Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Manga: Fairy Tail Lightning Gods

Fairy Tail: Lightning Gods
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Hot-headed wizard Laxus Dreyar is always on the lookout for the next challenge! So when Fairy Tail disbands, he and his loyal crew of Freed, Evergreen, and Bickslow join the fun-loving guild Blue Pegasus. Before long, the guild's master Ichiya is kidnapped, and it's up to Laxus to save the day. However, when faced with a battle with a rival guild's female mages, Laxus learns a tough lesson... On the next mission, Laxus and his gang go up against an ancient relic of fearsome magic--one that will put their bonds of friendship to the test! 
I have been waiting for this volume for forever! I love this spinoff series, each one has been so brilliant and give us a really nice look in to the characters each volume focuses on! Laxus is just so hilarious to me, he's so grouchy and surly and I've been looking forward to him getting the spotlight for a bit! Plus the rest of the Raijinshu. 
Freed is definitely my favourite out of the three, don't get me wrong I love Bickslow and Evergreen but Freed cracks me up. He's such a Laxus fanboy. Not only do we get to see more of the three of them in this volume, but we get to see more of the Blue Pegasus crew too and I enjoyed getting to see more of their personalities and the dynamics between them. Plus we get to discover a new Guild as well!
This volume is hilarious, genuinely, but poor old Laxus has to figure some things out about himself, which I thought tied in really nicely with the main series. There's a lot going on this volume, we have two different storylines, both of which are given a nice amount of detail and are fleshed out really well, plus they're nicely paced. 
We get plenty of action, we get to see loads of all four characters and we even get to see a flashback to how the Raijinshu formed! Overall it's an entertaining and action packed volume, that slots in nicely with the main story! 

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Manga: Boarding School Juliet

Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The prestigious Dahlia Academy educates the elite of society from two countries: to the East is the Nation of Touwa; across the sea, the Principality of West. The nations, though, are fierce rivals, and their students are constantly feuding--which means Romio Inuzuka, head of Touwa's first-year students, has a problem. He's fallen for his counterpart from West, Juliet Persia, and when he can't take it anymore, he confesses his feelings. Now Romio has two problems: a girlfriend, and a secret... 
Well the opening is certainly attention grabbing, it's like aw swee-wait...whaaaat?! I have to say, I really liked the world, with the two warring nations who send their students to the island in between them. I'm assuming the East is Japan and the West is...the West. I'm kind of intrigued to learn more about both nations. 
Yes this is a little ridiculous at points, but honestly it just adds to the humour. Romio for hilarious. This thoughts, some of his lines...the crying. Don't get me wrong he can be a badass like you'd expect but...he has crybaby tendencies. Plus for someone who's supposed to be the leader...he gets little respect so I'm kinda of curious about why he is the leader?! 
Meanwhile Persia is an actual badass, and she's incredibly noble too and she has a plan and a dream. The relationship on her side is interesting because she's never thought of him as anything more than an enemy. I do really like the interactions between the two of them, I think they make a great pair, and I'm so ready to watch the romance grow and develop. 
I enjoyed the art, and the character designs, and I loved how some of Romio's expressions are drawn....they're just hilarious. I wasn't expecting the relationship to spring up in the first volume, the original synopsis I saw made it seem like the feelings might develop and then he'd have trouble confessing etc. But in this volume the confession happens, and boom they're in a relationship. Granted Persia is just getting to know him and will no doubt eventually come in to her feelings, although it seems like that's already happening anyway. It's quite fast paced and does really well at setting everything up. 
There's a lot of action, and never a dull moment between all the fights and the hilarity, the supporting cast are brilliant and it's so easy to binge read this volume! Plus it leaves you wanting more!

Monday, 29 October 2018

Manga: SDS Seven Days

The Seven Deadly Sins: Seven Days Vol 1
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Ban is a young, opportunistic thief, drawn to the Fairy King's Forest by the rumor that it holds the most splendid, invaluable treasure of all: the Fountain of Life. But when he meets the Saint of the Fountain, a young Fairy named Elaine, he finds the treasure he most desires may not be the one he originally came to seek. Thus begins the tale of the fated romance between Ban of The Seven Deadly Sins and Elaine, the Fairy King's sister!
This is the first in a two volume prequel series, and it's time to get the tea on Ban and Elaine. Sure we've seen flashbacks in the main series but it's time for all the details. Appropriate timing considering the role Elaine is taking in the main series! 
But it turns out it's not just Ban and Elaine, it was nice to get to see some of Helbram before he was mean, evil Helbram. It actually hit me right in the feels because we see the events with Helbram that led up to King leaving Elaine in charge of the forest and it's kinda heartbreaking. It makes Elaine's dislike for humans in the beginning more than justified. 
I liked getting to see and learn more about Elaine and Baby Ban before he was immortal, his whole attitude is so hilarious and his ale label collection...not the thing you'd picture him collecting. 
I feel like this first volume does really well at filling in some blanks, setting the scene for the next volume when things are going to heat up because we all know what happens to Ban and Elaine. We get to see the circumstances surrounding Elaine being in charge, we get to know her more as a character, and sure we've seen some bits before but this volume expands upon what we already know. I'm loving seeing them get to know each other and seeing Elaine's distrust of humans and Ban turn to intrigue. I can't wait to see them bond and grow even closer in the next volume! Ban is honestly my favourite SDS character and his entire personality and attitude always cracks me up, and I'm excited for him to finally be in the spotlight!

Friday, 26 October 2018

Manga: Heroic Legend of Arslan 9

The Heroic Legend of Arslan Vol 9
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Prince Arslan finds himself gifted with 3,000 cavalrymen for aiding Rajendra in the capture of his traitorous brother, Gadhevi. But the king's two-faced generosity is clouded with greed as he sets to ambush Prince Arslan and his Parsian army late in the night. And later, in Peshawar Fortress, more trouble lurks as a shadowy figure silently stalks Arslan and his retinue in search of a secret letter. 

Arslan has been cordially invited to a royal execution and thus the saga with Gadhevi is finally over. I'll be sad to the end of sassy Salima though. 

This volume see's us move away from Sindhura after dealing with the ever shady Rajendra. I don't think anyone fell for the generous, nice guy act, and we move on to the next stage of the story, turning our attention back to Pars and Lusitania. Of course, Jaswant is the latest addition to Team Arslan, and there's some interesting hints towards future conflicts. 

This is an interesting volume, as like I said, we wrap up one arc and start to head in to another but while we get a bit of Arslan and the rest as they have to deal with a mystery shadow at the fortress looking for a secret letter, we also get a lot of Hilmes. It turns out the King of Lusitania's brother is facing some...problems, the actual King is useless and leaves it all to him, and through the sections about him we get an interesting insight in to how things stand in the enemy camp. Bodin appears to have turned on them, surprising no-one I'm sure. 

More intrigue is added to the plot as Sam goes to visit the imprisoned King and we get some history to the Pars royal line, and Prince Hilmes and his father which has left me with a million questions because there is definitely a secret being hidden from us that appears to involve a prophecy. I do like the focus we get on Hilmes this volume and what's going on with his camp as it catches us up on what's been going on. Plus we locate of the other missing Marzbans. It remains to be seen if he'll take a side. 

Kubard seems like he could be a lot of fun, and I assume we'll see more of him...presumably on the right side. This volume had one battle scene and it's a smaller one than we've had recently but that fits with the tone of the volume which is very much one of us catching up and moving on. But don't worry, there's a nice and ominous cliffhanger! 

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Manga: Tokyo Tarareba Girls 2

Tokyo Tarareba Girls Vol 2
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Turns out, sex isn't everything. After a misspent night with a hot model (and a little too much booze), Rinko wakes up feeling more depressed than ever, unable to shake her growing suspicion that, at 33, she's doomed to be forever alone. Her friends Kaori and Koyuki think they have found cosmopolitan bliss in an unavailable ex and a married man, but the daylight only brings increasingly devastating "what-ifs." And with younger, fitter, hungrier women entering the ring, these three will have to brawl their way to the win...or risk throwing in the towel for good. 

It happened. Rinko did the thing I was screaming at her NOT to do and it reaaaally doesn't help her. Honestly, Key is such an a-hole, the things he says to her, and then bringing Ryo to the bar I was like.....ffs Key you ****. Their bickering does provide some much needed humour however, I'm starting to wonder if I'm supposed to like Key? Yes, he says some things that you could argue are the truth but still. 

I enjoyed getting to see Kaori's background and her history and get to know her a bit bitter, even if it did end on a depressing note with her ex...I also felt vaguely hopeful for Koyuki but...nope. I was expecting the series just to focus on Rinko so it was a nice surprise to see Kaori and Koyuki getting some drama and story of their own! 

The thing is...her two friends are embarking on 'relationships' that you know aren't going to end well and they deserve so much better but they don't seem to think that they do and it makes me kind of sad how they view themselves and the sadder thing is that the thoughts they're thinking are probably true of a lot of women thanks to how society is. Which you probably the point of this series. Rinko has a bit of a struggle with her feelings too, but I feel like she gets a much needed reality check in this volume. 

I'm enjoying the pace to this series, and it's going in directions I wasn't entirely expecting! 

Monday, 8 October 2018

Light Novel: Guren Ichinose Catastrophe At Sixteen

Guren Ichinose: Catastrophe at Sixteen Vol 4
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Seraph of the End is a novelized prequel of the hit manga series of the same name, published by Viz Media, and detailing the series of events that occurred eight years before the start of the manga.
As the major clans of the Imperial Demons mount an apparent all-out revolt against the ruling Hiragi dynasty, Guren, Shinya, and company are no longer sure they're the protagonists of the story unfolding around them. What is their true destiny?and is fulfilling it even desirable?
In this concluding volume, which pulls no punches, find out how and why a world that's been inviting utter ruin meets it at last. 
With this being the prequel to Seraph of the End we all knew what was going to go down in this series, but we've built up to it nicely. We've seen what school was like for Guren and the rest of the Moon Demon Company, we've seen things start to go wrong and plots unfold and with this volume it's two days until the end of the world so I think we all knew this one was going to be action packed. 
Honestly, I'm not looking at Shinoa and her interactions with Yu a little differently, not to mention like...all of the other characters and how they interact with each other! But this volume gave us a lot of Shinoa and revealed a certain conversation with her demon. From the main series, I'd already gleaned some of what's revealed in here but it's different seeing it all laid out in detail and catching the nuances of it. 
I liked the POV switches, we've spent this series mostly in Guren's head but we got to know he and the rest of the Moon Demon Company really well, and this volume let's us get to know Shinoa really well as well as Kureto. Considering what went down in Vol 15, this insight in to Kureto was incredibly well timed, and added to my changing opinion of him. It's kinda hard to hate him now! I also liked how Yu and Ferid where woven in to this book as well! 
We get a couple of twists here and there and a fast pace but ultimately we all knew what was going to happen! Although if you haven't read the main series or watched the anime you might not. I did like how it still managed to keep you on edge though! I wasn't exactly sure how it would play out, and it built up to the big moment brilliantly. It did however, reinforce my hatred of Mahiru, especially as it was still quite sad at the end, even if you already knew

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Blog Tour: The Caged Queen

The Caged Queen
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Once there were two sisters born with a bond so strong that it forged them together forever. When they were angry, mirrors shattered, and when they were happy, flowers bloomed. It was a magic they cherished - until the day a terrible accident took Essie's life and trapped her soul in this world.

Dax - the heir to Firgaard's throne - was responsible for the accident. Roa swore to hate him forever. But eight years later he returned, begging for her help. He was determined to dethrone his cruel father, under whose oppressive reign Roa's people had suffered. Roa made him a deal: she'd give him the army he needed if he made her queen.

Together with Dax and his sister, Asha, Roa and her people waged war and deposed a tyrant. But now Asha is on the run, hiding from the price on her head. And Roa is an outlander queen, far from home and married to her enemy. Worst of all: Dax's promises go unfulfilled. Roa's people continue to suffer.

Then a chance to right every wrong arises - an opportunity for Roa to rid herself of this enemy king and rescue her beloved sister. During the Relinquishing, when the spirits of the dead are said to return, Roa can reclaim her sister for good.

All she has to do is kill the king.

I freaking loved The Last Namsara and this sequel is one of my most anticipated reads of 2018! I was mildly confused at first because I was told it wasn't a sequel, but it turns out you can read this trilogy in any order, but obviously if you read this book's gonna spoil the previous book! 

Roa intrigued me in the previous book, so I was excited to get her POV this time round. I understood where she was coming from throughout the book, and why she felt frustrated and angry with Dax. He did seem like a bit of a prat! I mean he's off with this girl and that girl, he's not kept any of his promises and he thought he knew the Sand Sea better than Roa and refused to listen. I fully got why she felt the way she did, but I appreciated that as we got towards the end of the book and her actions become more and more questionable (even if you could see where she was coming from you could still see what she couldn't), I appreciated that she knew going through with it was going to change her. She was still a badass, and had some excellent moments though! 

As much as Dax was coming off like a prat, it became pretty obvious how he felt about Roa so I didn't really buy his act. I was sure there was more going on and nothing was as it seemed, plus plenty of hints where dropped. So at one point I really wanted to smack Roa one like, come on! Use your eyes! Dax is quite sweet and adorable when he wants to be as well! 

The thing I love about the story telling, is that much like the first book, we have some legends from the world of thebook, some history and some flashbacks to relevant past events scattered throughout the book! They're in between each chapter, kind of like little interludes and I love this method of weaving in relevant information to the plot! It means the narrative isn't overloaded with tonnes of information, and you can learn relevant pieces of information when you need them! It helps to build up a picture of what's going on, not just with Roa but with other characters, and to build up the story. For example it's one of the ways you knew Dax's feelings long before Roa found out the truth about him. Then there's the little details in the flashbacks like the wrist tapping that was mentioned in one chapter, is explained in one flashback and you're like "OOOOOOHHHHH" and things clicked in to place. It gives you more information than our narrator has, so it builds up an entirely different picture. 

We get to see some familiar faces which made me really happy! Safire, and briefly Asha and Torwin! Plus the dragons, although I'm sad there weren't more dragons in this one! This one features a lot of politics and palace intrigue, and there's secret plots and treachery too! The Caged Queen has a fast pace, and a decent amount of action and intrigue. Then there was the romance, which I thought was quite sweet! While I'm sad we didn't get to see Asha and Torwin again, we do get to hear about them, and it was nice continuing the story and getting to know Roa and Dax better! Plus it allows us to see different sides of the other support characters when viewed through Roa's eyes as opposed to Asha's.  It's certainly an interesting sequel! 

Friday, 5 October 2018

Manga: Waiting For Spring 8

Waiting For Spring Vol 8
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Mitsuki is ecstatic to find out how Towa really feels about her, but some rough patches still lie ahead...As long as Towa is on the basketball team, he's not allowed to date anyone. And what's more, Towa's not the only one vying for Mitsuki's affections! As Mitsuki wrestles with her own complicated thoughts, she makes her first visit to Towa's house! 

I love how the volume opened with Towa and the others having some casual bro time, discussing their feelings. It was actually quite cute and it showed what Mitsuki means to all of them and how she is perceived by them, although the flashback for Towa was kind of sad! It did make me smile that Mitsuki hasn't really had friends before and now she's really important to our little group. 

With Towa's little revelation, I was interested to see how it might change the dynamic between Towa and Mitsuki, and Mitsuki was honestly so relatable in her shy/embarrassed state afterwards. I was mildly concerned about Reina's reaction but it was actually kind of sweet of her, and I so love their friendship. Plus Reina was totally relatable in the sense that she is literally all of us reading, when she was told about the Aya thing and when she had her realisation. Her reactions are hilariously extra to these new developments. 

We get their first "date" and it brings us getting to see Rentaro from last volume again, and we get to know him a bit more. He's going to be joining the basketball team, and I'm interested to see whether that'll happen in this series or not. But he lets slip about Towa's family life and situation. 

We spend the whole volume pretty much, with Towa and Mistuki and we get to learn about Towa and see baby Towa and co, plus there's a cute moment or two thrown in! Not to mention the hilarity of Towa's grandpa throwing him under the bus "he may not be very friendly but his face is nothing to complain about". Poor Towa. 

I feel like this volume really lets us get in to Towa's mind and find out why he acts certain ways, which was becoming more necessary as the story progressed. Of course after all that we had to have Aya pop up at the end and honestly...I may have hissed "go away" at the page, especially when it gave us that ending. At least there's never a dull moment!

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Manga: Wake Up Sleeping Beauty 6

Wake Up Sleeping Beauty Vol 6
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

After a hectic summer, Shizu and her mother welcome a calm autumn in their home. Every day, Shizu grows more certain of herself, but after meeting the living daughter of one of her ghosts, she realizes it all comes at a price. The spirits within her know they are existing on borrowed time, and no one is more worried than Shizu. As a newfound loneliness creeps into her heart, she finds out the hard way that there is plenty to gain in letting go... 

We have finally come to the last volume in this series, so of course we see the story wrap up and honestly? It's kind of bittersweet! We get to learn all about Harumichi and how and why he died, and what his life was like and it was genuinely so sad, I'm kind of surprised it was left this late, but it was nice to get to know him before we said goodbye to the ghosts for good. 

Tetsu and Shizu finally sort everything out and come to terms with what has to happen, and they sort out their relationship too, obviously. This final volume has a nice pace to it, and it wraps everything up beautifully! Yes it was sad because of the ghosts leaving, but at the same time I had time to emotionally prepare didn't make it any less sad though! 

This has been such an interesting series, it's twisted and changed Sleeping Beauty so uniquely, and I loved getting to see the characters grow and change, we've had some excellent character development, and the romance was nicely developed and came about naturally without being forced! All in all, it's been quite a fun little series and it ends brilliantly! 

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Manga: Seven Deadly Sins 28

Seven Deadly Sins Vol 28
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

When Elizabeth regains her memories of her past lives, Meliodas can no longer conceal the details of the curse that binds them together. In order to break the curse and save Elizabeth, Meliodas and The Sins set out to confront The Ten Commandments. But when an old enemy rises once again, will the comrades be able to weather the onslaught? 

Picking up where we left off it would seem there's more to reveal about Meliodas and Elizabeth's past, and the curse that binds them which was another little shock twist to this series! If you've been wondering what the deal is with Liz looking like Elizabeth and the Goddess Elizabeth...this is the volume that reveals all that and watching it play out is going to be interesting. We'll either be heading for heartbreak or it'll all be fixed, no problem! 

Things continue to move forward as we see Elizabeth come in to her own and use her powers, I'm liking how her character has gotten stronger and has started to join in the fight. Plus Elaine has her moment too! Elaine seems to be a permanent fixture know and it should be interesting to see how she comes in to play and contributes to the group in the future. 

As is usual for this series there's plenty of action in the volume courtesy of a fight with Melascula this time but the situation that we need to resolve will have to wait because we've got a bigger problem than helping out Camelot...Meliodas appears to have lost all control...again. This aspect is a smidge repetitive but it appears he's lost control worse than ever before, so much so that there's about to be a smack down the rest of the Sins. 

Of course we're left on a cliffhanger and we get two cliffhangers for one with the bonus story also leaving us hanging! Volume 28 has a nice pace to it, and throws in a lot of action and a lot of answers to some questions we've had since early in the series! It appears that along with the Ten Commandments, we might be focusing on Meliodas and Elizabeth a bit more! 

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Manga: Kiss Me At The Stroke Of Midnight 7

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight Vol 7
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

With Mitsuki constantly threatening to ruin everything Kaede loves, Kaede has decided it's time for Hinana to learn the truth. When Kaede shows up at Hinana's door, he's prepared to tell her all the terrible things he did to Funny Bone. But will this really make Hinana and Kaede's bond stronger? When their relationship is tested by Mitsuki's onslaughts, Kaede may be pushed to take more drastic measures...! 
It's finally here. After all the tension and the suspense, the shocking thing Kaede did is finally revealed. I'm not going to lie, it was a tiny bit predictable, and honestly I don't reaaaaaally see how it was his fault, but everything is finally out there, anti-climatic as it was. We did get to see how he fell in to the idol life, which was interesting. 
This volume brings us some cute couple scenes, but honestly, nothing much happens this volume. I think we're setting up for things to really kick off next volume. I do feel like some of these volumes could be combined in to one. Mitsuki does hatch a plot and has roped Akira in to it as well, and presumably that will play out next volume. 
Interestingly, we did get to see Kaede's family, and they're a surprisingly normal bunch. As is custom for this series lately, we're left on a cliffhanger as Mitsuki's latest plot is revealed and we're ready for it to play out. I'm not entirely sure this series can go on for much longer, it's starting to get a bit slow, I'm assuming we'll see Kaede make up with the rest of Funny Bone and their relationship be out in the open with her family! 

Monday, 1 October 2018

Manga: Odd Days of Goddess

Odd Days of Goddess
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

For the gods and goddesses who give their followers Blessings to dive into the Dungeon, there's nothing they won't do for the sake of their familia. But have you ever wondered how they spend their days while their brave adventurers are busy fighting down below? Get a rare glimpse into the rare and just a tiny bit slapstick daily lives of the deities of Orario, 4-koma style! 

There's a mildly shocking, yet cute start to the volume, before we head in to the hijinks. This volume gives us baby kitties needing new homes, drunken dungeon antics, Hermes messing with everyone (no surprise there), hot springs, a quiz, Christmas, Bell goes missing...and Loki Familia disbanding and having to move in with other Familias which I personally found freaking hilarious, and last but not least....the anime airs and our characters are eager to watch! Especially Loki.

This is such a fun little spin off, and hilarity and chaos ensues throughout the volume along with a little bit of ridiculousness. I love the little stories, they crack me up and we get a lot of focus on the Gods and Goddesses, as well as a few chapters focusing on specific characters. Yes the main characters are in here, but there's some lesser seen characters thrown in too! Either way the stories are hugely entertaining and it's nice to see what goes on when they aren't all in the dungeon and what their everyday lives are like! Yes there's a bit of fan service, but I feel like there's something for everyone in this volume! 
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