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DamienLovecraft

theguywhoreads

When I pick a book up, I am travelling to a distant place and some times I become one of the characters in a book. My love for stories are the ones that begin and end where fiction is more honest than reality.

Currently reading

A Conjuring of Light
V E Schwab
Progress: 222/624 pages
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry: A Novel
Fredrik Backman
Progress: 170/400 pages

Where Practicality is Overrated, Hopeless Romantic Rejoice!

The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

I can be a hopeless romantic in the things I never thought I would believe in. At times, life can take me to some places I never expect to be, meet incredible and wonderful people through time and in the end, when I believe practicality is reality, it became overrated.

 

The Sun is Also a Star is by far truthful to that. I know, not everyone do experience that in their lives but I do believe in our choices, the universe plays a role. That one small decision can lead to big things. That significant sign will lead to an inevitable life-changing moment. And when we fall in love, it is instant without reason that only comes later. This book has it all. Reality and the inconceivable. Hope and lost. Science and dreams. I experience through all that... and this book writes it like its true.

 

Unlike Everything, Everything, this book is written in two main perspectives of two main characters and it all happened in a single day. I like how Nicola Yoon inserts other people's lives that gets affected by the main characters and a few small notable facts that she included makes it a grand read. Simple and yet beautiful, the flow of this story is more believable to me than Everything, Everything, which I had a harder time to accept. The romance is just what I felt a better execution and towards the end, it is what it is - that even hope may come true. The beauty of it is how one moment can connect the people we meet. I do believe this is true because it had happened to me before. And the debate of if we do believe that the universe plays an important role in our lives, for me I do feel its more truer because I always make small choices that changes every thing and if I do not make any choices at all, we will always be where we will be.

 

To read The Sun is Also a Star is to have an open heart and mind. Skeptics might get turn off by this book but I do feel this needs to be given a chance. Its a 4 & 1/2 out of 5 star rating for me. That missing 1/2 star would be added if not that I felt the exchange of dialogue between the two main characters weren't strong enough. I do recommend that this is a must read in one single sitting (I took too long and should have read it in a day or two but due to work, it takes longer than that).

 

An Honest Read About Dying Days...

The Language of Dying - Sarah Pinborough

I was caught on by the title - The Language of Dying and then, it was the reviews about the book, especially when I read a small printed line from Neil Gaiman that says 'A beautiful story, honestly told'. It was on the fantasy section and without any thoughts I pick it up. When I started reading, I knew this book can be read less than 1/2 a day but it took me a while to finish it (I was lazy lately, my excuse? Too much mobile games). Still, this is a book that is truly honest in words we will never spoke off but we know it is there. I only have just one problem - that convenient ending that was cut-off that I did not like and it was what a let down for me that cuts of my emotions when it was stirring during my read.

 

But what is The Language of Dying means? In the beginning of the first few pages, we will be reading each chapter like part-eulogy, part essay. The main character has no name to be identified, that has a sister and 3 brothers but we will be reading the main character's perspective. Their father is dying of cancer. Each day towards the last, the bonding of the family was once a crack, now broken and unable to fix come together to his dying days. A visit each day, is a visit of dread. There are no laughter or smiles, to each of their own emotionally jarred and trying to keep the spirits up but in truth, they know it is impossible to be bond as a family. I can relate to that really, that's how I felt how true Sarah Pinborough has written, one that we do not want to speak of but its true. I remember my days when my grandfather was holding on to his family members of my father and his siblings and to his last breath, the bond is broken. This is how true this book is written. I can relate to that. Its the damage that people go through that can't be fixed where our honesty is within us but never spoken of in reality. The pain written in those pages is just is... until the ending part. While I do understand what the author is trying to say, but it just did not fixed it well for me. I just can't see that last part, those three pages, work well. That's how it got out knock the last star, otherwise it would have been a four instead of three and a 1/2.

 

It is still a good book, the end of days of someone you used to love or some part of and its the story of how we say our own eulogies in our own hearts, which spoke true here. But how it is part of a fantasy read is beyond me or maybe the bookstore as placed it at the wrong section (but I did picked it up from that section). Readable yes, because the words are nicely written and able to relate and if you like some thing that is truly meant to be said with no pretense, sympathy is the one word you can feel towards the main character of how realities bore her down and this is who she is today, which in reality is true. I would recommend to anyone whom able to consume a little sadness with pinch of depression but its a beautiful sad book that I can say if you brushed aside the ending, you might enjoy reading this book.

A Lovely Debut Poem Collection Worth Reading

Our Numbered Days - Neil Hilborn

I knew I had to talk to her.

I asked her out six times.

In thirty seconds. She said yes

after the third one, but none of them

felt right so I had to keep going.

 

Here is a debut collection from Neil Hilborn's Our Numbered Days, a raw perspective of what we thought and knew about love, is rarely that simple. It's a funny and sad, crazy but make sense and what we love is likely a poor choice without us knowing it. His famous OCD is included along with JoeyHere and AwayFuture Tense. There is so much to love about this debut collection, and if you have heard about Neil Hilborn from his poetry slam performances or from Button Poetry or if you haven't heard about him at all, pick this up.

 

p/s: It's a rarity that I can smile while reading this poem and that means its good.

A Worthy Sequel No Better Than The First

A Gathering of Shadows - Victoria Schwab

The sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic is more than just any sequel - its a worthy almost an epic fantasy that lives up to its name when it comes to magic. Where the first begins introducing a world of interesting deep characters, an unspoken evil and politics of tilting the balance of power in the first book, the sequel truly dug deeper into new characters, a depth of understanding of Red London, we get to know more about Kell, Lila and Rhy and the rest of the characters and building up a suspense that ends with a cliffhanger that is exciting, rich and the wanting to know more! Is it better than the first? I can say its well-balance in how the story is laid out brilliantly that never seize to amaze me.

 

Four months after the Black Night incident, Red London is preparing for a magic tournament. The last time we see Delilah Bard she joined a crew of sea privateers lead by the handsome and irresistible Captain Alucard Emery, sailing across the ocean for the empire. Still, a thief as always but with a new skill of magic. In Red London, Rhy is preparing for Essen Tasch, a tournament where magicians from corners of the Arnesian empire come to compete. Kell, last seen where he had bond his life with Rhy after he brought Black Night towards the Arnes Empire and even though he and Lila had saved the empire, the king and queen of Red London do not trust Rhy's life to be protected by Kell. In White London, some thing dark is stirring and a new king took over, one with a familiar face and an ancient enemy is about to spread its influences across the parallel worlds of London.

 

There is so much about A Gathering of Shadows but what I can say is its the same as much I would say about A Darker Shade of Magic - it still never fails me how captivating this book is as much as it was in the first book. Victoria Schwab is to this day my favorite author and she had created a world that really pulls a reader in and live the lives of each of the character, with absorbing dialogue and a read that truly keeps you going. I do find that although the sequel isn't as fast as the first book itself, it still has this holding on me that I do not want this to end even though it has to end one way or another. Its still a brilliant written work and one I love most that my reading in the early mornings is what I look forward to to keep me enthrall and mesmerized.

A Reading Journey on Nudism Through An Author's Experience

Naked at Lunch: The Adventures of a Reluctant Nudist - Mark Haskell Smith

When it comes to reading non-fiction, I am not a fan. So why did I pick up this book? One word - curiosity. I am glad that I allow my curiosity win over my standard reading and although it took three months to complete it (I know, how is it even possible that a book with almost 300 pages of content not counting the the acknowledgement and bibliography took that long to complete it, right?), I admit I am such a bad person that I read other books first instead of finishing what I started. Still, even though it took such a long time to complete it... am I glad that I did in a good way.

 

Naked at Lunch: The Adventures of a Reluctant Nudist is a book out of my curiosity of a culture I do not fully understand. From the moment I turn to the first page I thought I know what am I getting myself into. Chapter one was exactly as I thought it would but as I progress, I realize my understanding of a community that loves nature not only answer some questions but also create new ones for me why people do what they love to do - where people are happier to be a non-sexual naturist by exposing themselves natural without any sexual urges. Mark Haskell Smith, who went through this journey into understanding the culture that was created (surprisingly) many years ago did a well thorough study of the community and how many people enjoy being naked in the open. From taking a trip to resorts populated with older naturist to hiking nude in the wild and taking a cruise trip naked and enjoying a tour being expose is a real experience in understanding that there are people who do what they do that they love most. For many reasons to each of their known, it is clear the culture is very popular to this day but mainly because of their own reasons of doing it (and most of them began their journey through skinny-dipping). The topics not just covered of the experience of Mark but also what he has uncovered the laws and movement of the community, published written materials about naturist today and even the respect and dignity people give in the community. There is nothing shocking about it, its just a reading realization where its information is truly interesting to many parts that do offer places for naturist and the events and activities people partake. Imagine a naturist library where reading in nude is nothing shocking, and what we wear our clothes on our body is just more of a taboo than being naked (and this is coming from an Asian reader who lives among the taboo traditional of being naked in the open).

 

What I gathered from reading is truly an interesting read and it is rare that I had a great time reading and laughing out loud from a non-fiction book even though there are some parts that are pretty much vulgar but it is hilarious to see the author, who is more reluctant going nude at the beginning going through awkward moments that truly make this book a memorable read. I can say in short without revealing more that this book is for the open-minded readers and for the curious to understand the culture itself. Believe me, what we thought we know may not be what it seems and mostly people get the wrong idea about nudist but after reading this, the understanding of being a naturist is more respectable than it is for those that are the ignorant. I would recommend this to any readers who would dare take a risk in reading without any fear of going nude.

 

Gripping Epic Fantasy That Begins Here!

A Darker Shade of Magic - Victoria Schwab

Magic. Parallel universe. Treachery. An adventure. Saving all worlds.

 

This is my third series fromV.E. Schwab. Each time I read her books, each time it never fails to amaze me how good her writing is. She pulled me in, took me into an adventure so unique and leave me wanting for more. A Darker Shade of Magic is the first in the trilogy series Shades of Magic. I have hold on to reading the first book since I bought it last year and finally, when the third and final book A Conjuring of Light was released recently, I will be binge reading the series in my own time and I have to say that A Darker Shade of Magic had really pull me into a world of fantasy that I love to be spin into with so much as to I wanted to read further but resist holding on to devour each word for word.

 

To begin, the blurb has an interesting twist - three parallel Londons and one, shall not be spoken of. Kell, one of the last two Antaris magician traveler of parallel Londons as messengers among royals and a smuggler of antiques and relics. Lila, a thief in Grey London and a survivor on the streets unknown of other existence of London. When Kell was given a forbidden relic from a place not speak of and when he cross paths with Lila who pickpocket that forbidden relic, fate have them work together to save the universe from taken over by greed of power.

 

V.E. Schwab once again, have outdone herself. Introducing worlds unlike any other, a fantasy that is worthy a read and rereading again and again. I love the adventure it was written, the interesting characters being introduce and the malice of evil characters intended towards the protagonist. If this is reality, its a darn good writing. I was sucked into this world she created and made me believe that these parallel Londons exist. And then, there is magic that weren't that far fetched and acceptable. What truly made this book a must read is how the lure of reading more is magic itself in reading. Its one I felt worth pursuing and definitely looking forward in the next book - A Gathering of Shadows where I am about to read soon.

When A Man Called Ove Isn't What You Thought It Would Be

A Man Called Ove: A Novel - Fredrik Backman

When I first heard about A Man Called Ove (pronounce as 'O-vi'), it was because of word-of-mouth. Praises keeps pouring in, good reviews keeps filling up and of course, it was inevitable that I came across the book and my curiosity get the best of me. After a year of purchase, I finally sat down and read it. It has been a while since I read some thing good in some months and while many readers have read it way earlier than I do, I am glad I took my time to read it.

 

A Man Called Ove is a story of a man called Ove (I just like saying it). At first glance, he appears to be one of the grumpiest middle-age man that is so bitter about every thing, you just want to avoid him. He cusses, he's rude and he's the type that does not care about people. He has a set of principles, he follow regulations and rules that he obeyed. He hates white collar men. He despise cats. And more importantly, he doesn't want to be disturb. When a new neighbor moves in next door to his house and accidentally drives up their trailer and destroy Ove's mailbox, it begins a journey of acceptance and unlikely friendships in unexpected ways. Typical formulated story you might say, right? For plot lines, yes. For execution and development of the story, its better than I expected.

 

What I enjoy most are the characters - to each of their own it was outline nicely. There is consistency to each of them including Ove and I love each and every one of them. Characters written well is once again, a rarity and given a nice explained background to each is a good way to show how Fredrik Backman care about his characters. And then of course, what was true is Ove is not what it seems, and I like how there are layers that some times, it may not be what it seems on first impression that tells us we need to reassessment people in depth. There is so much love and charm in the characters that you just have to love them a lot, especially Ove. I like how the flow of each chapter is given care and the history behind them. For Ove, I truly understand a person like him that many people miss out in reality and this is written with truth.

 

The execution and delivery is an enjoyable one but some how, its formulated. While the characters aren't stereotypical type, the flow of the story is like one I had seen before. Would it be better if its not followed like a guideline of any books about how to write a story I can say no, but this is as good as it gets because even though its formulated, its meant to be written that way. While the depth of the story isn't deep, I enjoy the slice of life theme in it. There is positive and inspiring values very much in real life happening and not those kind of positive quotes we tend to read a lot to try to inspire us. Its just that with reality of what is happening, it keeps it real in characters and what will happen to us if thrown into a situation and A Man Called Ove is just it.

 

I can't say its the best ever book I have ever read but its near. I was warm all over when I read towards the end and it was the kind of ending I expected. I did enjoy the dialogue exchange between Ove and the characters he came across. I can say that it is a recommended read if you have not come across this book. Its a must for any book readers or lovers that for once in life, you should read it.

Myths, Supernatural and Japanese Monsters

The Monster on the Road Is Me - JP Romney

I love Japanese culture and myths. Especially when it comes to the supernatural. Adding weirdness and you have a whole lot of interesting story about demonic monsters and trolls that haunts a small town. The Monster on the Road Is Me is a story of a fifteen year old boy name Koda Okita, a son of a shiitake (mushroom) farmer who happens to be a narcoleptic that he needs to wear a big helmet to protect himself whenever he gets an attack. It begins with the crows and slowly, his classmates starts to die mysteriously as a suicide. When he meets a girl name Moya, he had stumble upon century old war between monsters and humans. What he never expect is that he is an unwilling protagonist that has a power as well - stealing memories by a single touch. With the town in trouble of supernatural force, Koda (without a choice) must do what he can to understand who he is in order to save Kusaka Town.

 

While I was reading this, I felt there is a little bit of Satoshi Kons' weirdness involve. Its like Paranoia Agent that comes along with many weird acceptance of lunacy that can be some thing new. Its Japanese culture that is a norm to do who understands it, especially when it comes to myths and legends. Surprisingly, it is also written well with so many reference to Japanese that anyone who understands the culture can relate. Its not exactly original but then its an enjoyable and fun read. I just love how the weirdness can be a norm to all the characters and this is one that intrigues me from beginning to the end. Its a fast read too might I add.

 

The title has its interesting meaning (which I will not review) but I do recommend people should read this. Yes, there is some Japanese dialogue spoken in romaji but its not exactly that hard not to understand. Its just a beauty of making this a really Japanese custom and written by someone whom used to stayed and taught in Japan, I am surprise J.P. Romney had done a great job of being politically correct when it comes to writing. If you love Nihongo culture, pick this book up. If you love mythology, beliefs and supernatural + weirdness, read it. I had great fun enjoying this book.

 

When An Outcast Became a Hero At The Beginning of a Zombie Outbreak!

I am a Hero Omnibus Volume 1 - Kengo Hanzawa

There are so many 'zombie' related novels, comics and even mangas, its unsure which one is really good to pick up. Yes, The Walking Dead is a much favorite comic book series so far with other numerous other zombies that many felt pale to its comparison. Mangas are only a handful of titles that either work or fair well to some readers. It was then I stumble upon a movie trailer of 2016's I Am A Hero that got me curious to pick up this manga title... and boy, Kengo Hanazawa has shown true potential what a storyteller and artist he can be with this title.

 

Let's start off with what makes this different than most zombie titles - Hideo Suzuki is a lowly assistant manga artist for a long time. He's an outcast thirty-five years old and still has no hit on any of his proposal that he was popular to be made into serial in Japan. Daydreamer occasionally that he is not able to see reality of life, he talks to himself most of the time. His girlfriend, on the other hand, used to be a fan of his but he isn't if she still loves him. Slowly as days passes by and always on a deadline, some thing is happening around Hideo that he never notices and thinks its one of his hallucinations... until when some thing freshly dead became a reality in Japan.

 

How much different is this compare to other 'zombie' related theme novels, comics or mangas is this - told in a sequence of a day to day happening, Kengo Hanazawa took realism into manga form using panel by panel story telling. Its not a fast-reading material, I give you that but the artwork gives any reader a step-by-step eye movement following sequence that really works into your pleasure of reading. I was totally into the manga and I am glad that he took his time building up the suspense in a slow-pacing manner. In truth - the real fun begins after 1/2 of the omnibus (which is after the first collected volume one) and where the attack begins. But won't this affect the fun in reading the manga? No. He has his own reasoning why the build up is slow. That build up introduce the characters of who they are, what they are to the protagonist and how this affects his reality issues of life that he can't comprehend. Namely, the wonders of daydreamers depict really well as a character being told almost accurately how shut-ins live their lives. Throw them into a zombie apocalypse and see what they will do. And that's a fun read.

 

The artwork itself is the ugly reality of how Japanese life is. And the details given so meticulous in art-form is a beautiful piece you can feel that Kengo Hanazawa paid a lot of good attention to details needed. Yes, blurred lines are used but the splash pages are some thing to behold here. My following eye-movement is one that dictates which will go first and which is important for the intensity of the action and this works really well. Its an acceptable manga to give what manga readers want to enjoy reading and to admire the artwork as well. Nominated and won with some awards and its still ongoing since its first debut its series in Japan in 2009, I am glad I pick up this title on a whim because of the movie trailer. I am hoping that it does not disappoint as the series continue and since the English language version was released last-year, I can wait a little longer to enjoy reading this at a slow-pacing while I work it up with my other readings. This is one zombie related manga that should be read if you want some thing that build's its suspense at the right timing.

The Return of Oliver Queen by Kevin Smith

Green Arrow by Kevin Smith - Kevin Smith

In 2000, Kevin Smith, Phil Hester and Ande Parks revived Green Arrow into a 3rd series, where it follows the aftermath of a crossover entitled The Final Night where Hal Jordan's Green Lantern sacrifice himself to a Sun Eater to reignite the sun. He brought back Oliver Queen, the original Green Arrow from the dead after he died in a tragically witness by Superman. Collected from issues #1 to 15, Kevin Smith had spun not just a good introduction of bringing back Oliver Queen but had given this title a revival that became one of the most readable comics in the year 2000.

 

I read this because of one person - Kevin Smith. He has been an awesome writer to me that not only direct but write good stories that really knows how. He is a natural when it comes to words and with Phil Hester's artwork and Ande Parks inking, this is a team that really bring the best part of how Green Arrow would be. Words a side, I was never a fan of Green Arrow and I did for one time think he is a lame character but reading this tradepaperback really brings a good sense that he is cool and flawed, just like how Wally West is as The Flash. With the now current Arrow TV series and running a good four seasons with a current 5th season airing, if you have ever wonder which Green Arrow comic book to read, this might be one of them you should pick it up.

A Poignant Simplicity of a Fable of Found and Lost

The Light Between Oceans: A Novel - M.L. Stedman

You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things.

 

It took a while to complete The Light Between Oceans. For one, there is much to read about in this book that drives a very poignant story that definitely guarantee tissue papers to be readied towards the end of the book. Another would be the words written that are simple and yet beautiful that I find almost every single character in this book are well taken-care of and meticulous... but where do I begin?

 

Let's start with what this is about - Tom Sherbourne returns from a four year war (World War I to be exact) on the Western Front to take a post as a lighthouse on Janus Island. Isolated from the nearest land, Tom's life was a lonely one until he met Isabel Graysmark, a young girl that brings life into him. Married and living on the island, life was simple... until two miscarriages and one stillbirth, Isabel had reached to the edge of depression. It was the arrival of a boat washed up ashore that carried a dead man and a living baby that Isabel thought it is a sign from God. Happiness begins with the Sherbourne family... until a few years later, when on land that Tom and Isabel have finally came across Hannah Roennfeldt, the birth mother of Lucy. There are hard decisions to be made... and one that could change their lives forever.

 

I love how it was written - simple and yet easy to follow. Every single description is carefully word out and lyrical. As I read, it was one that I felt being drawn into each character and how each and every single character plays a role that affects the decision of others. The description is pretty much short and simple and yet written in ways that given some of these characters meaning, with a simple brief history on each and every one. As to who they are and what they are, I can truly understand how Tom is as a role of a person that is self-pitied and yet sacrifice his life as a gentlemen. Isabel was written with changes from someone that never experience lost until someone that is selfish and possessive words well on the consequences taken by her. What was more is the sense of lost and giving up works deeply of its own that I became cried towards the end in the epilogue (the last chapter that is). Although I do felt there should not be any reason writing that last chapter, it does felt like it ended an extra more just for the tears.

 

The supporting characters were given attention and memorable. What I like about that is how each were given a short background and relation to each other in Partageuce, a small town where everyone knows what everyone is doing, easy and simple to relate. Of course, the dialogue which I enjoy most in 1920s how older and God is the utmost importance. Every detail is written well.

 

I can say that M.L. Stedman is a romantic that proven herself as a debut author in 2012 that won some awards. Although she has yet written any other books besides this one, I do hope she will as The Light Between Oceans is truly a book that should be read by understanding the culture of its own of that particular decade, which I truly enjoy. And to find some thing this good, its almost a classic of its own, which I can say it deserves a 4.5 out of 5 star.

A Redefine Wonder Woman That Done Right!

Wonder Woman By George Perez Vol. 1 - George Perez

In 1985, George Perez, Len Wein and Bruce Patterson redefine Wonder Woman with a new beginning after Crisis on Infinite Earths, a crossover where DC heroes in one too many alternate universe converge into one. Origins were rewritten and in the case of Wonder Woman, it was some thing unexpected that takes you on an epic journey that re-imagine a truer superhero with a proper story line and a better plot.

 

Collecting issues #1 to 14 series 2, a new origin of how Princess Diana (a.k.a. Wonder Woman) was born with a back story of how her mother, Hippolyte, an Amazon warrior whom worship the Greek Gods betrayed by a demigod man named Heracles (son of Zeus), whom abused Amazonian women to men's desire until broke free and escape to Paradise Island. There, Hippolyte had Princess Diana, born out of clay and soon were given a mission to man's world (or the only travel to man's world is Boston) as ambassador to spread peace and teach equality among mankind. Along the way, Princess Diana battles God of War Ares, live among mortals and learn about mankind ways and been given the challenge of the Gods by Zeus himself to prove she is worthy as a warrior.

 

Yes, you must have wondered - Wonder Woman is a feminist. And that is true because the idea behind the redefining this character was meant to be as one.

 

What I read here is truly an amazing read. For one - the flow of the story never miss a beat. It has this steady flow of characterization that I find romantic in telling, more importantly how these characters were introduced so smoothly, it became an epic journey of well-told origins of a superhero. Secondly, there are some chapters in the story that, unlike most comic book series, explained well of the mysteries that was a plot filler complete with significant situations that completes the empty gap in the story that is strong and acceptable. For instance - Wonder Woman's costume. Have you ever wonder why she wore those skimpy outfit? You will be surprise to see its origin that does not offend any female readers. And of course - lastly the reading experience. Its such words written in each panel, it really does take a long time to complete at least a chapter of 32 pages. I mean - its filled with so much words, some times you might missed out some of them in other panels. For the price I paid for, that's worth every single money I spend on!

 

The artwork, of course, done by George Perez is one of the best. I always love George Perez for its sheer detail artwork and its beauty and patience of penciling. There is no laziness nor any computerized digitized artwork done in every single page ever. For me, its a bonus reason why I bought this book mainly because of him. Included in this volume is also a biodata of four significant characters plus a few pages of gallery collected tradepaperback covers worth looking into.

 

With a summer release 2017 of the live-action film version of Wonder Woman, if you never read a single Wonder Woman comic book, pick this one up. It will surprise you and change your view what you thought comic books were, this definitely on the same ranks of any well-written books without artwork should be appreciated. I can safely say, this is a series I will pick up with volume 2 arrives later this year.

A Dark Cyberpunk Science Fiction Manga in Master Edition!

BLAME! (Master Edition) Vol.1 - Tsutomu Nihei

 

Blame! is a cyberpunk H.R. Giger that is dark and violent. What begins is a mystery and ends with still more to go for in this science fiction manga written and drawn by Tsutomu Nihei. In this master edition, its a large format for fans whom missed out the late Tokyopop edition that closed down some years back and finally we get to see in print once again.

 

While I do have to say that I wasn't quite fond of the artwork, there is some thing dark I like about the manga. For one, there is a mystery of a young man named Kryii on a dark quest to look for a gene terminal in a world filled with mutants and bio-mechanical grotesque beings out of a nightmare. As humans are the last of its kind in this universe, the quest that Kryii is looking for remains unknown. There are more characters that were introduced killed faster than they can survive in the next chapter. Still, this dark post-apocalyptic manga is a fast read with less words to read. The artwork on the other hand, is not really to my standard like how I enjoyed admiring Kishiro Yukito's Battle Angel Alita, another great cyberpunk science fiction. Still, Blame! has its perks and I do not mind reading the next chapter once I get my hands on it.

 

 

The Elegance of an Immortal Samurai

Blade of the Immortal Omnibus Volume 1 - Hiroaki Samura

I love the romance of the samurai edo era, especially when it comes to Lone Wolf and Cub, where to me to this day is the best ever written and drawn samurai manga ever published. What is an epic tale of revenge and honor in Lone Wolf and Cub and what is romantic meiji swordsman story in Rurouni Kenshin, Blade of the Immortal makes up what little essence of those two into an elegant beautifully drawn manga by Hiroaki Samura. The first time I read it, I did not really enjoy it but some how after more than a decade over, I am drawn by its beauty. Finally - an omnibus edition was recently released and it collects the first three volumes published by Dark Horse. It was the second time around rereading that now, I do appreciate it.

 

Enter Manji, an immortal samurai that just can't die. Literally he can't. He wanted too (either by poison or decapitate his head) and and so he vowed to kill a thousand men. So he is immortal for years unknown how many and his only sister were killed and he has nothing much left to do. When a sixteen year old girl name Rin hired him to be his bodyguard on a quest of revenge to kill Kagehisa Anotsu and his Itto-Ryu clan, Manji might reached his goal.

 

Blade of the Immortal has a slow introduction start. We are introduced by the characters in the first volume Blood of a Thousand that followed with second volume Cry of the Worm and finally ends in the third volume of the omnibus Dreamsong, which pretty much sums up a lot about why it has been a popular cult hit among manga readers. For one thing - I am mesmerize by the artwork. The fine lines and tones and speed lines just makes it right for the atmosphere and the following eye movement while reading just makes me comfortable. What was even a beaut is the splash-page kill shot that Samura had take the effort to draw it that can be a good poster pin-up on a wall. With such art, its not wonder manga readers like it.

 

The story on the other hand isn't much, which there's plenty of dialogue to go through that at times, it can be a hassle. There are moments that it is ambiguous that you need to figure out what it means. Don't expect an all out action or some thing epic from it, but I do understand it is a fitting reasoning why its meant to be told that way and slowly too. While the layers of characters are unfold slowly as the story progress, I can't help but to wonder whether there are side-stories that might just turn up and progressively kills the story mid-way.

 

Blade of the Immortal is not a bad read and certainly eye-candy when it comes to art. I do not mind now to follow the series until the end (it completed its run) and with an already released anime and now this year's upcoming live action adaptation movie to be release with Takuya Kimura as Manji, Blade of the Immortal will appeal who love elegance and beauty with a slow pace of a good afternoon tea.

A Done It Before Tale of Infidelity and What Happens If One Cheats...

Seeing Other People - Gayle Mike

It took longer and it was meant to be finished last year but the struggle I went through was one I regret buying this book. I have three words after I read it.

 

Plain. Dull. Predictable.

 

Firstly, the title isn't much of any connection that for the whole universe searching I can barely understand its meaning of it. Secondly, this has been done before many times that even any films that dealt with the subject of infidelity is a passing off of uninteresting story that even real life is happening to many people. The characters, as it turn out to be, are just predictable responses of every day norm what people will do when one cheats. Sure - there is a page I like where it talks about conviction and what was said is very true, but the rest has left me any thing to be desired about.

 

I truly try to like the story, I truly do. I even try to find other angles of acceptance but it was tolerance that takes over and that sense of realization that I know where this story is going - Tom is an idiot that only had cheated one time and only through his honesty, shit happens and every thing just go downhill. His wife, behaves like any other wives, cheat once and let's divorce. Nothing to compromise but a fixated mind that I can't handle this and so I find my ex-boyfriend who is much better and give the kids a better life. Then of course, there is that 'their kid's running away' routine and find that and its a sign. Throw in the ghost/hallucination of an ex-girlfriend of Tom to torture him and 90% of the novel was all a dream.

 

I didn't read this book to have all that but I guess when it comes to writing such stories, I thought maybe there would be some thing that is thoughtful or witty. Nothing comes to that and only escapism of Tom's character that it was all a dream, save his arse the next time he knew what to do when he was tempted again.

 

Seeing Other People is a book I tolerate and at times, I do find it a bore. I had a lot of such normal realities in my experience but reading this on each chapter, its expected such consequences do happened when a guy makes a single mistake. It shows men are dumb when it comes to the opposite sex and women are not strong when they can't handle such situations. I won't recommend it to anyone that live through such an experience before... whether even a ghost 'appear' in front of them for any book readers.

An Essay That Should Be Read By Everyone.

We Should All Be Feminists -  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Earlier this month, I attended a book discussion 'Purple Hibiscus' where I did not read the book. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie had written 3 novels and a collection of short stories. I wasn't into the books she had written despite the praises from other book readers. I was more interested on her essay 'We Should All Be Feminists' and when I read the reviews and the praises and how it changed the view of a reader to become a feminist, I am curious and went ahead, read it at one go on my way home riding a light rail train.


Here's my honest opinion - this is probably one of the best essay I have ever read. Her words got me thinking but also some of her questions was what I question before some years back. She brought up some strong points, questions that should be laid out in the minds of today's gender equality. I do agree - human rights isn't the right word that equals to gender equality. We are living in a world, given the perception and the norm that the world should be given to men because he is a man, not women because we were raise to believe women should be stay-homed moms and take care of men's needs. I do agree it is wrong and in fact, I did see the change happening around us but we still have this inequality happening because of gender even though when a female has the same highest learned education but given low pay. What Chimamanda pointed out is right - even today in the 21st century we are still living such inequality.


What I like in her essay is how true she had said. She pointed out that the way we raise our children our beliefs that boys should grow into masculine men and girls should learn to cook for their husbands, bound by marriages because our parents belief is to be true and a fact. She pointed out that culture does not make people but people make culture. She pointed out that we should raise daughters differently as much as we should raise our sons differently too. What she had written is the truth. What she had said in TEDx talk is an awareness to all. And this is what we should be - the true meaning of feminist we all (male and female) should be a feminist.


Although what she had pointed out I do agree, I felt there is some thing missing. Some thing that, although her questions had been the ones she laid out, I didn't find it as a realization. I had asked these questions before to myself. I had asked these questions to people I am acquainted and yet they have no answer. It is true - this book really will change the view of the norm. I am living surrounded by the norm of people whom are too comfortable in the way they grew up. As an Asian, its how we were taught to believe. I am glad it was different for me. Still, I can't for the help of any thing felt there is some thing still missing in her words. Maybe her views on equality was her experience, which she mention a plenty, is the way of life Nigeria for men and women always have been. But it was some thing I felt missing that did not give me that kind of impact that I would give a 5 star rating instead.


Nevertheless, We Should All Be Feminists is a well said book. We all should be a feminist (point taken as how the definition is in dictionary) and not the hearsay or assumption many people thought feminist is. Not to mention, the ones that abuses the meaning of it. Everyone should read this book so that everyone (male and female) truly know the true definition of it.