December 6th, 2014

smirk by geekilicious

Book 110

Attack on Titan, Volume 12Attack on Titan, Volume 12 by Hajime Isayama

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is another plot-heavy, easily spoiled volume that’s hard to review. As armless Eren regenerates, most of the volume deals with the interplay of Reiner, Bertholt and Ymir. They’re running for their home, very obviously dealing with guilt, regret, fear and anger. Ymir vacillates between joining them or Eren while obsessing over Krista to a creepy degree. Ymir wants only to be with Krista and in the first attack by Erwin’s men, she gets what she wants while Eren is helpless, gagged and strapped to Reiner’s back.

For her part, Krista seems to have the same unhealthy disregard for everyone but Ymir (some would say this is the deepness of their friendship or even that they’re in love, to me it looks like sociopathy). There are surprising losses and injuries on the Survey/Garrison corps part, leading to a point where a recovered Eren has to face the fact he has always raced into things without thinking about it, gets his arse handed to him and has had to rely on Mikasa to save him. There’s even a past interlude where his mother yells at him as a kid that he should protect the girl, not vice versa which seemed odd since this is the first gender role stuff I’ve seen. That’s one of the things I like about Attack on Titan. In far too many dystopias, women get relegated to the role of child-bearing chattel. In AoT, there really is no gender bias. The women fight like men. Mikasa’s only rival is Levi so the toughest combatant in the series is a woman.

Eren has to choose between helping Armin and Mikasa, both of whom are prepared for imminent death and in the process he reveals something special about him and his Titan ability. This is what Reiner and Bertholt were after, something that might define the Titans purpose (which again is looking very much like a human-created doomsday sort of thing, at least to me).

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Book 212: The Apologist by Jay Rayner

Book 212: The Apologist .
Author: Jay Rayner. 2004.
Genre: Lad-Lit Political Satire. Food.
Other Details: ebook. 287 pages (?)

The Apologist follows the adventures of restaurant critic Marc Basset, who never said sorry to anyone until a chef to whom he gave a bad review kills himself. Wracked with guilt, he apologises to the man’s widow, and discovers he enjoys the experience so much that he decides to apologise for everything he’s ever done wrong. He’s so good at it that his talents come to the attention of the United Nations, which appoints him its Chief Apologist, to travel the world apologising for the sins of slavery, apartheid, the holocaust and much else besides. This he does by cooking luscious meals – so the book is not just political satire but a foodie romp. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

Written in 2004 Rayner managed to predict a political movement as well as a field of academic study. In his afterword for the 10th anniversary ebook edition Rayner explains how this came about as, to his surprise, life started to reflect fiction.

I came to this novel without knowing anything of its history. It was a reading group selection and in its early pages I thought it was going to be lad-lit in the style of Nick Hornby with a foodie angle. However, while it started this way it soon took a sharp turn and became a witty political satire.

I certainly found it interesting, quite funny in places as well as thought-provoking as a good satire should be. For those who did read it in our reading group it was well received and prompted a couple of members who had given up early into it to say they'll probably return to it after hearing our glowing reviews.

On a side note I do feel the Kindle estimated page count was out as it seemed longer than stated in terms of my reading time. The older paperback page counts of about 450 pages seemed more apt.