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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Manga Review: Requiem of the Rose King, Volume 6, by Aya Kanno


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5-4
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 2017
Volumes: 9+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 5. 7.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The intrigue and royal conspiracy in Shakepeare’s Richard III is given a dark manga twist that will appeal to aficionados of both comics and the classics.

Richard, the ambitious third son of the House of York, believes he is cursed, damned from birth to eternal darkness. But is it truly fate that sets him on the path to personal destruction? Or his own tormented longings? Based on an early draft of Shakespeare’s Richard III, Aya Kanno’s dark fantasy finds the man who could be king standing between worlds, between classes, between good and evil.

Review:

So the volume opens with Henry and Richard separating. They have to go their own ways again, but Henry wants them to be together again, without realizing Richard doesn't think that will be able to happen. It's sweet and sad.
Richard goes off to fight, with full intent of getting revenge on Henry for killing his father. Not realizing that both Henry's are the same. And Henry not realizing who Richard actually is.
A lot of this is building up to the cliffhanger in this volume. We've all been waiting for the big reveal, really. There have been hints all over the place, even some characters keeping quiet or trying to point it out. And it's not going to be good.
I feel bad for Henry, most of all. He really doesn't want any of this, he hates fighting and he doesn't want to rule. But he's been forced into this position, and he can't seem to get out of it. I just want him to be able to live out in the middle of nowhere with some farm animals. That would be so great.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Manga Review: Black Clover, Volume 10, by Yuki Tabata


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2018
Volumes: 14+
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 9. 11.

Goodreads Synopsis:

In a world of magic, Asta, a boy with anti-magic powers, will do whatever it takes to become the Wizard King!

Asta is a young boy who dreams of becoming the greatest mage in the kingdom. Only one problem—he can't use any magic! Luckily for Asta, he receives the incredibly rare five-leaf clover grimoire that gives him the power of anti-magic. Can someone who can't use magic really become the Wizard King? One thing's for sure—Asta will never give up!

In order to heal his badly injured arms, Asta and his friends head to Vanessa’s homeland, the Forest of Witches. The Witch Queen who lives there may have the power to fix Asta’s arm, but can he pay the price she demands…?

Review:

Given the ending of the last volume, I didn't think Asta getting his hand fixed would be so anticlimactic. But it really is, and then we move onto the next big fight.
This time the group is kind-of helping a secret female-only witch village. They hate outsiders, they hate men, and their witch in charge is extremely strict about witches leaving. This also turns more of a focus on Fanzell, a wizard we've met before, who is in hiding from the group attacking the witches.
During this volume, I had to actively not pay attention to the sexist comments and themes. They were definitely there, but I didn't want to look at them too deeply. I didn't want to get upset by analyzing them.
This series is relatively easy to read, but it's not great. I don't particularly care for any of the characters, and the constant battles grow a bit boring after a while. Just meh for me.


 A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Manga Review: Seraph of the End -- Vampire Reign, Volume 13, by Takaya Kagami, Yamato Yamamoto, and Daisuke Furuya


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Shonen Jump Advanced (VIZ Media)
Release Date: November 2017
Volumes: 16+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 10. 14.

Goodreads Synopsis:

In a post-apocalyptic world of vampires vs. humans, Yuichiro brings vengeance upon his vampire overlords!

After trumpets of the apocalypse proclaim the fall of humanity, vampires arise from the shadows to rule the earth. Yuichiro wants just one thing—to get revenge by killing each and every vampire.

Ferid has successfully coerced Shinoa Squad and Mika into joining him and Crowley on a field trip to Osaka. According to Ferid, the purpose of the trip is to see the truth behind the calamity that ended the word—ground zero of the apocalypse in Osaka. But not all is as it seems, as vampire nobles from across the world are also converging on Osaka!

Review:

The volume starts, and the main group has been kidnapped. They're being brought to someone else, and they're not sure why. When they get there, it's clear that something else is going on. Something deeper, more sinister.
Since I haven't been following this series, I'm not really sure who anyone is, or why they're doing what they're doing. I am intrigued by Yoichi and his inner demon. He's waiting for the right moment to get his revenge, and that's not going to be good.
There'll be more messes in the next one, I'm sure.


 A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Manga Review: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma, Volume 22, by Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki, and Yuki Morisaki


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shonen Jump Advanced (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2018
Volumes: 29+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 21. 23.

Goodreads Synopsis:

An action-packed, saucy food comedy featuring one boy's determination to be top chef!

Soma Yukihira's old man runs a small family restaurant in the less savory end of town. Aiming to one day surpass his father's culinary prowess, Soma hones his skills day in and day out until one day, out of the blue, his father decides to enroll Soma in a classy culinary school! Can Soma really cut it in a place that prides itself on a 10 percent graduation rate? And can he convince the beautiful, domineering heiress of the school that he belongs there at all?!

It's stage three of the advancement exams, and to pass, Soma must beat the new Council of Ten's ninth seat--Akira Hayama. Although Soma is not happy to see Hayama sporting Central's badge on his chest, he can't hide his excitement over a rematch with the very person who snatched the Fall Classic win from him!

Review:

I had to pick up this volume myself, largely because I've always really liked Hayama and Jun's relationship. I didn't want to miss anything important, and I really wanted to know what brought him to this point.
Hayama and Soma go one-on-one in this volume, both with very high-stakes. Hayama is trying to win for Jun and their research, but he's seemed to have lost some of his motivation for cooking. Soma, on the other hand, needs to win to not be expelled—but mostly he wants to win against Hayama, because their rivalry is important to him.
The cook-off is intense, and it seems to clearly be going in one direction for a while—until a twist is revealed. We're left with a cliffhanger, but I have an idea of who's winning this, and I think that things will work out well for Hayama.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Manga Review: Yona of the Dawn, Volume 10, by Mizuho Kusanagi


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2018
Volumes: 26+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 9. 11.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A red-haired princess loses her family and her kingdom... Now she must rise and fight for her throne!

Princess Yona lives an ideal life as the only princess of her kingdom. Doted on by her father, the king, and protected by her faithful guard Hak, she cherishes the time spent with the man she loves, Su-won. But everything changes on her 16th birthday when tragedy strikes her family!

Yona and her friends have taken to calling themselves bandits and have been protecting Fire Tribe villages from cruel government officials. Meanwhile, Kang Tae-jun, the Fire Tribe chief's second son, goes to Katan Village with orders to eliminate the bandits there. He still believes that he's killed Yona--but suddenly, he hears her voice! What will happen when they come face-to-face again?

Review:

Taejun believes he heard Yona, and now he's obsessed. He needs to find out if she's alive, and then he needs to impress her and get her forgiveness, and he will do anything he can to get it. He's a bit crazy with his obsession, and it's honestly hard to tell whether this is good or creepy or what. The way that Yona handles it is quite impressive, though.
It's really nice to see what influence Yona has, and what she can get people to do, without using any force or threats.
It looks like the story will be going in another direction in the next volume, and I'm excited. I love this series so very much, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Manga Review: Assassination Classroom, Volume 18, by Yusei Matsui


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Shonen Jump Advanced (VIZ Media)
Release Date: October 2017
Volumes: 21.
Spoilers?: No.
Volumes: 1. 16. 19.

Goodreads Synopsis:

What does a pathetic class of misfits have in their arsenal to combat their schoolteacher’s alien technology, bizarre powers and...tentacles?!

Ever caught yourself screaming, “I could just kill that teacher”?

What would it take to justify such antisocial behavior and weeks of detention? Especially if he’s the best teacher you’ve ever had? Giving you an “F” on a quiz? Mispronouncing your name during roll call...again? How about blowing up the moon and threatening to do the same to Mother Earth—unless you take him out first?! Plus a reward of a cool 100 million from the Ministry of Defense!

Okay, now that you’re committed... How are you going to pull this off? What does your pathetic class of misfits have in their arsenal to combat Teach’s alien technology, bizarre powers and...tentacles?!

Two classmates travel to the International Space Station in hopes of learning the secret  to saving Koro Sensei’s life. Meanwhile, Yanagisawa and upstart Grim Reaper II train ever harder to assassinate him. Then, when academic setbacks lower the spirits of his students, Koro Sensei comes up with an ingenious—or perhaps idiotic—way to cheer them up. Next, Valentine’s Day arrives! Will any of the 3-E students or teachers find true love? And will the meddling and teasing of the others help or hinder cupid’s arrow from finding its target…?

Review:

The volume opens with a fun scene of Nagisa and Karma threatening some astronauts in space for some secret information. It sounds like a bad idea, but it actually turns out quite fun. And it ends with them finding out some key information about Koro-sensei and his inevitable explosion. There's another reprieve after this, when Koro-sensei wants to experience the holidays over Christmas break with his students, and so they reenact it all.
Amongst all this, graduation is approaching the same as Koro-sensei's possible explosion. The students have to choose what to do after graduation, what career they want to pursue and what school. There are some surprise choices, and some surprise confessions.
This was a fun volume to read. There's a lot of humor mixed in with the serious moments. If I followed this series more, I'm sure I'd enjoy it even more.


 A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Manga Review: Black Clover, Volume 9, by Yuki Tabata

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: November 2017
Volumes: 14+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 8. 10.

Goodreads Synopsis:

In a world of magic, Asta, a boy with anti-magic powers, will do whatever it takes to become the Wizard King!

Asta is a young boy who dreams of becoming the greatest mage in the kingdom. Only one problem—he can't use any magic! Luckily for Asta, he receives the incredibly rare five-leaf clover grimoire that gives him the power of anti-magic. Can someone who can't use magic really become the Wizard King? One thing's for sure—Asta will never give up!

With the battle for the water temple finally over, the Black Bulls return home to the Clover Kingdom as heroes. But more trouble is on the horizon as the Diamond Kingdom launches an invasion! Can Yuno and the Golden Dawn repel the invading mages?

Review:

We get to see the conclusion of the fight with Vetto in this volume. It's violent and bad, but also ends rather easily with another person's help.
The end of that fight brings something new for the Black Bulls, though: praise. Now they're being cheered and commended and thanked for saving people and helping out. It's something most of them never thought they'd get.
While still recovering, a group of them goes to see the Wizard King, and end up called in to help with another invasion in a nearby town. Mostly they help out the civilians, though some rivalries are called up during it. Good and bad, really.
Near the end of the volume, Asta gets some news regarding his injuries, and of course it only brings him down for a short while before he decides to overcome it. Looks like he's going to have some more problems to conquer in his road to become king—no surprise there.
Meh; I don't mind this series—I don't love it and I don't dislike it. It's an okay shonen series.


A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Manga Review: Barakamon, Volume 14, by Satsuki Yoshino


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: September 2017
Volumes: 16+
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 13. 15.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Reality is tough, but...surely, the future must be bright.
Handa-sensei has returned from Tokyo with a new declaration--he's going to start his own calligraphy school! But will he find any students!? But when an unusually cold winter brings rare snow to the island, is Handa prepared to hibernate the time away...?

Review:

Handa and Naru get home from their trip to Tokyo, and are reminded that Kousuke showed up as they left, and has been staying at Handa's place. It's a mess, and Kousuke is being a spoiled child.
Now that Handa's back, he's going ahead with his plans to start his own calligraphy school, though there really aren't that many students on their tiny island. He also has very high expectations; he's a big dreamer.
Quite a bit is progressing in this series. Handa is moving forward in his dream; Kousuke has decided what he wants to do. Handa finally gets to face off with his old rival on the farm. And then Miwa's dad makes a surprise announcement, and we get to see Miwa grow some enthusiasm. The volume ends on a very good note, though, with a little celebration and everyone in a pretty good spot.
This is always a fun series, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Manga Review: The Promised Neverland, Volume 2, by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2018
Volumes: 8+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The children of the Grace Field House orphanage have their happy lives upended when they find out they’re being raised to be fed to demons. Can they escape their fate before it’s too late?

Life at Grace Field House has been good for Emma and her fellow orphans. While the daily studying and exams they have to take are tough, their loving caretaker provides them with delicious foods and plenty of playtime. But perhaps not everything is as it seems…

The children of Grace Field House find themselves in even more trouble as Sister Krone continues to snoop around. Can they keep their escape plans from being uncovered? And which child is the traitor working for Mom?

Review:

The artwork is really interesting to me. The covers in particular; they're very pretty, and they have a creepy eerie childishness to it, particularly when we see the house itself. I think it fits with the plot line really well.
So the group has narrowed some of their findings and plans down, and are deciding what's most important and what they still need to learn and find out. All three of them are being very critical and smart in this way.
They discover a traitor among them, and I admit I was very surprised by who it was. The story threw in a curveball that I wasn't expecting, and that only makes it more interesting. But instead of ruining their plans, this twist helps in a lot of ways, but also makes things a little more difficult in a different way. Their little group also grows a little bit, but that might have also ruined them. By keeping some factors secret, it might have caused a bigger problem.
They're also trying to figure out what they have to do when they get out, and that has me very intrigued, the little tidbit Emma discovered.
I'm quite hooked on this series already. It's has a very apparent creepy edge to it, while trying to appear cheery, and I'm really enjoying that. I want to know where it's going next.


A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Manga Review: Takane & Hana, Volume 2, by Yuki Shiwasu


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: April 2018
Volumes: 10+
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 3.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A strong-willed high school girl and a hot, young scion of a business empire can’t help trying to outwit each other every chance they get… But could these opposites be conning themselves out of the perfect match?!

After her older sister refuses to go to an arranged marriage meeting with Takane Saibara, the heir to a vast business fortune, high schooler Hana Nonomura agrees to be her stand-in to save face for the family. But what happens when Hana meets Takane is an unexpected pairing of utter opposites!

Hana has to continue to pretend to be her sister and Takane’s fiancĂ©e after Takane’s grandfather expresses his desire to meet Takane’s prospective marriage partner! But she’s totally out of her element at a party hosted by the Takaba Corporation, the largest conglomerate in Japan! Just how the heck is she supposed to pull of these high-class hijinks?!

Review:

Takane and Hana come upon a challenge in this volume—Hana gets to go with Takane to a work event, where she's supposed to be her older sister, because that's who his father thinks he's dating. They go shopping, trying to find something to make her look older. But at the party, she realizes what their age difference could mean for him if it's found out. It bothers her for a little bit, until Takane confronts her about it.
After that, we get someone from Takane's past. Nicola seems like a good guy, but also has some questionable intentions. I like where it's going near the end, and so I think the cliffhanger will be resolved nicely in the next one.
This is a really fun series. I like how competitive Takane and Hana get with each other, but how clearly they like each other. Even with the age difference, they seem very similar and get along really well.


A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Manga Review: Case Closed, Volume 64, by Gosho Aoyama


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shonen Sunday (VIZ Media)
Release Date: October 2017
Volumes: 92+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 63. 65.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Can Detective Conan crack the case…while trapped in a kid’s body?

Jimmy Kudo, the son of a world-renowned mystery writer, is a high school detective who has cracked the most baffling of cases. One day while on a date with his childhood friend Rachel Moore, Jimmy observes a pair of men in black involved in some shady business. The men capture Jimmy and give him a poisonous substance to rub out their witness. But instead of killing him, it turns him into a little kid! Jimmy takes on the pseudonym Conan Edogawa and continues to solve all the difficult cases that come his way. All the while, he's looking for the men in black and the mysterious organization they're with in order to find a cure for his miniature malady.

A blind woman hires Richard Moore to find the scarred man who once saved her life. But the unknown hero isn’t the only mysterious figure lurking around—there’s a serial killer on the prowl! Then the dashing jewel thief known as the Kaito Kid vows to crack a safe built by a legendary master of traps. But when Conan sees the Kid’s message, he suspects he may be dealing with an impostor…

Review:

In this volume, we get about four different cases.
One about a diver, which of course Conan leads to the killer. There's a brief moment where he threatens one of Conan's kid friends, but no one seems to take that seriously. Then one where a blind lady who wins the lottery tries to find a boy from her childhood who saved her—this is two mysteries in one, as one guy is her childhood hero, but another is a murderer the police are after. Though this leads to the next mystery, as one of the policemen is trying to find a killer who scarred him before the time is up on the case.
The last chapter is the start of a Kaito Kid copycat case, as a fake note from him was left. This should be fun, because I'm quite a fan of him. I'm glad I have the next one and get to see him again.


 A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Manga Review: Kaguya-sama: Love is War, Volume 1, by Aka Akasaka


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: March 2018
Volumes: 9+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

All’s fair when love is war!

Two prideful geniuses locked in battle. Who will make the first misstep and in doing so…confess their love?

Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane are two geniuses who stand atop their prestigious academy’s student council, making them the elite among elite. But it’s lonely at the top and each has fallen for the other. There’s just one huge problem standing in the way of lovey-dovey bliss—they’re both too prideful to be the first to confess their romantic feelings and thus become the “loser” in the competition of love! And so begins their daily schemes to force the other to confess first!

Review:

Given the look of the cover, and the title, I expected this to be a darker, possibly psychological, shonen series. But it's... not.
The first couple chapters are a little rough, a little rushed. But after that, it gets more into a flow.
We're quickly introduced to Kaguya and Miyuki, the student council president and vice president. They're admired and looked up to by everyone, seemingly untouchable. Miyuki is rather full of himself, and Kaguya is a bit stuck up. After a bit we meet Chika, the student council secretary, who's bubbly and a bit oblivious.
Each chapter is short and comedic, based around the competition and misunderstandings between Kaguya and Miyuki. Usually they're trying to outplay the other, to make the other confess to a weakness, the other to confess something and thus taking the higher hand themselves. Sometimes one is competing without the other even knowing it.
I will admit that it grew on me by the end of the volume. Chika is my favorite character so far, but I also like how oblivious rich Kaguya can be of the real world.
While this was not at all what I expected, I did have fun reading this volume by the end.


A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Teaser Tuesday[271]: A Monster Calls: A novel by Patrick Ness, Inspired by Siobhan Dowd, Illustrations by Jim Kay

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


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A Monster Calls A novel by Patrick Ness, Inspired by Siobhan Dowd, Illustrations by Jim Kay
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: 2011

Goodreads Synopsis:

An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting - he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth.

From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd - whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself - Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

Excerpt:

He'd never had a harder year of school or been more relieved for a summer holiday to come around than this last one.” (Paperback, pg. 68)

What are you reading?