Sunday, December 30, 2007

Twilight Watch (Sumerechniy Dozor)

Twilight Watch (Sumerechniy Dozor) (2007) by Sergei Lukyanenko

Description: Living among us are the "Others," and ancient race of humans with supernatural powers who must swear allegiance to either the Dark or the Light. A thousand-year treaty has maintained the balance of power between the two sides, but when a renegade Other absconds with a fabled book of spells and appears intent on using it to alter the course of humanity, the forces of Light and Dark must cooperate to stop him.

Anton, the hero from Night Watch, is back, but when the culprit turns out to be an old friend, the race against time becomes more urgent than ever. In a world where reality and magic commingle, and where different degrees of existence are layered one atop the other, nothing is ever quite what it seems.

Review: This book continues where we left Anton and Sveta in Day Watch. They are now a family with the daughter they were destined to have. Although things can never go to easily for them. Mysteries abound and a fabled book is found once more. When their daughter is captured and her life is at stake, they bend the rules a bit, but do find an ally from an enemy. I was completely captivated by the story. I just couldn't put it down. Lukyanenko has definitely created a most intricate world with very specific rules. Sometimes I have to remember back to the other books to remember some detail. In this installment, we get some answers to questions that have been looming, but the ending is ready for another book. I think this series is great and that if you love science fiction, you really should give it a try.

Score: 4 out of 5

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Day Watch (Dnevnoi Dozer)

Day Watch (Dnevnoi Dozer) by Sergei Lukyanenko (2007)

Description: The second in a blockbuster series of novels from Russia's most popular science fiction author, Day Watch brings us back into the hyperimaginative world of Sergei Lukyanenko and continues the dramatic battle between good and evil, light and dark, day and night.

Set in modern-day Moscow, the epic saga chronicles the eternal war of the "Others," an ancient race of humans with supernatural powers who must swear allegiance to either the Dark or the Light. The agents of Dark - The Day Watch - keep an eye during the day, while the agents of Light keep watch over the night. For a thousand years a treaty between the two sides has maintained an uneasy balance, but when a very potent artifact is stolen from the Inquisition - an impartial group of Others who keep watch over all - the consequences are dire for both sides.

Day Watch introduces the perspective of the Dark Ones, as it is told in part by a beautiful but troubled young witch.When she falls in love with a handsome young Light One, the balance is threatened and a death must be avenged. Replete with thrilling action and intricate plotting of the first tale, Day Watch is fueled by cunning, cruelty, violence, and magic. It is a fast-paced, darkly humorous, haunting world that will take root in the shadows of your mind and live there forever.

Review: What a great second novel by Lukyanenko. I found myself completely sucked into this world he has created once more. In similar fashion, the second book in the series is comprised of three separate stories that all tie together... and directly to the first. I am completely hooked to this story and can not wait to start the third novel, Twilight Watch. It was great to see the perspective of the Dark Others and see their take on the whole situation. Everything is not as it seems and the decisions are very complex. This was also a refreshing read. It is great to take a break and read some fresh material from another different voice. I am interested to see if anything else by Lukyanenko is translated into English, otherwise I may have to learn Russian just to read more of his work. I highly recommend these novels.

Score: 5 out of 5

Additional Information: Although the second movie in this series by Timur Bekmambetov carries this name, it is actually the story from the first novel, Night Watch.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Bleach Volume 2: Goodbye Parakeet, Good Night My Sister

Bleach Volume 2 (2004) by Tite Kubo

Description: Immediately after checking into the Kurosaki Clinic with a mysterious scar on his back, the muscle-bound Chad goes AWOL. Accompanying Chad is a talking parakeet imbued wit the soul of a young boy named Yuichi. It doesn't take newbie Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki long to surmise that a Hollow must be involved. By far the strongest spirits he's faced to date, Ichigo is about to discover that not every soul is bound for the Soul Society, especially if it's tainted with innocent blood.

Review: The action-packed Bleach is back with more stories of battles with the spirit world. We continue to learn more about soul reapers and how Hollows are made. The story is more interesting and is leading up to more adventure. I can't wait to read the rest of the series. Another recommendation for manga fans.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Blood Alone Volume 1

Blood Alone Volume 1 (2006) by Masayuki Takano

Description: Enter Misaki, perhaps the most innocent and most sincere young lady there ever was. It's almost inconceivable that she could be a vampire. And with her powers as a vampire, she could easily entice any human to do her biding... but she chooses not to. Especially when it comes to Kuroe, a young author who has a deep running past with vampires.

Review: This was a strange little book. It felt like we were dropped in the middle of a story but not really given enough information to figure out what was going on. I believe more backstory is given in the next books, but honesty it was a bit strange and I am not sure if I will continue on with it. Blood Alone is at best a bland story.

Score: 2.5 out of 5

Fool Moon

Fool Moon (Book 2 of the Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher

Description: Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is Chicago's only openly practicing wizard. He is also dead broke. His vast knowledge and magical skills are unfortunately matched by his talent for making powerful enemies and alienating friends.

With little more than his integrity left, he accepts an offer of work from Lt. Karin Murphy of Chicago's Special Investigation unit. He wants to redeem himself in Murphy's eyes and make enough money to quiet his rumbling stomach.

Soon he finds himself pinned between trigger-happy FBI agents, shape-shifting motorcycle gang members, a threatened mobster boss, and an heir to an ancient curse along with his primal fiance. Throw in environmental activists and a pair of young werewolves in love and you have something of FOOL MOON.

Review: Another great story from Butcher! I listened to the audio version of the story and it was really great. James Marsters, better known as Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, really was the voice of Harry Dresden. Right from the beginning, I was captivated by the story and just had to keep on reading. The story itself was really interesting. Werewolves in Chicago? I guess stranger things have happened. Just when you thought the story was heading one way, Butcher took you another way. I enjoyed the entire ride and recommend this book, especially if you are looking for a fun, short read.

Score 4.5 out of 5

Friday, December 7, 2007

Bleach Volume 1: Strawberry and the Soul Reapers

Bleach Volume 1 (2004) by Tite Kubo

Description: Ichigo Kurosaki has always been able to see ghosts, but this ability doesn't change his life nearly as much as his lose encounter with Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul reaper and member of the mysterious Soul Society. while fighting a Hollow, an devil spirit that preys on humans who display psychic energy, Rukia attempts to lend Ichigo some of her powers so that he can save his family; but much to her surprise Ichigo absorbs every last drop of her energy. Now a full-fledged Soul Reaper himself, Ichigo quickly learns that the world he inhabits is one full of dangerous spirits and, along with Rukia-who is slowly regaining her powers-it's Ichigo's job to protect the innocent from Hollows and help the spirits themselves find peace.

Review: This book was darker than I thought it would be. I thought the mythology was quite interesting and I really find this series intriguing. There is also some great humor inside. I really enjoyed reading this and recommend reading this series.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Chibi Vampire Volume 4

Chibi Vampire Volume 4 (2007) by Yuna Kagesaki

Description: Fighting temptation for quite awhile, Karin has been able to stave off the urge to bite the handsome, if misfortunate, Kenta Usui. Instead, she tries to do nice things for him, but, alas, this is becoming more and more difficult! Deep down, is there some romance blooming between them? If the gossip floating through the school halls is any indication, Karin might as well bite the boy who's causing her so much confusion!

Review: I continue to be delighted with this series. This novel shows the budding relationship between Karin and Kenta. Although, I am getting tired of all the hinting. I just wish that it would go somewhere. I enjoy the humor and can't wait to read the rest of the series.

Score: 4 out of 5

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Chibi Vampire Volume 3

Chibi Vampire Volume 3 by Yuna Kagesaki (2006)

Description: As Kenta helps Karin study for her school exam, the two start becoming closer. But when Maki catches sight of them and asks if they are going out, Karin protests! She needs time, especially when she feels like she's starting to overcome her blood issues around Kenta. But a new problem is about surface... and the odor is enough tot make a vampire run to daylight!

Review: This series continues to delight me. I am completely entertained and have a really great time while reading this book. I do feel bad for Karin though. Her family seems a bit harsh. I enjoy the relationship she has with Kenta and can't wait to see what happens there. I recommend reading this series.

Score: 4 out of 5

Chibi Vampire Volume 1

Chibi Vampire Volume 1 by Yuna Kagesaki (2006)

Description: Karin is a cute little girl who also happens to be a vampire... with a twist. Once a month, she experiences intense bleeding from her nose-we're talking gushers! In other words, she's a vamp with blood to spare, so rather than stealing blood from humans she actually gives her blood to them. If done right, this can be an extremely positive experience that benefits the "victim" as much as the vamp. The problem is that Karin never seems to do things right!

Review: I thought this was really a cute book. I had a lot of laughs with it as well. The humor is really great. The story is pretty interesting and I really can't wait to see where Karin ends up. More importantly, if she ends up with Usiu. It also was an interesting take on the whole vampire lore. Instead of doing the sucking, she actually gives people blood and also helps them with their problems. This is most definitely not your run of the mill vampire story. With great artwork, it is a great book all around. I can't wait to finish the series.

Score: 4 out of 5