torachan: a cartoon kitten with a surprised/happy expression (chii)
What are you currently reading?
I made progress on both the books I had just cracked open last week: over halfway through on Miss Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children and about 10% on The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory, which is definitely going to take me longer (it's only 300 pages, but has small print, plus it's a physical book which means I'm not picking it up as often as I would an ebook).

I also got Ella of All-of-a-Kind Family from the library the other day and have read about a third of it. I never read this one as a kid, but I'm enjoying it just as much as the earlier books.

What did you recently finish reading?
Last week I got Alison Bechdel's Fun Home at the library. I went to pick up a book I had on hold, and there were some shelves of comics right next to the holds and this grabbed my eye. I really loved it. I've heard of Alison Bechdel and I've heard of Fun Home, but I really had no idea what it was about other than a vague idea that it was about her rocky relationship with her father, which I had always assumed meant he was homophobic. I had no idea he was gay himself.

Today in the mail I got The Middleman: Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse, which I had ordered because we finished the show recently. Back when I watched the show the first time, I did watch the panel reading of the finale done at Comic Con or wherever, but I don't even know if I knew there was a comic of it at the time (or I might have known and just not gotten it because it was expensive...this was $25 for an eighty-page comic!) but anyway, I'd totally forgotten the plot of the final episode anyway, so I was eager to read this and refresh my memory. I actually think the show ends just fine on episode twelve, but I like this as well.

I also read Y: The Last Man volume nine, though did not actually get to the final volume yet, since I keep getting distracted by other things.

What do you think you'll read next?
I have three books on Goodreads marked as "currently reading" that I haven't actually started reading yet, so those for sure! They are Alison Bechdel's Are You My Mother?, the final volume of Y: The Last Man, and Sawtelle: West Los Angeles's Japantown (Images of America: California), which I also received from Amazon today.
torachan: ewan mcgregor pulling his glasses down to look over the top (ewan glasses)
What are you currently reading?
I have just one chapter (about twenty pages) left to go in The New Jim Crow, so I will probably finish that either tonight or tomorrow. One thing I learned in the most recent chapter, which I had no idea about is that although prisoners cannot vote while imprisoned, the prison populations are used in creating voting districts and such. Most prisons are built in rural areas with very low, mostly white populations. These areas should hold very little power based on population, but because their numbers are padded by thousands of non-voting (mostly black) prisoners, they gain much more weight. Like the extreme gerrymandering in so many areas, this is nothing but an obvious power grab by republicans who know they don't have the numbers to support themselves in a fair vote. >:(

I'm also just a few chapters away from finishing The Library at Mount Char, too. This book is definitely a wild ride and I'm looking forward to seeing how it ends.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished up Public Library and Other Stories yesterday, spurred on by the fact that it was due back at the library today. Overall I enjoyed the stories, but found the title and cover blurbs a bit misleading. There was no story called Public Library, and the stories were not so much library-themed as language- and book-themed. They were still good stories, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting.

What do you think you'll read next?
Well, I had pre-ordered the new 7 Seeds and just got an email from Amazon last night that it had been downloaded to my ipad, so I will probably be reading that pretty soon. The last chapter apparently came out this month, but I'm not sure how many more volumes that will be since I don't follow the chapters as they're published, but probably just one or two. Maybe more if she does bonus material like she did for Basara.
torachan: (Default)
What are you currently reading?
I've actually been reading a lot this week! I'm about halfway through The New Jim Crow now. The first couple chapters were good reading, but also pretty much stuff I already knew, but the chapter I just finished focused on specific laws, Supreme Court decisions, etc. that I wasn't familiar with, and wow, that is even more fucked up than I realized. The Supreme Court has basically made it legal for cops and the legal system to discriminate based on race, and they've also made it so that individuals can't bring a suit against the police for discrimination.

In more lighter reading, I made a bit of progress on The Library at Mount Char and am about 20% done. I ended up having to go back and reread the first chapter because I was confused about the timeline. I'm definitely sucked in now, though, and will probably be reading it faster now because I really want to find out what the hell is going on, lol. One thing rereading the first chapter reminded me of that I didn't mention last time, though, is the terribad google translate Japanese. >_< The POV character is supposed to be fluent in every language in existence, so the least this guy could do is make sure if he's going to write out the words, rather than say "she said in Japanese", he consults someone other than a machine translation. I mean, it's not Dan Brown level bad, but it's grating, and there's really no excuse for it in this day and age.

I also picked up another library book the other day, which is actually a book of short stories about libraries. XD Or rather, with themes that could tie into an overarching library theme. I had expected more actual libraryness, but have so far been disappointed. The book is Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith, one of my favorite authors, so I'm still enjoying it even though it's not as libraryish as I had expected from the title and summary.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished up A Chance Child in just a couple days. Rereading it as an adult, it's still pretty weird, especially the first few chapters when you're just thrown right in and have no idea what's going on. But it makes more sense now, as I think a lot of it went over my head when I first read it. It's a good story and I'm glad I had a chance to read it again.

I also read volume 28 of Kimi ni Todoke, which is the last of what's currently out, though I think 29 is coming out in August. I always forget how much I love this series.

And speaking of adorable manga, I read volume 3 of Baby, Kokoro no Mama ni! For the first two volumes, I just read it as I was translating it, but this time I ended up reading the whole volume at once. It's such a cute series and I'm sad that it seems to be on hiatus or something. (Though there is still one more volume out after this.)

Then, in my quest to clear off even more stuff from my ipad, I decided to start in on Y: The Last Man, which I have been curious about for a long time, but just never got around to reading. I've read the first three volumes so far, and while it's interesting, it's definitely not a huge hit with me.

What do you think you'll read next?
Just keeping on with all the stuff in progress, mainly, and reading the rest of Y.
torachan: (Default)
What are you currently reading?
I only read one chapter of The New Jim Crow, but the chapters are long, so that took me from a quarter to a third of the way through.

I also started another non-fiction book, Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout, a memoir by Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! I've only read the first chapter so far, but since this is an actual library book and is still on the new books shelf, I have to return it in two weeks, so that's incentive to read it faster than I might usually.

And since both of those are physical books and I always want to have an ebook going as well, for when I'm out of the house or in bed, I'm also reading The Library at Mount Char, which I just started last night. I finished up the ebook I was reading and meant to just choose another and open it, but not actually start reading, but I did start and ended up reading the whole first chapter even though it was like three am and I really should have been asleep. :p I'm honestly not sure what to think of it so far. It's certainly interesting, but I'm not sure if I actually like it or not. We'll see.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished The Invisible Library last night. It was really good! There were some things I wasn't in love with, spoilers ) but I'm definitely interested in reading the other books in the series.

I also read The Bride of the Far Side, which we found at a Little Library. I was such a huge Far Side fan as a kid and was curious to see how it held up. I don't know if this particular collection just didn't have as many great strips or if I just don't find it funny anymore, but honestly most of them didn't even elicit a smile, much less make me laugh.

What do you think you'll read next?
Well, all three of the books I'm reading now are ones I started recently, so I'll probably just be reading them for a while. Or maybe some manga.
torachan: a cartoon kitten with a surprised/happy expression (chii)
What are you currently reading?
I actually made progress on The Mayor of Castro Street this week! I read two chapters, which brings me to almost halfway through.

I also read the first chapter of The Invisible Library and it's really good so far, but then I just haven't had a chance (or haven't made time) to read any more...

I have also technically started More All-of-a-Kind Family, but haven't actually read any of it yet.

What did you recently finish reading?
Well, I read the first two All-of-a-Kind Family books and they're so good! I'm so glad I happened across them and decided to give them a reread.

What do you think you'll read next?
Really just those books in progress!
torachan: arale from dr slump dressed in a penguin suit and smiling (arale penguin)
What are you currently reading?
Currently reading Modern Romance and Mayor of Castro Street, but there's been very little progress on the first and none on the second. I just haven't been reading much this week. :-/

What did you recently finish reading?
That said, I did still manage to finish a book! I finished Return from Witch Mountain the other day and after a rocky start, I did end up enjoying it.

The first chapter was a real disappointment, as just right off the bat it had a totally different feeling than the first book. Not only were many key points different (which to Key's credit, he did do his best to try and explain away, such as "oh, we'd thought Uncle Bene was dead but he survived" and "while we were gone Tia learned to speak vocally", but there was also a weird overuse of scientific terms for their powers that just felt out of place.

But as I continued reading, I got sucked into the story and the annoyances faded away and I did end up enjoying it. Though the addition of a psychic goat who helped save the day definitely made me feel like yeah, this is an old Disney movie all right.

What do you think you'll read next?
Hopefully just make some progress on the books I've got open!
torachan: (Default)
What are you currently reading?
I'm about halfway through Return from Witch Mountain and it's definitely improved from the disappointing impression I had based on the first chapter. The author does make an attempt to explain away the differences from the first book, and while I still find all the scientific terms for their powers and overuse of words like "energizing" to be annoying, I am enjoying the plot.

I've also been reading at least a little bit of Modern Romance every day and am a third of the way through. I like it a lot.

No progress on Mayor of Castro Street this week, though.

What did you recently finish reading?
Nothing... :( I've been busy with work, busy translating, and busy playing Zelda, so that doesn't leave much time for reading.

What do you think you'll read next?
I would definitely like to have finished another book by this time next week, so I'm going to concentrate on these three! Considering how short Witch Mountain is and what a fast read Modern Romance is, if I actually make time to read every day, I could finish both of them!
torachan: arale from dr slump with a huge grin on her face (arale)
What are you currently reading?
Still reading The Mayor of Castro Street and Mistletoe and Murder, which are about a third and half of the way done, respectively. I've definitely been making progress, but it's slow, and I haven't always kept to my goal of reading at least a little bit every day. (Work days are the problem, as there's no time to read before work, or at work, and if I don't do it early in the evening after work, I run the risk of being too tired to read at all and just going straight to bed.)

What did you recently finish reading?
I did finish a book this week, though: Escape to Witch Mountain! If you liked the movie as a kid, I would definitely give it a read if you haven't already. It was a lot of fun and really my only complaint is that the ending is really abrupt. Even if you didn't grow up with the movie, if you have any interest in kids books and like stuff about orphans and psychic powers and us-against-the-world kind of situations, I would recommend it.

I also read volume 10 of Saint Oniisan, which is a series I apparently haven't read since 2014, according to LibraryThing. I kind of lost interest in it after a while, as I feel the joke has gotten a bit stale, but at the same time, I don't just want to drop it completely... This had some funny moments, though, and I've got three more volumes queued up on my ipad, so that will get me up to speed.

What do you think you'll read next?
More Saint Oniisan, for sure.
torachan: arale from dr slump dressed in a penguin suit and smiling (arale penguin)
It's so much easier to do these posts on a regular basis when I've actually been doing some reading! XD

What are you currently reading?
Currently reading Arsenic for Tea, the second of the Wells & Wong Mysteries. I'm about halfway through with it and enjoying it just as much as the first one.

I'm also reading (though only just started) The Mayor of Castro Street, a biography of Harvey Milk by Randy Shilts. This is one I've had on my shelf for aaaaaages, so it will be good to finally get it read!

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished Their Eyes Were Watching God earlier this week. I didn't love it, but that's really no fault of the book itself; the basic story (woman finds herself and true love after two failed marriages) is just not one that really grabs me. What made it interesting was the setting. Anyway, it's definitely a classic for a reason and I'm glad I read it.

What do you think you'll read next?
Well, I'll probably finish Arsenic for Tea tomorrow or Saturday and I guess I'll probably read the third book next.
torachan: (Default)
What are you currently reading?
Currently still reading Their Eyes Were Watching God, which I hadn't picked up in a while but did read several chapters of it last night. I'm just about halfway through now.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished Raising Steam! Finally! Wow, what a slog. Considering it has my favorite character (Moist) and is my favorite type of Discworld story (new technology), it's sad to say this is probably my least favorite Discworld novel and I would only recommend reading it for completeness' sake. I have heard that the final Tiffany Aching book was better edited, so I do think I'll give that a go at some point, but reading this just made me sad for Pratchett and sad for Discworld that this was the last book in such a great series. Even setting aside the fact that his illness was almost certainly affecting his writing skills, it just feels so much like an early draft.

Once I no longer had that hanging over my head, I dove right into a new book and ended up finishing it up in just four days! That book was Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens. It's the first book in a murder mystery series set in a 1930s English boarding school. The narrator, Hazel Wong, is from Hong Kong and has been sent to boarding school in England. She and her best friend Daisy Wells have formed their own detective society, but until the mysterious death of one of their teachers, they've never had a real mystery to solve. I really enjoyed this a lot and have already loaded up the next book on my phone.

What do you think you'll read next?
Finish up Their Eyes Were Watching God (I'm going to try and read a bit each day; as it's a physical book rather than ebook, it's easier to neglect it) and read Arsenic for Tea, the next Wells & Wong mystery.
torachan: john from homestuck looking shocked (john shocked)
What are you currently reading?
Still reading Kingdom Coming, though I hope to finish it within the next few days.

I also started reading Urasawa Naoki's Monster, though I only read the first few pages of the first volume so far. It's one of those series that is recced everywhere, and I did love 20th Century Boys, so I have high hopes!

What did you recently finish reading?
I finally finished Console Wars tonight!

Despite its slow start, I ended up really enjoying it! )

I also read a single volume manga called Gray Romance by Natsuko Kusuda, a collection of one-shots on the subject of love and romance but not the way they're usually written in manga (unhappy endings and situations that aren't the typical "they met and fell in love" kind of thing). I liked it a lot and put it in my "possible projects" folder for maybe future scanlating.

What do you think you'll read next?
I don't know! I've downloaded various ebooks recently that look good, but haven't actually settled on anything yet.
torachan: a cartoon bear eating a large sausage (magical talking bear prostitute)
What are you currently reading?
I started Koiiji vol. 2, but by started I mean like opened to the first page. I am not actually reading anything just yet!

What did you recently finish reading?
I did it! I finished Fresh Off the Boat!

It was...okay. )

I also finished reading Koiiji vol. 1, which I ended up liking a lot more as I went on, and since it seems no one is translating it yet, I've started doing that myself. :D

What do you think you'll read next?
Not sure! I need to poke through my ebooks and see if anything is calling to me.
torachan: (Default)
What are you currently reading?
Nothing really. Technically still reading Kurage Hime, but I haven't touched it for weeks because I've been reading actual books. Books! Wow.

What did you recently finish reading?
I just finished reading Tina Fey's Bossypants today. It wasn't as funny as I expected but still pretty good. The parts about 30 Rock made me want to do another rewatch even though I just rewatched the whole thing earlier this year.

I also finished reading The True Meaning of Smekday a week or so ago (yes, that means after finishing that, I read another book in like a week! Wow!). I really liked it! The conceit of it being a kid's school essay didn't work for me at all, but if I just ignored that, the story itself was really good. I do plan to read the sequel at some point, but haven't been able to get my hands on it yet.

I also caught up with Attack on Titan. Argh, so good! Should be a new chapter out pretty soon, I think.

What do you think you'll read next?
No idea. I have a lot of books on my ipad/phone that look interesting and I'm in a book mood right now, so probably something there.
torachan: a cartoon owl with the text "everyone is fond of owls" (everyone is fond of owls)
Yikes, apparently I haven't done a reading post in almost four months. Basically, I wasn't reading much of anything, and what I was reading was just a few pages here and there of the same manga and book, so I didn't want to make a post just saying "read a few more pages of X and Y". But now I actually started reading stuff again, yay!

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Kurage Hime, which is one of the things I've been chugging along at all these months. I just started volume 13 and there are only 15 volumes out (and it's apparently on hiatus?), so I'm almost done with what's available.

I've been enjoying it at lot, though I am really torn about spoilers )

Anyway, I saw a bunch of people tweeting this week that the manga has been picked up for an English release (as Princess Jellyfish), which is great because more people should read it! The anime was cute (I actually saw the anime before reading the manga), but it's short and there's so much more to the story.

I'm also reading From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which is one of those children's books I'm very familiar with by name, but I don't think I ever read as a kid because I don't remember any of it. Carla had been wanting to reread it and we just happened to find a copy at one of the Little Libraries in our neighborhood, so I decided to read it, too. I've only read a few chapters, but I'm enjoying it so far.

What did you recently finish reading?
I read a handful of baseball RPF (Tim Lincecum/Buster Posey) fics in [personal profile] telesilla's high school AU series. I'd read the first one when she posted it a couple years ago and liked it, and hoped she'd write more, but for a long time she didn't and then I stopped using tumblr as much, so I missed the announcements for some recent fics she'd added this year, until I saw the most recent one, which also caught my eye because it's titled with a line from REM's Nightswimming (a good way to make me read your fic). So I clicked over to AO3 and read that, and then read a couple of the previous ones, too.

I also read the first issue of the Invader Zim comic! It's really just setting things up so far, so there wasn't much going on, but it seemed pretty promising. Anyway, I'm excited about Zim comics. :D It makes me want to do a Zim rewatch, even though we just did one not that long ago.

But the main thing I read was Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith.

The summary on Amazon is pretty good:
Many generations ago, a mysterious cataclysm struck the world. Governments collapsed and people scattered, to rebuild where they could. A mutation, "the Change,” arose, granting some people unique powers. Though the area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, its technological marvels have faded into legend. "Las Anclas" now resembles a Wild West frontier town… where the Sheriff possesses superhuman strength, the doctor can warp time to heal his patients, and the distant ruins of an ancient city bristle with deadly crystalline trees that take their jewel-like colors from the clothes of the people they killed.

Teenage prospector Ross Juarez’s best find ever – an ancient book he doesn’t know how to read – nearly costs him his life when a bounty hunter is set on him to kill him and steal the book. Ross barely makes it to Las Anclas, bringing with him a precious artifact, a power no one has ever had before, and a whole lot of trouble.

Post-apocalyptic stories are probably my top favorite genre, and having it be set in Los Angeles? I really didn't need any more than that to want to give it a try. XD

I loved that we were just dropped right into the world with no exposition; instead all the little details about this world are revealed organically throughout the story. I really dislike exposition and am easily bored by long paragraphs of description, so this is my kind of writing.

The story is told through multiple POVs, changing from chapter to chapter, with the name of the POV character noted at the beginning of each chapter. I think there were about five POV characters, Ross, Yuki, Mia, Jennie, and Felicité, all of whom I grew to like by the end of the book, even those like Yuki and Felicité, who annoyed me at first. (I actually ended up liking Felicité the most, as obnoxious as she is. I'm really curious where her plotline will go in the next book.) I also liked a lot of the more minor characters, especially Mia's dad, the sheriff, and the bounty hunter.

I'm definitely looking forward to reading the sequel (and I hope the third book isn't too long in coming).

What do you think you'll read next?
Up next for sure: the last couple volumes of Kurage Hime, the rest of Mixed-up Files, and three recent chapters of Attack on Titan that I haven't read yet.

As for ebooks, I did buy the sequel to Stranger, but I'm not sure if I want to read that just yet or something else first. When I was putting ebooks on my new phone (which I only just did this week, aside from Stranger, which I put on as soon as I got the phone), I actually found myself feeling excited about a lot of those books, so I might just pick one of those first? We'll see!
torachan: a cartoon owl with the text "everyone is fond of owls" (everyone is fond of owls)
Title: Coraline
Author: Neil Gaiman
Number of Pages: 208 pages
Book Number/Goal: 10/10 for 2012
My Rating: 5/5

Summary: Coraline and her parents move into a large old house which has been converted into flats, resulting in a door in their drawing room that opens onto a brick wall. However, when Coraline opens the door without her mom around, she finds it actually contains a mysterious corridor leading to a world which is a mirror of her own, complete with another mother and father, who have buttons for eyes and pay her more attention than her real parents do. Coraline can stay forever in this other world where everyone and everything caters to her every whim...the only catch is she has to let her other mother sew buttons on her eyes just like theirs.

Review: Usually when a book is made into a movie, a lot of stuff is cut, but with Coraline it's the opposite. There's quite a bit that's in the movie that's not in the book, and it's not because they added stuff while cutting out other stuff. Because I'm used to books having more, and because I watched the movie first, I went into the book expecting it to be more fleshed out, so it was a bit of a disappointment in that regard. I wouldn't say I preferred the movie, though I do think the pacing was a little better, with her going to the other world a couple times before things started to go bad. I definitely enjoyed both the book and the movie, though.
torachan: maru the cat sitting in a bucket (maru)
Title: Feed
Author: Mira Grant
Number of Pages: 608 pages
Book Number/Goal: 9/10 for 2012
My Rating: 4.5/5

Amazon Summary: Twin bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason and their colleague Buffy are thrilled when Sen. Peter Ryman, the first presidential candidate to come of age since social media saved the world from a virus that reanimates the dead, invites them to cover his campaign. Then an event is attacked by zombies, and Ryman's daughter is killed. As the bloggers wield the newfound power of new media, they tangle with the CDC, a scheming vice presidential candidate, and mysterious conspirators who want more than the Oval Office.

Review: The only reason I didn't give this a full five stars is because the beginning is slow. Like, hella slow. It starts off with an action scene, but then grinds to a half with a shit ton of exposition (the book is actually pretty exposition-heavy all around, which is something I could have done without) and just really boring political stuff.

There isn't much in terms of zombies or action (well, lots of exposition about zombies), just the ins and outs of being a journalist following a presidential campaign, which I guess might be interesting for some people, but was just hugely boring to me. I actually set the book aside for several weeks and read a bunch of manga instead, while considering whether I wanted to keep trying with Feed or just give it up.

But I did decide to keep trying, and I'm really glad I did, because once it gets going, it's really good and I enjoyed it a lot. I just wish it hadn't been so slow to start!

I liked the explanation for the zombies and the world-building in general, and there was lots of intrigue. Also I would highly recommend this to anyone who read too much VC Andrews in their formative years, because wow, Georgia and Shaun. Like, there's no actual incest in the book, but only just. XD

However, Georgia dies in the end, so there's that.

I'm not sure whether I will read the other books or not. This felt pretty complete on its own (and: see spoiler above).
torachan: (Default)
Title: Soulless
Author: Gail Carriger
Number of Pages: 384 pages
Book Number/Goal: 8/10 for 2012
My Rating: 2/5

Amazon Summary: Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Review: I saw these books talked up so much on my friends list that it got me curious, but I think had I read the reviews a little more closely, I would have realised that they were Not For Me. All I really knew was supernatural! steampunk! female protagonist! And for some reason I didn't make the connection that it was a paranormal romance... A lot of people on my flist love paranormal romance, but everything I have seen about the genre has just been utterly unappealing, and this book did nothing to change my mind in that regard. All the tropes of "ooh powerful alpha male beast man" just...gag. Not for me, thanks.

And speaking of tropes that are not for me, I really am picky about vampires and werewolves, and this book was just chock full of all the things I don't like in such stories, from the terminology to the "pack" and "hive" dynamics of werewolves and vampires, respectively. I found Alexia's soullessness to be vaguely interesting, but not enough to make up for the annoyingness of other tropes.

Also, the writing itself was just really not my thing. Exposition and epithets abound, as well as constant switching between people's names (for example, Alexia goes from being referred to as Alexia to Miss Tarabotti from sentence to sentence, and the same with other characters). And so much telling. I did not need to read paragraph after paragraph where Alexia and Lord Maccon think "why do I feel this way, I hate him/her!" and stuff like that.

It was very slow-moving for most of the book, though it did finally catch my interest towards the end (last 100 or so pages of the ebook, so maybe last 50ish in print) when all the excitement was happening and the pace picked up (which is my only reason for bumping it up to two stars; I had been planning on giving it one up until then). But this is really a romance with light trappings of mystery when I would have preferred the latter.

Oh, and this is just a small thing, but I just couldn't get behind the use of preternatural as an antonym of supernatural. They mean the exact same thing!
torachan: (Default)
Title: Battle Royale
Author: Takami Koushun
Number of Pages: 624 pages
Book Number/Goal: 7/10 for 2012
My Rating: 3.5/5

Amazon Summary: As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains.

Review: While I had heard of Battle Royale for quite some time, I only found out what the plot was when I started hearing people compare The Hunger Games to it. For some reason, I had always thought it was a yakuza movie, possibly because I was confusing it with Battles Without Honor or Humanity. Anyway, when I saw people saying The Hunger Games was a ripoff of this, I was curious.

As it turns out, it's totally not. They both feature teenagers being forced to fight to the death by the government in a dystopian world, but they are very different. (And I do find it totally believable that Suzanne Collins was unaware of Battle Royale before writing The Hunger Games, since as I said, even being into Japanese media, I had no idea what it was about myself. It's not like someone saying they've never heard of Pokemon or something.)

Battle Royale takes place in a not-very-well-fleshed-out dystopian AU where Japan is the Republic of Greater East Asia, a totalitarian nation semi-closed off from the west. Every year fifty classes of junior high students are chosen to compete in "The Program", which involves them all fighting to the death. Unlike in The Hunger Games, where the fights are televised and it's a form of entertainment, The Program is all very hush-hush, though the winner is shown on TV at the end. Instead the purpose is simply to terrorise the citizens and keep them in place.

I found the world-building to be rather lacking, the overwhelming cast of characters (most of which had little to no characterisation) hard to keep track of, and the writing extremely clunky (I read what I think is the first translation, so I linked to the revised version in this post because perhaps that's better; however, I could tell from the way it read in English that the problem was not entirely with the translator and the original was bound to be just as bad), but it was still a good read and I did enjoy it.
torachan: (Default)
Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Number of Pages: 400 pages
Book Number/Goal: 6/10 for 2012
My Rating: 5/5

Amazon Summary: Spoilery for the previous book )

Review: This book was just as exciting as the first two and overall I'm pretty happy with the ending. I think that's really all I can saw without spoilers! )
torachan: (Default)
Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Number of Pages: 391 pages
Book Number/Goal: 5/10 for 2012
My Rating: 5/5

Amazon Summary: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Review: Damn, this was even better than the first book! Partly, I think, because I was 100% unspoiled and thus had no idea what was going to happen or even what was the plot. So much I wasn't expecting!

Spoilery stuff )

Can't wait to start Mockingjay!

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