Monday, February 06, 2012

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 2/4

It's difficult to find a new and fresh way to introduce these posts every week -- particularly since I've been doing them for more years than I want to count, and since I don't want to just copy-and-paste a block of Standard Disclaimer [1] -- so I should warn you that I might descend, any week now, into the realms of movie parodies and other bottom-scrapings.

But that day is not this day! This day we fight!

Oops, sorry, there. Anyway, where was I?

Right -- the point of "Reviewing the Mail." This weekly post lists the books that arrived in my mail the previous week, annotated with whatever I know or can quickly dig up about those books, with the aim of connecting them with you (the readers), so that you can find new, presumably entertaining works that you will buy and love and clamp to your bosoms for ever after. I have not yet read any of these particular books, and I may not read any specific one of them -- but that doesn't stop me from letting you know about them.

Most of the mail this week falls into clumps, so I'll start off with two manga collections coming from Vertical, beginning with the 8th volume of Chi's Sweet Home by Konami Kanata. Vol. 7 showed up in my house a couple of months back, and my two sons immediately glommed it, which I'll take as a recommendation. The series is a semi-realistic -- the title cat "speaks" to the audience, but lives an extremely cat-like life, unlike a Garfield -- full-color look at the life of a Japanese kitten, suitable for, as far as I can tell, kids down to too young to actually read the words. This volume will hit stores at the end of the month.

Already out from Vertical is the first volume of Toru Fujisawa's GTO: 14 Days in Shonan, the sequel series to the original Great Teacher Onizuka. This series takes place in the middle of the main GTO, during a fortnight when the main character was supposedly recuperating from being shot -- but actually had run off to the "surfer's paradise" Shonan. And, of course, a series hero always ends up doing the thing he's famous for -- so I'm sure this series sees Onizuka teaching.

I also have DAW's three mass market paperbacks for March:
  • Seanan McGuire launches a new series, "InCryptid," with Discount Armageddon, in which Buffy Jr. there on the cover (Verity Price, runaway scion of a clan that's been hunting/studying mythological monsters for generations, but who would prefer to be a professional ballroom dancer [2]) is dragged back into her family's business and, I am morally certain, begins the usual love-hate relationship with her opposite number (Dominic De Luca, of the Covenant of St. George, whom I will predict is haughty, self-centered, devastatingly handsome, and utterly infuriating in the usual panty-melting urban fantasy manner).
  • The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity is the latest anthology from the Tekno Books factory, edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray and featuring fourteen stories about secret elves in the modern world. Contributors include Elizabeth Bear, Jim C. Hines, Anton Strout, S.C. Butler, Kristine Smith, Juliet E. McKenna, and the ubiquitous Seanan McGuire.
  • And the twelfth book in C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner series, Betrayer, is also hitting paperback. I liked the first nine or so of this series, but lost touch with it when I left the clubs -- they're generally very good clenched-teeth cultural-conflict-with-aliens books, in the inimitable Cherryh manner.
Similarly, I've got a bunch of manga all being published by Yen Press in February, all later volumes in series -- so I apologize in advance if my impressions of them are mistaken:
  • The sixth volume of Milan Matra's Omamori Himari, a harem manga with a plethora of panty shots (giving this a mature rating, though I didn't see anything worse than panty shots inside this volume) and a "typical high school student" hero who is also the heir to a demon-fighting family -- the harem is made up of several human and transformed-creature (cats, teacups [?!], who knows what else) girls.
  • The eighth volume of Soul Eater, by Atsuhi Ohkubo continues the story of the minions of the death-god and their quests to collect the souls of the evil. (I reviewed the first book back in early 2010, but lost track of the series since then.)
  • The ninth volume of Nabari No Ou by Yuhki Kamatami, which I think is about secret ninja societies in the modern world -- the back cover copy, which talks about Grey Wolves and "the world of shinobi," tends to agree with that memory.
  • The eleventh volume of the very popular The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya -- art by Gaku Tsugano, story by Nagaru Tanigawa, and characters by Noizi Ito -- continues the story, though it seems to have moved pretty far from what I remember as the premise (uberperky Haruhi gathers a group of secretly paranormal teens -- all still secret from her -- to investigate paranormal things exactly like them), since a cast that seems to be more harem-like (one boy and three busty girls who keep falling over him) is here trapped in a mountain resort by a storm possibly created by a supernatural entity. I will admit to being more than slightly confused.
  • And then there's the eleventh volume of Sumomomo, Momomo, by Shinobu Ohtaka. I loved the first volume of this two years ago, and liked the second volume quite a bit (though I was worried that it was slipping inexorably towards being yet another diffident high-school-boy-and-his-quirky-harem story), but, once again, lost track of it. At this point, the entire cast seems to have relocated into the middle of a jungle, for what I trust were good and sufficient reasons. I believe I'll have to read this soon, to see what's become of it.
If you're tired of novels that are only novels, Zack Parsons's Liminal States may be what you're looking for: the book itself doesn't publish until April (in trade paperback from Kensington), but  alternate reality games related to the book started to come out last October, and the book itself is "part of a revolutionary multimedia project, which includes video, music, and artwork, as well as blogs and personal web pages of the characters from the world of the novel, including links to external sites." So: very post-modern and cutting edge. Parsons wrote the nonfiction look-at-what-these-stupid-generals-did book My Tank Is Fight! and the exploration of Internet subcultures Your Next Door Neighbor Is a Dragon, but this appears to be his first work of fiction. I suppose I should note that this particular blog has an independent existence, and is not merely part of the Liminal States hype-rsphere.

And last for this week is a graphic novel for younger readers -- and probably for some of us no longer young; I asked for it myself, for instance -- Giants Beware!, by Rafael Rosado (who has written for a lot of popular children's TV shows, says his bio from the publisher, though it's coy about which ones) and Jorge Aguirre (storyboard artist for Warner, Disney, and Cartoon Network). It's about a girl who wants to fight giants, her best friend (who wants to be a princess) and her brother (who wants to be a pasty chef). And First Second will publish it in paperback on April 10th.

    [1] The marketer in me knows that would be horrible SEO, and the perfectionist in me is horrified at the thought of not hand-crafting any particular blog post.

    [2] In case the whole existence-of-monsters thing didn't convince you this was an entirely fictional world...

    No comments:

    Post a Comment