the longest time I never made any real effort to get the manga or watch the anime. So finally a couple months ago, I happened to see the bind-up of all three volumes at the book store and knew it was my chance to finally read this.

I’ll admit, that upon initially starting this book, I didn’t feel drawn into the story. It felt a bit slow, and while I enjoyed the artwork, I wasn’t falling in love with the characters or story. I continued to read through it, knowing that there were so many positive reviews out there that this had to be one of those stories that got better as it went on. And it did. I did start to feel a connection to the characters, the story was starting to pull me in and make me want more. But even then, I still wasn’t loving it.

I did enjoy seeing the struggles of Ami and Yuki, along with their mother Hana, to try to learn just how they fit into the world. Hana’s resilience and determination to see her children lead a normal, but sometimes protected life, showed how much she loved them – and perhaps feared for them as well. Most interesting of all was how Ami and Yuki changed over time. Their personalities generally stayed the same, but their outlook on life and what and who they were certainly evolved along the way.

By the time I was done, I felt like I had indeed read a pretty decent story. However, it wasn’t until a few weeks later, after I had watched the movie, that I started to truly appreciate how good this story was. It grew on me over time and before long I could finally see why so many people who had read this book had really loved it. I’m glad I finally made the time to not only read the manga, but to watch the anime as well, as this truly is a wonderful story. I would definitely recommend it.

Book Review: Warcraft Bonds of Brotherhood

My rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Oh boy, what can I say about this one?

I had been excited to read this book, because I loved the Orc prequel novel, Durotan, and figured that this one would be good as well. But, I was wrong.

The art is this book was really the only good thing. Though I will admit that I wish the main characters, Llane, Lothar and Medivh, had a bit more distinguishing features, because honestly they often looked too similar on most pages. Otherwise, the art was enjoyable.

The story however, was both terrible and lacking.

I want to say that this might have been more enjoyable had it been written as an actual novel, instead of a graphic novel, but I’m not sure adding length and those written details would have been enough to salvage it. I’m still gad I read it, but this is one that will now forever sit on my shelf collecting dust – I would get rid of it, but when it comes to Warcraft books, I keep them all, whether I liked them or not.