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review 2017-11-24 23:01
Great adaptation format
Manga Classics: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe - Stacy King,Edgar Allan Poe

Disclaimer: reviewing eARC via NetGalley

 

I've read all of the stories in this volume in the past, but I found it far easier to appreciate them in this format. The language is preserved well, but breaking it up into multiple panels helped me slow down and appreciate the way it builds. In some cases, just the illustration helped clarify obscure language. Madness and murder benefit from eerie distortions and heavy use of screentone, building a visual background to the dark stories. The art stays on the clean and appealing side of commercial manga, though, not tipping too far into the horrific, so this could be a good way to introduce kids, as well as older readers ,to the work of Poe.

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text 2017-11-23 15:59
Back from vacation!

[Reposted from my Blogger blog, with a few edits.]

 

I've actually been back for a few days. I just hadn't settled down to write this post.

So, vacation could have gone better. I got sick a few days in and spent a few days with a fiery sore throat, a cough, and a fever. I had to cancel a lunch with a friend/former supervisor because my voice kept going in and out, and unfortunately that was the only day she could meet with me. There was one miserable 3 AM where I woke up thirsty and discovered I couldn't drink more than a tiny sip of room temperature water. Hot water with honey mixed into it (because I was too tired to make herbal tea) was my savior.

I still have a cough, and there are some problems with a filling I got on Monday, but otherwise things are better.

Although I didn't get quite as much reading done during my vacation as I would have liked (I had a stack of Haikyu!! that I never touched, plus Naruto and some leftoever Natsume's Book of Friends and Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun), I still managed to get a respectable amount of reading done. If my count is correct, I finished 43 manga and graphic novel volumes, one short story, and one book (that I'd started prior to my vacation but finished during).

Here are the spoiler-y posts you can look forward to in the coming weeks (I will, of course, slap spoiler tags on them when I post them here on Booklikes - no worries):

  • Alice in the Country of Hearts: The Mad Hatter's Late Night Tea Party (manga, vols. 1-2)
  • Alice in the Country of Hearts: My Fanatic Rabbit (manga, vols. 1-2)
  • Arisa (manga, vols. 2-12)
  • Black Butler (manga, vols. 21-23)
  • Delicious in Dungeon (manga, vols. 1-2)
  • Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto (manga, vol. 2)
  • Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft (graphic novel, vol. 1)
  • M.F.K. (graphic novel, not sure if it's a one-shot or vol. 1)
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (manga, vols. 4-5)
  • My Neighbor Seki (manga, vols. 1-6)
  • Natsume's Book of Friends (manga, vols. 11-13)
  • Orange: The Complete Collection (manga, vol. 1)
  • Skip Beat! (manga, vols. 37-39)
  • Tokyo Ghoul (manga, vols. 1-5)

 

Next time I go on vacation, I'd definitely like to continue Black Butler, Locke & Key, Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Natsume's Book of Friends, Orange (if I don't request the next and I think final volume through ILL between now and then), Skip Beat!, and Tokyo Ghoul. I'll rerequest Haikyu!! and Naruto, too.

As for the rest: I think I might finally have read the last of Alice in the Country of Hearts/Clover/Joker/etc. Delicious in Dungeon was okay, but not something I'd want to binge-read. I really shouldn't have continued Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto - for me, the series is like looking on in horror as the weirdest and most disturbing insect I've ever seen crawls across my carpet. It's something to do with the art style, I think, since the actual content isn't really that horrifying. And My Neighbor Seki is definitely not one of those series to binge-read. It'd work best in small amounts, and trying to get through 6 volumes at once was a mistake on my part.

Other things I finished:

  • The Yellow Wallpaper (e-short story) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman - Free through Project Gutenberg. Strange and a little creepy. Very good, although I have lots of questions.
  • Alliance in Blood (e-book) by Ariel Tachna - I went from "this isn't great, but not the worst thing I've ever read" to "this is very bad." It started in the introduction, when the author wrote about how she'd "proudly" never read any vampire stories, and culminated with insta-love, a plodding story, and a wooden and boring big battle. The author may have thought that this story was too big to fit into a single book, but I have a feeling a good editor could have combined the first two or three books in the series into something much better than Alliance in Blood.

 

And visual novels! I "finished" one and got started on another in the few days between flying back and going back to work. I believe that both can be played on Apple or Android devices, although one is definitely best played on a phone rather than on a tablet.

  • The Arcana (game) - I may write a more thorough review, but for now my impression is that it's quite good. The artwork is lovely and the routes are interesting. I had things I liked about each of the three romanceable characters. The app's main problems are 1) the pricing structure (if you want access to the entire thing at any time without waiting, be prepared to pay $60+), 2) the amount of waiting (it takes 8 hours to get a new key so that you can read another chapter, and you can only have a maximum of 3 keys saved up), and 3) its incompleteness (it's a serial that's still ongoing - no clue when it will be complete).
  • Mystic Messenger (game) - Again, I may write a more thorough review later, but for now I'm loving this app, with some reservations. It takes place over the course of 11 real-time days, and it assumes that you have a daily schedule that's busiest from 9ish to 6ish but that still allows you multiple breaks to check your phone. If I could ask for one improvement, it would be for the app to allow users to enter their work/school schedules. At any rate, I will probably end up paying for a calling card for all of the characters, and for the bit that allows you to romance a couple extra characters. The Common route lasts a few days, after which you're locked into a particular character. I couldn't decide between Zen (a flirty but kind of lonely actor) and Jaehee (an efficient but overworked assistant, and the game's only woman aside from the player character), and apparently my indecision pushed me more towards Jaehee's route, so that's what I'm currently playing. From what I've read, it's a friendship route rather than a romantic one, and I'm really enjoying it so far. Jaehee's a great character, and I'm rooting for her happiness (even though she dislikes cats).
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review 2017-11-23 05:37
Attractive romance-manga retelling
Manga Classics: Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre is super well-suited to a shoujo manga format - very soapy! I liked the cute art, though backgrounds were sometimes a little sparse. The plot moves pretty quickly to cover childhood through maturity, and parts are inevitably summarized, but key events got good coverage, and the central romance was, if anything, more enjoyable in this format than others I've seen.

 

I've also reviewed Great Expectations in this series, and I enjoyed the Jane Eyre version quite a bit more. The language used is startling at first, since it's overly formal, but you quickly adjust to the classic lit tone. Really detailed liner notes and character art at the end are a nice addition.

 

Great for kids new to the title, fans of manga-style art and romances, or those looking for an accessible entry point to a classic novel.

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review 2017-11-22 23:11
Fun, expressive whirlwind trip through the bones of Charles Dickens's GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
Great Expectations (Manga Classics) - Crystal Chan,Charles Dickens,Nokman Poon

Disclaimer: reviewing an uncorrected eARC via NetGalley.

 

Art: It's actually better than the covers would suggest. The black-and-white manga-style artwork is attractive, emotional, and expressive. Comedic cartoon-style distortion helps add levity to a fairly heavy plot, while some subtlety of storytelling is better expressed through the illustrations than the deeply abbreviated text. I found the colourized cover art too "plastic" looking, but overall the style holds up, with clearly-differentiated characters, detailed backgrounds and solid transitions. Occasional problems with distinguishing who's speaking or what's going on.

 

Story: This is an adaptation, and necessarily a heavily abbreviated one. I thought they did a surprisingly good job of conveying the scope and emotional underpinnings of the story while racing through it at a breakneck speed. The language does get pretty heavy-handed at times, with little subtlety in expressing themes and character perspectives. There's some odd switches between original lines and modern-day, but as an accessible entry-point for children, avoiding continuous use of dense and dated language makes sense.

Extras: The book includes several pages of liner notes about the adaptation, as well as a helpful section indicating how to read manga-style ("backward") books.

 

Overall, a solid, entertaining and surprisingly informative Coles-notes style manga adaptation. Could be good to introduce (older) children to a classic novel in a more accessible way, to help reluctant readers understand key themes without wading through heavy language, or as a fast, fun refresher to those who are already familiar with the original source material.

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review 2017-11-17 20:00
12 Days of Death Note: Finis
Death Note, Vol. 13: How to Read - Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata,Eric Searleman,Akira Shiwawa

In the end it ends like they always said it would. So no big surprises, but to be honest I was a little bit underwhelmed. It had built up to a great big finale, and while there is a finale, I felt like it could have been a bit more.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the series and would recommend it.

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