Friday, 28 April 2017

Light Novel: Rokka Vol 1

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy! 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

In order to stop the revival of the Demon God, six heroes are to be chosen to save the world. Those chosen surely have great combat abilities, special powers, or have been intensely trained as Saints. Excellence and ability are supposed to be the calling card of the chosen heroes, but this ragtag band lived far from normal, peaceful lives before they came together to become heroes.

Hanz's mysterious assassin for hire trade. Mora and Chamo's daily life at the World Temple. Nashetania and the youth scheming to win her heart, Goldof. The one who lives her life as a demon thinking of her family, Fremi. And the boy who lives with only his dream in mind, Adlet.

Their true feelings and personalities all seem to have another side to them... They will all come together to battle mystery, reveal the past, and step into legends in this new exciting series!

I'm going to say it....I think Rokka might just be my favourite light novel and manga series. Seriously. I love the mystery element to this, and how it keeps me guessing the entire time! I seriously spent so much time trying to put all the clues together and work out who the fake was, but I genuinely couldn't work it out! I ended up being so surprised, and I hadn't worked out how it all went together either! 

The light novel version of Rokka carries on past the manga and it wraps the mystery all up in one volume. I have a feeling the manga might wrap it up in the second volume but I'm not too sure! I was so intrigued to see the more fleshed out version after reading and loving the manga and I wasn't at all disappointed! There was so much additional information in here, plus some completely gorgeous character art at the beginning. 

The opening draws you in and sets the scene perfectly, and there's plenty of information on the Braves and the Evil God and the lore to do with it all that I found so fascinating and I wanted to read more and more. We get a tonne more background on Adlet, who I was so intrigued about from the manga, and I loved getting to know him better and find out about his childhood and how he got his training and why he wants to fight the Evil God. We get to see how he met Nashetania and see her power, and how they got separated before he met up with Fremy. The characters are all fleshed out and I'm excited for the next volume to hopefully get to learn some more about the other characters. 

There's action from the start, and we skip ahead for the prologue which provides some intrigue and excitement before we go back. The light novel starts way before the manga does, like before Adlet even got his mark and then catches up and goes past it to wrap up the mystery, like I said. I enjoyed the different POVs. We got Adlet's POV and it was a brilliant narrative because he does make me chuckle and roll my eyes a little bit sometimes. But we also get the POV of traitor/fake Brave, which was veeerrry interesting and I tried to use it to help me work out who it was but...epic fail. 

I really liked Fremy in this volume, we get to know her and understand her a bit better than in the manga, partially because we see more of her, obviously. She makes me chuckle and I'm still so curious about her! I also totally ship her and Adlet. Just saying. Sorry. 

I really loved the bickering and banter between Adlet, Fremy, Hans, Nashetania and Goldof. It made for entertaining reading and I liked the bond they where all forming at one point. Before things happen. I'm not going to lie, Hans irritated me a little at the beginning, mostly because he was making things difficult for an obviously innocent Adlet. BUT. I ended up really loving Hans. I liked the budding friendship he and Adlet had going on and I'm really hoping he's a good guy! Chamo on the other hand just bugs me and I'm lowkey hoping she's the new bad guy. Please. Please writers. I like all of the others...mostly. 

This light novel is very well written, it's great at creating an atmosphere and letting you really feel the tension and suspense as you read. And like I said, it keeps you guessing and I kept changing my mind about who I suspected as I tried to put all the pieces together. Then there's the ending....and what an ending. Just when you thought it was all over....oh no. Just please don't let it be Fremy, Adlet or Hans. PLEAAASEE! 

In short...this is basically one of the best light novels I've ever read, and I need the second volume like I need life. I'm also really loving the manga as well, and I'm intrigued by the differences between the two! 

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Manga: Asterisk War Vol 3

The Asterisk War Vol 3
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy!
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The traitor revealed!
The one behind the recent "accidents" has finally been unmasked--but Julis alone isn't strong enough to beat him! It'll take a team of unlikely allies to bring this fiend to justice. Those in the shadows know this is only the first of many threats to come. Things will heat up even more as the Festa draws near...! 

I'm actually really liking this manga more and more, the more volumes I read! I love the bright and colourful pages that grace the beginning of each volume....I'm a sucker for bright colours! (That's totally why I ended up watching Nanbaka, not going to lie). The little sketches give me life, they're so cute! And the plot is moving at a nice pace, and in this volume we get a new character! You can see her right there on the cover, Kirin Toudou. I'm curious about her. We meet her for like a minute and then she runs off, but she's on the cover of this volume so I'm assuming/hoping that means we're going to see her again because I'm definitely intrigued! 

Also in this volume, as you can tell from the synopsis, the mystery is solved! We have our culprit and it's not at all who I was expecting! Although as expected, said culprit was working with one of the other academies, which makes the ending of the book all the more intriguing as I wouldn't be trusting Ernesta and Camilla all that much. I'm guessing Claudia's going with the 'friends close, enemies closer' way of life. 

Speaking of Claudia, we totally get to see her in action this volume, and learn about the shadowy organisation Shadowstar. I actually didn't mean to fingers typed before my brain caught up! I'm intrigued by what and who they are, and their role in everything, and I'm assuming we'll get to see more of them in the future! It's another part of the world of the book that's been uncovered! We also get to venture in to the world a smidge more in this volume too!'m actually starting to quite like Lester. He really surprised me this volume, and he's kinda becoming part of our little group! I'm excited to get to know him better and see more of his power. Speaking of surprises, Eishirou is more than he seems too. I'm not going to lie...I'd kind of dismissed him a little bit in the other volumes, which was probably the point, but I'm eager to know what the fudge he's up to! 

The thing we've all been expecting to happen finally happens and Julis finally takes on Ayato as a partner as they enter training for the Festa. I'm getting quite excited for the Festa, I love competitions like this in manga, when we get to see a tonne of new characters and everyones power/magic! We also got a sneak peek at some potential opponents in the Festa which has me even more excited! Although I'm totally rooting for Julis, how could you not after that backstory!? 

I have to say, at the end of this volume, Saya's called out as being the daughter of the professor, and we get a close up of her and she has kind of a strange look on her face....I'm intrigued to see what that's all about in the next volume, and I'm hoping we might get some backstory on her and her family! 

All in all, volume 3 brings one arc to a swift close while sprinkling some intrigue around, and is starting to gear up for another and I'm assuming bigger, arc...the Festa! Which I'm really excited for, like I've said many, many times! I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm actually finding this to be a lot of fun! 


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Review: Wintersong

Rating: 3/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

I'm really not too sure how I feel about this book. I really, really wanted to love it and I know so many people who where so blown away by it and gave it all the stars and really, truly loved it but...I just didn't love it as much as I thought I would. I was told that Wintersong is Labyrinth thoughts where bring it on. I love the movie Labyrinth. My dad's a huge Bowie fan so I listened to all his music growing up and saw the film multiple times. I could picture Bowie's Goblin King as I was reading so the author did a good job on that front. 

The writing...was good. I liked the kind of musical quality there was with the writing sometimes, how some parts would rhyme that had nothing to do with lyrics. I'm not sure if it was done on purpose but in a book so focused on music it was a nice little touch to come across. The settings where vivid, from 18th century Germany, through to the decadent and rich Underground. The descriptions of some of the Goblin food in the Underground where suitably vivid and gross. 

I was kind of torn with Liesl. I liked that she was a little bit different, a female composer in a world that wasn't all that kind to females. I felt for her with her feelings towards her siblings and how she felt about herself and on some points I connected with her. But she did bug me more than once with her behaviour and for someone who's painted and harped on about as being selfless she actually struck me as selfish way more than once, and she did seem to be a smidge on the dramatic side at one point in the story, figuring it was to do with the magic of the place, I rolled with it though. But I did stop liking her for a few moments throughout the book. 

The thing with the book was that while I mostly enjoyed it, it never really grabbed me. It took me a while to pick it back up after I put it down. It seemed slow at some points, and dragged a little here and there. But then something would happen....and then it would drag again. The first half of the book  will be very familiar to Labyrinth fans, so I enjoyed that for that aspect. Then there came the other half. While I liked the romance...I quickly lost interest in it in the second half of the book, and it was at this part that I started to lose interest again in general. I was intrigued about the Goblin King's past and his curse, but all the relationship stuff sometimes felt a bit too much. 

Why? Because when Liesl doesn't get something intimate that she wants from dear old Goblin King, she got downright bratty and acted like a drama queen. There where temper tantrums, tears, "it must be because I'm ugly" reasoning, arguments, and like...he felt guilty and he was doing it for her own good and I know full well if the thing had happened she'd have been all ragey. I just didn't like it, and it was annoying, she basically acted like a complete child. And while I was intrigued by the Goblin Kings background...the Christian theme that sprung up was a complete miss with me. 

I feel like the last part of the book was messy and confusing and all mashed together with a rushed ending and there was so much that could have been explored instead of having to read about Liesl's temper tantrums. Like I said...I was intrigued by the Goblin Kings background and how the title of Goblin King is passed on. We didn't find out how that happened. So much could have been done with Josef's real identity. I was intrigued by the previous wives and the tale of the first wife...but none of that was explored. And considering all the emphasis on what happened to the first wife...I was expecting it to happen at the end of this book, and would have been happier with that than the rushed ending we got. So much of this stuff was introduced in to the plot...but then that was it. It wasn't picked up on later like I had assumed, it was just dropped. Like I felt like a lot of things where mashed together with no real goal in mind. 

Overall, I feel like this was so hyped up to me that I had high expectations, and I feel like a lot of this could have been cut and edited to fix some of the problems before it was published. There where a few things I liked, but the last half of the book really marred those and dragged down the overall rating which is  shame because I can see how the book could have been! 


Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Manga: Today's Cerberus Vol 3

Today's Cerberus Vol 3 
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The mythical beast Fenrir has set her sights on Chiaki, and Shirogane in particular is none to happy with the competition. It's dog versus wolf in this showdown that will bring the whole school to its knees! Who will come out on top?! 

I'm not going to lie, I feel like this series keeps getting better and better, and more and more fun! As you can tell from the synopsis Fenrir makes an appearance in this volume, and heralds the arrival of Norse mythology in this series. I love Norse mythology as much as I love Greek and Egyptian mythology so I was so totally stoked to see Fenrir make an appearance closely followed by her siblings Hel and Jormungand! 

As I was reading the chapter with them, I was thinking "please stick around...please don't be for just a chapter or two" and then they popped back up again. I'm like 75% sure they're here to stay and may or may not be a permanent fixture, which makes me really excited! 

Chiaki has a new friend in this volume, and I LOVE IT! Seriously. Idora's little cat buddy makes for some fun interactions with Cerberus too! I'm really enjoying the dynamics to Chiaki's growing friendship group and seeing Chiaki interact with them. The romance aspect steps up a bit with the arrival of Minnie, a childhood friend of Chiaki's who totally has a thing for him and takes something from their childhood the wrong way, and we all know how Roze But we also have a potential solution to Chiakis little problem, which could prove to be very interesting. 

Volume 3 is just as fun and crazy as the other volumes, but we get to see some of Chiaki's past and get to know him a little better, this volume basically adds a little bit of depth to the story. We also got to see some more of Shirogane in action! This is one of those series that I genuinely look forward to each new volume for because it makes me chuckle, and it's entertaining! I'm hoping the Norse characters are going to stick around a bit more and I'm intrigued by the romance situation! This is such a fun slice of life but with you know....mythology! 

Monday, 24 April 2017

Review: The Witch's Tears

The Witch's Tears
Rating: 3/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher. 

Can true love's kiss break your heart...? The spellbinding sequel to THE WITCH'S KISS by authors and sisters, Katharine and Elizabeth Corr. It's not easy being a teenage witch. Just ask Merry. She's drowning in textbooks and rules set by the coven; drowning in heartbreak after the loss of Jack. But Merry's not the only one whose fairy tale is over. Big brother Leo is falling apart and everything Merry does seems to push him further to the brink. And everything that happens to Leo makes her ache for revenge. So when strangers offering friendship show them a different path they'd be mad not to take it...Some rules were made to be broken, right? The darkly magical sequel to THE WITCH'S KISS burns wickedly bright.

While the first book in the series didn't completely blow me away, and it had it's problems for me...I was curious enough about what would happen next to want to pick up this sequel, plus the first book had the flashbacks to the past which provided a nice source of intrigue. This instalment however...I found myself enjoying much less and there was no intriguing historical element to save it. 

In Witch's Tears we're 3 months on from the end of the first book and Merry and Leo are dealing with everything that happened and aren't having a great time. Merry's struggling with the covens rules and her grandmother, she feels lonely and very alone as she's arguing with Leo all the time. Leo is struggling to deal with his loss from the first book and feels somewhat inferior to Merry I think. They'er arguing and not at all being there for each other which was perhaps the biggest disappointment of the book for me. 

The thing I really liked about the first book was the relationship Merry and Leo had, how they where there for each other and helped each other. I loved it and it was a rare thing to see in a book. You usually see the kind of sibling relationship that we see in this book. So I was hugely disappointed. Their arguments where repetitive they argued about and did the same things over and over and over to the point I was rolling my eyes more than once. 

Merry was such a whiny, arrogant little cow in this book, and she seemed to have some sort of complex where she thought she was superior to everyone else because she was more powerful and didn't think she needed to do everything the covens way, and there was this whole conflict she was having with the coven that was just so juvenile and I got really bored of it really fast. The coven...the arguments with was all the same repetitive things over and over again and I got so frustrated with it all. Merry and her inner monologue became very, very hard to read. 

We get two new characters, Ronan and Finn. Both are wizards. Both are untrustworthy. Both I wanted to trust and both I didn't feel I could. The thing was, was that Ronan was so overly suspicious that it wasn't even a surprise when he turned out to be the bad guy. Like I knew it was coming. Same as the foreshadowing made it pretty obvious what was coming too. I reached the big reveal and I just...I was like "really?". 

Our other new character Finn seemed to be there solely to be Merry's new love interest. I think we could have got by okay with this book, without him to be honest. I don't know if I couldn't get in to the romance because Merry bugged me or because it was genuinely unnecessary but I feel like it was just thrown in there because we had to have some romance. Like couldn't Leo's romance have been enough? Poor old Leo had to have the bad romance while Merry got to have the good. And then the end happened and Finn's true purpose was revealed. To provide one point on the love triangle that will be present in book three. 

For most of the book not much happens at all except for Merry's whining and her arguing with Leo. I just...I'm not sure what to make of this series. I so badly wanted this book to be better than the first, maybe part of the problem was that I had some high expectations for it, that it would go above and beyond the first book. Instead I found the book a disappointment and more than a little bit boring. 

My problem is that, I am still curious about how it's all going to end in the next book. I assume it all ends in the next book anyway. The ending was enough to pique my interest. I'd like to have some questions answered, including questions that I still have from the first book that I was expecting to be answered in this book, but weren't. Part of me basically wants to see how it's all going to end, but part of me feels like I'm going to be disappointed and that the love triangle that's quite obvious is going to bug me. I like a good love triangle if it's done well, but I feel like I have a good idea of how it's going to go. In short...I don't know whether or not I'll read book three, but book two was a disappointment. 


Friday, 21 April 2017

Manga: Akame Ga Kill! Zero Vol 5

Akame Ga Kill! Zero, Vol 5
Rating: 5/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Akame and her allies are on a mission to find the Revolutionary Army, but standing in their way is the leader of the Oarburgh Assassin's group! How will Akame overcome such a dangerous adversary? 

I'd expand on the synopsis usually but I really don't want to spoil the volume! All I'm going to say is that we're on the trail of the Revolutionary Army and things get.....grim. Very grim. Each volume gets more and more grim/rough whatever word you want to use. This volume has the grossest of gross deaths, I'm not going to lie! In case you weren't already aware, this series is certainly not for teens and this volume illustrates why, perfectly. 

The thing is.....I know what's going to happen to all of these characters from AGK, and so it makes reading some things really hard. Like scenes with Akame and her sister. And other scenes with other characters. Like as you can tell from the cover, we see Chelsea this volume and learn a smidge about her past and I was like waaaaa Chelsea! Green makes a confession and I'm like...bro...that's so not going to end well. 

My point is, we all know who's going to die, and we all know what happens to these characters, but it still manages to be devastating when a character dies because throughout these volumes we're made to care about them so much and this, and this volume in particular, is why I refer to AKG and AKGZ as the Game of Thrones of the manga world. Seriously. 

This volume moves at a great pace, there's some great links to the main series via Akame. Paper crafts anyone? And there are some brilliantly crazy characters to go with all the action. I kinda miss Esdeath. This volume really earned it's cellophane wrapper too. Seriously. Grossest death. *barf* and other stuff...but grossest death.  

I'm so intrigued and excited for volume 6. Well....mostly excited. I mean...on the one hand there's probably going to be a lot of bloody deaths in the next volume. And by probably I mean there totally will be. But on the other hand....a certain character may or may not still be alive. Like the chances are slim. But. We'll see.....who am I kidding. This is AKGZ. They're totally dead. *sobs* 

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