cornerofmadness (cornerofmadness) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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Books 33 & 34

The Xibalba Murders (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #1)The Xibalba Murders by Lyn Hamilton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This wasn't a bad mystery but it wasn't great either (and I'm betting I'm not the only one who picked it up because they needed an X for an alphabet reading challenge!).

It's set in Mexico and I would have liked more of a local flavor other than the food. There's a lot of food descriptions in this. Lara McClintoch is living in a hotel run by friends, hiding out from her pain after her marriage imploded. She's also between jobs because her lawyer is trying to shield her from her less-successful ex's money grabbing.

Lara is taking archaeology classes with another mentor, Don Hernan and is studying the Mayans. There is plenty of Mayan history that seems fairly well researched and the current (as of the mid-90s when this was written) conflict between Mayans and the Hispanics plays a role. An important Mayan relic is stolen from a collector and Lara recognizes the thief as a son of her friend and so doesn't turn him in.

But soon, Martinez, a crooked cop, thinks she and Hernan are in on it (i.e. we need some reason for the amateur detective to be involved). Lara does her best to ignore him, fostering a relationship with the aristocrat archaeologist, Jonathan and his somewhat menacing companion, Lucas May.

Things take a turn for the worse and people are killed and it looks like it has to do with more Mayan artifacts. Lara is suspect number one.

Honestly, it's not particularly hard to figure out who is the killer and the ending made me crazy (once again an amateur detective story relies on the hero/heroine doing something incredibly stupid in order to get the 'exciting' ending).

It wasn't a bad read but given the stinkers I've read lately I might be being generous to something I read in a matter of hours vs the things I've been slogging through. I'd check another one out of the library in this series.

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Until Death Do Us Part, Vol. 2 (Until Death Do Us Part, #2)Until Death Do Us Part, Vol. 2 by Hiroshi Takashige

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While the art in this remains stunning, I liked this one a bit less than the first. Not that I'm saying it was bad, not at all. It just fell into that trope that bothers me in a lot of shonen action manga: endless fight scenes. I know that I'm much older and more female than the intended audience and while I do like a good fight scene, I don't like it when they go on forever at the sacrifice of plot or anything else interesting.

It takes nearly 200 pages to wrap up what was basically the last scene of book one: the blow-out fight scene with the main (to date) villain. Something of interest is woven into the battle though: Mamoru is suspected of a crime that makes his crime-fighting partners suspicious and worried about dealing with him. He does, however, deliver gory results without killing Edge Turus. That doesn't mean he didn't mess him up twelve ways to Sunday.

Turus, unsurprisingly wants revenge and so starts the next story arc: revenge by high-powered assassin. In the meantime, they try to settle Haruka into a new life at school, hiding her the best they can from those out to harm her while trying to find her one remaining relative, her grandmother. But in an unexpected twist, the assassin has the ability to hide himself from Mamoru's glasses which means he really will have to fight blind.

It's a good manga overall so far if a bit uneven with the intermix of plot and fight scenes. The art is amazing. I'm looking forward to what comes next.

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Tags: manga, mystery

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