November 5th, 2014

smirk by geekilicious

book 97

Attack on Titan, Vol. 6 (Attack on Titan, #6)Attack on Titan, Vol. 6 by Hajime Isayama

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are things I very much love about Armin and his intelligence tops the list. He takes a hell of a beating at the hands of the female Titan, losing his horse twice (a literal death sentence because humans can't outrun a titan) yet he retains the presence of mind to realize she's checking faces. Armin assumes she's looking for Eren.

Unfortunately for Armin their flare communication system is incapable of transmitting that sort of message and they are powerless to warn Eren's group once the female titan (who knows to protect her weak spots) gets by them.

The second half of this is Levi and Eren's team in the forest, running from the female Titan. Eren is faced with an existential crisis. Is his life worth the lives of all the survery corps members dying to protect him and should he not transform and confront her. His team wants him to trust them but is that trust there?

To highlight this lack of trust, there is a flashback to when Eren is first brought into the team a few weeks before and Zoe is trying to get him to transform on command. I'm not a giant fan of flashbacks but it does work here.

Eren makes his choice and learns that Commander Erwin and Levi had a plan not only to protect him but to further their cause entirely because the existence of both Eren and a female capable of human to titan and back again transformations means a) there is a human hand in the Titan invasion b) there is a spy among them and in fact may be in the survey corps itself.

This cliffhanger has Levi and Erwin about to discover something that might save humanity. The art is much improved at this point and the storyline is getting more complex.

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Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

It's not like I started all these books yesterday and finished them the same day. However, I did finish several books all at once.

First was Ancillary Justice. I'd heard a lot of good things about the book, including that it had won the Nebula, Hugo and other prestigious awards for last year, which is pretty suggestive that we're looking at a good read, so I pushed it to the top of the heap, and I wasn't disappointed. The setting that Ann Leckie imagined is fascinating, and as the protagonist (One Esk) moves through the worlds, it just gets deeper and deeper. I hate to give too much away since part of the joy of this book is the discovery and the slow understanding about what it all means and who and what people are. I've already started reading the sequel which came out recently. Well worth taking a gander at, even if you don't trust awards.

Next was Apple: A Global History. I've read other books in this series before; they are tiny, and much space is devoted to recipes, but there's an occasional tidbit of interesting information. This book is no exception, and the data on the original lands of the apple (Kazakhstan!), and the economic importance of cider in the early years of the American colonies were thought-provoking.

Finally, I downloaded from Barnes & Noble a short story from Dewey Lambdin's Napoleonic naval fiction series, chronlogically set a bit before the novel I'm already reading, called Lewrie and the Hogsheads, which was a bit of fun. Not presently available in printed form, apparently. B&N doesn't seem to have as many of these as does Amazon in Kindle format, but I'll be keeping my eyes open for future releases by authors I enjoy.
smirk by geekilicious

Book 98

Attack on Titan: No Regrets, Vol. 1Attack on Titan: No Regrets, Vol. 1 by Hajime Isayama

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Honestly it's more like 3.5 because it did get annoying with the various non-linear story telling plots and random rambling plot threads but what the heck, I'm feeling generous. Besides Levi hits my poor tragic boy buttons so there's that.

So how does Levi end up a bad ass in the survey corps? He was already a bad-ass in the underground, basically what was once a hide out for humanity underground but was abandoned and is now a cesspit, quite literally. It's full of sewage and the worst and/or poorest of humanity. Levi and his friends, Isabel and Furlan, have stolen vertical maneuvering equipment somewhere along the line and have come to the attention of Erwin who surprises the thieves with being able to keep up with them (They're used to the lazy military police). He captures them, twists some arms (or shoves Levi's face into sewage, more or less the same thing, right?) and convinces them to join the survey corps.

This sequeways into political maneuvering on Erwin's part to keep the survey corps running (it's not seen as a good idea or monetarily sound to go outside). It's not tremendously interesting to me because, you know, politics, then we get some segments with Levi and friends that suggest that Furlan and the others were taken on purpose to spy but there are flashbacks and it's never clear when and where we are sometimes (so really that 3 star rating is justified).

Naturally the rest of the military recruits aren't thrilled that Erwin has elevated 3 slum rats to their level. It doesn't help that Levi and the others aren't big on discipline. It's interesting to see that Furlan seems to have some authority over Levi (or at least the ability to chill him out) and both look out for Isabel. It also doesn't help that Levi and Isabel especially are better at the training than the regular recruits.

And whatever Furlan's purpose for saying yes is (Levi is going along with it but he seems mostly there to kill Erwin for humiliating him), it's not achieved and they are forced to go out on a mission to the outside world. And of course can a Titan attack be far off?

Here's the thing. The guest artist is actually better than the mangaka (which should come as no surprise really). I liked the story. I wish they had found a better way to delineate the flashbacks. I'm interested in seeing how this ends (I believe it's only a two-parter sadly).

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