My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This manga is like a love letter to books and librarians. Books in this world literally shape the world and librarians are their caretakers and outrightly magical themselves, just like their charges. The story centers on a six year old boy, Theo, who is different from the townspeople (think renn level tech) who mostly look Middle Eastern/African. He's almost Elfin with long ears and pale ears. It has led to some next level bullying and even his sister suffers from ostracization because of him. They are quite poor. His only solace are books. He loves to read and dreams of being a kafna, a librarian and go to the royal city where there is a library with every book ever.
The problem is the library in his town is sponsored by a wealthy merchant who has broken library rules and has excluded the poor thinking they would mistreat the books. Theo has been banned from reading. And that's when the librarians, all women, ride into his life. One of them befriends Theo and we learn about all the book finding/repairing/etc jobs the librarians do and we learn about Theo, not to mention a prophecy of the magus of the library.
It's an interesting story. It's very well drawn and by the end we've fast forwarded several years to a young teen version of Theo whom I'm assuming we'll spend some time on. I'd like to see more of this one.
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Ghostwriter by Lissa Bryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I remember getting this from the author at the Ohioana book festival and I'm sure I had the idea that it was a paranormal mystery with a romantic subplot. It's straight up paranormal romance and that is so not my jam. I'm not the audience for this. That said, for the most part I did enjoy it.
Sara's life is unraveling. She's withering under an overbearing you can't do anything right mother and a boyfriend who left her with the bills to go get engaged to someone else. She's flat broke and with the slow death of print journalism she's lost her job. The only thing she going for her is an advance to ghostwrite a biography about a minor politician with nothing more than her public speeches and a few bon mots about her life.
In her search for affordable housing, her realtor, Ginny, takes her to an isolated island that her family owns and the only house there used to belong Seth Fortner, one of Sara's favorite authors who died mysteriously in the 1920s and is one of Ginny's relatives. Sara falls instantly in love with the place but once there finds she can't write the book (no motivation) but has all the motivation in the world to poke around the attic where she finds a stash of Seth's letters.
As she gets to know him, the haunting starts and I really enjoyed that. Once it started down the paranormal romance pathway I started losing interest (not because it's badly written but it's just not my thing at all) Of course with paranormal romances you only have a couple of options. The ghost moves on and the romance ends, the living person stays in the house in a relationship with a ghost or they die.
I won't spoil the end but man I was waiting for her to die from liver failure from how much acetaminophen she took. Over all Seth and Sara were interesting characters and if love story between a modern day woman and the ghost of someone who died in the 20s appeals to you, you'd probably like this.
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