Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

July 19

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Recent Arrivals: Utopia’s Avenger (Vol. 1 & 2) by Oh Se-Kwon

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: Utopia’s Avenger by Oh Se-Kwon

Utopia's Avenger Vol 1 Utopia's Avenger Vol 2

First line: Company, halt! (Volume 1)

Initial thoughts: Since the manga that I’d been soaking up lately were along the lines of laid-back comedy or supernatural suspense, I decided I should probably throw in a bit of action. Utopia’s Avenger won out because the art is awesome and the story sounded interesting.

Book description:

Once, there was a legendary kingdom called Yuldo, an ideal country in which peace and prosperity flourished for years. The heroic warrior Hong Gil-Dong created this utopian land–and then suddenly disappeared without a trace. But time passed, and a band of ruthless warriors invaded the kingdom, leaving it in utter ruins…

Now, Hong Gil-Dong has returned, determined to raise his village from the ashes. But evil forces lurk in the shadows, observing our hero’s every move–waiting for the opportunity to strike down utopia’s avenger…

Book Details: 200 pages (each volume); TokyoPop; Pub. December 2006 – April 2007

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July 19

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Recent Arrivals: We Shadows (Vol. 1) by Sonny Strait

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: We Shadows by Sonny Strait

We Shadows Vol 1

First line: I keep having these blackouts. (The words "possible alcoholic?" are written on a notepad next to the talk bubble–just to give you perspective.)

Initial thoughts: What drew me in was the cover. The artwork was adorable and very much my own personal style preference when it comes to anime. What tipped the scales was the whacked out story synopsis–a possibly delusional fairy-princess in training named Goat whose only friend is a talking mushroom? Yeah, you know I had to get it.

Book description:

He Who Pulleth the Trigger of the Big Honkin’ Gun in the Rock Shall Be Puck

There is a song–it is a key to unlocking a gateway into a world of Shadows. A dark yet magical place where faeries, ogres and hobgoblins co-exist. One such creature is Goat, a homely being considered insane by the others. Her only friend is a talking mushroom who assures her she is a "fairy princess in training." However the truth of Goat’s destiny is far more interesting…

Follow Goat as she unlocks the secret of her origins and her untapped power–a world of magic is just a song away!

Book Details: 192 pages; TokyoPop; Pub. August 14, 2007

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July 18

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Recent Arrivals: Alichino (Vol. 1) by Kouyu Shurei

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: Alichino by Kouyu Shurei

Alichino Vol 1

First line: Compassionate…yet cruel.

Initial thoughts: I knew what I was getting into when I picked up this one.

From the description, it sounded like an interesting concept–beautiful creatures granting wishes to those who need them–but from the reviews, it was clear the story was convoluted at best.

What finally made me say "yes" was the artwork. It’s quite elegant and even if I end up hating the story, at least I’ll have the beautiful pictures to look at.

Book description:

Beautiful creates called Alichino grant wishes to those in need–but at a price! A young lady searching for an Alichino wants to bring her brother back to life. She meets Tsugiri, a handsome young man who she thinks is an Alichino. Tsugiri turns out to be a mere mortal, but he does have a mysterious connection with these rare creatures–a connection that will bring danger to those around him.

Book Details: 164 pages; TokyoPop; Pub. February 8, 2005

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July 18

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Recent Arrivals: DearS (Vol. 1-3) by Peach-Pit

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: DearS by Peach-Pit

DearS Vol 1 DearS Vol 2 DearS Vol 3

First line: Move your ass, Takeya!!*

Initial thoughts: DearS looked way too cute and the story sounded way too hilarious for me to pass up. Plus, I absolutely adore the artistic style–even the buxom alien girls have that sweet dear-caught-in-headlights look.

Book description:

A Close Encounter of the Oh-So-Fine Kind

The DearS have crash-landed on Earth and are now working with humans to become part of society–by going to high school! Lucky for the loveless Takeya, he stumbles upon an alien honey who is in desperate need of an education. Lucky for her, Takeya’s neighbor is there to keep the young man’s libido in check.

Book Details: Vol. 1 200 pages, Vol. 2 & 3 208 pages; TokyoPop; Pub. January – July 2005

*I took the first actual line of dialog from the start of the story, though there are a few preface pages. For the curious, it begins: “What an incredible sight! Ladies and gentlemen, what we’re witnessing here is a real UFO!”

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July 17

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Recent Arrivals: The Tarot Cafe (Vol. 1-4) by Sang-Sun Park

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: The Tarot Cafe by Sang-Sun Park

Tarot Cafe Vol. 1 Tarot Cafe Vol. 2 Tarot Cafe Vol. 3 Tarot Cafe Vol. 4

First line: It’s not difficult to guess what happened to my clients in the past. (Volume 1)

Initial thoughts: I’ve always been a fan of anime, and though I’d heard about manga over the years, it wasn’t until very recently that I decided to take it seriously.

I decided to give it a real try when I saw a number of titles discounted and figured why not? I initially snagged the first volume of each title that caught my eye, then went back and grabbed subsequent issues for those with stories that pulled me in. TTC was one of them.

The Tarot Cafe struck my fancy because the subject matter intrigued me—a tarot reader for the supernatural—and I loved the art.

Book description:

Meet Pamela, the owner of The Tarot Cafe–what she offers on the menu isn’t always a treat for her customers. Pamela is also a clairvoyant who caters to an elite clientele that frequents the cafe for more than just tea. Vampires, fairies and other creatures that live among humans come to learn of their future from the predictions of this young woman. But Pamela must come to terms with a deep dark secret before she can move onto the next life…

Book Details: 184 pages (each volume); TokyoPop; Pub. March – December 2005

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