My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I very much love Flavia because how could I not love a teenaged girl who loves chemistry and forensics? Me who has a degree in chemistry and can't get enough of forensics. This one brings Flavia back from Canada, thankfully. I missed Dogger and the rest so I'm so glad to see them all again. Bishop's Lacey is a town chocked full of characters and I prefer Flavia among them.
But this is not a happy homecoming (nor truly a happy book). There is no one to greet Flavia as she returns home just before Christmas as her father has contracted pneumonia and everyone is at the hospital with him. Frustrated that her father's doctor is now refusing the family entry because her father is doing so poorly, Flavia tries to find something to occupy her time.
Naturally that leads her to find a body of a man tied upside down inside his house but not all is as it seems to be. Somehow this links back to the death of a popular children's book author years ago as Flavia goes back and forth to London (something a girl could do in the 1950s without her parents being arrested for child neglect).
Trying to forget her fear over her father, Flavia digs deep into the mystery with occasion, quiet assistance from Dogger and more active assistance from one of her former Canadian teachers who has returned home to London. Her sisters are less heinous in this because, mostly they're barely in it.
Just as the last three books, this one ends with something that means sweeping changes for the next book in the series which I'm very much looking forward to this coming fall (when it's scheduled to be out).
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文豪ストレイドッグス 1 [Bungō Stray Dogs 1] by Kafka Asagiri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a rare thing, me seeing the anime before the manga. Well only part of the anime (the perils of living rural with crap internet) but the opening of both stick pretty close which is cool. This would be even cooler if I knew the Japanese authors that make up the characters. From what I know, they are famous authors reimagined here with magical abilities and are part of a team of detectives handling supernatural crimes but it would probably have more impact if I knew more about the authors.
The story centers on a young orphan, Atsushi Nakajima, who had been thrown out of his orphanage. He found himself at the river, debating starving to death or turning robber when he sees a man fall from the bridge. Atsushi rescues him and that begins a strange new journey.
Osamu Dazai, the man he rescued, is a suicide affinicado, always looking for new ways to off himself (unsuccessfully obviously). He's not particularly thankful but he is curious about Atsushi and a giant tiger that's been seen in the river area, which is what Dazai was there tracking in the first place.
Atsushi is caught up by Dazai and the stern, no nonsense Kunikida, fed and learn of the magic in this world, these powers, a power he shares in. Before he knows it he's part of the group and out fighting crime and at the same time being in the center of it as the mafia wants him and his ability, leaving us at a cliffhanger.
I really enjoyed this and the characters with one major exception, the reason I didn't give it five stars. I do not like Naomi and Junichiro Tanizaki, or should I say I don't like her. She is constantly trying to get into her brother's pants. It's too early to know if a) they're actually siblings as opposed to step siblings b) if they'll even be there long term. What I do know is that I've stopped reading a couple other manga for this because it was so front and center. I dealt with too many patients who were the damaged by incest to read it being played as either amusing or sexy. Hopefully this part of the manga will be gone soon. Otherwise I loved this and the art.
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