dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
Oh, really, the fictional perfect reader of this blog (or blargh, as I prefer to call it) must surely say by now; that whole writing blargh thing is long abandoned, isn't it?
To which I, smugly, reply: Nyeer~

Because really, the reason there are so few writings about books read here, lately, is that there have been terribly few books read lately. Mostly school reading and that does not always count.

But! Christmas (and birthdays) means square packages, and this year I got a bunch of good manga. Here's the rapid-review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, vol 1-2 (new edition). OH SO PRETTY. I have only skimmed them, checked a few key phrases, but mostly it looks good. Love the new covers too, even if the paper is slightly less fancy than in the Japanese edition.

Codename: Sailor V, vol 1-2 (first English edition evah) ALSO VERY PRETTY. AND ABOUT BLOODY TIME. Read more carefully, and whoa, it makes a loooot more sense than the old German (from French) translation did. Which does not keep the plot from being utter crack, but at least the lines are understandable.
Also, Danburite, you're like the epitome of "Nice Guy Syndrome", at least (anime) Jadeite had the decency to openly be a chauvinistic ass.

Chi's Sweet Home, vol 7. Aw, kitty. Which I'm not allergic too. Yay. (if I'd ever organize a bookshop like I'd organize a fanfic archive, Chi would be the very first title on the Fluff shelf)

The Drops of God vol 1. SOMMELIER MANGA!
After having gotten my theoretical grounding in ballet, Go, american football, bûche de noël-preparation, no holds barred martial art bread baking, French history and more japanese mythology than you can shake a stick at, it's about time that I learn a bit about the exclusive world of fine wines. Through a comic. An intense comic.
Manga, let me count the ways I love thee...

Valhall - Den samlade sagan 1. Collection of the first three Valhalla comic books, a very good Danish comic with the Old Norse gods as main characters.
The first story is truly fugly compared to the later comics, but by the third story it's already looking much better.
Here we get The Wolf is Loose (the re-chaining of Fenrir), Thor's Bridal Journey (Thor & Loki crossdress to marry the former off, in a bid to get his hammer back) and Odin's Bet (connects a bunch of shorter hero tales). I think I'll buy part two tomorrow on my big Christmas shopping trip ^_^ Valhall may just be my favorite non-manga comic

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson. Not a gift, a review book, but I thought I'd list it her for completeness sake. Got me interested in the main Mistborn series, disappointed me with the portrayal of female characters.

Rans magiska värld by Aki Irie, vol 1 (Ran's Magical World). A new manga in Swedish! Which has not previously been translated to a language I know! And which is really, really good and looks VERY nice. Whoa, that was much better than I had expected. Irie has a quirky drawing style that I find absolutely lovely; kind of hybrid-retro which nevertheless manages to feel fresh and modern.
It's a mahou shojo story of the oldest vintage - little girl has magical items that make her older and gives her power - but with a more modern look at what a sudden age-boost and a hot bod' would actually do to you. The family also appears more involved than the usual cardboard cutout kind parents, with a witchy mother and a shapeshifting father and brother. Funny, interesting and did I mention the drawings are gorgeous?

To be read:
The Cold Remains by Richard Morgan. Alas, I might not have time to read it before I'm going back to Berlin and I ain't bringing any hardcovers to Germany. But it looks interesting

Phew. Now I just have to finish Amerika before 2/1 and I'm done with the Christmas reading :)
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
I just finished ×××Holic by CLAMP. Spoilers ahoy! )

In short: CLAMP. You keep breaking my heart, you bastards. Now draw faster and finish X!!!! so I can have it broken all over again.
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
I'm back in the same mood as I was last term, where mental exhaustion makes it difficult to sit down and read books. I do read, of course, but it ends up being almost exclusively school reading, online/fandom material and manga. Just too brain-tired to sit down and grab a novel "for fun"

Regarding the manga, I bought a haul at Thalia recently. This was to celebrate that they finally managed to pay out my Erasmus-grant. Thanks, I guess, even if I'm a bit miffed that person taking care of it couldn't be arsed to send a mail when I wrote and complained (twice) since it was months overdue, hmpf. After mailing back and forth to her and my exchange student department at SH, the money just arrived on my account. Well, thankee, but a "pardon the lateness!" wouldn't have been entirely remiss either.

Okay, tangent done with...

The haul was:
X volume 12-18 (I'm preeetty sure I only own to vol 11)
Teatime Lovin vol 4, finally someone who actually had it in stock!
xxxHolic vol 15. It's tightening up as we're reaching the end, and I do think CLAMP managed quite well to portay the relationship between Watanuki and Yuuko. And pull the angst-screws tight, will ya? (I predict weeping in my future, once I've bought the rest)

I also introduced a classmate to the gayer side of girl's manga... Come over to the yaoi-side, it's got better porn ;)
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
One of the awesome things about German manga is that it's much cheaper than US manga and it's usually the same size as the Japanese editions. Buying only a leetle more than I planned, I've almost caught up with the local edition of Fullmetal Alchemist *happybounce*

This manga was, alas, cancelled in Sweden at volume 18. When I was here last summer, they'd just released that part, but now they're up to volume 24 (have bought 23). The back of the books also have the same design, so they'll fit nicely on the bookshelf

And it's really really good, we're so close to the end and I've managed to remain unspoiled and haven't even read scans - the reward is that it's absolutely breathtaking to see how Arakawa's plot threads are tied together, how they're racing towards salvation or apocalypse and I really don't know who's gonna survive in what shape and I don't even WANT to guess. Just let me follow and enjoy, please =D

Then I spent some time at the local library yesterday. Looked around a little at the books, but I was tired, so I sat down and read comics. Even for such a small library, they had a decent amount.
Tried two volumes of Donjon (Dungeon), which I've heard much about, but it really isn't my thing. Can't appreciate the humor in the funny part, the dark Monster-book felt a bit pointless (I don't think "So who cares?" was the reaction you were supposed to have for the endless misery in that one) and neither of the two drawing styles were quite my taste.

I had more luck with Fräulein Rühr-Mich-Nicht-An (Miss Don't-Touch-Me) an odd story set in Paris of the 1920ies. Unfortunately, I could only find volume 2-3 of this story, but it still caught my interest.
A very squirly, yet simple, French cartoon style and a story based in a luxurious bordello with murders seemed worth checking out.

And it was interesting, although I can't really judge it based on the parts I've read, since vol 1-2 make up one story and apparantly 3-4 another (according to this review which also links the very first pages)

It's about Blanche, who works together with her sister as a maid in Paris. When her sister is murdered, she follows the trail and ends up in a brothel, where she is (for reasons I don't quite know, since I missed the beginning) hired to only dom/whip customers but not sleep with them. She makes quite a splash as the strict virgin lady and gains both friends and enemies in the brothel, while she hunts her sister's murderer.

I definitely want to read more of it, because there were some bits - the characterization of Miss Jo, the setting etc that I really liked, but I also don't quite know if I can buy Blanche as a character and how she ended up hired there is also a big question-mark to me. I've gotta get myself over to Amerika-Gedenk-Bibliothek soon, they've got loads of... everything, really, it's pretty huge but they had a very nice comic selection when I was there last time (err, 10 years ago)
dancing_moon: To Victory! Daleks can win the war (victory!)
I usually am of the "you will have to take this from my cold, dead hands" when it comes to computers. But as mine is borked and mother was kind enough to lend me her, it felt a bit awkward to start complaining when she needs it returned. I'll just move into the school library for a week or two Also, I have a ton of books to read so it's just good for me to go offline

Yesterday I delivered the computer and watched Moon which almost completely lives up the hype. Interesting, thoughful science fiction movie which manages to tell an engaging story and uses its setting perfectly, without drowning in effects or techno-babble. I mean, what I love about sci-fi movies, is when they manage to tell a story which you really couldn't tell with a completely realistic scenario, but treat the issues and the characters with as much respect as any other character. Something like Avatar, which was basically Pocahontas Dances with Wolves in Space, doesn't really use the technological advances and presence of another species to tell a new story. It only throws on a lot of (beautiful, granted) visuals to re-tell something which could pretty much be told in a historical drama. Sure, you can't put the legs back on an amputee in that setting, but it's not like the movies spends much time thinking about that issue

Moon, otoh, uses two sci-fi elements to discuss one timeless and one extremely modern issue:
- The utter isolation of a station on the moon - could be replaced by, for instance, a lighthouse
- Spoiler )
- The timeless issue: Isolation, alienation and existenial terror. What to do if I see myself, truly?
- The modern issue: Ultra-capitalism, slimmed productions and what that means

The technology carries the plot, but the plot isn't about these techs - they're not pointed out as "OMG!! How fresh and new!" It's not like a moon base is common in the movie either, but you can clearly see that it's been there for a while, it's not an experiment or so. Especially not the the poor bastard living there...

Anyway, really good movie! And nice use of silence in some parts! The use and not-use of music was a bit destroyed for me because my sister insisted on playing her radio loudly and my mother's house is about as sound-proof as a tent, but I noticed and liked it.

Um. I am also reading a lot of books for class. I bought another Eyeshield 21 lately, and I think that'll have to be the last one. We've got the Hiruma-Agon-Kid moment in the car, so what's left is tedious filler games, some disconcerting racism and... that's about it. Absolutely an issue of manga artists drawing a few extra volumes more than they have inspiration for, just for the bucks.
dancing_moon: Synonyms are word's you can't spell (can't spell)
So I have read things and watched things and not quite slept enough this week, whoops. I'll get better at the last part, I promise.

Manga read: Bunny Drop #3 )

Book read: Dr W & Mr H )

Last but not least: I have bought John Ajvide Lindqvists "Lilla Stjärna". Will I dare to read it...? Of course. Will it creep the hell out of me? Ohohoho, yes, most likely!
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
Whohoo! Today three good manga had arrived, just in time as the train broke down (again) and I thus had to spend a cold half hour at Södra station. But reading makes time fly - sometimes a bit too much, as I almost missed my stop. Lucky for me, alitna said hi and alerted me to the fact that it was time to go out in the cold again.

It's The Legend of Saiunkoku #2, Petshop of Horrors Tokyo #8 and Eyeshield 21 #34 that I bought today. My ranking turned out to be quite the opposite of what I expected, with the last chapter of the Christmas Bowl match clocking in as the undisputed best of the bunch.

Read more... )

Oh, and I've begun to read Mark Watches Doctor Who, very entertaining!
dancing_moon: [APH] Austria getting his hair teased (Stress)
För det första, jag är så j-kla sämst på organisation. Har stressat sönder mig mer eller mindre i onödan p.g.a. detta, men ska nu försöka ta mig i kragen. Vissa volontäriga/fanniga stressmoment har jag helt kort och gott dumpat, andra har lättats.
Raison d'être är iaf allting klart med för min del och med Geikai har vi äntligen fått ett alldeles tvättäkta kontrakt på vår lokal \o/ Det blir ett B.L.Y.G. 2011 och det blir i Skogås, den 17-19 juni. Och nu när det är på g så kan vi faktiskt komma igång med saker ordentligt, wheehuuu~

Och så har jag betalat räkningar, go me.




My RL = stress, so let's talk books instead.

Read: Girl Genius, Urusei Yatsura, One Piece etc )
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
I couldn't resist it any longer! Not when they're standing there on the shelf, mocking me with their tempting content

Yes, I have read Fullmetal Alchemist, volumes 18-23 (which still isn't all of FMA please don't spoil me!). Brutal, oh-so-good and gearing up to a truly epic ending. I can't wait for more. Also, the homonculi grow more and more friggin creapy for each one that is introduced



And I read Otomen 2-3. Cute, pointless fluff. Gender essentialist, but in a much less annoying way than Your and my secret, which I just couldn't stomach after something like three books. I'd definitely rec it to someone who likes shoujo, even if some of the plot-starting events are utterly dumb (run-away bulls? Twice? In urbanized Japan? Shhyeaah no)
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
In other news, I'm down in Gothenburg again. Visiting Miko-chan and staying at Miko-chans mother as usual (alas, cat allergies). Just as well, mom has Plans for my bathroom again and now she can poke about there on her own...

Mac showed me a lovely old fairy-tale book, translated from Swedish to German. Vogel Blau by Z Topelius, which is written in Fraktur (Gothic script). The most amazing thing? I can actually read it now! Amazing, I never managed to read the old-fashioned books I was showed in Germany... of course, those were more along the lines of Thomas Mann and history books, while these are tales of Sleeping Beauty etc. Quite the bit sharper than the modern children's verisones though, very entertaining reads, even if I had a great deal of trouble figuring out out the V (Dolch? Dulp? Volf? Wolf... aha, no! That is the letter k and thus it must be Volk!! /I iz genius/). Anyway, both amusing and challenging, I am going to read through it all before I go home

Have also read My girlfriend is a geek and Bakuman. Disliked both and for oddly similar reasons... In My girlfriend is a geek, we have a yaoi/manga fanatic girl who has no sense of appropriate boundaries. Alright that she talks to her boyfriend about her favorite ship, but when she starts involving him (and his friend, partly) in her mistress/butler fantasy without his consent and the narrative treats it as comedy I am skeeved out.

The translation is also a typically "fansubby" one, with keywords such as fujoshi, otaku, seme etc left untranslated in the pages (might be a glossary, I didn't check and the book is at home). While it is part of the plot that the guy doesn't know all these words, he presumably knows at least what some of the sounds ought to be - and more importantly, the japanese readers do know them.

Bakuman is about a guy who, due to a girl he crushes on and has never really talked to, decides to become a manga artist. Everyone is either dull or ott and it lacks to moral issues and tension that made Death Note readable. I much prefer the other manga industry parodies I've read
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
Stay close to meSee, there is yaoi which does contain complex characters and more-or-less realistic view of what a gay relationship might entail - see for instance Fumi Yoshinagas Ichigenme.. The First Class is Civil Law for instance. There are plenty of manga that pick apart and consider gender roles, expectations and queerness - See Setona Mizushiro and her work. They're mostly untranslated, alas, but I am reliably informed that After School Nightmare is along those lines

Aaaand then there's the stuff like today's haul: Stay Close to Me by Yaya Sakuragi and Target in the Viewfinder by Ayano Yamane....

The first one is pure fluff. Cute and really funny fluff, tho! Which, lemme tell you, is amaaaazingly hard to find, since most yaoi authors are completely unable to write comedy to save their lives and think that two guys moping about due to silly misunderstandings for 40 pages = drama.
I was not very surprised when I got home and checked the author name against the shelf, finding that it was the same creator as Tea for Two - the drawing style is similar and they're both genuinly funny. While there is still one top and one bottom, Sakuragi prefers to play around a bit with the seme/uke conventions.
Here, we have the childhood friends, one of which has grown into an ~otomen~, that is a maidenly lad who loves cooking and dreams of becoming a housewife, while the other is a strict, martial arts practitioner. Alas, the otomen has grown TALLER than his crush-for-years, oh noes!! But it's okay, because they've been together and love each other, even though the uke didn't quite realize that until another guy started hitting on him and everyone thinks they're both so cute together

This is the mental equivalent of eating chocolate cake with whipped cream for dinner /grabs spoon/
What can I say? Om nom nom, I love my chocolate cake!

And Viewfinder, does that really need an introduction these days...? Oh, all right. The one redeeming feature of this manga is that the smut is pretty well-done. )

In conclusion: My reward to myself for acing my exam & having worked my arse off this week: One heaping of ♥ fluff ♥ and one kinky smut-collection, thx!

(On a finishing note, if you're turned off yaoi because the overwhelming amount of non-con themes, I can really recommend Stay Close to Me. They're both very obviously in love with each other and though the uke is shy and whatnot, he does react with enthusiasm every time they have sex)
dancing_moon: To Victory! Daleks can win the war (victory!)
Okay.

It's convoluted, trippy, confusing and self-referential like whoa - but I still get all fluttery about the end of Tsubasa: Reservoar Chronicle.

Yes, at least read the final volume of Tsubasa, CLAMP's epic mega-crossover story. Aaaaand I'm mighty confuddled

But not, oddly enough, disappointed. I mean, I can kind of see how the threads are interweaving, even if I can't follow each thread exactly (but hey! that's what re-reads are for) and I love the protagonist team in this story. *squishes Syaron, Sakura, Fai and Kuragone*

Clones, cherry blossom petals and all, that was an epic end to a very good series. It leaves a really bittersweet taste too, and I hope that when I finally get my hands on the final volumes of the companion series xxxHolic, I'll be able to keep completely from bawling

Although, alright, one thing bugs me - Slight spoiler )

Curse you CLAMP, and your inability to finish X!!!
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
Life: It continues to be busy!

The story of SaiunkokuBut I at least had the time to read The Story of Saiunkoku on the train home. It's a manga I have looked forward to read properly ever since someone posted a few pages to scans_daily years ago.

The art style is polished fantasy shoujo, similar in design to the (good) works of Yuu Watase and You Higuri. It's pretty similar to Watase's Fushigi Yuugi in other ways too, starting with the obvious Chinese influence. Stir in plenty of court intrigue and possibly prophecies or something from the mysterious past and a go-get-'em female lead, and the surface starts to look very similar.
But! There are many differences too, because Saiunkoku takes place entirely in one world. There's been no magic in the first volume and, so far, only one of the pretty men in the manga has become obviously infatuated with the main character. Who is also btw admired because she's smart and driven, yay.

I like shoujo manga, especially the historical and fantasy kind (high school romances tend to bore me) but I will freely admit that there is a problem with the female main characters. In short, they tend to do little but have to be rescued after a while. Sometimes for really stupid reasons too.

It's way too early to say how Saiunkoku will develop in that fashion, but at least Shurei isn't supposed to run around and fight people (so she shouldn't be able to fail at it). Instead, she's supposed to teach the reluctant young emperor how to actually be an emperor - a task she has accepted because it means she gets The Moniez, and this is very important to Shurei.

Shurei, the main character, reminds me a great deal of Tohru from Fruits Basket, except she's way sharper when it comes to handling her money. They do seem to share the same kindness, however, and they're both very likeable; both for characters in the story and reader (well, me at least).
This is great, because far too often (in all kinds of genres), one finds a person everyone loves, from good old Mary Sue over to generic harem-manga leading man, for no reason whatsoever.

Here, we're presented with a noble but impoverished young girl, who is both book-smart and knows the pains of the world. She's still got a positive outlook on life, but it's not all roses and cheer - and yes, I like her. Maybe she's a bit too good, but heck, she's the HEROINE, she's allowed to. And the author still makes me think that if I met her in real life, she's someone I could easily come to like.

There appears to be much more intrigue, palace schemes and whatnot brewing in this manga than in your typical shoujo story. I hope it keeps up and develops those threads even further, because there's the potential of a really, really good story here.

So far, I like it a lot ^_^ Since I also bought the very last volume of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, this series came at just the right moment. Might even give the anime a try if the manga keeps my interest...

By the way, Saiunkoku is another anime where it's fun to play "Spot the voice actor!"
Seiyuu-geek out )
dancing_moon: Kermit goes "YAY Ohmygod" (Yay)
Ohhh, it is soooo good!

But before I get to that point, a little preface: Sometimes, I don't quite get how people reporting news think. In the "real world" is the Swedish papers and their treatment of the whole Facebook-hacking thing. Okay, you warn a lot of users, good on you. But did you really have to mention the name of the plugin, so that any n00b can try hacking someone's account? Tsk.

A similar thing happened with manga scanlations recently, when Anime News Network posted about how one of the big scanlation sites put back up manga that they've pulled before, due to it being licensed. Since they mentioned that Kuroshitsuji / Black Butler was among them I *cough* made sure to read it this weekend, before it's pulled again.

Please misunderstand me correctly - I think the US official translation is pretty good. I buy each volume of YenPress' Black Butler as soon as they come out. But look at that release schedule... Volume 6 in July 2011? The japanese collections are at volume 8 currently (I think, +/- one) and the monthly chapters even further ahead. I'm sorry, I just - I CAN'T WAIT.

Especially not when it is this awesome-sauce good and full of locked-room murders, cliffhangers and mysterious goodness.

Squeeage of the most recent Black Butlers, spoilers to chap. 50 )

I don't watch season two of the anime, btw. I didn't hear good things about it in the beginning, and when I read a summary of the end, completely lost all interest in watching it. Besides, the manga is so much better.
dancing_moon: [APH] Austria getting his hair teased (Stress)
I got book 1 of Hikaru no Go yesterday and read through it. It looks really different from the end parts, which is the ones I've seen most. I mean, the art is very polished compared to a lot of other first-volumes of long series, probably because it's drawn by Takeshi Obata (Death Note, Bakuman) who is always very polished. But the character design evolves over time and it's odd to see the very start of a story when you mostly recall the look from the late middle to the end

Hikaru no Go is about a guy named Hikaru and how he learns to play go (surprise!)

And he plays go quite seriously, but not as seriously as Sai. Who is a 1000-year old ghost who's attached themselves to Hikaru so that he can *drumroll* play go! Hey, who needs nirvana when you can play board games?

this is what I like about this type of manga, that they acknowledge and play with the devotion people can develop for just about anything. Board games, baking, cooking, sports, racing, tea ceremony, comics, ballet, acting... Whatever; in a manga, anything can be an object of fannish devotion and at least within the manga, it's usually portrayed as something positive. Yes, there are parody manga showing what happens when you've gone too far into obsession, but most of the time, sincere devotion to any subject under the sun is a good thing. And that's an ideal I can get behind
dancing_moon: [APH] Austria getting his hair teased (Stress)
Have read a bunch of stuff lately.

First I caved in and bought the Dirk Gently Omnibus (by the esteemed Douglas Adams of Hitchhiker's fame). The hardcover was only slightly more pricy than buying the two books separately in paperback and this way, it can stand next to my Ultimate Hitchhiker's omnibus.

Then I read the first book, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and it's. Whoa. It's so damn weird, this book.

There's plot, lots more plot than in the extremely meandering Hitchhiker's series, but it is if anytihng even stranger. Perhaps because it's here and now (or, recently-then, these days), so that the weirdness is more obviously visible? Whatever the reason, this book is friggin weird... and brilliant. Some of the sentences, some of the similes, brilliant.

I was going to continue straight on to book two, but I found Richard Morgan's Black Man again. Was planning to say a great deal about that book, but I'm a bit too tired. Suffice to say, I was not very impressed. Too much pointless technobabble, the story just flopped uselessly here and there. I mean, there was a clear thread through the story, we knew they had to solve a murder and political commentary and blaha, but the tension, the feel that I'm following an investigator solving a puzzle just wasn't there. And it is there even in stuff like Sherlock Holmes, where you can rarely figure out anything about whodunnit, but you can see that Holmes is figuring it out.

Here, we got graphic violence, awful sex scenes, some vague kind of love story which fell even flatter than Morgan's usual fare and a lot of fairly interesting but too repetitive discussions about the ethics of cloning and genetic manipulation by someone who may know hiw SF tropes but is horrendous when it comes to modern discussions of gender, feminism and nature vs. nurture

Also, why would they breed a human that hibernates for some months? What was the point? I never got that part

Then I've read Black Butler 2, Kobato 1 and 2 (review coming next week to a J-fi page near you, I hope) some yaoi I can't even recall the title of much less the "plot" and Youka Nittas Otodama. Is it okay to review her art style evolving positively when she's been found guilty of plagiarism before? I mean, I don't much care if she's copying or not, I like this softer style.
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
Escape from Hell by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. The second part in a modern retelling of Dante's Inferno, about how a science fiction author ends up in hell. In the previous book, he was given a guided tour through hell by Benito Mussolini, who in the end shows him how to escape. Now, in this book, the author returns the favour to some other people and tries to show all
the lost souls that it's possible to get out.

It starts off very interesting, he meets a lot of famous people (Sylvia Plath, for instance, is another main character) but the second half of the story felt incredibly cheesy and preachy to me. Not the message, that everybode can be saved if they strive for forgiveness, but in the way that it was conveyed. Very "sing hallelujah, praise the lord" and then you're simply forgiven and that's
that. I dunno, maybe I read it wrong, but the more complex morals of the first half of
the book seem to be swept away in the end.

Anyway, official RPS, and not too shabbily written. Maybe I'd have enjoyed it more if I'd read part one?

Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon. After many years, Moon returns to Paksenarrions world. This is a direct sequel to Oath of Gold, but it focuses on Kieri Phelan (commander to Paks, the main character of the first books) and his captains Dorrin and Arcolin instead of Paks.

I will start off with three things about this book:
1) You really, really should read the Paksenarrion trilogy first.
I have read it, multiple times, and I was still a bit confused trying to remember who was who. But the characters would lack too much depth without that entire story. Not to mention...
2) that you'll get incredibly spoiled for the Paksenarrion trilogy if you
read this book first.
Moon also wrote a prequel, about Saint Gird, but it's not very good. Not so spoilery either. This book begins hours and days after the ending of Oath of Gold, and all the major characters appeared in the first trilogy. Don't even read the back cover, it basically spoils the big reveal for the third book in the series.
3) The Paksenarrion Trilogy is Really Very Good - and this book is almost as good.
It also contains a lot less marching and troop movement things, which people tend to critique the early trilogy for. Lots of politics and intrigue and a good set-up for another 2 books.

Highly recommended; the only thing I was a bit disappointed about is that it's less focused on Phelan than I was led to believe. Not that it matters that much, Dorrin Verrakai is a very interesting character and her story is fascinating. However, as both her and Arcolin's parts were minor in the first trilogy it took me a while to warm up to these new characters. But Elizabeth Moon likes to write thick trilogies with shifting POV's and she tends to give everyone enough attention.

Highly recommended if one enjoys classic fantasy. Also an interesting contrast to the Niven book - the Paksenarrion world is religious and the gods and saints play very obvious roles. Yet, the moral of the books never feels forced, nor too simple or preachy. This while St Gird shows many similarities with a Jesus figure and the paladins are among the most Lawful Good Paladins I have ever encountered in a serious story. But the world fits, actions have consequences and Moon is very good at building up how and why a character gains their faith. So, all in all, I strongly rec this book.

I also read some manga, like the latest part of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle by CLAMP. We've gotten to the end of the flashback, have an explanation for the link between Watanuki and Syaoran and things are really gearing up for the end. Which means one book goes by like snap and I'm left wondering when the rest'll arrive.

And I read Shugo Chara 1, will review for work later. Not bad, but not very exciting either. Nice character designs though and enough interesting ingredients to want me keep reading for at least a while more.

Eyeshield 21, part 31 of the American Footboll manga, was also released recently. This book contains the end to the Christmas Bowl match. They team's in the goal and I honestly don't know if I'll bother to buy the rest of the manga. It won't go severely downhill until after the national championship, but the upcoming game is the least exciting and most unrealistic of them all. Otoh, I
am a completist. We'll see...

Sena's really grown in this part though and I like the wrap-up of the Devil Bat's struggle for the Christmas Bowl.

And here's a little clip of me singing karaoke in cosplay. I wish I owned a working camera, so I could have asked some other cosplayers for good posing pictures. Maybe I'll get the chance to at Meuwcon.
dancing_moon: Kermit goes "YAY Ohmygod" (Yay)
We have internet for one computer, which is an improvement to not having internet for three computers.

I took the opportunity to send out a little update re Uppcon to those concerned and share the coolness that is (I think) Raison d'être's first professionally designed poster!

It's [personal profile] lamapan who made it, her site is at Lampadari.se and she's also made the new logo that is going on our t-shirts ^_^

Awesomesauce, or what?

Phew, I'm really beat. Flew down to Gothenburg on Friday evening after having moved a massive amounts of comics and manga because the shelf-constructing guys were somewhat late *mumblegrumble*
On Saturday, I went to a coffee shop with Carro and found a pair of nice new shoes, bonus! Especially considering I was just trying to find a sweater, heh
In the evening it was time to party, celebrate Miko-chan and Tennyo's birthdays. We also met with Sho, it's been ages and it was really fun talking to him a little. I hope you come up to Stockholm while you're in the country ;)

Theeeen, far to early on Sunday, I flew home and collapsed in bed. Where I dreamt that I got out of bed and took the bus around town because I thought I was going to Gotenburg, only to realize halfway through the dream that I'd already been. Which my dream self then followed up with taking the wrong bus home, so I woke up all confused and feeling as if I'd been traveling all day. Wtf self?

I'm tired again. As soon as the mp3-player has finished copying all the new songs, I'll go to bed.

Have read Two of hearts during the trip. A decent, somewhat low-key yaoi manga with considerably more in the way of plot and character development than we usually see. Momiji_mi has already reviewed it over at the bookstore's review site.

Right, I almost forgot! I continued my foray into Wodehouse with reading Nära ögat, which I'd definitely call one of the best non-Jeeves/Blandings books so far. It takes place on a ship, contains some characters from the other series (young Drones, mostly) and is delightfully silly and entertaining. It also has a ship steward who had pretty much all of Jeeves bad characteristics (long-winded, busybody, trying to control his 'masters') without that brilliance that, well, made Jeeves brilliant.

Fun brain-popcorn, perfect for when your tired and traveling
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
I have had a very stressful week and it'll probably go on like this to Uppcon more or less. Although now there's not so much for me left to do, but I have to trust other people (and shipping companies) to do what they're supposed to do, and I guess I'm none too good at that. Yeah. But I'll try to relax

Have read some good and some not-so-good manga recently.
I even managed to finish my review of Bunny Drop for work, and I also read and reviewed Hanako and the Terror of Allegory, although that one isn't up yet. Bunny Drop was very good, Hanako. Not so much.

We suddenly had to re-arrange the manga shelves yesterday, because that's when the new shelves were finally installed (with very short notice and they had forgotten to send a part, blah)

Tonight we celebrate Miko-chan's birthday with a big party in Gothenburg. I flew down yesterday. Yes, yes, I know, what a waste of enviroment to fly to Gothenburg. But when it costs me about 200 SEK more (return-trip) and I save something like 4 hours (yes, the rapid train was more expensive than the airplane) then I'll just be an evil sinner.
Anyway, Malmo Aviation were really good, cheap and you got sandwich and tea and everything. Almost like on a real airplane ;)

And now I have finally managed to convert and tag and whatnot all the Jeeves and Wooster music that I wanted to tag, so I'll have a nice relaxing bath and then go fika with Silverstar ^^
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
Yes, of course I'll forget to keep a log of the books I'm reading. Who do you think I am, some kind of organized person?

Anyway, since the last time I know I've worked my way through at least:
- Manga -
Shout Out Loud 1-5 - Meh. Not bad, but the plot was a bit too convoluted and at the same time too down-to-earth and realistic. Either operatic hijinks or a universe were not everyone wants to sleep with the uke or his (adult, no worries) son.
Baby and Me 1-7 - So sweet! So good! Marimo Ragawa is something so unusual as a manga author who manages to take slice of life and mangafy it without slipping into so many wacky hijinks that one doesn't even remember the original setup

- Books -
Dwarves - Far too mediocre. The "original spin" of the book, that the dwarves are the main characters, isn't enough to keep my interest. Well-crafted epic fantasy which brings absolutely nothing to the genre that hasn't already been done a thousand times before. Only this time, it's dwarves doing it
Two more Wodehouse books! The Jeeves and Wooster collection with that one story from Jeeves POV and the story where they, uh, have a tragic divorce due to banjoeloes. Banjolettes? Something like that, I've read them in translation. Still very funny, though I think the Blandings books either translate better into English or had a more competent translator. They're not written in first-person POV after all, so a lot of the very slangy parts aren't in them. But, you know, very funny
A while ago I bought Don't Panic, the book about Douglas Adams and his 'verse by Neil Gaiman. Since I managed to sprain my foot and was forced to basically sit on the couch (except when I was sitting in the bed, for a change of pace) and read all weekend I ploved it. Very quick read... It's fun to see how very improbable the creation of the entire thing seems to have been, with Adams happily ignoring deadlines until his editors basically locked him away with a typewriter. Or, in the case of some radio episodes, had begun airing the first part of the episode. Yeeahhh...
2x Jasper Fforde, both Thursday Next books bought on the annual book sale. Amazingly enough, I had a much better time with book five than book two in the series despite not having read any other parts. They're good, very lit-injokey and do not work at all in the Swedish translation. It feels, I don't know, clunky, boring and just not well done at all. A shame

Also, I re-read the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Or, honestly, am re-reading them and I think I will once again stop before Mostly Harmless, as that book just makes me sad. I've read these books so many times that I can still quote passages. But! Only in Swedish, because we had the whole four-parts trilogy in a pocket edition. Now I've got the ultimate softcover version (US edition, which does not contain the word "fuck" but four extra sentences about the swear word "Belgium" instead. Ah well) and I... honestly don't know if I'll ever read the sixth semi-book, the recently released one written by Eoin Colfer. Whose name is apparantly not pronounced ee-o-win, as I though, but Owen. Still, I was really not impressed with Artemist Fowl, and I think I prefer the dratted ending to Mostly Harmless by someone unfunilly mucking about in the Hitchiker's main verse. Side-stuff like the Starship Titanic (which btw shares an amazing likeness with the Dr Who Titanic Christmas special. According to Wiki, they meant it to) is another matter though, and frankly, I'd rather see them writing more "free" spinoffs in that vein.
This was a lot of blather to say, bascially, that I
1) Had forgotten how amazingly weird these books are. And very sad at times, beneath all the funny!
2) Will always prefer Den Drägglande Dårfinken från Draal to the The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (the firs means, basically, the Drooling Lunatic from Draal), but a lot of the other jokes make a lot more sense in english.
3) Still love these books a lot.

Also, our internet is 99% dead =D Let's see if this posts, or if I have to save it to USB and try and post it from work...

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May 2012

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