cornerofmadness (cornerofmadness) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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Books 39-43

Dark Rivers (Witchbane, #2)Dark Rivers by Morgan Brice

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I got this via Netgalley which in no way influenced my review. I didn't realize at the time it was book two in the series but there was plenty of backstory so I didn't feel lost. It's a lot like Supernatural only with lovers and instead of hunting demons they're after witches who perform human sacrifice to give themselves a sort of immortality. Right from the blurb :One hundred years ago, a sheriff’s posse killed dark warlock Rhyfel Gremory. With that in mind his disciples have been killing the first born sons of the posses for decades. Seth should have been killed but they got his brother Jesse instead and last book he saved his now-lover Evan from the same fate.

Seth and Evan are now in Pittsburgh (hence the titular rivers) on the trail of the next disciple under the guise of being true crime writers interested in the New Castle murder swamp killer (which stunned me because I'm from the Pittsburgh area and researched the Cleveland torso killer story which some have tried to link to this but never came across this and it is a real thing). They easily locate the next intended victim but finding the warlock is a lot harder.

I like that they are helping each other with a great deal of PTSD (Seth from seeing his brother's murder plus being a soldier earlier in his life, Evan because of a highly abusive relationship that he's been on the run from for a couple of years) and that Seth is training Evan to fight and to use some good magic so he's not cast into the 'damsal in distress' role.

There's plenty of action and Pittsburgh and its environs is almost like a character itself which I loved. I liked Seth and Evan and the introduction of a few new hunters. Is it greatly different from Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The Dresden Files no, not really but it doesn't have to be. Fans of UF want more of that. Would I get the next book? Yes. Would I go back and read book one that I missed? Honestly no. There is SO much of what happened there repeated in this that I feel like I know that whole story. Maybe it is a bit too much.

I wasn't a huge fan of how much they say I love you. That's a me thing. It always sort of bugs me if they're constantly dropping the I love yous. What isn't a 'me thing' was one problem I had with the story that almost cost it a star (and maybe should have) but it's a spoiler so let me cut it At one point Evan is kidnapped with the back window shot out of the car. Seth and the two new hunters have seen the scene, know there's a bullet in the car, see the two sets of footprints and realize that an attack has taken place.

Well Evan has been taken by his abusive ex and the ex sends a break up text to Seth. He follows it up with an old sex tape recording he took in secret of him and Evan. And we get pages of Seth angsting over this and trying to figure out why Evan would do this. But Brice made what is to me an error in plotting. If Brice had put this before Seth found the car it would have had the impact they planned on. But putting it in the story after they found the car and know Evan was kidnapped makes no sense. Why is Seth even considering it's real? It takes several pages for him to go 'oh wait, but Evan was taken,' and even then he still keeps going back to that in his mind. For me it mad no sense and didn't work and made me think Seth was kind of stupid.

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約束のネバーランド 2 [Yakusoku no Neverland 2] (The Promised Neverland, #2)約束のネバーランド 2 [Yakusoku no Neverland 2] by Kaiu Shirai

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

And the plot deepens. Norman, Ray and Emma are still working on their plan to escape Mom and the orphanage but there are many wrinkles. Mom has called in reenforcements in the form of Sister Krone (who I have mixed feelings about, as a Black woman she adds diversity but she's also batcrap crazy). The kids don't know what's outside of the orphanage (other than the demons they saw) so even if they escape where can they go. And Ray (as well as I) has reservations about Emma's determination to bring ALL the kids along since some are babies or are only toddlers. They are a liability.

Of course that's Emma's defining characteristic. All three 11 year olds are strong and smart but Emma is kind hearted. Ray is logical and Norman sees the big picture. And in doing so Norman has realized someone must be spying on them for mother and has the ugly job of revealing who it is.

The pacing is a bit slow in spots but as a horror manga this is working so much better than the splatter gore sort. It has plot and characters you care about. The art is also very nice.

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デビルズライン 9 [Devil's Line 9] (Devils' Line, #9)デビルズライン 9 [Devil's Line 9] by Ryo Hanada

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a lot of filler focusing on Makimura and zero eleven. That wouldn't be such a bad thing except Mayu (11) is literally one of the most obnoxious, jealous, insecure and unlikable characters I've come across in years. I could care less about her budding feelings about Makimura. She jumps to conclusions, she's petty and honestly wish she had died in the last book because she adds so very little to this.

About the only things I liked was the cover (though Lee doesn't really make an appearance) and Anzai facing off with a hate group at the end. Hopefully the next book won't be so slow and boring because I enjoy this series, just not this installment (and hopefully it'll add into the story better somewhere down the road).

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青の祓魔師 19 [Ao no Exorcist 19] (Blue Exorcist, #19)青の祓魔師 19 [Ao no Exorcist 19] by Kazue Kato

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is very plot forward and has rekindled some of my waning passion for the story. Amaimon is passing himself off as a new student. Shiemi has come to a conclusion none of her friends like. Yukio is recovering from his injuries but Rin feels further from his twin than he ever has.

However that is a very small part of this volume. It's Bon and Lightning-centric. They're investigating the Blue Night among other things and make a horrifying discovery in a pocket-realm that Mephisto has lead them to. I don't want to say more than that because it would ruin it but it's a very creepy reveal and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed much less learning that Lightning doesn't just look scruffy he hates bathing and literally reeks.

The art is top notch and I can't wait to read on.

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Witch Hat Atelier Vol. 1Witch Hat Atelier Vol. 1 by Kamome Shirahama

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm still trying to think of who the cover reminds me of but that is neither here nor there. I very much enjoyed this premiere issue of a fantasy world where witches are born not made. That doesn't stop Coco, the young daughter of a seamstress (with major sewing talent of her own) from desperately wishing to be a witch. She was even given a 'wand and spell book' by a witch at a fair which she (and her mom) think is just a harmless trinket.

After the town boys accidentally damage a flying carriage, Qifrey a traveling magician sets out to repair it, not knowing Coco, so enthralled with magic, is spying on him. This sets up a chain of events that leads to a personal tragedy for Coco who finds herself whisked away with Qifrey to study magic.

Because what the world knows about magic isn't the full truth. The deceit was made for good reasons but it also seems someone is trying to throw the world back into chaos and Coco's trinket is just the start. Life at Qifrey's atelier isn't all peaches and cream either. He has three other young girls as apprentices (in a way that struck me as weird that he's the only male living with a bunch of prepubescent girls and I realize my view of 'innocence' is long gone.) One of the girls, a real hard hearted and competitive one, Agete, tricks Coco, almost risking her life because she doesn't think Coco belongs.

Coco and the others are all interesting characters. The art is lovely and this volume ends on one heck of a cliffhanger. I'm looking forward to more.

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Tags: glbt, horror, manga, urban fantasy

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