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review 2016-07-15 15:13
The search for identity
Wandering Son, Vol. 1 - Shimura Takako,Matt Thorn

I watched a really interesting anime a few months back called Wandering Son which focuses on two main characters who are transgendered. It was such an intriguing storyline but I felt there was potential for so much more. Luckily, anime are generally based off of manga so I did a little search and Wandering Son, Vol.1 by Takako Shimura (translated by Matt Thorn) fell magically into my hands. As you can guess, there are a number of volumes in this series which consist of multiple issues. The story focuses on two fifth graders who share a secret: They both want to be the opposite gender. This is the second book that I've read which discusses gender identity but it's the first I've read with characters this young. There are the normal trials and tribulations of adolescence (puberty being one of them) as well as the added anxiety of gender identity and secrecy. It's an interesting storyline but unfortunately not a lot is covered in this volume (even less than in the anime) so I think I'm going to have to read several more before I get the more that I was craving. (I'm not sure if I'm interested enough to continue honestly.) The majority of the artwork is average but there are a few pages which really shine. If you're looking for an anime/manga combination that explores a topic which you may or may not be overly familiar with then you might want to give this one a chance...as long as you understand you'll have to be committed for the long haul. 5/10 since this volume fell short of my expectations.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-07-01 11:12
Wandering Star - K.M. Penemue

It’s not explicitly displayed in the blurb nor by the labels in the publishing house, so I will tell it myself: this is a POLYAMOROUS book. For some reason I can’t consider this M/M/F. I don’t consider it a spoiler, just a fair warning, or at least, the fair warning I would have liked to read before getting into this adventure.

Because it’s action-packed, that’s undeniable. It’s fun, and well-written, and easy to read, and very very cool.

Sixia and Zane are Jacks. They accept any job that can make money, mostly outer-space deliveries, but this time their assignment is different: they are requested to bring a slave to the King of a faraway planet. And they are ordered not to treat him as a person.

Zane fails spectacularly.

The sense of humor is great.

So why am I so deflated? Well, for starters, this is my first asexual book and maybe this sounds absurd but I wanted my first time to be special. I expected a love story in which the MC would accept his partner with no conditions and with no “alternative” resolutions.

This means: I wanted the MC to be with the other MC and be utterly happy with that. Just like any other love story.

But what happened with Zane was this instead: I love that blue-haired guy but he doesn’t want sex, but that doesn’t matter because I can happily fuck the girl. WTF? Don’t get me wrong, he never says that and I honestly believe he truly falls in love with Isais and loves Sixia, too, and he’s obviously content with both of them.

The problem is, I wasn’t.

I know I’m making this sound worse than it should but I felt Isais was the consolation prize, the second choice, the not-enough-for-me kind of person.

I didn’t like that. At all. I wanted Isais to be his everything. But he wasn’t, he was just a part of his everything. Because the other part is Sixia and the sex.

I felt the book was trying to sell me the story that the solution for people falling in love with asexual people is to fuck another person instead. And no worries about that, because the HEA for the three of them is guaranteed.

Just no.

I mean, I have no experience in these asexual stories but it felt all WRONG to me! Asexual people don’t want sex but I have a feeling their hearts are intact. I’ve always assumed they longed for their other half as any other human being does, and that doesn’t include accepting your partner to have fun with another. Maybe I’m too naïve in this but those are my feelings and I can’t change them. For me, asexual people and people who are in a polyamorous relationship are two different concepts, not the same one. They may coincide sometimes but not because it’s inherent in their natures but because they feel complete with said situation.

You should know I’m not a fan of M/M/M and much less of polyamorous, so I try to avoid them. That’s why I would have appreciated to have had some kind of warning. Unfortunately, for some reason, the out-of-the-ordinary romances are quite vague in their descriptions, so I’m never sure when I’m reading a blurb whether or not they are telling me what I need to know, and I unavoidably feel cheated afterwards.

Still, I’ve read some threesomes love stories that were precious to me. I just have to be REALLY motivated to read them and for the author to be REALLY good at it. So they are not an absolute contraindication, but a relative one.


Second part of the review.

Adding to this big romantic fail we have to consider the scientific one.

There was a scene in which there is a heart arrest. And they save the person with an injection in the heart. I admit Tarantino is the best, I admire him, I love him and I think he’s the best American you can find, he’s my role model in so many ways (well, ok, I try control myself. Mostly). Whatever, I would vote him for President and all. But I would never, never, NEVER, ask him to save my life.


Well, because that scene is… a myth. To give you a hint, cardiac surgeons think about it VERY seriously before deciding to make a pericardiocentesis, and only the most trained ones manage to do it without complications. Translation: if you are not careful, you can perforate the heart, and everybody with more than two neurons knows that’s bad news.

So, do you honestly believe a non-experienced person should do it?

I’m not an expert, and that’s why I know I would NEVER do it. I mean, if I was in the middle of nowhere (outer-space) and I had to stick a big needle in someone’s chest to save his life… I would reject that foolhardy idea immediately. I mean, a hole in your heart, no less! How can this possibly result in a happily-ever-after?

It’s a bit too dangerous. Firstly, the chances to reach the part of the heart you want to reach are small, and even less if you have no knowledge of anatomy. Secondly, the person would bleed himself dry in a matter of minutes. Thirdly, if he doesn’t bleed himself to death (I doubt it), it would easily get complicated into an hemopericardium that could lead to cardiac tamponade that could lead to cardiogenic shock. And if that doesn’t happen, there are also endless chances of complications: infection (pneumonia, miocarditis, pleurits, etc), hemo/pneumothorax, the rupture of an important vessel with the consequent internal bleeding… and maybe some may not lethal by themselves at first but one possible/probable/unavoidable common road to them all is… yes! You are right! Death! Sooner or later, but death nonetheless. Above all with no medical support, in the middle of the space. With the injection he may (shockingly) live, but that doesn’t mean he will have a long life, if you know what I’m trying to say. And of course, when you finally get to reanimate someone, there is no guarantee that there are no sequels. The more time it takes to reanimate someone, the more chances for that person to suffer some degree of brain damage, above all when you have waste precious seconds in preparing and using the injection (neurons don’t take ischemia very well). So when the character wakes up and begins walking and causing trouble again as if nothing has happened, with barely no symptoms at all (maybe a little of weakness) I was not entirely convinced. But hey, everything for the sake of fiction, I guess.

If I was there, I’d use the injection in whatever vein I can find and proceed with CPR in a heartbeat (pun intended). If I find none, I would inject it anyway and pray my brains out while doing the CPR. That way the drug would circulate really quickly and hopefully do its work. You know what? Forget the injection, I’d do the CPR right-the-fuck-now! CPR is the trick, break the ribs if you have to but DO IT WELL AND DON’T STOP.

But hey, that’s me. You can do whatever you think suitable.

But do you know what’s the worst thing? None of this is necessary. Things are much more obscure. The crux of the matter is: how come we are in the future in the middle of nowhere and the spaceship doesn’t have defibrillators? (Or any other cool technology you could expect) More and more businesses have one. Nowadays there are very dumb defibrillators, you put the paddles on the chest, order everybody to stay clear, push a button and voilà. Even kids learn to use them.

We are in the future and we have fancy sodas, but no defibrillators. Think about it a minute or two. Lots of spaceships. With artificial gravity. And fancy sodas. But no defibrillators.

It’s kind of mind-blowing and not because we are in the space.

This future sucks, IMO.

So I honestly believe this is a good book, but for the reasons I have told above I couldn’t fully enjoy it. I still recommend it, though, because I’m pretty sure other readers would appreciate it better than I did.


***Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

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review 2016-06-12 18:08
Nope, nope nope...
Wandering Son, Volume 1 (Hardcover)--by Shimura Takako [2011 Edition] - Matt Thorn Shimura Takako


This starts out well, with a boy who wants to be a girl and classmate who seem to accept him.   It's cute, he's shy, and yeah. 


Then they start pushing him into wearing dresses, including in front of his family - who he still hasn't come out to, and it gets... weirdly intrusive.   Look, if someone doesn't want to come out, don't push them.   They end up giving him gifts for his birthday that include a dress; when he returns it, that girl trashes it in front of him. 


It's all weird, tense, and pushy.   I kept cringing for the boy, and wanting to tell everyone to back up.   Even the friend of his - a girl who wants to be a boy - ends up calling him names if he doesn't go with her when she goes on an 'outing.'   (She dresses up like a boy and goes as far away as she can on the train, and hangs out.   She gets hit on by girls and stuff.   But, seriously, even though it ends up all good, this isn't fucking support.   This is making him seriously uncomfortable and why is that everyone's first instinct?)


A lot of this is good.   The moments when he's alone and thinking this through are quiet and introspective. 


And then someone else comes along and tries to push him into something uncomfortable and embarrassing.  


Gross, gross, gross.   This was easy to read on one level - the writing - and hard on another - I wanted to punch everyone in the face because everyone was trying to be nice, but they were all really assholes. 


In conclusion:


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review 2016-03-24 00:00
Wandering Star
Wandering Star - K.M. Penemue
Rounded up to 4 stars

Let me introduce you to Sixia Star, a captain and the owner of Wandering Star ship, one of the most beautiful women and unknown type of alien:


... and her best friend, co-pilot and partner in crime:


"My name was awesome, anyway: Zane Loveless. How could anyone hear that and forget it? My parents didn't have much to give me, but a great name can get you pretty far. It was what got me on this ship.

Sixia, once a notorious but in-between a retired assassin, and Zane build together kinda small transport company that delivers cargo to any point in the galaxy. Mostly it is a boring job, that won't be paid extremely good, and it is why from time to time they take some illegal job to improve their finance.


Like this time: The Liberated, nothing else than mafia, offers a good paid job - to transport something to Phaeton. When Sixia and Zane realize that the cargo they agreed to deliver is alive, and even worse - they take a guy to be sold in slavery, that is ILLEGAL - it is already too late to cancel the deal. The only sedative for their feeling of remorse is the fact that the guy is doing it on his own free will. But is it true? What secrets might this job hold?

Be sure, there are SECRETS, and you'll find it out at the end.

If you want a pleasant quick read with a high entertaining factor, you shouldn't miss this one. The whole story reminded me a lot of Guardian of the Galaxy,(it is why I can't reject the gifs from the movie!), not a serious dark science-fiction, but the one with many actions, witty dialogues and enjoyable story-line.

It is not a steam read - there is no sex on the pages. But if you read and liked [b:Tournament of Losers|27388497|Tournament of Losers|Megan Derr|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1446132545s/27388497.jpg|47432407], the same kind of "made-me-happy-books-even-without-sex-or-maybe-even-because-of-it, you will probably like this one too. I DID. Because it was fun!


**Copy provided by the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

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review 2016-03-23 07:39
Have an existential crisis then go travel
No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering - Clara Bensen

This book mirrored my own life in an inverted sort of way. The author, Clara Bensen, tells the tale of how, after recently putting her life back together, she meets an energetic, spontaneous, carefree guy online and they go off together on an adventure across Europe with no baggage. An endeavor that is both thrilling and terrifying to think about, if you ask me. 


I have just recently moved to an entirely new country and as I near unemployment again and have no real direction in my life, I feel a bit like I'm taking Clara's journey in reverse, only no where near as extreme. Anyway, back to Clara's story. 


This is definitely a book for travelers and anyone that has ever felt the keen sting of life's overarching uncertainty. Clara describes, in detail, just how far down the rabbit hole she fell, how she was wholly crushed by this uncertainty of what life is all about. And all this helped get her to the point where agreeing to travel across Europe with a guy she met a month ago online didn't seem like such a big deal. 


The whole time I was reading this book I was trying to decide if traveling through several different countries over the course of a few weeks with little to no possessions and no set plans would be something I'd like to try some day. Everyone travels differently and they travel for different reasons and with certain expectations. I don't know if I would come away from a trip like Clara's feeling fulfilled. But it might be something worth doing once just for the experience. 


I think Clara did a very good job of making her two year tumble down a dark and hopeless tunnel of the unknown very relatable to anyone who has asked the question, "What do I do with my life?" This book certainly wasn't trying to be a commentary on the way our country responds to mental illness but it does shed some light. Clara, at one point, talks about how she was afraid to give the real reason why she had gone off the deep end, when I think her reasons are perfectly valid and something many people experience to some degree or another. 


I would definitely recommend this to any ambitious travelers or anyone who has every felt lost in life. 



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