This was a slightly less impressive volume because there are a few leaps of logic here. Irel tries to meet up with Grace, his mentor’s daughter but Lamia and Clarion also catch up with him there, not to mention Detective Chris. He’s the one character that I’m having real trouble with. He seems to be convinced Irel is a murderer but his actions are what bother me. I don’t expect accuracy in these things but he’s so un-detective like (except maybe in the Hollywood sense of things) that I don’t find him believable.
Long story short, Clarion and Lamia are doing so much damage to civilians that Irel feels guilty. After he gets Grace out of the way, he goes back and offers himself to Lamia. Apparently drinking the blood of Christ makes you very self sacrificing. This is the second plot hole. The first volume did have Lamia crying at the idea of having to eat people to keep up her zombie state but she does nothing else to make her a sympathetic character so Irel’s actions are a bit hard to swallow (no cannibal pun intended). But it does make some sense for him, Lamia and Clarion to team up to find the rest of the Chrism bottles. What makes me a little leery of Irel’s naiveté is Clarion keeps saying Lamia was a cannibal before she was cursed so I’m not sure she’s the woman Irel seems to think he might be able to save.
In the meantime, Detective Chris, injured in the attack and Grace are now on the run from Britain’s secret service who are out to destroy Wiltham’s research and kill the people who know about it. Irel’s after the chrism bottles. Chris is after Irel. The villains of the people seem to be after everyone. And there’s a zombie Jesus joke in here taken to the next level… I’m still enjoying it but the plot’s a little loose for my tastes. Lots of action, almost too much. There are more fight scenes than plot in a few places.
Spiral : The Bonds of Reasoning #8 Author – Kyo Shirodaira Artist – Eita Mizuno
It opens with a battle between Kanon and the other Blade Children, which goes badly for them but even that has far too much talking. They tell each other what they’re going to do then they do it. I’d rather just see them do it. We don’t need to be told and why would you explain to your enemy? The rest of this is planning for more attacks and just talking, mostly whining that they’re all puppets of Kiyotaka, Ayumi’s older brother who is ‘God.’ Seriously, they call him God. Apparently he has arranged each and every step of the way to ‘toughen up’ Ayumi for a final battle. Kiyotaka used to be a detective like Madoka but he’s been missing for some time after investigating the Blade Children.
This is where this story has really begun to go off the tracks for me. We don’t know enough about the Blade Children yet, other than they’re missing a rib, have cat-slit pupils and are highly intelligent and apparently trained to kill. We have no idea why they’re cursed and must die, which is Kanon’s goal. He used to fight against the Hunters who are out to kill the children then decided to join them even if he doesn’t really want to kill his friends.
However, in my eyes, there are giant plot holes in this. One, the police have to just stand around and do nothing. Do they not question the whole ‘don’t get involved’ when a school is held hostage? And why are any of these kids doing this? They know they’re being manipulated but their reaction is ‘oh well, God planned it so it has to happen this way even though we know we’ll die.’ Does no one think to get on the train and run away? It makes no sense. If you know you’re being manipulated and there really is an out, just walk away and take your chances, then why do it. Even Hiyono says something to that effect; ‘If you’re being manipulated by someone then fighting won’t get you anywhere.’ We do learn that this is supposed to train Ayumi to be a killer to take out Hizumi, someone we don’t know much about yet. That begs the question why manipulate and kill children to make Ayumi do this? Why doesn’t Kiyotaka act?
Dogs: Blood and Carnage#3 by Shirow Miwa
I’ve been waiting for this one with great anticipation: the discovery of Heine’s background. There are two stories going on at the same time. One a train is under attack by a group of inhuman shock troopers led by a woman from the Underground that Naoto knows. Mihai, lost as usual, has gotten on this train but barely human soldiers aren’t that much of a match for the ex-hit man and he has Bishop to help him. However, just how does a blind priest know so much about combat?
The other second running through this is Badou finally nails (ha pun intended) Heine down and demands to know his background Badou lost his brother to the secrets of the underground, along with his own right eye and he doesn’t want a lack of information to get him killed too. Heine reluctantly tells Badou, Naoto and Nill what little he remembers of his childhood. He woke up, memories wiped, with the spine of Kerebos already implanted in him and the collar around his neck. He’s with a bunch of other kids and a delightfully insane woman unleashes hellish monsters on them. Angelika Einsturzen calls herself a doctor, promising to love the children if they do well which means pull the monsters apart with their hands and teeth. The collars seem to inflict punishments when they don’t and the Spine appears to give them rapid healing abilities. The one thing Heine can’t remember is how to get back to the underground complex which is what Naoto wants to know.
I would have liked a little more of Heine’s history since the most important characters that we know of weren’t touched upon in this except as nameless kids (I’m assuming that’s who they are) and a little less of Mihai’s battle. However, Bishop makes a huge revelation and now I’ll have to wait until Sept. to find out. Ugh. I don’t normally like ultra-violent manga but this has more than enough plot to keep me intrigued and to support the violence. I love this series.
Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 by David Petersen
Unfortunately for me, this is the second in the series and the library doesn’t have the first. It’s a YA graphic novel set in the Middle Ages and as the title promises, it’s about the Mouse Guard. It’s a quick, beautifully illustrated read. It follows Saxon, Kenzie, Lieam, Sadie and Celanawe, all part of the mouse guard as they brave the harsh winter to retrieve medicines Queen Gwendolyn and their people require. On their return trip, Lieam and Celanawe are separated from their fellows. Each group finds their own trials from betraying bats, weasel enemies and hungry owls. In the meantime, back home they’re all in danger of being betrayed. Politics and action play a large role in this and I found myself enjoying this very much. Must go pester the library to get the first book ‘Fall’ which was an award-winning first entry into this series. And for once, I’m comfortable with that award.
On the other hand, I’m often left wondering how things get awarded and the next book is one of those. I have no idea how Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan won anything and yet she had been given a two year fellowship in which to write this and it’s won numerous awards. On Goodreads I see a lot of 5 stars and a lot of one stars. I’m in the one star crowd. This was awful. I’m not even including it my yearly count because I couldn’t make it all the way through. The cover is decorated with high praise about its exquisite prose and its titillating story and I’m left thinking what book did they read?
This comes with its own question & answer period since it’s meant for the YA reader, presumably for book clubs and classes. It’s supposed to be a retelling of Snow White and Rose Red. I couldn’t tell that’s what it is by reading. Liga is the main character. She gets repeatedly raped her whole life. Starting at 13 she starts giving birth to her father’s incestuous grandchildren. The first was a miscarriage and she almost lost me at the obfuscated description of what was happening. What is purple in a miscarriage? Nothing I’m aware of. Liga’s dad keeps trying to poison his children of rape out of her and succeeds once. After he dies, her rapes aren’t over. Eventually the spirit world claims Liga and her kids (it apparently kept the one that was born too early or something. I wasn’t sure. This prose is a clear and thick as mud). By then I was so bored by this I gave up. The prose isn’t exquisite. It feels like a bad attempt to write in the patois of the 1100’s or something. Liga is unlikable. Her horrible life is horrible and while I don’t mind dark, I don’t even mind rape if it’s handled well but it wasn’t here. It was just there. I don’t see what the hype is. I have no idea how this won awards and readers.