Mangas have been a medium of many good stories. From family, romance, comedy, drama to fantasy, science fiction, horror and thriller mystery, it takes a good writer and an artist to craft out an interesting plot to keep the readers kept up following a series. While there are many well-known titles in the market that commonly in love with around the world (like Naruto, Bleach, Dragonball or even Doraemon),there are some titles that is under the radar that is good, that is worth reading. One of them was Erased, which I had finished reading earlier this morning.
Erased is actually a science-fiction mystery thriller short series about a 29-year old man (Satoru Fujinuma) who dream of being a manga-artist may not come true and has to make-ends-meet as a pizza delivery motorcyclist has an ability to go back in time a few minutes before some thing bad happens. He calls it Revival and this ability it seems is not within his control. He doesn't like it because it brought unwanted attention from people he knows... until one night, when he return home, was the night his mother was murdered. Wanting to stop the murderer from killing his mother, he tries to use 'Revival' to go back in time... only he went back 18 years of his life as a young boy in 1988. Why that particular year? It was the year that a murder case happened that changes every thing from the life he lead that he felt unhappy with.
Complicated right? Some how, I felt the plot was quite similar to some stories I have read (I can't place it but I know the similarity was there) but what was more interesting, was the depth of the plot that creator Kei Sanbehad created that makes this manga series worth picking up, and its not because of the cover (which was I first attracted with). Erased isn't any thing new to offer but it was the depth that drawn me the complications and slightly dark characters that I felt worth going for. I like the part where when one is an adult, our memories as a child can be misleading that can't be trusted. Especially, when Satoruwanted to save a girl from being murdered, unsure if he had changed any thing in the past or were they still the same. Further more, his relationship with his mother plays well if whether memories can be trusted if they indeed had a good relationship and things that we can't remember is realistic. Although for me, I do find the murder mystery part did not do a good job in making as a goal, it was what Satoru can or cannot remember that make's the mystery a little more interesting on why he can or can't remember.
I am sure after reading the first volume (consist of two mangas) I will be following up this series until the last to find out how it ends but my only hope is that it ends proper. Like most manga titles, there are not many really Japanese writer/artist ends their series well and its always half-hearted that leaves some thing of any good desire.
I love a good fantasy historical stories. There wasn't any thing that interest me that is simple and enjoyable (although I know there are some good historical fiction novels that are good) but there is one that caught my attention that has a simple title - The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. What was more interesting was how it was written and the characters that are so loveable and incorrigible, I wanted to know more about the world of The Queen's Thief series. But first - The Thief.
It started with a simple setting - a thief was imprison because he got himself into trouble and when a king from Sounis send him a task to steal a legendary stone that was near impossible to obtain because its a tale of legends, the king believe that this thief can steal anything. Accompanied by a magus and two apprentice - their mission is off to Attolia where the legendary stone is.
Yes, the plot may seem boring and plain but it was the written and delivery of the work that is most impressive. I was astound by the description of the place, characters and the scenes (action or other wise) as it was so well-written. And then of course, the characters! I love Eugenides - he is witty, funny and (to me) loveable with sarcasm when he delivers smart remarks. Then of course, the tall tales of legends, given in historical form that is interesting, even though have done before. Given much on 2/3 part of the book, there is a twist I did not foresee. Maybe I was too busy dwelling into the world of Attolia but it was done well. Although the introduction of the characters were brief (not much depth is known about the rest of the characters or even Eugenides), I am looking forward for the next book to see what happens next, even though it does feel like it ended in one book (and rather, not in an exciting way).
To me, The Thief is well-written. Its not exciting but it does has a way to capture my attention as I read. Its direct to a point, which I like when it comes to reading books, and it doesn't waste a lot of time in explaining back stories or flashbacks. What was more interesting is how Megan Whalen Turner manage to even fill a normal daily chore scene that makes it interesting. For that, The Thief have my 4 out of 5 star rating. On to the next book.
Stories of slice of life may not be anyone's cup of tea (or coffee). There are times when I read such stories, I don't get move by how its meant to be written. When I read My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry, it was messy to me. Yes, its the point of view from a 7 year-old girl that her grandmother send her a quest of fairy tale stories that sort of mixed up with reality... for me, I can't tell which is which. Then came the unexpected spin-off - Britt-Marie Was Here and I find it much better than Fredrik Backman's previous book before this one.
Britt-Marie Was Here focus on the title character herself. In the previous book (not a sequel, mind you), she was annoyingly weird (to me that is), a nagger and fussy like hell. But here we get to see and understand who Britt-Marie truly is. Her life, what she was before and who she is now is deeper than we think. After what happen to her in My Grandmother Asked Me... , she traveled to Borg, a fictional place that nobody knows of and literally, its like non-existence. As Britt-Marie gets a job in a recreational center, she encounters unexpected characters that will change her life or how she change theirs. Plus a conversation with a rat, soccer and lots of baking soda and Flaxin plus cutlery. Oh yes - this book and like all Fredrik Backman's books has that same formulated story and theme. In A Man Called Ove, we have those kind of unexpected characters and a cat. In My Grandmother Asked Me..., we have an apartment of unexpected characters too and a dog (even the car Renault is a character of its own). There's no difference here. I can see how his books are written now. But is Britt-Marie Was Here a one-trick pony? Well... yes and no.
You see, there's some thing I enjoy reading this book and its just what message Backman is trying to say here. Its a good one and there's some realism about how people are too comfort in their current lives and afraid to break free and do some thing for themselves when their whole lives are about doing some thing for others. When we try to assure ourselves that the right way is to go back what it was before, its what's happening now. The book does show us that scenario... but of course, I can't give out that ending but I can say, its one I believe that is good. And then of course, Britt-Marie always felt nobody thinks she exist that she makes herself known she does and in the end... well, I can't reveal that either. What I enjoy most is how now the chapters are short and direct, it is a much easier feeling of reading that I took my time no longer than I had with the last book.
I can't say that this book is great but its a read that gives me a subtle warmness towards it, that I like when it comes to slice of life. And this is one of those books that I would say its worth reading for those who are lost in a course of their lives should pick this up.
The first time I read Give Me Liberty, it was in the late 1990s. I was working as a sales assistant in a comic specialty shop and the owner had actual copies of single issues of a very hard to find mini-series. It blew me away after I read it and I never thought how beautiful Martha Washington was, that strong female leads do make a difference then. It was then, I did not follow up any of its sequels... until the release of The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century was released, a complete chronicles of her life since birth until death.
Re-reading Give Me Liberty was so refreshing. If there is any thing about Martha Washington that she was born in 1995 in a ghetto so poor, that the US government housed these poor people into what was meant to be a social welfare but turns out to be a prison. From there, we get to know how smart she is with computers. Right up to the 21st century, the world that we know of is different. Its a different Earth and its a mess-up one. But do not get me wrong, I love how the creation of this universe is and with Martha Washington in it, you will understand what Give Me Liberty really means.
After the first series, the sequels came in (Martha Washington Goes To War, Happy Birthday Martha Washington, Martha Washington Stranded in Space, Martha Washington Saves The World & Martha Washington Dies) and what was a brilliant created universe from Frank Miller and beautifully drawn by Dave Gibbons, the same award-winning creators of DC's The Watchmen, every thing just felt spiraling down hill. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy some bits and pieces of it. I can see the evolution of change in the art from the earlier days of when Give Me Liberty was published in 1990. It was much later that I felt the consistency and the beauty of the art was gone. Same goes for the sequels that felt more like fillers. Until towards the end, was it a fitting ending? Well, to me it already felt what was kept as a universe that is messed-up truly stays true and that is more than enough to enjoy reading it.
Martha Washington is a strong female character that truly is a rarity at that time for female leads in the comic industry then. She was the Ellen Ripley of the Alien universe - strong, brave and justifiable. Besides Wonder Woman, Martha Washington was the only female comic book character that do stands out because of her beliefs and what was written the experience and journey she went through. As the rest of the characters, not many of them stayed long. I always wonder what happen to Raggyann and it was not explained. Still, I am glad I found a copy of this and able to read her whole journey. Thank you Frank Miller & Dave Gibbons for creating such a wonderful series. Without you guys, change will never happen and Martha Washington shows us that change and righting wrong is what hope is.
If there is any thing about Fredrik Backman books that I want to talk about, its his characters he created. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry is filled with colorful characters. Weirdos in their own way, witty to some. And for a time, they are memorable in a simple design. Sadly, I can't say much about the plot. While A Man Called Ove is formulated with a design that is predictable (you can read my previous review), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry is quite a mess. There is a main plot written, but the chapters on each page is just every where. There are times I have no idea whether the intention of reading is to see how fast a reader can capture the idea between the real world and the imaginary world. Of course, I do understand the reason behind this writing because this is from the perspective of Elsa, the little protagonist of this book but then, there are times I got confuse as to where is Miapolis or Mitabulous and who is Sam, which I later found out int he chapters and the origin of some of the characters weren't clear to me. The weakness of this book is the execution, which I do find it hard to follow. Maybe that's one of the reasons why it took longer time to read it as my interest was no longer the need to follow up but eventually, I finished it today.
Of course, there are some good points. For one - the dialogue. As always, its well written. I did smile from time to time whenever Elsa makes a smart remark. Yes, she is rude but then as a character design, she has part of her grandmother's traits, her mum's compassion and of course, some of her dad's. I can say that this is well-thought of. Whenever she interacts with the characters, its the mind that matters most of what she thinks. That adds a little realism of children today (I know, I taught kids in school and some were rude without realizing they are rude but it was not intentional). Then of course, Fredrik Backman added some other elements like calling a vehicle Taxi or Renault as a name, which adds some thing special to it. I like how kids are given a freedom to think for themselves, maybe because every thing happens in Sweden? I do not know what's it like in Sweden but I believe, as its written, it is how it is. I do not judge it because of how rude she is, but how she does make a point.
As for the rest of the characters, its just as its meant to be. It's a journey of forgiveness and closure. I love how Britt-Marie as a character isn't as what it seems. The things that we say 'no matter how bad people they are, there are some good in them', which I do believe its true. Not many do thought of it this way but I have met some people or children that no matter how much bad they had shown, there are some good in them. What make's this journey in reading is how important it is to have closure, even though the execution of it was not done smoothly, for me that is. This suffer's the rating I have given to this book.
A girl who has a rare allergy - people. A man who is trying to be a father. When two lost souls met in a library, you will expect some thing magical to happen. Here's what I like about this book and there is nothing magical that will happen - its real romance that puts two people in a situation that you just loved them because they are flawed but you can't help it because people like them do exist (apart from the allergy of human touch) and you just can't help it even more to believe it but its true in every single page that is written inside.
Close Enough To Touch is a romantic novel that is poignant and yet beautiful romance novel that is truly touching. When we fall in love, we want to touch and kiss the ones we love. Jubilee can't have any of that. Once, she was kissed by a boy in middle-grade school and it almost killed her. Life as we know it, she grew up without a hug or even holding her mother's hand. Because of that incident, she isolate herself from the world... until her mother passed away. When she met her old schoolmate along the way, she was offered a job to work in a community library. That's where she met Eric, a divorced father with an adopted son from his best friend and a daughter that doesn't want to speak to him at all as to how clueless he is on parenting, on Halloween. When they meet, Eric knew there is some thing about her he can't take his eyes off her. When Jubilee meets Eric, it took one quote from her favorite poet and every thing falls into place.
This is life - its complicated, its flawed and its not what we always want. Written with real world problems, what I love about it is how real this feels. The dialogue is natural and its well exchanged. The characters are memorable and more importantly its the execution. There isn't what I would call it a magical happy ending that ends like a fairy tale. This is real as it gets - the kind that reality sets in one people with indecisive actions, where characters just do not open up and allow their egos set in place until its too late. Where clueless dad's who has a chance to fix things, able to. I love this kind of hope and the ending is just enough to tell me, I don't need a fairy tale ending but I do need an ending that works and this works.
As the book is told in two different perspective of the main characters, its how the exchange of thoughts make its work. Men and women can never understand each other's thinking and to be able to read what they truly think evokes a lot of feelings how relationships can be so difficult to be embraced as one but many people in reality is one-sided in a relationship but this... this is workable. I love how Colleen Oakley has written them and the premise, its just a good way of telling a reader that writing is just a form not to getaway into our own introvert world but in a way, we can be part of a society to understand them why we function the way we are that is written in books. For that, this is truly a better book than her first (although I still love her first book).
If you haven't read any of her books, please pick up Close Enough To Touch first and then read Before I Go. Its light reading (for me anyway) and its a light reading that is worth picking up.
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).
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.
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 Joey, Here and Away & Future 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.