September 11th, 2006

mmm books

Hallaway, Tate - Tall, Dark and Dead

Still desperately trying to catch up on book blogging.

I think I kept expecting to be much more entertained by the book than I actually was.

Garnet Lacey is a Witch who is being hunted by some special branch of the Vatican. On the way, she meets Sebastian, a very old vampire, some more vampires, some more people of the Vatican and etc.

Given that Hallaway touched on many of the same issues in her Lyda A. Morehouse books, I didn't roll my eyes as much. Alas for the poor writers whose current books on conspiracies in the Vatican are being overshadowed by the ubiquitous Dan Brown.

But I either wanted more fluff or more depth, and ended up being unsatisfied all together. Also, I didn't much like the tall, dark and dead guy of the title, which generally just kills a romance book for me. And half way through, I thought Hallaway was going to do something very interesting with the heroine and the love interest, but it didn't happen.

And to be honest, there was so much plot going on that I had no idea why I should be interested in the relationship, but there was still so much relationship that there wasn't the depth of worldbuilding that I wanted.

Also also, I am mean, but the various capitalizations bugged me.
gaiden tenpou don't mess

Minekura Kazuya - Bus Gamer (Eng. ed.)

Tokyopop calls this the pilot edition; it's the first volume of Bus Gamer plus some additional chapters that never quite got collected. Apparently Minekura does intend to keep going, just after she finishes everything else on her plate.

coffeeandink was also nice enough to let me know that "bus gamer" is apparently pronounced "biz gamer," thereby alleviating much confusion about why games might be played on buses and why one would ever want to do that.

So. Bus gamer = business gamer.

There are apparently giant real-time, in-person games being run to steal corporate data; each corporation is represented by a three-person team. This team is supposed to either steal a certain disk or to protect it, depending on what side they're on.

Toki, Nobuto and Kazuo make up the AAA team, currently undefeated. And since I talked to Mely about this before I read it, I couldn't help but read them as reincarnations of Saiyuki characters. I spent most of the time trying to decide if Toki were more of a Hakkai-type or a Sanzo-type.

I feel like it's much too early to say anything about the manga yet; I'm sure that each character has tragic backstory by the ton. We already know that they're all there for the money and that the game is getting more dangerous than anticipated. And knowing Minekura, there will be much angstiness hidden under very casual talk.

Aka, not hooked yet, but I have no doubt that I will be if she ever continues it.

Also, I so want to see Goku grown up now.
teru teru

The 9/11 post

So, I've been procrastinating so much on this post that I've actually done some book blogging, wow.

I am going to be wimpy and default and blog about the personal; I have been keeping my head in the sand and not following any of the political ruckus, particularly that concerning ABC's "docudrama." Suffice to say, I don't want to get in any sort of political arguments, and I am tired.

Pictures under the cuts.

When 9/11 happened, I was still in college. I had been in New York City from around the 8th through the 10th; my dad had just flown back to Taiwan the night of the 10th, and my mom and I had taken the train to New Jersey. Despite only being an hour away, I didn't go see Ground Zero while I was in New Jersey.

I saw it for the first time this Labor Day weekend; my sister, her friend and I were trying to find our way to the subway to get to Chinatown for dinner, and Collapse )
I've been to the Two Towers before, the most memorable time being during freshman year of college. I don't really remember the landscape around there, but it's so odd to see such a large flat space in New York.

The odd thing is that Collapse )
It was the setting sun reflecting off the buildings, or something.

I hadn't seen the Collapse )
I really liked how multicultural they were; black and Asian and white and Latino (I don't remember if I saw Native American or not). I liked the feeling that they were trying to include everyone in the memorial: the people who live in New York and the workers actually trying to find people in the rubble and children and old folks and women and men and people of all races and ages and sizes and tourists and bystanders and people watching from TVs everywhere and people caught out in the streets.

It was particularly nice because right after 9/11, I felt so excluded because of the rise in nationalistic sentiment. Despite my US passport, I was very aware of being from Taiwan and not being "born and bred" American, particularly in conversations about foreigners and Muslims and how the French sucked because they wouldn't back "us" up and how the British were wusses. I put "us" in quotations because I didn't feel included. As a side note, while I appreciate the sentiment in trying to make me feel better by saying that no one deliberately excluded me, I think there is a very good reason as to why I didn't feel included, and it is because anti-foreigner sentiment was running high back then (not that it's necessarily stopped now).

Furthermore, whenever American values of mom and the flag and apple pie get pulled out, many of the images used are images of white America. I am not a part of white America. I don't particularly want to be a part of white America, as I am quite happy with who I am. And my America, the one I live in every day? That's not white America either.

Anyway.

There was a long Collapse )
It reminded me a great deal of the Vietnam Wall, but more for thematic purposes rather than political parallels.

Underneath the long list were small memorials people had put up Collapse )
As usual, the flag bothers me, but this is more related to my own tangled issues with nationality and nationalism, and people have to right to remember their dead in any way they see fit.

I still found it very touching, despite my flag issues, and was glad that people were still putting things up five years after the fact.

I couldn't read through the Collapse )
But, uh, to make it All About Me, this is where I was in time when I learned what had happened. And I am going to stop here, because I am too tired to write up 9/11 and race relations in America and nationalism and racism.
mmm books

Brennan, Herbie - Faerie Wars

I've been seeing this around bookstores for quite some time now, so I snatched it up out of curiosity at a library sale.

Henry Atherton is not too happy -- his parents are going through some tough times, his sister is a brat, and his parents won't let him talk to Mr. Fogarty, the guy down the street that he helps out occasionally.

Pyrgus is a faerie who has managed to get into quite a spot of trouble, including but not limited to rescuing kittens in distress, getting tangled up in a demon plot to overtake the world, shrinking, getting wings, getting exiled, getting lost, finding his way back home, and etc.

Holly Blue is Pyrgus' sister. She is somewhat spunky, but not to the extent of making me want to chuck the book at a wall. Also, she runs her own spy network, which makes her Very Cool.

Alas, the plot of the book wasn't as interesting as the characters sometimes were. I wasn't bored, but I wasn't completely sucked in either. While the narrative voice was very fun at times, in other chapters, it fell a bit flat, like much of the book. Also, I wasn't invested enough in the twists and turns of the plot to stay engaged.
manga is crack

Soryo Fuyumi - Eternal Sabbath, vol. 01-02 (Eng. trans.)

Er, more apologies for spamming. Still am not caught up....

I started reading Soryo because of her insanely addictive, somewhat Gothic, very angsty shoujo manga Mars. I tried her older works as well, but her art style really matured in Mars, and the plots of the older ones are somewhat Gothic and very angsty, but not nearly as interesting.

Thankfully, ES has the best of both worlds, gorgeous art and a nifty storyline (at least so far).

Akiba Ryousuke is actually an escapee from a lab, a genetically modified human who can read and manipulate minds. For some reason, he's decided to masquerade as a normal high school student.

Kujyou Mine is a scientist who keeps messing up omiai (sort of like blind dates to arrange marriages) because she has absolutely zero social skills and talks about the mating rituals of lions to her terrified potential-date.

They meet. They do not fight crime.

I am not quite sure where Soryo is going to go with the plot; there are more lab escapees in volume 2, and I suspect said lab escapee is the beginning of the first major plot arc.
I'm enjoying the manga so far because Ryousuke is almost entirely emotionless; when he does show emotion, he often seems psychotic and amoral. Mine's not that much better, particularly when it comes to her poor social skills. I'm very much looking forward to how these two social outcasts end up relating to each other (or not), and I like that it's not happy, fuzzy and romanticized.

I anticipate some more rather Gothic storylines, though they may only feel Gothic to me because of Mars.