Classic manga

Battle Angel Alita Vol. 1 (Gunnm, #1)
by Yukito Kishiro

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I watched Alita Battle Angel on TV recently — well, I watched bits of it and missed the ending, because I got distracted. Still, it looked good and it turns out that some of the comic is available on Kindle Unlimited. At least I won‘t have gotten the free KU trial for naught! So:

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Very pretty! Good introduction to the world and characters. Good level of suspense.

Ido finds Alita on a scrap heap and makes her functional again. She quickly emancipates herself and gets a job as Hunter-Warrior and picks the biggest and baddest cyborg as her first mission.

I recognized major parts of the story from the movie. The movie makers apparently made an effort to stay close to the source material, even down to the look of the characters.

I liked the artwork of this manga quite a lot. The beginning of the story also really appealed to me. The last part with the final battle didn‘t do much for me though. The evil opponent was just childish in my opinion. And the explanations of what fight move worked how didn‘t fit smoothly into the narrative. I was disappointed in the ending.

I only just realized that this mange is over 30 years old. Kudos for a pivotal manga! Pity that the final confrontation didn‘t live up to the strong beginning. I am not averse to continuing, but it‘s not high on my list.

Going through The Ring…

Abaddon’s Gate (Expanse, #3)
by James S.A. CoreyJefferson Mays (Narrator)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Ring, finally! And the battle I was looking forward to. Good reminder. Red and Peaches are the most interesting characters in this for me. Bull had completely disappeared from my memory, replaced by TV Drummer.


First read October 2017:

I wonder if our writing team follows a how-to-list for their books, something like….
1. boy or girl disappears / is kidnapped / dies and introduced a main plotline for the book doing so,
2. Holden shows up and contemplates his life,
3. Several new, possibly major characters show up, never to be seen again in the next book

I liked Anna, Clarissa, Bull, Sam, Serge…. Corey is good at making characters come to life. But, OMG, did Corey take writing hints from GRR Martin? 

I also liked the slightly time shifted chapters with alternating POVs, made it lively. 

The plot was more straight forward than in the previous two books, which makes it simpler, but dragged me along much faster, too.

Very good, really liked this book, looking forward to the next installment!


On the comics front I decided to read Battle Angel Alita Vol. 1 (Gunnm, #1)  next. Very good so far! Very nice artwork, great characters, good suspense…

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Walking uphill…

The Walking Dead, Vol. 16: A Larger World
by Robert Kirkman,  Charlie Adlard (Illustrator),  Cliff Rathburn (Illustrator)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Outside, scavenging for food, meeting Jesus… Rick is a little psychotic in this one, at least in the beginning. Something good happens and the ending is very upbeat. Oh boy, the next issue is going to be really horrible, right? Because of you-know-who….

Normally my next comics read would be The Walking Dead, Vol. 17: Something to Fear (Comics), especially now, with Negan on the horizon. But I think I need a breather from The Walking Dead. I watched Alita Battle Angel on TV last night — well, I watched bits of it and missed the ending, because I got distracted. Still, it looked good and it turns out that some of the comic is available on Kindle Unlimited. At least I won‘t have gotten the free KU trial for naught! So, next:

Battle Angel Alita Vol. 1 (Gunnm, #1) by Yukito Kishiro

Or option number 2… I just got the Netgalley of this one:

Dark One by Brandon Sanderson

I finally bit the bullet and re-activated my Adobe ID, got the Adobe Digital Editions App and unpacked this comic there… reading app number 4, me thinks? Argh.

November Wrap-up

Here is my November. Sorry for the long break since my last post. Slow book and not a lot of reading mojo at the moment…

BR novels finished:
– The White Dragon, paper, featured BR, ★★★★¾, the runt of the litter saves the day. 
– The Doors of Eden, audio, featured BR, carry-over from October, ★★★¾☆
– Conventionally Yours, netgalley, romance readers, ★★¾☆☆, new adult, enemies-to-lovers, M/M romance, card gaming à la Magic The Gathering, meh.

BR novels started, carry-over into December:
– To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, audio, group read, at 48%
– Phoenix Extravagant, netgalley, at 40%

Solo reads / comics:
– Fathom Vol. 1 #0, ★★★☆☆, Surfer Barbie plans to go on an adventure.
– Fathom Vol. 2 #0, ★★½☆☆, where is Aquaman, when you need him?
– Fathom Vol. 2: Beginnings, ★★★½☆, backstory, only eight pages. The Artwork seems to be better.
– BLAME! Vol. 5, ★★★½☆
– BLAME! Vol. 6, ★★☆☆☆, not happy how this all played out. Seriously missing some decent plot.

Solo read / Fanfiction:
Performance in a Leading Role, online, ★★★★☆, Johnlock, rom-com with the boys as leading Hollywood actors. 156,714 Words.

The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky The White Dragon (Pern, #3) by Anne McCaffrey Fathom Vol. 1 #0 by Michael Layne Turner Fathom Vol. 2 #0 by J.T. Krul Fathom Vol. 2 Beginnings by J.T. Krul Conventionally Yours (True Colors, #1) by Annabeth Albert BLAME! Vol. 5 by Tsutomu Nihei BLAME! Vol. 6 by Tsutomu Nihei 

Not a satisfying ending

BLAME! Vol. 6
by Tsutomu Nihei

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I made it through this endless rambling mess. Ok, yes, some cool artwork. Empty, architectural landscapes. Indecipherable fights. Less and less plot after Volume #2.

As for the ending… You have got to be kidding me. Argh. I get it, I can see the red thread in retrospect. I wish the story had been told more coherently. So much pointless filler. Pretty to look at was not enough for me. I would have preferred a well told plot to go with it. If I had stopped after the first two volumes, it would probably have been a more satisfying experience.

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Still wandering the Megastructure

BLAME! Vol. 5
by Tsutomu Nihei

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Here is my chapter-by-chapter-not-a-review…

::LOG.43:: Provisional Safeguards ::003::
We‘re having a flashback! 

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Dhomochevsky seems to be here to stay.

::LOG.44:: Inside the Megastructure ::037::
Finally a fight scene that I followed easily, that had a great dynamic and was very well drawn.

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::LOG.45:: Compound Dynamic Particles ::061::
Connecting the dots…

::LOG.46:: Temporary Access Authentication ::091::
Sorting out stuff, going places…

::LOG.47:: Infiltration ::121::
Let‘s call this the Pac-Man-Chapter…

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Plenty of monsters in this one. Good action.

::LOG.48:: Impulse ::151::
::LOG.49:: Log 9 ::185::
Skocking things happening…

::LOG.50:: Distant ::215::
Colour! 

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Good artwork, some very nice panels…. plot? Hm. Speculative. Optional. Erratic.

::LOG.51:: Parallel Battery Storage Cluster ::245::
::LOG.52:: The One Who Calls ::275::
And we are walking again. Lots of stairs. And a very nice cityscape. Not enough of those in this volume!

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::LOG.53:: Omissions ::293::
::LOG.54:: Captors ::325::
That was a pretty unsatisfactory ending. 

In total very little storytelling. An almost plotless affair with very little text. World building in this volume—also not so much. This volume lives through its artwork. Mostly good, sometimes great. One more volume to come. Really wondering how this will all tie up.

October Wrap-up

BR novels:
– Monstress, Vol. 5, comic, ★★★★★, siege of a city, war, revelations about the past. This was good, although different to the previous ones. More of an ensemble cast and more focused on setting up the scene for that siege and the war that will probably pick up speed in the next volume.
– Dragonquest, paper, ★★★★★, fun 2nd Dragonriders book. Fire-lizards! I enjoyed this a lot and it was much better than I remembered it.
– The Only Good Indians, audio, ★★☆☆☆, revenge, indigenous people, hunting. Carry-over from last month. There were some good parts in this. Some of it I even liked. It just didn‘t come together well. 
– The Ministry for the Future: A Novel, ebook, Netgalley, ★★☆☆☆, DNF at 56%, climatefic, too little plot, more a collection of essays, too much economics, blockchain, weird surrealistic meta-fic somethings. The plot that was there, I liked. The rest bored me silly.

Ongoing BR:
– The Doors of Eden, audio, featured BR, 6 hours left, will finish in November… Good so far, I like it. Tchaikovsky writes well and is great at world-building. I have to get to his back catalogue one of these days.

Planned BR, but didn‘t read:
– The Butterfly Garden, ebook, didn‘t manage to squeeze it in and after reading a friend‘s review I am not sure if I want to. Postponed.

Solo reads:
– Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory, short, ★★★★☆, intermezzo for Mensah and Murderbot 
– Shakespeare’s Sonnets, poetry, ★★★★☆, read-along with Sir Pat on Instagram.
– BLAME! Vol. 4, manga, ★★★★☆, fighting and exploring the megastructure.

Plans for November:

BR novels:
– The White Dragon — started already! Fun!
– Phoenix Extravagant, netgalley 
– Conventionally Yours, netgalley — romance readers
– Great Expectations, read-along on wordpress — this will be postponed, month tbc

Exploring the Megastructure

BLAME! Vol. 4
by Tsutomu Nihei

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A lot of fighting, where I struggled to understand what was going on. Very stylish artwork, minimalistic plot. Familiar looking images, that I can‘t quite name. I really like the larger panels. Great views, almost 3D. The little plot we get is good. 

I was pretty confused for long stretches of this volume. I am oscillating between 3 and 4 stars. Benefit of the doubt?

Here is my chapter-by-chapter-not-a-review…

::LOG.31:: Sanakan and Cibo ::003::

No idea. Fighting.

::LOG.32:: Vibrations ::029::

Yep, more fighting.

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::LOG.33:: Collapse ::057::

Um… ok? Very stylish, no substance. Can be nice, but I wouldn‘t mind a little more here or there. 

::LOG.34:: Meltdown ::087::

Plot! Survivors having a conversation, yay! This chapter I liked. The disintegrating core reminded me of something, but I can‘t recall what…

::LOG.35:: Annihilated ::119::

Kyrii is not really vital to this volume so far. Cibo is the more central character. I like her, with her augmentations she is more interesting that monosyllabic Kyrii.

::LOG.36:: Beautiful Life ::149::

Just wrote that and a few pages later Kyrii uttered two full sentences! 😝 

I like the panels the most where we get vistas of large open spaces with massive structures or long walkways and ladders. Despite the otherwise very two-dimensional sketches, those large panels always have a lot of depth and grip to them.

::LOG.37:: Unofficial Megastructure ::177::

Ok, that was odd. Let‘s call it the travel chapter…

::LOG.38:: The Warehouse ::199::

2 million hours later? That‘s a new one! I was wondering who the heck that was.
Excellent artwork and good story in this one. This was really good. Mysterious new characters.

::LOG.39:: Type 1 Unknown Criticality Weapon ::239::

Started well, but then dissolved into another confusing fight scene.

::LOG.40:: Captured ::269::
::LOG.41:: Anti-Infiltration Electronic Space ::301::

Hm. Fish!? Cibo in action… weird blond guy is interesting. Plot, thank you!

::LOG.42:: Internal Fissures In The Megastructure ::335::

Kyrii is in somewhat yucky circumstances at the beginning of this one.
Otherwise that was a very short chapter with a very interesting ending.

Onwards to volume 5!

My bookish week

I am currently buddy reading this ebook:

Sourdough by Robin Sloan (Goodreads Author)

Good so far. I feel the urge to bake! Hermann came out of the fridge last evening for a feeding. I am going to feed him again tonight and commence with baking tomorrow, maybe… I‘ll see how my mood strikes me and if he sings!

My current Audible:

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones (Goodreads Author),  Shaun Taylor-Corbett (Narrator)

Very weird. I thought I had gotten a grasp on the plot. I made it halfway and something drastic happened and now I am lost at sea again. I am really slow with audiobooks, because it‘s not really my preferred medium, so it could be a while until I finish.

I keep thinking about cancelling my Audible subscription, but somehow I never manage to use up all my credits, even with taking the optional three-month-pauses.

And my current comic selection:

BLAME! Vol. 4 (BLAME! MASTER EDITION #4) by Tsutomu Nihei

I haven‘t made much headway with this yet. There is too little plot to hold my interest. The art is still good, but has become repetitive. Many fight scenes, where I find it difficult to understand what is going on exactly. We‘ll see how that progresses. I own the complete series and plan to read them all. Two more to come.

And I shopped at HUMBLE BUNLDE yesterday:

HUMBLE BOOK BUNDLE: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: R.A. SALVATORE SHOWCASE

This series keeps popping up on my Goodreads feed, so I snatched up this opportunity. I got the smallest bundle, which is not much of a loss at 84 cents, if I don’t like the books. Unfortunately the books are only available as pdf or epub, which means I will read them on my iPad. Not my preferred reading device. But oh well, they came at a good price. Drawback #2, the books start in the middle of the series. I guess I will be adventurous and simply jump into the action midway!

August Wrap-up

Here is my August 2020:

Buddy reads:
– Limit, TBR challenge, carry-over, not terribly keen to continue. Put it back on my bookshelf for now. Sorry!
– The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Zombie, ebook, ★★★★☆, fantasy, betrayal, scheming, revenge, politics.
– Hell’s Aquarium, ebook, ★★★¼☆, Shark Week, Lost World at the bottom of the sea. Very bloody, pulp fiction at its best. The writing is not quite as great, but ok-ish.
– Sharkantula: Shark. Tarantula. Sharkantula., ebook, ★☆☆☆☆, Shark Week. Oh boy, not good. Don‘t bother. DNF at 48%.

Solo reads:
– A Stone Sat Still, ebook, ★★★★★, cute picture book for ages 3-5.
– The Furthest Station, audio, ★★★★☆, in-between novella with Peter and the crew. Goodness with Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.
– 50 Klassiker: Deutsche Schriftsteller von Grimmelshausen bis Grass, paper, library, ★★★☆☆, essays about 50 important male (eye-roll), German authors.
– Leberkäsjunkie, audio, library, ★½ ☆☆☆, cosy mystery, DNF around 40%, mildly funny, caricature of Bavarian smalltown life.

Comics, aka my guilty pleasure:
– Secret Invasion, ebook, ★★★★★, alien invasion in the Marvelverse. Colourful fun.
– BLAME! Vol. 3, ebook, ★★★☆☆, more fighting and silicone life.
– Hellboy Volume 1: Seed of Destruction, ebook, ★★☆☆☆, blocky and flat artwork, too much narration, unexciting plot. Not for me. 

Limit by Frank Schätzing Leberkäsjunkie (Franz Eberhofer, #7) by Rita Falk The Traitor Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, #1) by Seth Dickinson Hell's Aquarium (Meg #4) by Steve Alten 50 Klassiker Deutsche Schriftsteller von Grimmelshausen bis Grass by Joachim Scholl Sharkantula (B-Movie Novels #1) by Essel Pratt The Furthest Station (Peter Grant, #5.5) by Ben Aaronovitch BLAME! Vol. 3 by Tsutomu Nihei Hellboy Volume 1 Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel Secret Invasion by Brian Michael Bendis