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yoz0ra

Yoz0ra Reads

I'm a college student. Manga, Light Novels, etc.

Interview With The Robot - Lee Bacon

I choose this audiobook because it was a part of the free Audible originals offer in January. I'm surprised how great this story was and exceeded my expectations.

 

The cast was terrific and brought the story to life. The voices for the kids was jarring at first because they sounded more like adults. But the voices grew on me, and it didn't distract me anymore.

 

The plot was thrilling and had me on the edge of my seat. I eagerly listen wanting to find out what would happen to Eve. The story also contains some plot twists that I didn't see coming. Looking at the summary, I thought I knew how the story would move along, but I was wrong. There was one twist that made my mouth dropped and made me said, "Whoa, I didn't see that", out loud. I love the growing friendship between Eve and Petra. The other characters are also fantastic too. I never felt bored or dread hearing certain characters' voices. 

 

My verdict is that this audiobook should be on everyone's list if they want a well-written sci-fi story.

 

BAKEMONOGATARI, Part 1: Monster Tale - NISIOISIN

I watched the anime adaptation before reading the book. My experiences with watching the anime and reading the books are very different. Even though both stories are the same, I find myself preferring the anime adaptation of these two stories in this first book than the actual book itself. The anime has a striking visual style and exciting animation that helps keep my interest. While reading the source material, I find my attention drifting off the pages for a while. I enjoy both stories, but the ongoing random conversations between several characters, at times tedious rather than amusing. It doesn't help. There are times that I have a hard time distinguishing the narrator and Hitagi because they sound similar at specific points in the book.

Anyway, despite its flaws, I thought it was entertaining and check out the future volumes of this series.

SPOILER ALERT!
Masquerade and the Nameless Women - Eiji Mikage

 

I don't often read mystery stories, but I decided to do something different and chose to read this book for a change of pace. And also the cover looks beautiful.

 

The story follows Yuri, the narrator of the book, solving the murder of her former classmate from high school, Reina, and the mystery of the serial killer's identity. Unlike most mystery stories, the readers already know who the serial killer is since his name is on the blurb on the book's back and is at the beginning (It's Higano). The real question the story is asking readers is if the serial killer is responsible for Reina's murder, and what is the truth?

 

The story was fast-paced and unpredictable. Every few chapters in the story, there are twists and more twists. However, most of these twists cause the story to become convoluted and hard to keep track of what is going on in the story. Fortunately, the very end (which actually takes place before the prologue of the story) clears most of the stuff up and explains why certain characters perform certain actions. But, the way it was handled is not great. It was just two characters, the killer and his victim, info-dumping to each other. There was so much information being dropped in the last section, I had a difficult time digesting the entire thing in my mind.

 

The characters were alright at best and forgettable at worst. The main character, Yuri, is the audience surrogate, but she is too bland, in my opinion. The character that stands out the most is Higano. Whenever he always steals the spotlight whenever he appears in the book. Especially when he talks about coffee and waxes philosophically about the meaning of truth.  

 

The book is not "put everything down and read it immediately" type of book. It's an entertaining book, but it's a quick book to read if you want to finish up a reading challenge.       

(show spoiler)

 

The Whale Rider - Witi Ihimaera

I saw the movie years ago, and I enjoyed it very much. I didn't realize the film was based on the book until earlier this year. I decided to check out the book because since I enjoyed the movie, I will most likely enjoy the book.

 

I was thrown off by the choice of the narrator of this story. I expected the narrator to be Kahu, not one of Kahu's uncle. But, the narrator grew on me as I continued to read the book. Even though the story was short, I thought the pacing was just right. The story doesn't wander around aimlessly. I thought the story's straightforward approach is refreshing after reading and watching stories that cram too much stuff in one story. Though I do wish to learn more about Kahu's life and personality. I enjoyed Granny Flower's character because she was sweet and sassy.   

 

Unfortunately, my memories of the film are fuzzy, so I can't comment on how the movie and book differ from each other. 

 

Also, the book is hard to find, which is a huge bummer. I bought a used copy from an eBay seller since I couldn't find it at bookstores like Barnes and Noble. If you come across this book somewhere and sometime, I recommend checking it out because it's a short and satisfying story.  

Update

The Whale Rider - Witi Ihimaera

I'm finally started reading this book. I'm 63% done with it.

Why We Drive

Why We Drive: The Past, Present, and Future of Automobiles in America (Comix Journalism) - Andy Singer

I received this book as part of the current Humble Bundle that is going on as of this typing.

 

I agree with the author with some points about why we should drive less like the pollution concerns and the downgrade in community participation. I live in a suburban area where I have to drive out a lot to go shopping and eating out to name a few things. Unfortunately, I don't live nearby where my favorite locally-owned places are at, so I can only visit them infrequently. Most of the stores and food places that are close to where I live are chain places like Mcdonalds or Walmart. Sadly because of where I live, most of my money doesn't go to my local stores, which means the number of unique places to visit will eventually decrease.

 

The book is a quick read and does a well-done job on explaining the basics to the reader like the history of highways and the formation of the Department of Transportation. When it came to the arguments for depending less on cars, I thought they're too simplistic and presented an extremely black and white view on cars versus bicycles. I wish to stop being dependent on cars, but unfortunately, circumstances prevent me from ceasing. I also appreciate the guide for promoting car-free life and public transportation. However, many people would find it next to impossible to do. As much as I would like to do those activities, it won't work where I live. I live in an extremely conservative suburban area where many of my neighbors refuse supporting things like funding public transportation. I wish the guide shows how to respectfully talk about these issues to someone who is opposed to the ideas mentioned in the book. If I quote the text the way it is from the book, many people in my area will not appreciate the author calling or associating them all sorts of negative terms. 

 

The electronic version I have of the book has a weird layout like some sentences being more massive than the other lines. Also, I had difficulty reading some sentences due to the color of the words being lighter than the other words. I'm not sure if I'm the only one who has this problem, but I found this to be a minor nitpick. While it was annoying at times, it was at least readable unlike the times I tried reading manga on my Sony Reader.

 

As a beginner guide for automobile and public transportation issues, this is perfect. But veteran activists would not find anything new or ground-breaking in this small booklet.  

 

 

 

 

Update

Sorry for being silent for a while. I've been preparing for the start of the fall semester, which is going to be next week. Don't worry; I haven't stopped reading. I've been focusing on my backlog, which consists of various manga series.  As school starts up, I'm going to be reading some short books and stories because I'm going to be working on my assignments. 

 

Also, my reviews are possibly going to be a bit shorter as well.

 

That is all for the update.

Neon Genesis Evangelion Complete Series

Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 1: Includes vols. 1, 2 & 3 - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 3: Includes vols. 7, 8 & 9 - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 4: Includes vols. 10, 11 & 12 - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto Neon Genesis Evangelion 2-in-1 Edition, Vol. 5: Includes vols. 13  14 - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto Neon Genesis Evangelion: 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 2 - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

I didn't know that Neon Genesis Evangelion had a manga adaption until I finished watching the original anime years ago. Initially, I hesitated to read the manga adaption because I thought it would be drastically different and I don't want my memories of the anime to be ruined. I looked up information about the manga one day and saw the manga author was part of the original anime crew. My fears subsided since that would mean the manga would not differ much from the anime. 

 

It has a been a while since I watched the anime (haven't rewatched it on Netflix yet), so I can't pinpoint a lot of differences. The story is identical to anime, but there were subtle differences in how the plot progressed. One difference is Shinji Ikari. I like how he appeared in the manga because he had the right mix of sad and not sad moments (if that makes sense). Not to mention, I felt like I understand him better because I get to see more of his thoughts. There was little filler material in the manga compared to the anime, which is understandable since manga and anime are different mediums. I'm glad there wasn't a lot of filler in the manga because the pacing would be odd and it would've been boring if it was exactly like the anime. Also, what works in anime doesn't mean it would work out the same in manga and vice versa.

 

Since the mangaka was involved in anime production as a character designer, the characters and the scenery are just as beautiful as the animation. The Angel battle scenes are just fantastic to look at, but due to the manga being black and white, it becomes hard to tell the EVAs apart during those scenes. I sometimes have to re-read the dialogue to understand which EVA is which. But that is a minor thing for me, and it didn't detract the experience for me. I found it as an excuse to look at all the details in the pictures. 

 

The five omnibus volumes I owned include bonus materials like interviews and commentary with the staff, which I recommend reading if you're interested in the production of the anime. There is also an index which translates the Japanese SFX that appears in the manga. It's fun to see how much onomatopoeias there are for many objects and actions in Japanese.

 

That is enough of my gushing of the manga, but whether you watched the series or not, check out this manga.

   

 

 

 

Devils and Realist (Complete Series)

Devils and Realist Vol. 1 - Madoka Takadono, Utako Yukihiro Devils and Realist Vol. 2 - Madoka Takadono, Utako Yukihiro Devils and Realist Vol. 3 - Madoka Takadono, Utako Yukihiro Devils and Realist Vol. 4 - Madoka Takadono, Utako Yukihiro Devils and Realist Vol. 5 - Madoka Takadono, Utako Yukihiro Devils and Realist Vol. 6 - Madoka Takadono, Utako Yukihiro Devils and Realist, Vol. 7 - Madoka Takadono, Utako Yukihiro Devils and Realist, Vol. 8 - Madoka Takadono Devils and Realist, Vol. 9 - Madoka Takadono, Utako Yukihiro Devils and Realist, Vol. 10 - Madoka Takadono, Utako Yukihiro

Woo-hoo, I completed another manga series. One down and a lot more to go. Here are my thoughts on the entire series.

 

Six years ago, my first exposure to this series was the anime adaptation. I enjoyed it in a guilty pleasure way. The anime wasn't mind-blowing, but it was enjoyable despite the average animation and artwork. Then, when the manga is going to get an official English translation, I decided to check it out because I wanted more of the story and I thought the manga artwork looked better than the anime adaptation from what I saw.

 

Unsurprisingly, I enjoyed the original manga than its anime. The artwork was gorgeous, especially if it's in color. I loved how Utako Yukihiro colors her drawings. It's hard to believe she gets it down around two weeks even when she is busy with other projects (Source: I attended the talk show featuring her at Anime Expo 2019). Though, Yukihiro needs improvement on is the male characters' facial design. Sometimes, I had a difficult time telling which character is which during some of the fight scenes. The clothing the characters wear makes it less hard to guess, but when you don't see the clothes, it becomes a challenge.

 

The story is similar to other fantasy stories, like Black Butler, with the mix of supernatural stuff with some slice of life stuff in the middle. But unlike Black Butler, which includes darker subject matter like serial killers, cults, pedophilia, and slavery, Devils and Realist's tone is a lot lighter. While the series was mostly light and fluffy, it does get serious when it needs to. The series becomes a lot darker during the second half around the time a specific character shows up. I'm not saying who it is due to spoilers, but it was a subtle surprise. Even during the second half, there are a few times dedicated to some silliness.

 

If you're looking something to read this summer, I highly recommend this title.

 

 

Update

On Friday, I completed the Devils and Realist manga series. I'm planning on writing about my thoughts on that manga, possibly in mid-July. I'm now reading the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga adaptation and post a review of the series in mid-July as well.

 

I'm preparing for Anime Expo, so my reading activity would not be high during these few weeks.

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!
Go For It, Nakamura! - Syundei 春泥

 

I needed something light and fluffy while I was reading The Song of Achilles. I usually read something light-hearted after or during something like TSOA. Go for it, Nakamura fits the former. 

 

The manga is about Nakamura who has a crush on his classmate, Hirose and his hilarious attempts to get close to him. Nakamura is an easy character to relate to in many ways, and he is adorable when he tries to make small talk. Hirose is also cute as well. I went "aww, so cute" during the aquarium scene. Not only is their interaction entertaining to read, but the other characters' as well. The ending might be off-putting for some people because it ends ambiguously. Nakamura and Hirose become friends, but the conclusion doesn't outright say if they become a couple though it looks like there is a high chance that they upgrade to a couple soon.

 

The art style reminds me of some the classic 80s and 90s manga I've seen in the past, but with some modern-day flavors. The rounded and soft style goes well with this sweet story of an awkward young man. I wish there were more color pages because the colors go well with the artwork. The artwork still looks vibrant in black and white. 

 

The author has another work available in English, and I'm hoping it is as good as this one shot.    

 

(show spoiler)

 

SPOILER ALERT!
The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

 

I enjoyed this book more than Circe, which I gave it the DNF mark. However, I had some difficulty engaging with the story during the first part of the book, but I got hook at the part where Achilles is introduced in the story. Then during the middle section, the pacing became too slow and tedious for me. I was close to DNFing the whole thing. Fortunately, the story's pacing improved when the Trojan War began. The Trojan War parts were my favorite because it combined the right amount of action, drama, and romance for me. Even though TSOA has much better pacing than Circe, it still has some problems of explaining stuff instead of showing thing happens. But, it didn't detract my enjoyment. I find the ending to be satisfying and avoids being too cheesy. 

 

Despite her small role, I enjoyed reading about Briseis and I felt sad when she died. Patroclus and Achilles's characters were hard to get into at first, but they eventually grew on me. It was the same for Thetis as well. It was heart-warming to read about her helping Patroclus reunite with Achilles after death.

 

As a stand alone romance book, I liked it. I don't think the story was mind-blowing, but it was a nice read to pass time during recess.

(show spoiler)

 

Blogging - keep it your way

Reblogged from BookLikes:

 

BookLikes is a book-social site with a blog format. However, it is the BookLikes member who decides how the webpage should look like. If you've not feeling like blogging, you can switch the blog feature off. If you don't like the virtual shelf (no way!), take it off your BookLikes webpage. BookLikes is flexible. Here's how. 

 

When you sign up you're asked what do you want to do on BookLikes? This may be, however, a tricky question. As a newbie it's really hard to determine what we gonna do, right? For this reason all the check boxes are marked: the blog, the virtual bookshelf, and the reading timeline. 

 

 

Your book blog: it's your place where you publish your book reviews, book quotes, photos and cover love examples, bookish memes, book trailers or interesting links.

 

Your blog doesn't have to be a standard book blog. It should represent you and your way of thinking about books. Don't feel obliged to write elaborate reviews, if you don't fell like doing it. Keep it your way. 

 

Your virtual shelf: it's your place to show, collect and organize books you've read, want to read or are currently reading. You can rate them in 5 star scale (half stars!), and add thematic shelves to help you put them in the right place. 

 

Your reading timeline: it's a graphic representation of your BookLikes activity. Your timeline will show what have you published, read, which blogs you've followed, and which posts you've liked. 

 

All those three places are visible on your personal BookLikes webpage in the main menu. 

 

 

If you don't wish to show off all your bookish places, you can hide them.

 

They will disappear form the public page but WON'T disappear from your internal view -- YOU WILL STILL VIEW THEM ONCE YOU LOG INTO YOUR BOOKLIKES.

 

If you wish to switch off blog, shelf, timeline, please go to your Settings (the main menu), and choose Blog tab. Scroll down and decide which pages should be visible. 

 

 

If you decide to switch them off, they won't be visible in the menu on your webpage.

 

Remember to click Save to make the changes visible. 

 

 

However, they will stay in your main menu. Visible only to you and letting you keep on shelving and organizing your bookshelf or sharing your book reviews. 

 

 

Please remember that although you switch off the shelf and blog pages, your bookish activities will be visible for your followers - your books and reviews will be visible on Dashboards of people who are following your blog, and on the book pages. 

 

Happy blogging! 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Reading progress update: I've read 155 out of 276 pages.

The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

Woo-hoo, the story is finally moving forward. The brief Patroclus and Achilles moments that happened so far was cute. But when the angsty stuff came along, I worried the story would halt, and there would be several pages of Patroclus angsting. I get why he is upset, but reading how he sad he is over and over again is getting old at times. Fortunately, it quickly ends when they commence fighting with Troy.

 

The Trojan War has begun at last, and some people had already died. I remember my older sister told me about how she kept track of the deaths while reading the Illiad in high school (or middle school? It was a long time ago). She said that there was a lot.  

Reading progress update: I've read 131 out of 276 pages.

The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

It has been a while since I resumed this story. I hate to admit that I hesitated to start up again because the pacing so far has been slow. I'm at the part where the Greeks are preparing to fight in the Trojan War. I'll give it one more chapter to go. If the next chapter doesn't hook me, I will be DNFing this book.   

Cannibalism

Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History - Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Bill Schutt

While looking for what other books I should try out during my free trial on Scribd, I came across this audiobook. I heard about this book before, and I've always wanted to read it because I wanted to read more non-fiction books on unique topics. However, I worried about what other people, like my family members, will think about me if they saw me reading a physical version of this book. It would make an excellent conversation starter, but I didn't want to worry anyone. So I've decided to try it out as an audiobook.

Before I began, I thought this book would have a large amount of detailed information on criminal cannibal cases. I already knew some instances of that kind of cannibalism and that the book would repeat some of the information, but go more in depth compared to the news. My predictions were wrong the moment the narrator read about how this book would have more of a scientific look on cannibalism and not focus on the criminal cannibals. I'm glad my prediction was wrong because concentrating only on that aspect would feel repetitive and dull. Even though there was a lot of scientific jargon in this title, I didn't feel lost while listening to the narrator. The writing is accessible with the author defining some of the terminologies and explaining the difference between a few theories in the book.

 

My favorite parts of this book were the sections discussing the debate on whether dinosaur did cannibalism or not and how different societies view cannibalism. It didn't surprise me how the colonizers demonized indigenous people by playing up the cannibalism practice even if some of them didn't do it.

 

At some points, it felt like the author was going off topic when the book talked about the mating practices of some animals and insects and mad cow disease. Fortunately, those parts have connections to cannibalism. The descriptions about holes in the brains being like swiss cheese scared me more than any other horror story. I don't recommend eating while reading through these parts, especially the section on the slugs.

 

The narrator was never dull and kept my attention thanks to his chipper, Disney Park castmember-type delivery and voice.