Monday, February 27, 2017

Review: Millennium Snow Manga (Volume 1)

     I picked up Bisco Hatori's manga Millennium Snow on a whim from a list of offered items from Paperback swap and the title looked interesting. I knew there was a vampire involved, and I do like vampires, so I thought what the heck.
     This turned out to be pretty much Twilight, except set in Japan. 
     Chayuki is a girl who has known her whole life she would die young. She has a heart condition that doctors have always told her would kill her before adulthood. She is now 17 and getting much worse, and she is pretty certain she will not live to see the next snowfall (hence the title).
     Toya is a vampire who refuses to drink human blood (sound familiar?) because he thinks vampire rules are stupid. You see, vampires his age are supposed to choose a human partner and drink their blood. This ensures that not only the vampire, but also the human will live for a thousand years. Toya thinks this is gross, and doesn't know why anyone would want to live for so long. Chayuki, who doesn't know why anyone WOULDN'T want to live so long desperately wants to be Toya's blood partner.
     Eventually the two develop a grudgingly frenemistic relationship as Chayuki tries anything she can think of to get Toya to drink her. This relationship is complicated when a cute classmate of Chayuki's asks her on a date. This classmate is, of course, a werewolf. 
     Other than the obvious Twilight-ness of it all, the manga is not bad. Chayuki is literally a damsel in distress, but is also spunky and sweet and you end up REALLY wanting her to live. Toya is a total jerk, but a lovable her, and werewolf Satsuki is an adorable foil for him. There's even the mandatory cute animal sidekick. 
    It's definitely a teen or tween title though, not something that is likely to grab hold of the adults who pick it up. 

Final Review: 3/5 bookmarks

Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: The Unbound (The Archived, Book 2)

     Victoria Schwab's The Unbound is the second book in The Archived series, which at the time I am writing this, MAY be a duo, or MAY possibly become a trilogy.
    Personally I am really hoping it becomes a trilogy, because I want to read more about these characters and this fictional universe.

For those who have not read The Archived book 1, there are spoilers ahead, so stop reading now!

I warned you!!!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

    This volume starts a few months after volume 1 left off, which Mackensie ready to start school at Hyde, a private school for the upper class. Shockingly for a school of this type. the other students are really nice and quite accepting of Mac and everything seems to be going very smoothly until they don't. First, Mac finds out that her old pal and fellow Keeper, the adorable Wesley has been hiding some things about himself from Mac.
    She is just starting to come to terms with this new Wes when Mac realizes that people are going missing... and the only thing they have in common is they all know her. Add to this the fact that she is still in fairly serious trouble with the Librarians in the Archive after the way she handled the whole Owen situation, and the fact that her parents are still totally clueless about what is really going on in her life and still grieving from the loss of her brother.
    For me, the best part of this volume of the series, was that it delved deeper into the side characters, especially Wesley and some of the librarians, which by the way, I have decided I will TOTALLY become an Archive librarian when I die, because yeah. Haha!
   Rumors are that there will be a third book in the series, tentatively titled The Returned BUT it was supposed to be out sometime in 2016, and it never materialized. I am truly hoping it gets released in 2017 because I want more! In the mean time, there is a short story, called Leave the Window Open which was posted on Vitoria Schwab's blog, and takes place immediately after this book wraps up... so if you want to read it, click the link above!

Final Review: 4/5 bookmarks!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: Kill Shakespeare (Volume 1)

     As you may know if you have read any of my posts in the past, I am a huge Shakespeare fan, and an avid reader of graphic novels. So you may well imagine I was very excited to find the series Kill Shakespeare by Conor McCreery. 
     The premise sounds great: two teams of Shakespearean characters have formed - one a team of the Bard's greatest heroes and one a team of his greatest villains. Both teams want the same thing - to find the great and mythical William Shakespeare, who, in this world, is an all-powerful God. Of course, the heroes want to help him rise to power and the villains want to kill him, steal his quill and gain his power.
     Stuck right smack in the middle of the two teams is Hamlet, prince of Denmark, who doesn't know who to trust or what to believe about Will. He's not even sure this Shakespeare guy is real, or just a bed time story made up to scare kids. At first he is befriended by Richard III, Iago and Lady Macbeth, but later ends up in the company of Falstaff, Juliet and Othello.
     What is unfortunate is that the characters are so BLAND and not at all like the ones that were written by the Bard. Also, the female characters are sexualized to the enth power and aged up tremendously from their roles in the plays. Lady Macbeth is practically naked the entire time. Juliet, who is supposed to be the bad-ass of the bunch here is kind of whiny and obnoxious. Even Falstaff has little of the joy and humor that made him one the Bard's most loved characters. The only one who is kind written the way he should be is Othello, who is kind of a bad-ass and a lot less whiny than he is in the play.
    I was pretty disappointed with volume 1 and decided that it was not worth my time to read any of the rest of the series.

Final review: 2/5 bookmarks

Monday, February 6, 2017

Series Review: Alex + Ada

    Let's start with the good stuff about Alex + Ada, shall we? First, it's short. Three volumes complete the entire series. Second, the artwork is beautifully rendered and the character design is very nice. Third, Alex's grandmother is hilarious.
   That's about it.
   Everything else is pretty much.... not good. First, this series is basically just Chobits with adult characters done in a non-manga style. Second, how many stories about Artificial Intelligence becoming sentient do we really need? Especially A.I. Sentience stories that offer nothing new or innovative to the genre?  Third, the final volume feels incredibly rushed, with a far too "neat" ending that really feels like the author just decided "I need to finish, and I need to finish today. And let's me the ending cheesy-cute."

Final review: 3/5 bookmarks because the art is so good, but save yourself the trouble and read Choits instead.