Monday, 13 August 2018

Manga: Akame Ga Kill 15

Akame Ga Kill Vol 15 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The battle for the Empire rages on, with huge losses on all sides. While the Emperor's monstrous Supreme Teigu pummels Tatsumi-and anyone else unfortunate enough to be in its path-Esdeath makes her final stand against Akame and the Revolutionary Army's last regiment of teigu wielders. Terrible sacrifices have been made to give Night Raid this chance, and more will be demanded before the battle is through. With the hopes of the people resting on Night Raid's shoulders, the future of the Empire will be decided in the final volume of Akame ga KILL! 

This is it folks, it's finally here....the FINAL volume of Akame ga Kill, and it's hugely chunky! There's even some special illustrations, and honestly it's been a long road with this one and considering how the anime ended...I knew things would end differently in the manga..but I wasn't sure what was going to happen! 

This volume picks up right when we left off. The Emperor has gone full psycho and honestly, I never liked the kid. I thought he was a total idiot but I didn't think he was fully capable of what he's done. Kurome however, has surprised me pleasantly this volume with her little speech to Wave, she's changed quite a bit, and I really cheered for him because I'm so here for the Tatsumi/Wave team up! 

I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through as one by one, each of the bad guys was taken down and  have never been more satisfied with a characters death as I was with the death of Minister Honest. He came to a brutal, bloody and well deserved end and I loved it. 

Honesty this volume is action packed right up until the last chapter, with brilliantly drawn fight scenes and there's still a few twists left to keep us on our toes. The death scenes are brutally and gruesomely drawn, but you can't say the characters didn't have it coming. Well...the bad ones anyway. There's a few character deaths I was hoping we could avoid but nope. The one thing I will say, is that while there's fewer character deaths than the anime, there's still barely any of our group left, and some of them do hurt a little bit. 

I enjoyed the way the series was wrapped up, we find out what happened to the characters after everything went down, and how the Empire ended up and it was actually a really satisfying end. 

Volume 15 is a wild ride of a final volume, I laughed. I cheered. And I even choked up a little bit at what happened to some of my favourite characters. 

Friday, 10 August 2018

Manga: Wake Up Sleeping Beauty 5

Wake Up Sleeping Beauty Vol 5
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Every moment spent with friends who care has gradually brought Shizu Karasawa out of her shell. So when her father plots to isolate her in a hospital, Tetsu has no choice but to take Shizu and run. With no place left to go, the two head to the beach where Tetsu's maternal grandfather runs a lodge. But Tetsu's rash decision dredges up a former tragedy that could tear his family apart, and even drive Shizu away... When the Karasawa family's fraught relationships catch up to her, a surprising enemy may become Shizu's most-needed advocate. 
After the events of last volume, Tetsu and Shizu have run away to the beach, or specifically to Tetsu's grandfather and his B&B. This volume has a really nice pace to it, and I actually thought it was kind of an emotional volume too. Shizu and her mother have a lot of issues that they deal with in this one, and Tetsu and his family deal with theirs. There's also a mind blowing, yet heartbreaking reveal about Tetsu's mother. I feel like I should have seen it coming! 
After some intriguing flashbacks I kind of get where Shizu's father is coming from...but it doesn't make his actions any less wrong. I'm hoping we'll see him sort himself out next volume. With this volume it seems we're steaming towards a happy ever after for our two main characters, with issues being resolved left, right and centre. Although it seems things with the ghosts will be resolved pretty soon too, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that. 

Manga: School of Horns

School of Horns Vol 1
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

In a world where horns are the defining trait of magic beings, larger horns mean more powerful magic! Eru, a freshman at a school for magic, is self-conscious about how tiny his horns are compared to those of his new classmates -- Not only is his magic so weak it is barely noticeable, but things have a habit of going awry when he is around. He is the complete opposite of Rihito, one of the top students of their grade with exceptionally strong magic...who is Eru's roommate!? And already seems to hate him!? 
With their continued encounters, will Eru continue to discover just how inferior his strength is? Or maybe, he just might find some power of his own... 
I had to pick this series up you guys, I had to. It sounded so fun and I couldn't resist the art! The colour pages are totally gorgeous and the character designs and pastel colour palette are equally so.  
The magic system was intriguing, with different horns having different powers, and I was fascinated by the world of the book and how it all works! I'm still eager to learn more about it and explore it and the powers a bit more! We have such an interesting bunch of characters too!
 I have to say, I felt so bad for our main character Eru, with his little baby horns! As for Rihito....why so mean dude? He's like Grumpy Cat when it comes to Eru, and he takes everything so seriously! In contrast, Mone is cute and she's going to be a much needed friend to Eru! Reo was equally as cute, and was bright and cheery and offset grouchy Rihito nicely. He also happens to be a twin, and he's quite positive about Eru and mildly supportive like Mone. Then we have Noin who's power is alchemy and he's the quiet and mysterious one of the group. The characters come together brilliantly, and provide a fun cast, and plenty of intriguing and humorous interactions. 
We do have that one not nice character though...Haruto. He has a few issues, shall we say. I don't particularly like him. 
I have to say, I got some serious Harry Potter vibes from this. The school reminded me of Hogwarts, there's four different horn types and you get a different power for each one (heart, space, diamond and club), plus Haruto was a little bit like the Malfoy to Eru's Harry! 
School of Horns is a lot of fun, it made me laugh, cackle, and it's hugely entertaining with the world to get to know and all the ins and outs of it, plus the characters that populate it who are quite the eclectic bunch. This first volume introduces us to the world, the characters and how everything works with a brilliant pace because once we're adjusted to the school and Rihito's loosened up a bit, we get thrown an interesting mystery that heralds the arrival of the Bad Guy. It's successfully caught my interest and piqued my curiosity about it, and I'm actually quite excited about this one!

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Manga: Kiss Me At The Stroke of Midnight 6

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight Vol 6
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Hinana prizes her reputation as a serious high school student, too focused on getting into college to pay attention to boys. But she's a secret fairytale romance freak, sneaking away from her studies to see A Roman Holiday and tucking pop idol magazines into her textbooks. When her celebrity crush comes to her school to film a TV episode, she has to pretend to be totally uninterested even as she desperately tries to get close to him. However, she's not the only one who's not what she appears... her dreamboat isn't just a pretty face either! 
I'm not going to lie...I was anticipating a lot of drama being wreaked by Shū but in actual fact that little plot thread is wrapped up pretty swiftly at the beginning of this volume, after the two girls spend some time together. I can't decide if I'm disappointed about that or not. But I did end up actually quite liking Shū and the fact she's on Kaede's side could come in handy because his ex bandmate Mitsuki isn't going to let things go. 
As Mitsuki tries to make Kaede's life miserable once again, we get more hints and clues as to what happened as we see more of Kaede's past with Funny Bone. At this point the mystery is kind of driving me crazy and I'm not sure what to expect, but they dropped a pretty big bomb to do with it. 
We also see a somewhat different side to Ayami this volume...which was interesting. So far we've seen Kaede and Hinana's relationship start, build up and develop over the course of the series as well as being tested, and now it looks like we're about to get the story behind Funny Bone and Kaede's falling out. Seriously...Kaede's all ready to spill everything at the end of this volume and then it's like "lol see you next volume", which is completely unfair, leaving us hanging like that!

Manga: Akame Ga Kill Zero 7

Akame Ga Kill Zero Vol 7
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Mera's carefully guided tour of the Empire has opened Akame's eyes to the suffering of its people. However, the Oarburghs' loose alleigance to whoever pays them is an even less-palatable philosophy than that of the Rebel Army. Up until now, Akame has resisted Mera's advances--professional and intimate--but with her captor's patience running thin and her sword out of reach, Akame will have to rely on a whole new set of skills if she wants to survive! 

I think it's safe to say Akame's eyes have been opened to the Empire now, but that doesn't mean she wants to hang about with Mera so she's still hellbent on escape. The Oarburgh's basically work for whoever has the money, unlike the Rebel Army, so despite what Mera says and has shown her...they aren't the best people either. 

This volume see's this particularly story arc moving forward as it's finally time for the others to break out Akame and Kurome....who are perfectly willing and capable of escaping themselves. Akame is totally ready to go up against Mera too! As is usual with this spin off, we see some familiar faces which is always fun! Especially now the main series has come to an end!

With an excellent pace, Vol 7 builds up the tension throughout until the battle finally kicks off. Akame herself kind of...evolves as an assassin. She watches Mera, puts her full trust in her instincts that she honed, and her thoughts, beliefs and mental state in general are changing. 

While the volume starts with tension and builds it up, the remaining chapters are full of action and really intense battles. Despite the fact that you know Akame basically can't die in this series, there are plenty of other characters who can so it still has you on the edge of your seat. We all know this author isn't shy about killing characters off brutally. I'm really loving putting all the pieces together, and seeing what exactly happened to make Akame turn, and when she started to turn. We're also starting to see glimpses of the Akame we know from the main series! 

Things are really starting to good, after the events of this's going to be interesting to see what Akame is going to do next! 

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Blog Tour: Jinxed

Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Lacey Chu has big dreams of becoming a companioneer for MONCHA, the largest tech firm in North America and the company behind the  "baku" - a customisable smart pet that functions as a phone but makes the perfect companion too. When Lacey finds out she hasn't been accepted into Profectus - the elite academy for cutting edge tech - it seems her dreams are over. Worst of all, rather than getting to choose one of the advanced bakus, she’s stuck with a rubbish insect one. 

Then, one night, Lacey comes across the remains of an advanced baku. Once it might’ve been in the shape of a cat but it’s now mangled and broken, no sign of electronic life behind its eyes. Days of work later and the baku opens its eyes. Lacey calls him Jinx – and Jinx opens up a world for her that she never even knew existed, including entry to the hallowed halls of Profecus. Slowly but surely, Jinx becomes more than just a baku to Lacey – he becomes her perfect companion. But what is Jinx, really? His abilities far surpass anything written into his code or built into his motherboard. He seems to be more than just a robotic pet. He seems ... real. 

If you've read my blog before...or my Twitter...or my Instagram...then you'll know that I freaking LOVED the Potion Diaries series. Seriously, loved, loved, loved it and I was so sad it was only a trilogy. But then I heard whispers...whispers that Amy was working on a new book and I climbed out of my post-Potion Diaries despair to start getting hyped up for it...and now it's finally here! Jinxed is upon us and I was lucky enough to get to review it for you guys as part of this blog tour! 

I went in with high expectations, I expected it to be original, different, fun and hugely entertaining. Much like the Potion Diaries...and I wasn't at all disappointed. 

Honestly...the prologue isn't even here to play, we're straight in with some action and tension and it's like you could see it playing out on a screen in front of you. It immediately grabbed my interest and I settled down with the book like, "Okay, here we go. Goodbye to the next few hours of my life, it's time for my bum to fuse to the sofa". 

My first impression of the Bakus was those toys you used to be able to know the ones? The poo-chi? You could get a cat too! It's a really bad comparison because they're nothing alike, but genuinely...that's what sprang in to my head initially! The baku's are like...a waaaaaaaaaay better version of that. It's literally like if an iPhone was animal shaped, sort of? Wow I'm bad at explaining this! 

Anywaaaay, the Baku's and the world of the book in general are actually really believable, with how technology is growing and advancing...I can genuinely see Apple coming out with something like this. But with none of the perks that Moncha have. I'd have to get a new one every two years and if you don't it'd probably malfunction and try to eat you or something. Funnily enough the "vets" sounded eerily like Apple Store employees. 

Amy gives us a brilliant cast of characters! Lacey, our MC, is relatable, she works hard and has plenty of determination. The fact she had to sit and work out what to do now her dream was over really resonated with me on a personal level, but she pushes on and keeps striving for what she wants.  She puts everything in to achieving her dream. 

Jinx, Lacey's Baku, is a sassy yet sarky little sod. That was my initial impression, and then he had a few creepy moments when he came out with certain lines! I have to say, Jinx is actually a really good friend to Lacey, he encourages her, helps her, pushes her...and ribs her like any good friend would! I really felt for him when he was trying to figure out who he is, what he is, who created him etc. 

Zora was a lot of fun, I need more Zora! She's a coding genius and she needs some more confidence in her skills...but then I can't talk! I loved her relationship with Lacey and how she picked her up and helped her move forward. Tobias...I wasn't too sure of him at first, but he actually turned out to be a good guy, and his family situation...isn't the best! The romance isn't the main focus of the book at all, there's way more going on, but the little bit of it that there totally cute and I love Tobias and Lacey as a couple! 

Carter....what an a-hole. I genuinely spent a chunk of the book thinking he'd be redeemed at some point but...nah. I have an aversion to anyone who gets handed things on a silver platter without working for them, and so he immediately riled me up....and then he continued to be such a nasty character. Honestly I just need him to go away. 

There are plenty of other fun side characters to help flesh out the school and the world of the book, Jake, Kai, River, Ashley, Paul who's Lacey's locker dwelling friend (and I'm telling you he's more than he seems, my book nerd senses are tingling), and plenty more! 

The setting was intriguing, it's a modern, familiar kind of setting, but obviously with more advanced tech...way more advanced tech. The world doesn't seem too far in to the future! I loved reading about it, and coming across all the little details Amy threw in. The Baku Battles kind of reminded me of Pokemon!? Plus the school really reminded me of Google HQ from that movie, The Internship! 

The more I read, the more I hard the story of what's currently going on at Moncha...the more I felt like something was off. Aside from the prologue and what Jinx obviously is, I mean! I just really felt things where off with Moncha, and there was more going on under the surface. I honestly thought the story was going to go one way, but then the twists came out of nowhere and went in a different direction. There are plenty of surprising twists as well as the previously mentioned smidge of romance! Amy certainly keeps us on our toes! 

I feel like Jinxed introduces us to the world, the tech and the characters, shows us how things currently stand and so on...and gets us fully invested in Lacey and her journey as well as Jinx ...while throwing out little breadcrumbs hinting at bigger things. There's mysteries to be solved in this book, but Jinxed as a first book, I feel is just scratching the surface. Getting us lulled in to a false sense of security ready for things to get even wilder in book two. We've got Lacey's father...what's going on at Moncha...Jinx...and it all slowly builds up the sense of things being shady, builds up the tension, and then hits us at the end of the book. 

Don't get me started on the end of the book...that cliffhanger ending. It's just not okay to leave me hanging like that?! I honestly didn't think Amy would do that to us. Not even just the things to do with Moncha, but that very last scene. It's simultaneously creepy and super tense. I was screeching and searching for the next chapter, but Amy's like "see you next time kids!". *Luke Skywalker scream* 

Jinxed is excellently paced and excellently written, with the world layering up around you as each new little bite of information is placed in the plot. The fantastic characters, and original and intriguing world keeps you reading, not to mention the plot that keeps throwing things at you when you least expect it, while all the while you feel like this book is leading you up to something big, and it keeps you turning the pages! Then you know...leaves you screaming at the ending! I've been so excited for this book, and it's exactly what I was hoping it would be...and more! 

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