Posted on January 2nd, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
Tags: gunslinger girl, manga, yu aida
Gunslinger Girl series by Yu Aida
Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room
What’s in the violin case this little girl is carrying around the city is… NOT a violin. This is a series listed for ages 16+ and deals with children and political issues in Italy. This is the story of a group of young girls who were in need of a new life when their old one expired for various reasons. Many of them were on the brink of death until they were saved… by the government. They were given robotic components and brainwashed to become cyborg assassins in a secret program known as the Social Welfare Agency. They work together with their adult handlers to wipe out terrorists and anyone who wishes to do Italy harm. They do their work well, and don’t even remember a time when they didn’t have a gun in their hands. Yet, at the same time, normal human emotions do plague them. They have trouble figuring out their feelings for their handlers, and wonder what they should be doing, if it’s not killing for a living. All the while they’re busy training for their next job.
I’ve been reading this series for awhile now, and I’m absolutely enthralled with it! I love finding out what each character has been up to, who they meet when they do their jobs, everything. These are sweet, innocent girls who know how to kill. They also know how to apprehend without killing when the situation requires it. They get stuck in sticky situations and have to find their way out. Sometimes they are forced to face their past, be it their past within the Social Welfare Agency, or the past they’ve forgotten. And sometimes, it’s the past of their handlers that come back to haunt them. Two other reasons I like this manga are the fact that it’s set in Italy, which is a new and interesting place to imerse yourself, and that I can easily identify each character. Other mangas make it hard to determine who’s who because they all look alike and are wearing the same uniform. Not in this one.
The sad thing is, this manga is coming to the end very soon. The final two volumes are being released in an omnibus edition later this month. But, I suppose it’s for the best. Even good things must come to an end at some point. And it is definitely a talent for an author to know when to end a series and not drag it on into infinity. I have read up through volume 10, and am greatly looking forward to volume 11! Volume 9 and 10 had less action and fighting and more of an emotional journey than the previous volumes, but they were still just as important to the plot, and important/scary things are revealed about the cyborgs themselves. So don’t miss out on these volumes!
Volume Information: Each volume published in English has been published separately through volume 6 until now. New Omnibus collections have come out with the following volumes: Collection 1 -Vol.1-3; Collection 2 – Vol.4-6; Collection 3 – Vol. 7-8; Collection 4 – Vol. 9-10; Collection 5 – Vol. 11-12; Collection 6 – Vol. 13-14. Volume 14 is the final volume in this series and the omnibus collection 6 is due out in January 2013! As of this post date, the library owns up to collection 4. But rest assured collection 5 & 6 are on the way to the shelves as fast as we can order them and get them ready for you awesome readers.
Posted on December 22nd, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
Tags: Gina Damico, grim reapers, review, scorch, scythe
Scorch by Gina Damico
Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room
This is the sequel to Gina Damico’s first book Croak, which I reviewed just last week. If you haven’t read Croak, be aware, spoilers ahead! So, Lex’s twin sister is no longer in the land of the living and Zara is running around on the loose Damning criminals to an eternity spent as ghosts, rather than letting them get into the coziness of the Afterlife. There’s only one problem here. Zara thinks Lex has something she wants. Something very powerful. And she’ll stop at nothing to get it. When she starts Damning innocent people and even Grims all over the world, Lex realizes she’d better act fast and find The Wrong Book. But that’s not all. Things are even worse in Croak. Norwood and Heloise are doing their evil best to convince the rest of the town that the Junior Grims are terrible delinquents who can’t do anything right, and that Lex’s Uncle Mort is no longer fit for the job of town Mayor. It’s finally time for Lex, her Uncle Mort, and the other Juniors to skip down and seek safety in DeMyse, a huge, glitzy city, home to Grims on the west coast, much like Las Vegas. Of course, hijinks ensue, and our favorite characters from the Afterlife have a knack for traveling as well. Not only do we get to see more of Cordy, Lex’s twin sister, but we also get to see her new, albeit dead, beau: the hottest and youngest king to roam the Earth. King Tut? Yep. Things couldn’t get more wild in the Afterlife.
This book kept me even more on the edge of my seat than the first book. The humor was still fresh, the action awesome and terrifying, and the romance at times very sweet, realistic, and bumbling, just the way I like it. Nothing is perfect, not even romance, and I like the way she portrays it in these books. It’s not the main storyline, but it is pretty major. Plus, for those interested, there is a side gay romance in here that gets left by a cliffhanger at the end. I’m hoping it won’t be long before the next book comes out. I’m not sure I can wait forever on this series. If you like a bit of gore and creepiness, if you like humorous and realistic romance, if you enjoy talking to dead people… this series is for you! And I highly recommend having book 2 ready to read as soon as you finish book 1. You’ll be glad you did.
Posted on December 21st, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
Tags: art, Diana Renn, Japan, manga, mystery, Tokyo Heist
Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn
Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room
Tokyo Heist is the story of two stolen Van Gogh drawings and a missing Van Gogh painting. It is also the story of the young man who bought that painting and the family he left behind when he committed suicide over 30 years ago. And, it’s the story of a bright teenage girl with an eye for drawing her own manga series, known as Kimono Girl. 16-year-old Violet hadn’t planned on solving an art heist mystery during her summer vacation spent with her estranged father. She hadn’t planned on getting chased by the largest Japanese gang, known as the Yakuza. And she definitely didn’t plan on a trip to Japan any time soon. But she gets all that, and more, in this gripping mystery/suspense novel where sometimes the only way to solve a crime, is to draw it out like a Japanese comic book.
I LOVED this book. That’s it. Plain and simple. The way it was told, the language used, everything was realistic and gripping. Plus, I loved Kimono Girl. I was picturing the scenes Violet was drawing easily, and I loved the idea of a girl who could slip in and out of paintings to solve crimes and move around. It was a very interesting way to view the world and solve a crime. Anyone who loves Japan and manga will likely fall in love with Violet and this novel. It’s a quick dive into Japanese culture, but one not soon forgotten. I highly recommend this title.
Posted on December 14th, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff, Teen Services
Tags: book, croak, Gina Damico, grim reapers, mystery, review, teen
Croak by Gina Demico
Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room
This is the story of a 16-year-old teen who gets shipped off to spend the summer with her Uncle Mort because of sudden behavioral issues. Lex, named after the battle of Lexington, has no idea why she turned violent. She just knows that she likes to punch people and it doesn’t matter whether they’ve done something to personally offend her or not. But when she gets to the town of Croak, NY (Population 82), she’s startled to discover that her uncle isn’t the farmer she expected. He’s a Grim Reaper. And so is everyone else in the small town. She was born to be a Grim. At first she isn’t sure about this, but the more she hangs out with the other Junior Grims, and the more time she spends at work, Killing dead bodies so her partner can Cull the souls to send the people to the afterlife, the more she comes to realize that Croak is where she belongs.
But then, mysterious deaths start to occur. Not only do the medical examiners not know what’s killing these people, seemingly at random, but neither do the Grims. When it become apparent that the killer could very well be a Grim, it’s up to Lex and the other Junior Grims to figure it out.
Honestly, I think I died laughing. No joke. This book is at the same time dark, very serious and yet light with humor. I loved getting to hang out in the afterlife with the dead famous people like Edgar Allen Poe who seems to be the only one who doesn’t like John Wilkes Booth because John stole Edgar’s favorite quill. When we get the absolutely lovely description of the alcohol-like drink that actually has no alcohol in it, I about died, wishing I could have a cup. Keep in mind, the drink has no alcohol, but if a Grim has more than three drinks in a row, that could spell a very different kind of trouble: Death. The murder mystery that takes place is definitely a mystery that will defy you until near the end of the book. At least, it did for me. The book is at times creepy, but there is also a healthy dose of awkward romance to go along with the creep. While most books these days throw in the perfect romance between the two perfect main characters, this romance is not perfect. Nothing goes as planned and neither are the two main characters perfect. It’s wonderfully realistic.
Over all, this book was a nice breath of fresh air from all the books that only seem to mimic each other these days. Yep, there’s a girl on the cover, but she’s wearing a black hoodie (proper Grim attire) and carrying a large scythe. Not a fancy dress that never gets worn in the book. But be aware of one thing. As you near the end of the first book, make sure you have Scorch, the second book, handy because you’ll want to dive right in without waiting. Trust me, this book is awesome. And the story’s not done yet…
I can’t recommend this book enough.
Posted on December 4th, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff
Tags: Anna Dressed In Blood, book, Kendare Blake, review
Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake
Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room
This is the story about a young man going by the nickname Cass who kills ghosts for a living. Yep. You heard right. Cass kills ghosts for a living. The job has been in his family for generations and he’s the latest to pick up the athame, or knife, his father used to demolish the dead who demolish the living. Only this time, as he moves to Canada with his mother, he finally meets his match. Anna Dressed In Blood is a ghost he can’t kill until he can figure out how and why she died. The truth is shocking and as horrible as having Satan himself sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with you and your family. But even then, Cass still can’t kill Anna, even knowing the high number of people she’s killed since her death. The feelings he’s kept locked inside to protect the rest of the world from his job are threatening to come out, he’s actually made friends for the first time, and yet another ghost seems to be after him. Why did Anna protect Cass from other teens trying to play a mean prank on him? And what’s he going to do to get out of this sticky situation?
I read this not knowing what to expect. And I LOVED it. The book keeps you guessing right up until the very end. The characters were realistic, and even the ghosts were relatable and likeable. My only complaint with this book was how the police handled each death and missing persons case. The cops didn’t look hard for missing teenagers, or murderers. In talking with real life police, I know they wouldn’t pass off a missing teenager as someone who’d simply runaway and leave it at that. However, as this wasn’t all about police procedure, I was able to put that at the back of my mind and enjoy the rest of the story. All in all, I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good mystery or horror novel. It’s that awesome.