Saturday, October 31, 2015

Alice in Murderland vol 2

This is a review of Alice in Murderland volume 2 by Kaori Yuki.
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 stars, I loved it.

This is the second volume in a series.  This review is likely to spoil the first volume for you.  If you would like to read my review of volume one you can find it here.

 Stella Kuonji and her eight siblings are all adopted.  They belong to the very powerful, and slightly eccentric, Kuonji family.  They are required to return home and attend a "Mad Tea Party" once a month.  During one of these tea parties their mother announces that they are to fight each other to the death until only one remains.  That remaining one will be the head of the family.  They have one year to battle it out.  During the initial chaos Stella's favorite brother Zeno is slain and Stella herself undergoes a physical transformation into "Bloody Alice" complete with blond hair and a blue dress.

In the second volume the murdering contiues.  At the end of the first volume two siblings were out of the running.  Sid and Zeno are both dead though Zeno has been resurrected, but he isn't quite the same as before.  Stella faces off with Little Red Riding hood in the this volume.  Red has planted an impressive number of traps for Stella but Bloody Alice is not easily fooled. After her fight with Red Stella remembers some things from her childhood that make her distrust one of her few allies in this battle. 

Some of the victims of the Mad Tea Party who have been in comas are starting to wake up.  Sol and Maré are Stella's older twin siblings.  Maré has been in a coma but has finally woken up and is not happy.  Stella is the object of Marés anger and another fight breaks out. 

Three more of the Kuonji siblings have been introduced, leaving just one that is still an unknown.  The backstory of Claire, Stella and Zeno has been established to some extent.  Olga-sama, their adoptive mother, hints that there is some very specific reason each child was adopted by the Kuonji family.  A very big hint was dropped in this volume as to the reason that Zeno's personality has changed so much.

I am interested to see the continuation of this story.  Each new character adds something new to the plot.  The siblings are interesting, they each have their own motivations for playing along with their mother's sadistic game, or for not wanting to play along. 

I highly recommend this series.  It continues to be an interesting take on Alice in Wonderland.  Just know, it definitely deserves its rating of "Older Teen" for the violent nature of the story!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Chaika: The Coffin Princess vol 1

This is a review for Chaika: The Coffin Princess volume 1 by Ichirou Sakaki, Shinta Sakayama & NitroPlus
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 4 stars, I liked it a lot.

Toru Acura lives a quiet, peaceful life.  The war ended five years ago and with it, his reason for getting out of bed every day.  He was a Saboteur in the war with a unique ability but without a war to fight what is a man whose only skills are on the battlefield to do?

Toru lives with his sister Akari.  She is about fed up with his lazy ways.  Is it so much to ask that he get out of bed and get a job?  Akari forces Toru out of bed to find a job or at least some breakfast.  Toru goes into the forest to forage for food and there he runs into Chaika. 

Chaika is a strange girl from another country.  She caries a huge coffin on her back and speaks in broken sentences.  The chance encounter between her and Toru in the forest is about to shake up Toru's mindnumbingly peaceful life.

I enjoyed this manga quite a bit.  Toru feels like a relatable character and Chaika is a mystery waiting to be solved.  Akari is not wonderful in my opinion.  She is the typical little sister with a brother complex that is mostly just annoying.  She does seem like a capable fighter and maybe she will grow to be something more than the token annoying little sister with a brother complex.

I am interested to see where this story ends up.  It feels like a good set up for a great story. So far it is a little short on detail but it feels like it could be something wonderful.  I recommend it to anyone who likes a good adventure series.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Merman in My Tub vol 1

This is a review for Merman in My Tub volume 1 by Itokichi
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 4 stars, I liked it a lot.

 What happens when a merman moves into your bath tub?  Serious, studious Tatsumi is about to find out.  One day he rescues someone by the river and takes him home to help him only to realize that he didn't rescue a human, but a merman.

Wakasa is a very energetic merman who had to leave his home after tourists started flocking in trying to catch a glimpse of him.  Tatsumi rescued him from a dirty, trash filled river and now he is living in Tatsumi's bath tub.

This manga is very silly and fun.  It follows the day to day life of Wakasa the merman and Tatsumi the student as they learn to live together.  Wakasa has many strange friends who come over and complicate things.  Tatsumi has to try to keep Wakasa a secret from his family and friends. 

I enjoyed this manga a lot.  It isn't very serious or very deep.  It is a light, fun read that just makes you laugh.  Wakasa and Tatsumi are such extreme opposites, their daily interactions are frequently full of misunderstanding.  When you add in Wakasa's eccentric friends and Tatsumi's overprotective sister and friends and you have a real recipe for disaster.

If you are looking for a light story that will make you laugh I highly recommend this series. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Warren the 13th & the All-Seeing Eye

This is a review for Warren the 13th & the All-Seeing Eye by Tania Del Rio, illustrated by Will Staehle
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 stars, I loved it.

Warren the 13th is the heir to his family's hotel.  It has been in the family for hundreds of years.  When Warren the 12th was in charge it was a gleaming beacon visited by hundreds of guests who booked months in advance and were served by fleets of waiters, butlers, bellhops, maids and gardeners.  Now it is a shabby, run down hotel with no guests and only Warren the 13th and one chef left running things.  

Warren's Uncle Rupert is lazy and let the hotel become a run down decrepit old thing under his care.  Then he married a strange woman named Annaconda who is certain that there is a valuable secret hidden in the hotel.  Warren spends most of his time cleaning up the messes she makes searching for "The All-Seeing Eye."  No one except for her believes it even exists until one day Warren finds the journal of Warren the 2nd and sees it mentioned.  Now word is out and there are tons of guests quite literally tearing the place apart looking for the mysterious All-Seeing Eye.

This book is intended for Middle Grade readers.  It is perfectly paced to keep kids interested.  There are puzzles and riddles and secret codes hidden throughout the book.  They are fairly easy for an adult but they are the perfect difficulty level for kids.

This book is loaded with beautiful illustrations.  Some of them depict whole scenes, some are just decorative on the margins.  Each one is beautifully done and a wonderful addition to the book.  All of the illustrations are done in black, white and red.  They add a sort of gothic, turn of the century Victorian feel to the story.

I quite enjoyed this book and I am honestly looking forward to the sequel.  If you have kids looking for a new book to read check this one out.  If you or your kids are into old fashioned mysteries check this one out.

I received this book free from the publisher Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review.
This book will be released November 24th, 2015!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Magical Girl Apocalypse vol. 5

This is a review for Magical Girl Apocalypse vol. 5 by Kentaro Sato.
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 stars, I loved it.

This is a review for the 5th book in a series, as such it will not be spoiler free.  If you would like to read my reviews of the previous volumes of this series you can find them here, 1, 2, 3, & 4.

Kii Kogami's life has really gone to shit since it started raining Magical Girls.  Almost all of his friends are dead, his average, boring life is a memory now, there are roving packs of Magical Girls killing everything that moves and no safe place stays safe very long.

It has to be said; generally super violent apocalypse stories have gotten stale by volume 5.  There is only so much horror and blood you can pour into a story before it just stops shocking the reader.  That is not the case here!  This story has a great mix of horror and humor.  The jokes are irreverent and ridiculous but they perfectly balance the horror and gore to keep the story fresh and entertaining.

The plot line of this story keeps advancing at a steady rate.  It isn't just rush around just trying to survive the next 5 minutes.  The characters are forming bonds and learning about their screwed up world.  They have learned the cause of the apocalypse if not the full reasons for it.  They may have even found a way to end it and save their world.

The only down side to this series is the big reveal at the end of each volume makes you desperate to read more and you have to wait 3 months for the next part!  As always, I highly recommend this series to those of you who enjoy apocalypse tales and horror flicks, but only as long as you aren't squeamish because there is really a lot of gore!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer

This is a review of Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan.
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 stars, I loved it.

Magnus Chase is 16 years old and homeless.  His world pretty much revolves around finding his next meal, finding a safe place to sleep at night and avoiding police, social workers and anyone who says they want to "help" him.  His world is about to expand rather rapidly when he discovers that the old Norse gods are all too real, Valhalla exists and he is dragged into a quest to stop Ragnarok from happening.

In true Rick Riordan fashion the story grabs your attention and drags you along for the ride.  Magnus is a being of pure sass, snark, and witty comebacks.  Reading this felt a bit like reading Percy Jackson in that respect.  Magnus and Percy are definitely cut from the same sassy cloth but they are quite different people.  Where Percy jumps in and hacks with a sword, Magnus attempts to disarm enemies though he doesn't back down when the situation calls for it.

I will admit that I know far less about the Norse gods than I do about the Greek ones.  I can't say for sure how accurate Magnus Chase is when discussing the ancient mythology, but I would imagine it is pretty close.

There was a lot to like about this book, especially if you are a fan of Riordan's other series.  This one crosses over with Percy Jackson in a very neat way.  Riordan continues to branch out with his characters.  I think it is great that his stories have such a broad range of races and religions included, representation matters.

Personally I loved this book.  I couldn't put it down, I stayed up til 2AM reading it.  I highly recommend that you pick it up and give it a chance.  If you haven't read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Kane Chronicles series' by Rick Riordan you should also give them a shot.