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review 2018-03-15 17:18
Land of the Lustrous (manga, vol. 3) by Haruko Ichikawa, translation by Alethea Nibley and Athena Nibley
Land of the Lustrous 3 - Haruko Ichikawa

In this volume we get a bit more world-building and a new character. Winter is starting, which means less sunlight and therefore less energy for most of the Lustrous. While almost all of them go into hibernation, Kongo-sensei and Antarcticite become everyone's guardians. Antarcticite spends most of the year in a liquid form, but every winter they solidify and gradually grow stronger as temperatures get colder.

Phos is usually the first of the Lustrous to begin hibernation and the last to wake up, but this time around they can't seem to stay asleep, a possible side effect of their new legs. Kongo-sensei assigns Phos to Antarcticite as their new partner. Phos isn't sure they're up to the task, especially after the disastrous incident with the Amethyst twins, and then there's the issue of the talking ice floes that prey on Phos's anxieties.

Although the first volume made this series look like it was going to be a "natural discovery or Lunarian attack of the week" kind of thing, in the last couple volumes it's become more focused on Phos's desire to become stronger and more useful and eventually able to help Cinnabar. There are also hints that Kongo-sensei knows more about the Lunarians than he's told the younger Lustrous.

I wasn't expecting this volume to be as tragic as it was. The panels in which Lustrous (I won't say which ones) were broken into pieces were brutal, and this time around there was more explicit recognition of the horror inherent in the Lustrous's tendency to lose memories whenever they permanently lost a body part.

It'll be interesting to see where Ichikawa goes after this.

Will Phos be able to get their memories back, or will they just make new ones? Are they going to lose more? And I wonder, has anyone ever retrieved kidnapped Lustrous from the Lunarians before?

(spoiler show)

Although I'm very much enjoying the story and world-building details, I do still have some issues with this series. First, I'm just going to say it: the action scenes in this series aren't always very good. They're pretty, and the composition of individual panels and pages is great, but the action often requires a lot of effort to follow and doesn't always make sense. For example, at the beginning of the volume the Amethyst twins cut open another weird pod-like Lunarian. In the first volume, when a similar Lunarian was cut open there was a sequence of panels that showed arrows made out of Lustrous pieces emerging from the Lunarian's...pore things.

In this volume, it wasn't nearly as easy to tell what had happened and how. In one panel, the Lunarian's pore things were just empty holes. In the next panel, giant spiky blade-things has already fully emerged, which no obvious indication of how something so big could have fit inside the Lunarian and emerged from those holes. After staring at the image for a while, I eventually figured out what might have happened, but those pages were really jarring and confusing the first time I saw them.

After the fun I had looking up the properties of real-life cinnabar after reading volume 1, I decided to see if Ichikawa had based Antarcticite off of the properties of real antarcticite. From what I can tell, although antarcticite is just as brittle as the manga said it was, Ichikawa made up most of the character's abilities. A bit disappointing.

All in all, this volume contributed a few more interesting world-building details and continued Phos's transformation into...something. It's definitely looking like this series is going to end in tragedy, at least where Phos is concerned. I plan to continue on with Land of the Lustrous, although limited library availability may mean that I'll have to switch to buying it.


Two pages of 4-panel comics - the humor felt a little weird and out-of-place after the events of this volume. Also, a page with two translator's notes.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2018-02-13 00:00
I'm glad I'm not the only one...

Have you ever read a novel and loved it, yet you couldn't even remember the main character's name?


Image result for memory


This happens to me all of the time. I was beginning to think that I was coming down with early dementia or something. I mean there are so many times when I read a really good book yet I can't even remember what it was about when someone asks me a few days later. I can remember the experience of a novel and whether I enjoyed it or not, but I cannot for the life of me remember the details that made the book enjoyable or not. Often times I have even picked up a book to read only to get a few chapters in and realize that it seemed familiar because I had read it before. It had gotten so bad that I started keeping a BOB (book of books). It is where I write down details about books and my experiences with them. I can refer back to this to help refresh my memory.  Sometimes I only need a quick reminder about the book in order to begin to remember it, so a glance at my BOB helps me with that.

I have found that the more I read a text, the better I remember it. However, there are way too many delicious books to be devoured for me to read every book at least twice.  There are some I have read and will re-read though, like the Harry Potter series and Wuthering Heights! Well, let me just say I haven't built my reading pace up enough to be able to re-read novels and keep up with new ones at the same time. Maybe one day...

Anyway, I came across this article one day and it explained the phenomenon of "reading and forgetting". It was very eye-opening and a huge relief to me. I was exhilarated to know that I'm not losing my mind and that I am not alone. Check it out when you have time! 


Let's chat: Have you ever experienced this phenomenon?



Source: www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/01/what-was-this-article-about-again/551603
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review 2018-01-24 00:49
The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace
The Memory Trees - Kali Wallace

Alas, The Memory Trees falls on that odd line that I've found lately between something that enchanted me, and also left me slightly cold. I'll do my best to explain, I promise. It should be noted that I love Magical Realism. There's something beautiful about books that keep one foot firmly rooted in our reality, while exploring something otherworldly at the same time. In this case, I'm just not sure that Sorrow's story really accomplished that as well as I had hoped.

At the core of this story is a deep family lineage that, as is often the case, is peppered with grief and loss. The Lovegood family has never had it easy. From the moment that the first Lovegood moved onto their ancestral land, their lives have been difficult and layered. I appreciated the fact that Wallace took the time to let the reader see the vast history that surrounded Sorrow's childhood home. It's easy to see how one event can echo through history, and even affect the present in ways that might not be completely obvious. The stories that were told rooted me in the Lovegood's lives like nothing else could.

The downside to this way of writing though, is that it's rough to really settle into. Although I felt for Sorrow, and understood her anger at what she had lost, I couldn't quite step into her shoes and really become her. There were portions of this story that, while I could see that I should be feeling grief or hatred or anger, all I felt was a missing connection. It's a little tough to explain, but I felt like I was being told this story by someone far removed rather than someone who had actually experienced this. Additionally, I felt like the Magical Realism wasn't really coming through as strongly as it could have. There were small elements of mystery and magic, but they didn't feel as fleshed out as I would have liked. I wish I could have felt more of the magic that Sorrow was meant to feel. Try as I might though, it never stuck.

As you can see, I'm of two minds about this book. The Memory Trees has great bones. The family history here is vast, and gives this book something that I'd been missing. It gives it roots. On the flip side, I never felt fully connected with our protagonist and that made things tough. What I can say is that the audio book version of this is definitely perfection. The narrator that was chosen has a voice that pins down that ethereal quality, and really brings the ghostly Lovegood family to life. So, my final suggestion is just to read this! If you're in love with rich familial ties, wide open country land, and stories that pull you into the life of someone unlike you, this is a book for you.

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review 2018-01-23 20:41
The Memory Detective
The Memory Detective: A Novel - T. S. Nichols

Admittedly, this isn't the type of thriller that I would normally pick up, and I was a little worried about the medical side of this tale getting too technical and bogged down in the details. Thankfully, that wasn't the case at all. The author gives just enough of the medical side for the reader to get what's going on and follow the story. The idea of going in for a procedure that gives you a dead person's memories was thoroughly chilling to this reader, especially when The Company's purpose is revealed. The story does drag at times, particularly when memories are being "remembered." While the way remembering worked for the recipient is an important part of the story, I felt that a complete play by play of every memory was a bit much. That aside, the story did keep me turning pages to see what would happen next, right up to the jaw-dropping conclusion. About 95% of the way through, I completely expected a cliffy - either that or the ending would have to be a rush job - but that didn't make it any less shocking when I got there. On the whole, this is a solid debut novel for Nichols and I'll be anxious to see what's next for the Memory Detective.

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review 2018-01-23 17:31
The Persistence of Memory - Jordan Castillo Price

As usual, I don't know what I get myself into when I read a Jordan Castillo Price novel...

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