meganbmoore: (sw: leia x gun)
Bloodline is a Star Wars novel about Leia set around halfway between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Like a lot of people, I was looking forward to it for the promise of a Leia book, and one that dealt with her as Darth Vader's biological daughter, but I saw several people express disappointment with it. I both agree and really really liked it.

See, the core plot of the book is a middleaged senator who was a hero of the rebellion that created the current government becoming jaded and tired of the government she helped create, which has been divided into to polarizing factions, as the senate starts to be overrun with Bright Young Things who are old enough to remember the war, but not really old enough to understand what it was like to live it, or what the corrupt previous government really was, and so idealized views of it are cropping up. She decides to retire and undertake one final, important mission so that she can go out with a bang and have some more intergalactic adventures with her husband and also spend more time with her brother and kid. She finds the perfect Final Mission, then gets stuck babysitting a young senator from the opposing political faction for it. Then there are a bunch of shenanigans and adventures that alternately involve blasters and political speeches as the two senator work out their differences and are doing Grand Things together until SECRETS and BETRAYAL rear their ugly heads.

The book does a far better job of explaining WTF is going on with the First Order and The Resistance than The Force Awakens did, and bridges the gap between ROTJ and TFA pretty well (though part of me is always going to think that TFA would have been better if it were a few more generations down the road, not one generation after ROTJ). All the political shenanigans and the plotline of the antagonistic senators becoming allies were good and I enjoyed Leia's various sidekicks a lot. As a Leia book though, it just...falls flat somehow. I don't really know how to pin it down completely. Leia doesn't have enough anger or sass, and is too willing to try to color inside the lines for my tastes at times, though I did appreciate a lot that her opinion of Vader's literal last second redemption was pretty much "Well, Luke, I'm glad you have that to make you happy" instead of forgiving him or, you know, naming her kid after the guy who tortured her, made her watch her planet blow up, took an entire city hostage to catch her, froze and sold her boyfriend, and spent a few years chasing her across the galaxy. (My EU exposure was limited, but learning that in the "Young Jedi Knights" series way back when elicited a huge "NNNnnnnoooooo!" from me.)

So, it actually is a good book and one well worth reading, it's just probably not quite the Leia book ost of us wanted.
meganbmoore: (too many books)
I want to say I'll be better at doing this more regularly this year, but realistically, probably not.

What are you currently reading

Chronicles of the Grim Peddler by Lee Jeong-A. A fairy tale manhwa about a peddler ( and his shapechanging cat) who goes around setting up fairy tales. It's one of those series that thinks Disney really, really got it wrong when they started adapting fairy tales, and makes up for it by going as far in the other direction as it can, though sometimes they end up nicer and cuter while things are getting even more messed up. I mean, it doesn't reach the "OMG WHAT" levels of that one Kaori Yuki series, but I can't fault it for trying. I'm not invested because I'm only mildly interested in the peddler and a little more so in his cat, but am not attached to either, and there aren't any other regular characters. I like it, though.


What did you recently finish reading?

Maia Chance: Snow White Red-Handed & Cinderella Six Feet Under. The first two books in a fairy tale-themed mystery series. Ophelia and Prue are Victorian-era actresses who con their way (well, Ophelia does most of the conning) into become servants to a rich family when out of work and unable to pay their boat fare. It turns out that the family is a set of rather unpleasant fairy tale fanatics who think they've found Snow White's cottage, and hopefully a gold mine to go with it. Both book feature Prue getting targetted by the fairy tale fanatics because of her fairy tale princess looks, and Ophelia running around (with her obligatory rich English love interest) trying to solve murder and rescue Prue from whatever mess she's in at the time, while Prue just tries really really hard not to end up dead or in jail. It's certainly a little bit different for the "cozy mystery" genre, and I look forward to the next book in the series.

Mark Waid & Terry Dodson: Princess Leia 1-5. This miniseries takes place literally as A New Hope ends, and focuses primarily on Leia dealing with losing Alderaan (something the movie itself spent one whole shout on), and her trying to save the remaining citizens of Alderaan who are scattered on other planets when Palpatine issues an extermination order, accompanied by Evaan, another woman from Alderaan who joined the Rebellion. I do feel that Waid touched on the idea of soceity expecting women to display certain emotions and only cope with grief a certain way, and then judge them when they don't, but he largely limited it to people labelling her an ice princess for not being visibly sad enough, instead of running with the theme. Like the other tie in books I've read the last few months dealing with the OT (specifically Moving Target and Shattered Empire) a lot of this seems to be rightly thinking that Leia really needed more women to interact with, and so it has her almost exclusively interact with other women. This probably displaced Shattered Empire as my favorite of the recent tie ins, but I do have plenty left to go.


Victoria Thompson: Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue. Book-whatever in Thompson's long running mystery series set in later 19th century New York. This book is best summed up as The Sidekicks Show, as the main characters are away. Maeve, teenaged nursemaid to Sarah Brandt's daughter and former conartist, decides to help a woman whose daughter may have been falsely accused of murdering her husband. Along the way she recruits Frank's sidekick/her own semi-love interest, Gino, and Sarah's parents to help, and decides that Frank is opening a detective agency when he gets back. At one point, Sarah's extremely proper and very busy businessman father ends up volunteering to play bodyguard for the teenaged nursemaid, and doesn't seem entirely certain how that happened. I mostly really loved this book. "Mostly" because sometimes hompson tends to have issues with making beautiful women who aren't Sarah or her mother be manipulative and unpleasant. It doesn't happen in all or even the majority of the books (I think this is the 4th time that it's been a plot point in almost 20 books), but has happened often enough that I sigh when the books start talking about another woman's incredibly beauty.



Nakamura Yoshiki: Skip Beat Vol 31-35


spoilers )

GoHands and GoRa: K: Countdown Chapters 1-8. A bunch of one shots about the K character set between Missing Kings and Return of Kings. I enjoyed the chapters about the various characters getting used to their current lives a lot more than the ones directly building up to Return of Kings.

Clamp: Gate 7 Vol 1-4. A very, very Clamp series about a slightly highstrung boy who is somehow SPECIAL running into warriors who are reincarnations of historical figures involved in the Battle of Sekigahara. No one has a jaw-droppingly angsty and dramatic past yet and no one has lost an eye, but the most Clamp aspect of the series is that it was put on indefitie hiatus just as things were really kicking into high gear. It's fun if you like Clamp (I do) but doesn't have a lot going on that sets it apart from other Clamp series. The most mindbendy thing it has going for it is that it has a charcter named Sakura who is a very tall and strapping and apparently promiscuous young man. Clamp has a lot of characters named Sakura, but all the others are sweet girls with short brown hair who satisfy Clamp's cosplay needs. It was quite jarring.

Django Wexler: The Forbidden Library & The Mad Apprentice. The First two books about a girl named Alice who goes to live with a relative after her father's death, only to learn that the relative-and now, she-is a magician. Which is a fairly standard setup, but in this case, the magicians have labyrinthine libraries, and go into books to make the monsters in them their familiars. There are also talking cats that are both petulant and snarky, and Alice have a Revenge Quest going over her father's death. Not the most amazing thing ever, but fun.



What do you think you'll read next?


The rest of Chronicles of the Grim Peddler and Homefires by Julie Summers. I'm also waiting for the library to get more Star Wars comics in for me.
meganbmoore: (Default)
What are you currently reading

Murder in the Paperback Parlor by Ellery Adams. The second book in a mystery series about a woman who own a resort/retreat for booklovers, and whose family is secretly the caretakers of rare, secret and banned books. This one has a romance novel convention (it's not called that, really, but that's what it is) in which the most popular author is murdered. I MOSTLY really like it. I say mostly because one of the suspects is a feminist (who has a hitory of being abused) who has many many thoughts and feelings about romance novels and feminism, and that's mostly used to portray her as OTT and irrational. It's offset by having the main character point out defenses for the stance, but it still rubs me the wrong way. Also, the book is not editted that well and has a LOT of typos. My favorite is when some is said to have "died of a heroine overdose."


What did you recently finish reading?
Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Shattered Empire 1-4 by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto. A mini-series set at the very end of and in the months after Return of the Jedi.
I guess even the main character's identity could be considered a spoiler for The Force Awakens?

spoilers )


Seanan McGuire: A Red-Rose Chain. The latest October Daye book, which was truly impressive in its ability to have each chapter make the protagonist's 10 times as screwed as they were in the last chapter. For people who haven't read this but intend to, I should warn that this one dives into some horror and torture territory, and briefly teeters on the edge of becoming a slasher. (Err..."slasher" as in "subcategory of horror genre," not shipping. Though there is some of that too.)

spoilers )
Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry: : Star Wars: Moving Target: A novella about Leia, set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. It's bookended with scenes of Leia sometime not long before before The Force Awakens. Pretty much, after EOTS, Leia goes "Ok, collection of strapping sidekicks, go find my boyfriend! I have to help run this rebellion. Luke, please don't lose any more bodyparts. Lando, don't forget that Chewie has my permission to rip off your arm and beat you to death with it if you betray us again. Chewie, don't rip off anyone's arms unless it's necessary. I'm not too worried about you, you're the most responsible one of the bunch."

spoilers )
Norihiro Yagi: Claymore Vol 22-27. This marks the 3rd shounen series I've stuck with from beginning to end (the other two being Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai Deeper Kyo). I remember when Viz released the first volume and I was figuratively shoving it in everyone's faces.

spoilers )

Sarah Prineas: Ash and Bramble. Sold as a twisted version of fairytales in which the amnesiac main character is one of many slaves of the Fairy godmother from fairy tales, forced to create all the clothes and slippers and items that populate fairy tales. This is a good description of the frist arc, but what the book ACTUALLY is is deconstructive meta about fairytales, perception of roles (and rejection of assigned roles) and stories and a pretty dark and messed up take on the idea of Story As Character. It's kind of Ever After High's concept taken to its worst extremes, in terms of how it affects characters. Becasuse of how its set up, characterization can be a bit inconsistent or absent at times, but it's a conscious narrative choice, as opposed to bad writing. I don't think it hit every note it thought it did. But it was a lot more than I was expecting, and a good read.

I read a bit of the Lando comic, but apparently Lando is like Han Solo where, while I quite like him with the rest of the cast, I'm not really interested in him when he's away from them and in full pre-reformed smarmy conartist mode. His Rebels appearances are as close to that as I'm interested in.

What do you think you'll read next?

More Star Wars stuff, probably, and I have a bunch of mysteries and YA/MG books checked out, so those. Not sure beyond that.
meganbmoore: (too many books)
I haven't done the Wednesday reading Meme in ages, but I'm going to try to get back in the habit of doing it at least semi regularly.

What are you currently reading
Carlene O'Neil: One Foot in the Grape: First book in a mystery series about a photojournalist who takes over her family's winery. Dramatic neighbors abound. I'm only just to the murder, but I'm enjoying it so far.

What did you recently finish reading?

Neil Gaiman: American Gods: I remember this being a huge thing when it came out, and may have been pretty into it if I'd read it then, but I mostly found this to be an interesting idea told in a way that I didn't find interesting, with characters that mostly bored me. I also found Gaiman's detached recounting of incredibly awful things happening to people-mostly to women and POC- to be offputting. I mean, it wasn't bad, it just didn't work for me, aside from a few parts.

Rick Riordan: Blood of Olympus: The last of Riordan's Heroes of Olympus books and, as far as I know, the last in the Percy Jackson series? I was surprised by how low the body count was, but certainly not disappointed, and was glad Raina finally got a lot of page time. Riordan seems to forget that Jason was supposed to be the nominal lead (or colead with Percy, I guess) of this series, and that's ok. I did enjoy this series a lot, possibly more than the first, sdespite never developing an attachment to Jason.

Lauri Robinson: The Bootlegger's Daughter: A romance novel set in the prohibition era. A federal agent goes to a bootlegger's resport undercover to find a mobster, and falls for the bootlegger's daughter, who actually runs the resort. Entertaining, but I was thrown off by how 2/3 of the book take place over 2 days. It seems most romance novels I've read in recent years take place over a short period of time. I remember when most historical romances took place over the span of months or even years.

Noelle Stevenson: Nimona: Nimona is a graphic novel that was originally a webcomic about a young shapeshifter named Nimona, who is assigned as sidekick to Lord Ballister Blackheart, the kingdom's Official Villain, as his sidekick. Ballister was a hero in training until he lost an arm at the hands of his friend, Ambrosius Goldenloin, in a joust. Ambrosius says it was TOTALLY AN ACCIDENT and Ballister says it was done in a jealous rage. Add to this that Ambrosius is the kingdom's main Romantic Hero, and they don't talk much now, except for occasions when Ambrosius tries to arrest Ballister. Ballister is the most moral person in the book and really against random killing. Nimona is really REALLY into being a future supervillain, and prone to turning into various animals that and eat or trample guards, much to Ballister's dismay. It starts with LOLarious hijinks with the honorable and moral villain and his tiny murdering sociopath sidekick trying to expose an evil plot by the organization that runs the kingdom. Then it escalates into illegal experimentation, and legends with darker undertones, and possibly conspiracy theorist lady scientists, and ex-lovers working out epic misunderstandings and drama and trauma and destruction all over the place. I mean, it's great, but boy does it escalate.

Victoria Jamieson: Roller Girl: Graphic novel about a 12 year old girl named Astrid who has always done everything with her best friend, Nicole. When Astrid decides to enroll in Roller Derby Camp for the summer, she assumes Nicole will come with her. Instead, Nicole enrolls in Ballet Camp, and befriends Astrid's nemesis, Rachel. So Astrid lies to her mother that Nicole is going with her, and that Nicole's mother will be picking her up from camp every day (she walks home instead). At camp, Astrid has enthusiasm (sometimes, so much work!) but not much in the way of talent. The book is mostly about a 12 year old growing up and figuring out that life doesn't always going the way you want, but that that isn't always bad. And roller derby. Lots of roller derby.

Patrick Carman, The Land of Elyon series. MG series about a girl named Alex who spends her summers in a border city walled off from the wilderness, snd likes to spend hours and hours exploring the city's labyrinthine library. sadly, thre is little library exploration, but lots of having adventures in the lands beyond the city. Very enjoyable.

Joyce and Jim Lavene: Perilous Pranks, Murderous Matrimony, Bewitching Boots, Fatal Fairies: Up to the current book in a cozy mystery series set at a RenFaire that's open all year and has permanent residents. I really enjoy these books despite the main character having flares of internal misogyny at times (though she does finally seem to become aware of it in the latest book.) Perilous Pranks introduces supernatural elements into the series, which stayed and are becoming increasingly prominent. I don't object, I suppose, it just seems odd to so suddenly switch to that when earlier books made a point to contrast fantasy and reality.

Fujiwara Cocoa: Youko x Boku SS Vol 1: Manga series about youkai and their bodyguards. I watched the anime based on it a few years ago, and based on my recollections, the first few episodes of the anime follow the first volume of the manga pretty faithfully, though I seem to recall the anime having more "cutesy" fanservice and fetishism. I put off reading it for so long because I know the current plot is actually a prologue to the main plot, and wasn't sure how I felt about getting there.


There are other books that I've read and not posted on since I last did this, but I'm too lazy to go through all my tags to see if I missed something I should comment on.

What do you think you'll read next?

I have a bunch of mysteries, romance novels and YA novels checked out from the library, so those, and I intend to do a lot of manga bingeing in the near future, since I haven't read much in recent months.
meganbmoore: (too many books)
What are you currently reading

Currently in between.

What did you recently finish reading?

Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller. finished reading this, and it remained pretty enjoyable throughout. I'd like it if they did more rebels prequel books, particularly of Hera and Kanan acquiring Zeb and Sabine.

Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase. Third book in a series (I haven't read the first two) about three sisters who are French dressmakers and marry incredibly rich British lords. Entertaining, like most Loretta Chase, but the concept stretched believability a bit much for me, even for a Window Dressing historical Romance.

Cloche and Dagger and Death of a Mad Hatter by Jenn McKinlay. First two books in a mystery series about two cousins who run a hat shop. Cousin A became internet-famous thanks to a youtube video in which she's flinging handfuls of anniversary cake at her supposedly-single boyfriend. Depending on who you ask, she's either "a total nutter' (used frequently in the books by characters who have seen the video, but not a view supported by the narrative) or a feminist icon and symbol for women who discover they're dating cheating louses. Cousin B is the creative, free spirited cousin prone to leaving for weeks on end without a word to buy rare feathers, or spending her entire savings on crystals, both to be used in hats. People keep dying while wearing their hats, but more people keep buying them. More overtly humorous than a lot of the mysteries I've been reading lately, and very fun.

Tonari no Seki-kun vol 1-2 by Takuma Morishige. Manga that the anime I watched last year is based on. Studious girl has a neighbor in class who is always bringing absurdly complicated and involving things to do instead of paying attention in class. She tries to ignore him, but keeps getting caught up in his antics. Pretty much like watching the anime. (Which is not a bad thing.)

What do you think you'll read next?

I should probably devote the time I'd normally spend reading on RW for the next few weeks. (no Dear Author letter yet, only prompt in the signup is a brief one for a fandom I'm not familiar with. Insert panicky Megan.)
meganbmoore: (ever after: books)
This was a somewhat awkward book, primarily because it's the book that marks the end of part one of the series, and also because it's the book that marks the series switching over to hardcover format. There's a character list at the beginning and a narrative prologue in the form of (IIRC) Barabas writing a journal entry to catch people up, but the book is burdened down not only by having to wrap up most of the plots that were building up to this point, but also having to explain what's going on to people who picked it up in hardcover but hadn't read the previous ones. So it's good, but awkward and/or clunky in places.

spoilers )

For a bit of amusement, I was looking at Amazon reviews earlier and there was a reviewer very put out because she hadn't know Andrews was a husband/wife team and declared it "subterfuge" because it hadn't been spelled out in previous books. Except that it was officially declared after...what, the third book? And has been part of the author bio everywhere (including Amazon) since then. And it wasn't exactly a secret before then, it just wasn't official.

And I get not knowing if you don't go to author websites and blogs and online review sited and haven't read other reviews (because quite a
few have mentioned it over the years). I mean, it's a bit of a stretch for me, but, I mean, SUBTERFUGE. I wonder if they get put out every time they learn an author's name is a penname, and not the author's real one. (And if they realize how many authors have written under more than one name, and how many pennames are for collaborations.)
meganbmoore: (Default)
What are you currently reading

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

What did you recently finish reading?

The Foundling, and Other Tales of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. Several short stories set in the world of the Chronicles of Prydain, but before the main series. Mostly backstories about characters in the series and stories that were told during it, all pretty enjoyable. My favorite was the story about Eilonwy's mother.

The Prime Minister's Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal. The fourth Maggie Hope mystery, and one with a title which only relates to about the last 50 or so pages of the book. Centered around the days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, this one was a bit odd. MacNeal's audience is primarily American, as far as I know, so Pearl Harbor takes a fair bit of narrative priority in this one. The mystery that Maggie is involved in is almost perfunctory (I would have rather spent the time dealing with her PTSD after the previous book, and her Baby Spies seeing her as a demonic taskmaster) and most of the rest is setting things up for future installments, which look to be changing things up some. Not a bad or disappointing book, but a bit different from what I was expecting.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom. It's been long enough since I read a superhero crossover event that I had forgotten how inconsistent characterization and costuming can be with them. Errr...I was mostly confused by this. If I were caught up with X-stuff in general, I think I would have been into it, but as it is, I was mostly left with irritation at "Jubilee will grow up to be just like Woverine! But angrier and shriekier and irrational. I mean, she is a girl."

X-Men: Muertas by Brian Wood and Terry Dodson. I followed this one more easily than I did Primer and Battle of the Atom, mostly because most of the events were directly related to events in those two volumes, though I have no idea where Rogue went off too. I'm glad there was a mini Gen-X reunion this quickly into my dipping my toes back into superhero comics after years away, but wish there had been more Jubilee/Monet interaction.

Toradora vol 1-4 by Yuyuko Takemiya. Romantic comedy light novel series about a boy who looks like a scary gangster but is actually a sweet and harmless pacifist addicted to cleaning, and a tiny cute girl who's actually extremely rude and violent. They have crushes on the other's respective best friend, and join forces to help the other out. What I've read is entertaining and usually cute, but I don't see myself reading another 6 books about it, especially since it's starting to veer into fanservice territory and having an increasing "cute and helpless" aspect to the heroine ,despite her forceful personality. I do think I'll watch the anime, though.

Coffin Hill Vol 1 by Caitlin Kittredge and Inaki Miranda. Eve Coffin is a police officer who returns to her hometown after being shot and leaving the force. The catch is that Eve comes from a long line of dark witches, and a monster she let loose as a teenager is back and abducting teenagers in the woods. I thought it was a minseries when I picked it up an the library, but it's an ongiong series. It's a bit bloody for my taste, but I like Eve and the mythology, and am interested in seeing what happens next.

Ao Haru Ride/Blue Spring Ride Vo l1-4 by Io Sakisaka. Enjoyable but sometimes frustrating shoujo who meets her junior high crush in high school, only to find him with an entirely different personality. for the most part, it's very enjoyable with lots of friendshipping with Futaba (the heroine) and the other girls who join her in the student council. The romance is...also enjoyable, but also irritating. A lot of it is sustained by "something is about to happen, but isn't yet" and Futaba's love interest, Kou, is prone to "standoffish shoujo jerk moments. He's far from the worst about that, but a bit of a disappointment after Ren from Strobe Edge, who was really refreshing in that regard, and there's at least one time when his treatment of Futaba made me angry. I've heard some things about future volumes that make me leery, but I've enjoyed it so far, so I'm sticking with it. The anime adapts the first 4 volumes of the manga, minus the last chapter of volume 4, and is extremely faithful. The OAD is about Kou and Futaba's quasi-relationship in junior high, but only the last few minutes has anything significant that wasn't covered in flashbacks in the main anime/manga.

Barakamon Vol 1-2 by Satsuki Yoshino. Handa Seishu is a young calligrapher who gets exiled to an island by his father after he punches the curator of an exhibition for saying Seishu's work is boring. On the island, he constantly gets caught up in the goings on of the locals, particularly the local children and teenagers, when he's supposed to be working on making his calligraphy not-boring. And learning how to not punch old men for offering criticism. He very quickly becomes that guy who sits down to work after lunch and goes out to get a toy out of a tree so the local kids will stop yelling, and then suddenly it's getting dark and he didn't notice because the kids kept him that busy. The main local he interacts with is Naru, a 7 year old girl, and one of the children who used Seishu's house as a hangout while it was abandoned. (The youths collectively decide that occupation is no deterrent.) I find it a sad commentary on a lot of anime that there was zero sexualization of of a young girl being overly attached to the much older male protagonist. It's a very entertaining series. The first 5 or so episodes follow the first two volumes of the manga pretty faithfully, though some events are moved around a bit, based on my recollection of early anime episodes, and a few scenes didn't get animated.

And I think that's everything that i haven't posted on separately since I last did this.

What do you think you'll read next?.

The rest of Magic Breaks, probably start reading Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun.
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)
What are you currently reading

I'm going to be trying out Sparkler Monthly (which I hadn't actually heard of until a couple weeks-or at least, I hadn't noticed people talking about it) which is a monthly online magazine with fem-focused content, much of which appears to be shoujo-esque. In preparation, I downloaded their sampler, which has the first chapter of various works, (and is free) and am working my way through it.

Off*Beat is something I've actually seen some people refer to a few times. The setpu is...basically a boy who starts stlking the boy who moved in across the street. MC boy is extra bright-seems to think he's smarter than everyone else, TBH-and the other boy is mostly introverted and hopefully aware that he's being stlaked. I...have no opinion so far, really.

Windrose is another comic. Set in the 17th century, Danielle is a young Spanish lady who receives a letter from her merchant father that goes along the lines of "I'm sending you this MYSTERIOUS OBJECT in a SECRET COMPARTMENT and you must hide it until someone comes along with the SECRET CODE and then give it to them. Oh, and I might be dead by the time you read this. Love, Dad." danielle, of course takes this to mean she must leave for France to look for him IMMEDIATELY. On the ship to Marseilles, she metts a pair of dashing "siblings"-a swordswoman named DAnielle, and her hunky brother, Leon, who may not be as wholesome and chivalrous as they initally appear. I'm really not thrilled that it falls into the common narrative trope of "the absentee father is beloved and admired but the mother who stays with the child and has to actually DEAL WITH the child is resitrictive and just doesn't understand," but I think the narrative, at least, doesn't idealize Danielle's father as much as she does, so I have hopes that maybe it won't go the normal routes. Anyway, I'm easy when it comes to this stuff, so I loved it.

Tokyo Demons: A novel about various kids with troubled backgrounds (some moreso than others) starting at a new school. This first chapter was largely introductions, but it drew me in, and i'm interested in seeing where it's going.

Awake: This is a transcript of an audio drama (the audio file is also included in the sampler, I think, but I haven't checked the audio files out yet.) it's a science fiction series about ships sent out to colonize other worlds. Each ship has thousands of people who are cryogenically frozen. To help pay for passage for themselves and loved ones, certain people are woken up for "shifts" that last several years, but are never awake at the same time as their loved ones. I wasn't very into it (most likely mostly because I was reading a transcript) until it had an interesting plot twist at the end.

I've read a couple pages of Dead Endings, about a girl who's a ghost magnet, but not enough to form and opinion of it yet.


What did you recently finish reading?

The Nancy Drew Scrapbook by Karen Plunkett-Powell. Light but entertaining non-fiction book about Nancy Drew. A lot of the material is a slimmed down (and so, to me, less interesting) accounting of the same material as Melanie Rehak's Girl Sleuth, but if you want the basics of Nancy Drew's publishing history and the changes in it but don't want to go through over 300 pages worth of information about the Stratemeyer Syndicate and all things related to it and Nancy Drew's publication, you might prefer this. Unlike Rehak's book, though, this one does get a bit into changes in characterizations and character interactions over the decades, which I enjoyed, and has a very entertaining account of all Nancy's automobile accidents (though, sadly, doesn't really get into the significance and liberation represented by a teenaged girl in the 30s who owns and drives her own car) presented in the form or a rejected car insurance application. I also didn't know, until this book, that there was going to be a TV series in the 80s that brought Nancy's mother back, and Margot Kidder was going to pla Nancy's mother, with her real life daughter playing Nancy. Apparently, Kidder was injured while they were still filming the pilot, and by the time she could work again, the network wasn't interested anymore. i feel a bit robbed.

Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan Mcguire. about a ghost named Rose, who died on her prom night in the 50s. Rose is a hitchhiker ghost, and sometimes accompanies people who are destined to die so that they won't be alone, and can go home one last time, while also trying to avoid another road spirit who wants to take her soul. It's told non-linearly, and parts of various stories overlap with others. Very enjoyable, though not easy reading in a few places. My favorite part is how Rose's story gets told and retold and keeps changing, and ho other urban legends get folded into hers. Meta about storytelling within stories can go very badly (or it can be like the bit in that one water movie by M. Night Shyamalan and be THE DULLEST THING EVER) but when it works, it really works.

X-Men: Primer by Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel. I feel rather awkward reading this after some of the stuff that came out about Wood a few months ago, but was promised Jubilee/Kitty interactions without the narrative having a "who's the better sidekick?" tone to it. Which I did get, but not very much of it. I enjoyed it, even though most of the plot revolved around events that I'm not familiar with. (Aside from "Jubilee becomes a vampire" and some Jubilee/X-23 stuff, the only X-stuff from recent years that I know is by fandom osmosis.

spoiler )
Bride of the Water God Vol 15 by Mi-Kyung Yun. I'm still reading for the pretty, and to see what Drama the manhwaga comes up with next. (Sadly, the current main drama is uninteresting love...triangle...shape....things. I think she sat down and watched a lot of late 90s/early 2000s kdramas while writing this part. But other ,much more interesting Drama things are going on on the side.)

What do you think you'll read next?.

The rest of the Sparkler Monthly sampler, more chapters of certain things depending on when I get my trial going, more One Piece and A Certain Magical Index. Whatever else I have from the library.
meganbmoore: (Default)
What are you currently reading

Currently on book 9 of A Certain Magical Index.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler. After Alice's father dies, she's sent to live with an "uncle" who she's never heard of before. Her uncle is welcoming, but forbids her to go into his huge library, which is in another building. So, of course, she ends up going into the library (eventually), meets talking cats, a boy who appears to be living there, and gets literally sucked into a book. Or two. Or three. The leads being 12 doesn't save us from a predictable and stereotypical "brave good girl x mysterious bad boy of dubious trustworthiness" baby!romance, but their being 12 does keep a lot of the more obnoxious possibilities off the table. It's not really hard to guess where things are going in most parts, but it was a very enjoyable read, and I thought the take on magic was interesting.

One Piece Vol 24-32 by Eichiro Oda. The Skypeia arc was entertaining, but considerably less involving, imo, than previous arcs. I blame the lack of a central character narrative or goal driving it. Instead, it was more "We shall have an adventure! In the Sky!"

mild and brief spoilers )

Soul Eater vol 1-2 by Atsushi Ohkubo. I watchedthe anime recently and really enjoyed it despite a few issues, so I decided to check out the mainga. Normally, I like the manga better when there's an anime based on it, but this is one of the exceptions. The first volume made me think I was watching a 12 year old run around screeching "BOOBIESBOOBIESBOOBIESBOOBIESBOOBIES!!" a lot (so glad the anime cut way back on that). The second volume cut back on that, but I mostly found it dull. Sad. I'd say I might have just lost what it takes to love shounen action in manga form, but I am reading One Piece, so...

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword and Hereville: How Mirka Met A Meteorite by Barry Deutsch. The tagline for the first of these graphic novels is "Yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old orthodox Jewish girl." Mirka lives in a village with her father, stepmother, and a number of siblings and stepsiblings. Her stepmother is well-loved, but annoyingly-to-Mirka focused on Useful Household Skills. And sometimes chests. Everything is normal until she ends up encountering an evil pig in the woods. The evil pig eats her homework and happens to belong to a witch. After which, Mirka's life spirals into fighting trolls, winning swords, and outwitting meteorites. All of which Mirka loves, but is actually very, very terrible at. Thankfully, that very large family of her's is not window dressing, and her siblings keep getting pulled into her adventures, and her stepmother offering advice, even if she doesn't actually know that the reason Mirka is getting advice is because "Oh hey, you kid is actually going to use this advice to go fight a troll that wants to eat her." These books are delightful.

Attempted to read Love Roma. It starts with the protagonist going up to a girl in his class who he's never even spoken with and asking her out. When she turns him down due to the fact that they've never spoken and she doesn't even know his name he pretty much badgers her into agreeing to walk home with him with the whole class cheering him on. The series thought it was cute. I was incredibly skeeved.

I think I already posted on everything else that I read.

What do you think you'll read next?.

More of A Certain Magical Index (I should actually SAY something about the series at some point...) and the next arc of One Piece.
meganbmoore: (Default)
I believe this is my first time doing this since just before WisCon. Oops? I blame Flight Rising.

What are you currently reading

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke. Third book in a GN series about a girl who ends up stranded in deep space with the Pied Piper, a giant mouse, an battle-mad robot and a giant...blob...thing and saves the universe a lot. Sadly, this is apparently also the last book in the series.

I've started reading the A Certain Magical Index novels, having run out of anime. I should say something substantial about the series sometime soon.

What did you recently finish reading?
The Foundling by Georgette Heyer. This is the book I read on the plane to WisCon. IIRC, I found it very entertaining-the basics of the plot are that an over-protected young duke really really really wishes people would let him stand on his own feet and has a series of misadventures when he goes undercover to help extricate a cousin from a lawsuit-but also frustrating due to,well, the lack of women. The hero's love interest is in about 15 pages, maybe, while the main female character-the titular foundling-is in it more, but isn't respected by anyone involved, including Heyer.

One Piece though volume 10 by Eiichiro Oda. I dunno, do I even need to explain the plot to anyone with even a passing familiarity with anime and manga? This is very entertaining, but frustrating due to the fact that, 10 volumes in, we have a whole one regular female character, and one who's pretty much given a supporting role in the plotline dealing with her own origin story. And Nami's great and all, but most shounen manages to do btter than this. It's especially odd since i checked it out knowing that Hiro Mashima was extremely heavily influenced by his time as Oda's assistant (and boy is it obvious) and within a couple volumes, Fairy Tail was all "here's an avalanche of female characters and most of them are background now, but we have 2 central ones and these others are being introduced in a way that says yes, they will be important later" (which is not to say FT is anywhere near perfect, but, you know...) Surprising no one, my favorites so far are Nami (and i'm vaguely curious about what the big Nami ships are) and Zoro (though I spend way too much time wondering how Zoro fights without lopping off his hand. I wonder if his and that dude from RuroKen who keeps an urumi wrapped around his bare waist trade "how not to kill yourself with your somewhat realistic-for-shounen weaponry" tips. i'm very amused with how, so far, the plotlines go vaguely like this:

LUFFY: HELLO! I want you to join my pirate crew!
ZORO/NAMI/SANJI: Uhm, no.
LUFFY: WE ARE GOING TO HAVE SO MUCH FUN, SAILING OF THE GRAND LINE AND FINDING TREASURE.
Z/N/S: Dude, I said no. I hate pirates. Also, I'm not entirely convinced you understand just what a pirate is.
ACTUAL PIRATEY TYPES: We are here to pillage and raid and kick puppies!
LUFFY: New crewmember! Let's go whomp the bad pirates and show what good pirates with the power of nakama are like!
Z/N/S: Dude, I'm not joining your crew. But I'm down with the whomping.
WHOMPING: *happens with much drama and fanfare and speechifying*
LUFFY: LET US GO SAIL THE SEAS!
Z/N/S: How did I end up-ok, fine, I guess I joined.
LUFFY: Toldja!
Z/N/S: You're really hard to break up with, aren't you.

(And then there's Usopp, who showed up at the harbor with his bags and tried not to look like he was begging to be asked to come along.)

Five Weapons: Making the Grade by Jimmie Robinson. Tyler Shainline is the 13-year-old son of a famous assassin, who is sent to The School of Five Weapons, a school where the children of bodyguards and assassins go to train for their future careers. All students join one of the weapons clubs, and everyone is eager to see which Tyler will join. The problem is, Tyler is actually Enrique, the son of Shainline's butler, who grew up with the real Tyler. Sent as a decoy by Shainline because an old enemy is hunting for him, Enrique doesn't actually know how to use any weapons, and is actually forbidden to learn how to use any. Fortunately, he has a childhood of playing with an assassin-in-training behind him and a very slippery mind, and sets to outwitting the various students who want to challenge him, as well as trying to solve the mystery of the school's shady principal. Very fun.

Tokyo Crazy Paradise Vol 1-10 by Yoshiki Nakamura. AKA, "The very cracktastic scifi mafia series Yoshiki Nakamura did before Skip-Beat. The basic concept is that Tsukasa, the daughter of two police officers, who was raised as a boy (because women are more likely to be victims of violence than men) becomes the bodyguard of her classmate, Ryuji, after her parents die and she and her brothers end up on the street. (I'm not entirely sure whether Tsukasa identifies as male or female, or has even but a lot of thought into it, but the manga refers to her as a girl.) Ryuji, who has been in classes with Tsukasa for several years, has known that Tsukasa is biologically female for some time, but never let her know, and is Secretly In Love with her. And...hijinks? Tsukasa, Ryuji, and Ryuji's fiance, Asago, are all supposed to be 14, but everything-personality, how they interact with others, appearance, etc-all works much better if you ignore that and pretend they're all in the 16-18 range. I like it a lot, but also get frustrated by some things, like how not only are Asago and Tsukasa the only female characters, but they can't stand each other. Part of that is because of Skip-Beat, and how Kyoko pretty much makes ALL her rivals, professional or otherwise, fall for her. And things keep happening that make me think Tsukasa and Asago might start becoming friends, and then it doesn't happening. I also...am aware of some later plot developments, and am more interested in getting to those than the "things happen to challenge Ryuji's leadership/Asago's standing as his fiancee, and they have to find out what's up with this latest drug, but Tsukasa will bash everything into obedience" which is what's happened a few times.

Princeless vol 1 by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin. First volume in a series about a princess (the 6th of 7) who's confined to a tower by her father until a princess strong enough to rule the kingdom rescues her from the dragon hired to guard her. She decides she's tired of boring princes who don't last 5 minutes against the dragon, escapes the tower, and sets off with the dragon to resuce her 6 sister's from their respective towers. Said princess happens to also be black, and possibly lesbian. It can be a bit heavy handed in its "wtf, fairy tales?" moments and th bit where the princess and her future girlfriend go on about women's fantasy armor keeps going after the point has been made until it's almost beating you over the head with it (uhm...maybe less so on that front if you haven't had many long and detailed discussions of the topic itself) but this was extremely enjoyable.

The Bughouse Affair and The Spook Lights Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini. The first 2 books in a mystery series about Sabina Carpenter, and former Pinkerton agent, and John Quincannon, a former Secret Service Agent, who now run a detective agency in 1890s San Francisco. largely solid and enjoyable, though they don't offer anything hugely new to the genre. I'm also annoyed by the romantic subplot. Not because it exists-normally I'd enjoy it-but because so far, it's Sabina being very firm about refusing to become romantically involved with her business partner, and John being convinced that if he just keeps hinting hitting on her and openly mooning, she'll miraculously change her mind, even though she keeps telling him to knock it off. I'm pretty sure we're meant to see it as Sabina being stubborn and trying to not give in to the inevitable, as opposed to John ignoring her her repeatedly stated and reinforced choices and wishes.


What do you think you'll read next?.

More Index and One Piece.
meganbmoore: (levy writes)
Last post before WisCon, no idea how much/if I'll be posting while there.

What are you currently reading

In between.

What did you recently finish reading?

Two Ever After High books, The Storybook of Legends and Unfairest of them All by Shannon Hale. Like the webseries it follows the daily lives oof the children of fairy tale characters who are destined to repeat their parent's stories, regardless of how sucky those destinies may be. The protagonists of most stories, naturally, are delighted by this, and the villains and side characters are less so. Like the webseries, the plot revolves around Raven, the daughter of Snow White's Evil Queen, deciding that she isn't having any of that, and the fallout from her decision. The webseries focuses mostly on Raven and Apple, Snow White's daughter, but also spends a lot of time on the daily lives of other characters. The books are almost exclusively focused on Raven and Apple and there's a lot less of the other characters and their issues (I understand there are standalone books for younger readers that focus on the other characters, but my library didn't have them), but there's also a lot of emphasis on Raven and Apple's friendship and the rejection of "destiny." There's also Raven's mother, who went "off script" and tried to take over all the fairy tale kingdoms, and the mystery of two sisters who also rejected their story (one was supposed to kill the other and then die horribly herself, and they weren't having any of that at all) and what happened to them.

Zita the Spacegirl and Legends of Zita the Spacegirl. Graphic novel series about a girl who gets sucked into deep space trying to rescue her friend from alien abduction, and ends up saving the universe a lot while trying to get home. Her sidekicks include a giant mouse, a couple of robot, a giant...claylike dude, a sentient infant spaceship, and the Pied Piper. Piper is a sometimes unscrupulous scientist/inventor who just happens to have a magic flute, and toothpaste that creates doors. Rumpelstiltskin also makes a brief appearance, so I guess a galaxy far, far away is where the child stealers of fairy tales go. There's also Piper's ex, Madrigal, a mysterious space gypsy who holds a grudge. These are FUN. I look forward to future installments.

One Piece volume 1 by Eiichiro Oda. Entertaining, needs more girls. My library has the first few dozen volumes, so hopefully I won't burn out before I read all of them.

And Shion no Ou, which I posted on separately.

What do you think you'll read next?.

I have a Georgette Heyer book to read on the plane to WisCon, and then my nexus is stuffed full of manga, lightnovels, and a few other things.
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)
It's been a while since I did this, and I posted separately on a lot of what I read since the last time i did this, but I think this is everything else since then.

What are you currently reading

Shion no Ou. A seinen manga that's probably best summed up as "mute girl becomes professional shogi player to find her parents' killer," which is both technically accurate and a misrepresentation. i'll say a lot more when i'm finished, probably, but I'm enjoying it a lot.

What did you recently finish reading?

Bride of the Water God vol 14 by Mi-Kyung Yun. So much drama (some of which I find hilarious, though that's not the mahwaga's intention)! So much pretty! Sadly, I am not well versed enough in Korean mythology to completely following all the celestial shenanigans.

Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina Vol 17-18. Adorable awkward misfits manga is still adorable.

brief spoilers )

Dogs: Bullets & Carnage Vol 8 by Shirow Miwa. it's too long between volumes for me to keep track of all the genetic experimentation reveals and 30 or so people named Naoto running around straight in my head, but I'm ok with that, because the entertainment level is high. I'm also pretty sure the main point of this volume was to make sure all the readers shipped main!Naoto/Heine.

Strobe Edge Vol 1-10 by Io Sakisaka. A very cute and sweet shoujo manga about Ninako a girl who, like most of the other girls in her school, likes a classmate name Ren. Through a sequence of events, the two become friends, but Ren has a girlfriend who he's devoted to. Rather than chase after him or be jealous, Ninako decides to just be friends with Ren, and see where life takes her. Ren, thankfully, is not a cold aloof jerk like so many school "princes" in shoujo manga are, though some characters who haven't bothered to actually interact with him assume he will be. It becomes more conventional in the later volumes, but largely manages to avoid falling into some of the more irritating pitfalls other shoujo romances do, despite later volumes getting somewhat bogged down in "I cannot let the person I like know I like them because this other person likes them, even though the person I like has not implicated by word or deed that they have any interest in this other person."

Hero by Alethea Kontis. Sequel to Enchanted, and about the 6th sister of the family, Saturday, who is abducted by a witch's Raven who mistakes her for her heroic older brother, Jack, and taken to the witch's mountain, where she meets a prince who was enchanted by the witch's daughter to take her place. It has fun with the almost literal genderswapping, but doesn't seem quite sure what it wants to say about gender conformity. It's a more cohesive whole than
meganbmoore: (too many books)
Hopefully I'll get back to actually doing this weekly.

What are you currently reading

Nothing. Sadly, I haven't read any more of Legend of the Condor Heroes since last time.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu. About a magician's shophand, Oscar, who lives outside of a city where no one is ever sick. Oscar (along with a healer's apprentice, Callie) has to figure out what's going on when a monster starts killing people in the woods, and the children in the city start suffering from a mysterious illness. Like Breadcrumbs, this is based on a fairy tale, though not in the way you'd initially assume. It was pretty good, though very much overshadowed by its predecessor.

Do You want to Try? Vol 1-5 by Kim Kyung Hee. Manhwa about a girl who ends up fake-dating another school's gang leader to help him get out of an arranged marriage. It's mostly comedy but part melodrama, and never quite manages to quite get the right balance between the two, but I enjoyed it, despite the need to add extra unnecessary drama in the second half by adding a pre-series sexual assault on the heroine to help drive the plot. The manhwaga has also clearly come across a few of the 500 or so versions of Hana Yori Dango, though in a way that was amusing more than anything else.

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis. YA fantasy based on a multitude of fairy tales, but mostly The Frog Prince. The heroine, Sunday, is the seventh daughter (with a few brothers mixed in, too) of a seventh son and a seventh daughter. Her mother's family already had numerous fae abductions and sisters running off to become good and bad fairy godmothers, and her father decide it was the perfect family to marry into. (No. Seriously. He actually sought out the most magic and cursed family he could find to marry into.) At the start of the story, several of Sunday's older siblings have already had their fairy tale stories and or either dead or probably miserable because of it (Except the one sister who ran off and married the pirate king. She seems pretty happy.) and the talking frog she befriends is actually a cursed prince who is partially responsible for one of her brothers being turned into a dog, and then disappearing (presumed dead) shortly after. It wants to criticize the idea of the happy fairy tale ending and general romanticism with the worldbuilding and extended family, but it also wants to be the idea of the romantic fairytale with Sunday and her romance. It's a bit over ambitious and doesn't quite come together the way it should, but I enjoyed it, especially with the focus of thoroughly messed up but devoted family dynamics, and all the sisters with complicated relationships that rather took over the second half.

Don't Touch Me Vol 1-5 by Soo Hyun-Joo. Incredibly cracktastic manhwa about a narcissistic and violent girl, Mirang, who returns to her childhood home and falls for her childhood frenemy, Won, who is incredibly dense and exceptionally pretty. Won appears to be veryvery loosely based on Gao Changgong, as they both have to go around hiding their faces behind masks lest people swoon due to exposure to their incredible beauty. Except that Won, being dense, thinks people react to his face because he's ugly. It spends a lot of time going "neener neener" to a lot of shoujo tropes, mostly in a "I gleefully trample over you as I bulldoze my way to the next plotpoint" way. It was fun, but possibly too odd for a reread.

What do you think you'll read next?

Not sure yet. There's a new "Women of the Otherworld" book by Kelley Armstrong that I have from the library, but it's a werewolf book, and those are hit and miss for me.
meganbmoore: (a royal affair: reading)
I don't think I've done this since mid-December, but i also posted separately on most of what I read for a while though, so this is just for what I've read in January, but not posted on separately.

What are you currently reading

The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn. Fluffy and entertaining Regency Romance. Like most Quinn books, I'm enjoying it, but will probably have forgotten half the details a week after having finished. At about 1/3 of the way through, the best bit has been the angsty, math genius hero very seriously debating the existence of unicorns with an eleven year old. (Spoiler: the eleven year old wins.)

Legend of the Condor Heroes by Jin Jong. I'm still in the first chapter, which is and Guo Jing and Yang Kang's fathers. It's fine so far, but I don't think i'll actually get into it until Huang Rong shows up.


What did you recently finish reading?

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. YA fantasy than has the conventional framework of "orphaned waif learns s/he is secretly of the magic upper class and is whisked away from humble beginnings (and no-longer-socially-appropriate childhood BFF) to court," except this Special Orphan is a girl, and her powers/supposed destiny aren't necessarily what we're led to believe. Loosely based on Russian history, the book isn't strikingly original in any description, it's just much better done than most of its type, which makes it feel much fresher. It also managed to feature a YA romantic triangle that didn't annoy me, which doesn't happen often.

"Hmm...I appear to be in love with my best friend, who might now be dead, and who I don't think was actually that interested in me to start with. But he's been gone for a while and this other guy is nice to me and is kinda hot is that dark and mysterious way-no, wait. He's actually an evil sociopath. No more of that. And it turns out my friend is still alive WE JUST MYSTERIOUSLY NEVER GOT EACH OTHER'S LETTERS. I think I'll force a sit down and we'll discuss this like intelligent, rational people. After everyone else stops trying to imprison and/or kill us."

Bronze no Tenshi Vol 1-3 by Chiho Saitou. Shoujo manga about Alexander Pushkin and his wife, Natalia Goncharov. It's 7 volumes total and I've enjoyed what I've read, but it was starting to drag a bit for me, so I'll get back to it later.

Remembrances for A Certain Pilot by Inumura Koroko. This is the basis for the anime movie The Princess and the Pilot, and the prequel to the books the airing anime The Pilot's Love Song is based on. This is an adventure novel about a young pilot in a world similar to early 20th century Europe* who is hired to secretly escort the prince's fiancee through several thousand miles of enemy airspace. For the large part, what you expect to have happen happens, and I was enjoying it in a rather relaxed way until i got to the end and realized I'd gotten invested without realizing it. I look forward to watching both the movie and the series.

*(Has anyone ever actually sat down and pondered the popularity of this kind of thing in japan? Not that i'm complaining at all, I just find it interesting.)

Pandora Hearts Vol 9-13 by Jun Mochizuki. These volumes were pretty backstory heavy (and I don't think mochizuki is anywhere near done with that yet), and also significantly darker than earlier volumes. Also about 50x as heavy with the "Alice in Wonderland" references. I am enjoying this series a lot, but wish there was more Ada and Alice, and less Vincent. I think there are several more volumes out in English, but the library don't have them yet.


What do you think you'll read next?

Probably another romance novel, or some YA.
meganbmoore: (yoko and shoryu)
This is the third Youko book in the Twelve Kingdoms series, and the one in which Fuyumi Ono sits you down and says "Ok, so I gave you this universe with this supposedly ideal systems of rulers and divine will, though I hinted that maybe that wasn't so great, really. I will now spend a few hundred pages deconstructing my own fantasy world and showing just how problematic the whole thing is.

The core plot of the book is that Risai, a general from Tai, and one of the main characters from the Taiki books, has been framed for leading the rebellion against Gyousou and literally escaped Tai by the skin of her teeth and flees to Kei, hoping that since, like the missing Taiki, Youko is from our world, Youko will both be exptra sympathetic towards Taiki, and will be naive enough about their world to lead her armies into Tai, which is now overrun by monsters and led by a flase and corrupt government, and possibly find the missing Gyousou and Taiki, Thankfully for us, Shoryuu appears in a huff of mentorly indignation and informs everyone that that is so not going to happen.

You see, in the Twelve Kingdoms, part of the divine law is that, regardless of how benign the intentions may be, no ruler of one kingdom can lead troops into another kingdom without the ruler of that kingdom's explicit permission. If they do, the invading ruler and hir kirin will almost immediately be struck down, and that kingdom will descend into chaos and be overrun by monsters until a new kirin is born, grows up, and chooses a new ruler, which can take decades.

Youko's response to this, of course, is "What the hell is wrong with this place?" She does that a lot this book. As well as forming the united nations.

Much of the book is Youko, Shoryuu, Risai, the ruler of Han and the kirin of various kingdoms joining forces to figure out a way to get around heaven's rules and help Tai without endangering their own kingdoms in the process.

What I like about this book;

1. Fuyumi Ono brutally deconstructing her own fantasy world.

2. finally learning what happened in Tai after Gyousou took over.

3. The fact that the plot revolves around a queen and female general joining forces to save a kingdom.

4. Seeing all the rulers and kirin, especially the kirin (and extra-especially the female kirin getting some page time), and watching them interact with each other. Pretty much any time there was any combination of rulers and kirin in front of me, I had a silly grin plastered to my face.

5. The Found Family of Youko, Enho, Suzu, Shoukei, Koshou and KeiKei, with Kantei and Keiki on the outskirts and Seki off at school, reading Koshou and Suzu's letters and thinking he really really needs to graduate soon (at the top of his class, of course) and get home. Also, the focus on the kirin as family, even if some of them are never able to meet each other.

6. Pretty much anything within the book itself.

What I didn't like about this book:

1. The fact that, while it reveals much of what happened to Tai and gets things in motion to revolve the situation in Tai, it doesn't actually resolve things, but instead very clearly sets things up for a subsequent book to do so. Which i would have no issues with, save that Fuyumi Ono apparently abandoned the series years ago and isn't going to write that book.

2. I am now out of Twelve Kingdoms books, save for a second collection of short stories, which doesn't have a fan translation, as far as I can tell.
meganbmoore: (snow quuen 2002: gerda walking)
This is a take on "The Snow Queen," set in the modern world and with a heroine, Hazel, who was adopted in India by a white, American couple. (This is, I think, the only fiction I've read to take a look at that particular cultural trend and go "geez, I wonder what that's like for the kids, 10 years down the road...")

Hazel's life has recently been turned upside down: her parents recently got a divorce, forcing her to change schools. At her old school, she was considered imaginative and creative. At her new school she's considered withdrawn and not really connected to reality, existing in her own world in which her expansive library of children's literature takes a central role in her reasoning process, and her situation isn't aided by the fact that she sometimes has trouble communicating with people. (Note: Does anyone know if anyone has asked Ursu if she intended for Hazel to be read as ADD? Because I can't tell if I think it's deliberate, or if i'm over identifying and recognizing too much of my own 5th grade self.) In addition, her mother has decided that it's time for her to stop living in the clouds and conform more to conventional ideas of femininity and girlish interests and such. (In her mother's defense, I don't recall any indication that her mother actually thinks Hazel's relatively mild tomboyishness is bad, she just knows her daughter has problems and thinks that having "normal girl" interests will help her.)

Her only real friend, and the only person she feels can understand her, is Jack, who share's in her fantasy world and they do things like have superhero football and make magic forts and he gets when she communicates real world ideas and decisions through fictional allegories. But Jack is one of the things her mother feels she needs to "grow past," and Jack himself has started pulling away from Hazel and has befriended a pair of boys who like to harass Hazel.

Then one day, Jack's eye is mysteriously hurt, and shortly after, he disappears. When Hazel hears about a witch in the woods, a woman seemingly made of ice, who may have taken Jack, she gathers a survival kit and goes off into the woods to get him back. Except that the woods she finds herself in are not the same woods she entered, and the woods are full of frightening things pulled from all sorts of fables and mythology, all of which are frightened of the witch.

This is pretty great, guys! As I indicated before, I had more over-identification issues with Hazel at times, which may have increased my overall interest and investment, but I don't think I would retract my two thumbs up without that. My only complaint is that it really isn't addressed that Jack started being something of a jerk and bad friend to Hazel before he got the mirror shard in his eye, not just after, and i wish that had been dealt with.

There is apparently a quasi-sequel that just came out, but it's about other characters.

meganbmoore: (a royal affair: reading)


What are you currently reading
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan. Not far enough into it to have an opinion.

I'm a few chapters into Rose of Versailles, and it's very different, so far, from the anime, which I knew to expect going in, as the mangaka started it expecting to do a series about Marie Antoinette.



What did you recently finish reading?
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, Dreaming of Paradise by Fuyumi Ono, and all of Venus Capriccio by Nishikata Mai, all of which I posted on separately.

Young Miss Holmes Vol 5-7 by Kaoru Shintani. These volumes are available in the US as a single omnibus inthe US, and complete the series. I understand there's a sequel, but haven't found it anywhere yet. This is the manga about Sherlock Holmes's crime solving niece, and it is great, though I don't have anything to add that I didn't say about it when I read the other volumes earlier this year.

Pandora Hearts by Jun Mochizuki, Vol 1-8: Shounen series set in a pseudo-Victorian world about a boy who falls into an abyss, gets linked to a residence of the abyss named Alice, and pops back out 10 years later, thinking it's only been a few minutes. Alice in Wonderland references are a dime a dozen, but in a fun way. I read a bit of this when it first hit stateside, liked it, but kept not getting back to it. The actual plot, once stripped of the trappings, is fairly typical shounen, but I find it very entertaining and enjoy the characters and am generally a sucker for "Lookit my Lewis Carroll references, aren't the clever in their blatancy?" Also, the main character, Oz, gets spoiled for a major character death in his favorite book series (that he's now 10 years behind on) and pretty much has what's my internal reaction anytime someone blithely lets out major spoilers for something I'm reading/watching. Except that his reaction is very very external.

There is one thing that bugs me though.

spoiler )

What do you think you'll read next?

Pretty sure reading the rest of what i'm on now will keep me occupied for a bit.
meganbmoore: (mummy: evie x books)
What are you currently reading?

Rose Under Fire
by Elizabeth Wein. Sequel/companion to Code Name Verity. I'm about 1/4 of the way through it and withholding commentary or judgement until I've finished it. (Opinion is favorable so far, though.)

The first volume of Venus Capriccio by Nishikata Mai. This is a shoujo series that was licensed by CMX, an imprint that I dearly miss. I haven't read much of it, but what I've read I've enjoyed, and it looks to be subverting some shoujo tropes and is hopefully doing good things with the genderbender aspect. It reminds me a bit of W Juliet.

What did you recently finish reading?


Zombies vs Unicorns
by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (eds.). An anthology of unicorn and zombie stories (alternating, not together) framed as being intended to settle the dispute over whether zombies are unicorns are better. I was very into unicorns when wee, but don't have a strong interest in either on their own as an adult. The individual stories ranged from OK to pretty interesting, but I found Black and Larbalestier's bickering in the introductions to each story to be the most entertaining part.

I read a bit of the Blue Exorcist manga because the library had it, but was bored.

What do you think you'll read next?


More Venus Capriccio and Rose Under Fire, then probably Rose of Versailles and the Twelve Kingdoms short stories.
meganbmoore: (yoko and shoryu)
The Wings of Dreams is the fifth book in the Twelve Kingdoms series (though, chronologically, it's the second book-of those I've read, at least- and no knowledge of the previous books is needed) and one that will probably never be published in the US, as no one is stepping forward to pick up where Tokyopop left off.

Set just under 100 years before the Youko and Taiki books, The Wings of Dreams is about Shushou, a twelve year old girl who goes on a pilgrimage to find out if she might be her kingdom's destined ruler. For those not familiar with the series, rulers in the Twelve Kingdoms are chosen by kirin (roughly the eastern equivalent of a unicorn) who select the rulers of their kingdoms via divine guidance. Once a person becomes the emperor of their country, they stop aging, and theoretically, peace and order return to their kingdom. When there is no emperor, the kingdom becomes overrun by monsters called youma, and many citizens are forced to flee to other countries until a new emperor takes the throne. Every once in a while, a kirin will venture out into the world to find their emperor, but usually, people have to take the shouzan, a long journey of several months through monster infested territories called The Yellow Sea, just to get to Mount Hou, where the kirin live, just to see if the kirin will give them the time of day.

Shushou's kingdom, Kyou, hasn't had an emperor for many years, and the adults left who haven't gone to see if the kirin will choose them are either too scared to try, or have found ways to benefit from the situation. Shushou, the daughter of a wealthy merchant, has decided that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and if none of the adults are right for the job, then obviously one of the kingdoms children is. And since they don't really have time to wait for the kids to grow up, she'll just set off for Mount Hou herself. This involves what is, for a twelve year old, a rather detailed and well thought out plan that at least gets her to The Yellow Sea. where she hires herself a grumpy loner bodyguard named Gankyuu. Who thinks she's an idiot, but she has money. And maybesortakindaalittlebit there's a tiny portion of his withered soul that doesn't like the idea of a cute and precocious (and very bossy and annoying) kid NOT having a bodyguard. Or hiring the next, less scrupulous guy who wanders by. At which point, a significant portion of the book is the two having shouting matches that go something like this:

SHUSHOU: YOU ARE HEARTLESS! HELP PEOPLE WHO AREN'T PAYING YOU TOO!
GANKYUU: BUT THEN THEY NEVER STOP ASKING FOR FREE HELP. Also, then I run out of supplies to feed you with. STOP TRYING TO MAKE ME A GOOD AND SELF-SACRIFICING PERSON.
SHUSHOU: YOU ARE MEAN.
GANKYUU: YES I'VE WORKED VERY HARD AT IT THANKYOUVERYMUCH.
SHUSHOU: *flounce*
GANKYUU: *flounce*

She also acquires Rikou, a young gentleman who is very very interested in seeing whether or not Shushou becomes empress for his own reasons. Also, he is very very amused by the shouting matches.

Most of the book is the pilgrimage (and if you've seen the anime or read the 4th book, you know how that turns out) which is largely an excuse to examine the obligations of society between people, and just how much of a helping hand you should give others before it actually becomes harmful to you or to the people you're helping. Shushou is very aware of her privilege in many ways (though not all ways) but also well aware of how little control she has over it, between her age and the current condition of Kyou, which only adds to her frustrations, and much of the book is her having rages and making mistakes as only someone who just learn ed the concept of grey choices and actions can, not to mention someone with endless frustrations caused by her own limitations, and a need to make up for them, can. As a result, she frequently messes up, sometimes amazingly so, but she also owns up to her mistakes and sets out to fix things, even if that sometimes backfires.

spoiler )The book can be found here, and comes with a downloadable version as well. (Along with the other unlicensed books in the series.)

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