Monday, June 13, 2016

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 6/11

Yup, it's that time once again. Below are some books that arrived at my house last week, among which might just possibly be something that you will love forever. (Or maybe not. Could be next week.) I haven't read these books yet, and I don't promise to read them or to write a review of them if I do manage to read them. So pay attention now -- that's all I'm saying.....

Natsuki Takaya's popular Fruits Basket manga series is being reprinted by Yen Press in large handsome omnibus editions, both on a larger page size and with more pages (380ish) per volume. Both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 are in front of me now, since both are being published in June. (There were 23 volumes when they were tankobon-sized, so I expect there will be ten double-sized volumes and either an eleventh that's triple-sized, or a normal eleventh and a twelfth with extra stuff added in.) The story is a combination of "normal person thrown into wacky family with supernatural secrets" and "this person transforms into {X} when {Y} happens" -- the latter was more popular in '90s manga than one would expect. It's been hugely popular, here and in Japan, both in this form and in the inevitable anime, so I expect large sectors of the Internet are very happy to see it come around again. (The original American publication was from the late, somewhat lamented Tokyopop.)

Also from Yen this month, and also a big omnibus-sized volume, is Servant X Service, Vol. 2, by Karino Takatsu. This story about workers in a civil service office in a small provincial Japanese city is shorter, less plotty, and more focused on gags than most manga we see here -- for example, this is the end of the series. (So you're not going to be in for a One Piece-style saga that goes on indefinitely, if you're worried about that.)

And last for this week is the new fantasy novel from Elizabeth Haydon, The Weaver's Lament. It's the ninth book in her "Symphony of Ages" series -- sometimes better known as the Rhapsody books, after the title of the first book. (I once heard David Hartwell tell a convention audience that fantasy writers should make sure they're happy with their first-novel title being used to describe the whole series -- because it inevitably will be.) Rhapsody, this time around, has to choose between her husband and her two oldest friends -- and, from the flap copy, it sounds like her husband is in the wrong. This one comes from Tor in hardcover, hitting stores on June 21.

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