Tuesday, February 21, 2012

YA Manga Book Reviews

From Jan 25-Feb 21, 2012. Total so far this year: 56

Young Adult
Library Wars: Love and War, Vol 2 by Kiiro Yumi
In this volume, Iku's roommate discovers that the temporary head director is taking books that the Board of Education has banned and hiding them away. The bad guys (the Media Betterment Committee) is sighted on library property and there is a militant library operation, led by the Task Force, to stop them. Iku gets caught in the crossfire and Dojo must again save her. Meanwhile, her co-worker Tezuka has asked her out, which she finds strange since he seemed to despise her before. A 17 yr old boy has murdered some people and the police come to the director of the Library Task Force to ask for his library records, which the director refuses to give because he believes in protecting the boy's privacy. Dojo and Iku have a talk and he tells her it is okay to be herself, something that no one has ever said to her before. Recommended for ages 14+, 5 stars.

Library Wars: Love and War, Vol 3 by Kiiro Yumi
This volume is jam-packed full of action! The PTA is holding a protest on books that should be banned after the murder that the 17 yr old committed in Vol. 2, on the lawn of the library, when two kids decide to do some protesting of their own with fireworks. The kids are quickly caught and made to apologize to the PTA, but then Major Genda gets them to make their case at a forum held by the libraries and a group called CFOC (Caring for the Future of Our Children), which are for book censorship. A friend of the Major's is an editor for a local magazine is covering the forum and trouble ensues when Iku's photo is taken. There are several more instances of Iku and Dojo embracing right as someone walks in. The Museum of Information is closing and its materials, which are on the history of the MBC (the bad guys), is being transferred to the Library, which expects the MBC to retaliate and try to steal the records. Dojo puts Iku on protection duty of the Library Director, while the rest of the team is set to protect the library. She is of course pissed off because she thinks that he doesn't think she is good enough. The library director and Iku are kidnapped by terrorists associated with the MBC. Recommended for ages 14+, 5 stars.

Library Wars: Love and War, Vol 4 by Kiiro Yumi
In this volume, Iku manages to send a message to Library headquarters in code to tell them where she and the Director are being held. So they are quickly saved. It is finally revealed (although I guessed  a few volumes ago) that Dojo is Iku's mysterious prince from a few years ago, that saved her in the bookstore and rescued her book from the MBC. It turns out he was punished severely for what he did, and when he saw her a few years later at the interview to get into training for the Task Force, she never knew that it was him. He liked her because she had passion for what she does, something he lost along the way. Dojo told her he was proud of her and what she did to save the Director. The big problem Iku has in this book is that she hasn't told her parents that she is on the Task Force, the militant wing of the library, just that she works in the library, because they wouldn't let her do what she loves to do. They are coming to visit and she has to hide the fact that she is in the Task Force. The funniest part of the whole manga was when Dojo decided to throw a party for Iku and she has alcohol for the first time and gets really drunk off two drinks, and Dojo has to take care of her again. Well that and when her other superior officer, Komaki, is eating in the booth right behind Iku and her parents and hears her talk about her prince and he can't stop laughing. Recommended for ages 14+, 5 stars.

Library Wars: Love and War, Vol 5 by Kiiro Yumi
This series is so addictive! I got really bummed when the county library didn't have the rest of the series, until I found out Phoenix Public did have it, so I reserved the rest of the series thus far. In this volume, Iku managed to fool her mother although her dad found out but didn't tell her mother or freak out about it. Iku's other instructor, Komaki, has a friend named Marie (a young deaf girl) who he gets books for. Iku can see that she's in love with him, even though Dojo thinks that's impossible since they are about 10 yrs apart. Komaki is taken by the MBC and accused of abusing Marie by giving her a book about a deaf girl, and that he was making fun of her. The MBC tortured him for three days until the Task Force found his location and broke in with Marie to explain to the MBC the real situation. Komaki confesses that he likes Marie.  
My favorite part of the manga was the 2nd bonus manga where Dojo, Komaki, Iku and Tezuka are at a party thrown by the library on protection duty and Iku damages her clothes, so the ladies at the hotel make her over and even Dojo is blown away (though he pretends like it doesn't faze him). Iku is getting hit on left and right and Dojo acts all aggressive/possessive, which is pretty funny.  Recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars.
Library Wars: Love and War, Vol 6 by Kiiro Yumi
It's Valentine's Day at the beginning of this volume, where apparently it is traditional in Japan for a girl to give chocolates to the guy she likes. Tezuka tries to ask out Shibazaki but gets turned down, but then a cute customer asks her out and she accepts. We see a side of her that she doesn't normally show to others, the act she puts on to survive, and how she really trusts Kasahara as a friend. Meanwhile the Weekly World News magazine has printed an article about the teen serial killer and it has been banned by the new head librarian, which shocks everyone in the Library Task Force. We learn a little bit more about Kasahara and Tezuka's families. I think the slapstick between Kasahara and Dojo definitely goes up in this volume, esp in the bonus manga with the bank robbers. Overall, it was an okay volume with some really funny parts but not as good as the last 5 volumes. Recommended for ages 14+, 3 stars.

Library Wars: Love and War, Vol 7 by Kiiro Yumi
This volume was kind of boring in comparison to the others, even though they did finally tell you some things that they had been hinting at forever. There is a mysterious reviewer on the library's website, and the Library Task Force find out it is Sunagawa, Tezuka's roommate. The reader is finally introduced to Tezuka's older brother who works for the Library Association of Japan. He and his younger brother had a falling out once he found out that the elder believed that the library should become a central government agency, which takes away from its autonomy and freedom from censorship (basically goes against everything the Library Task Force is for). Iku, because of a stupid mistake, finds herself drawn into the investigation of Sunagawa and becomes their main target. Everyone who works for the library believe she is responsible for burning books, although she is innocent. Recommended for ages 14+, 3 stars.

Emma, Volume 3 by Kaoru Mori
I thought the beginning of this volume was really slow, but I guess she showed this scene to show William's life in comparison to Emma's. Either way, I thought it was frivolous and took away from the storyline. Volume 3 starts off at Emma on the train heading home to the coast with the young maid named Tasha whose mistress mistakenly thought Emma was her maid. Tasha and Emma end up in the same train car and strike up a conversation. Next is a boating party with William, two of his sisters, his brother, Eleanor, and a few other single ladies and a gentleman. William looks bored through the whole thing but it was more about the single ladies talking about Eleanor liking William and who they want in a husband. William is soon involved in all these society events and his friend Hakim wonders why. William explains that he hates all these events but feels that he must do it as a member of the uppe class, and I think in a way to forget about Emma. Next we see Emma arriving at the country house that Tasha works at to get a job. She is taught how to do things by Adele, the head maid, and catches on quickly. The servants are allowed to have a party and Emma does not participate, and is noticed by Hans, another servant. It seems he is interested in her though no one knows anything about her. Emma realizes that half the servants and the family is German. Emma because distraught thinking about William but keeps it to herself, crying alone. She ends up being selected by Adele and Mrs. Beeks (the head servant) to be the maid to accompany Mrs. Meredith, the mistress, on her travels. They go meet a Mrs. Trollop, who is very daring in her choice of hairstyle and dress. When they leave, the reader realizes that Mrs. Trollop has had relations with William, but it is not implied how exactly. Could she be his sister or another governess? Recommended for ages 13+, 4 stars.

Emma, Volume 4 by Kaoru Mori
In this volume, William and Eleanor go to the Opera to see "The Barber of Seville" (one of my favorite operas) and he realizes that she is in love with him. We are introduced to Eleanor's fiesty and overprotective married sister Monica, who thinks that William is jerking Eleanor around and goes to confront him. Shortly afterward, William proposes to Eleanor, who accepts. Meanwhile, Emma is preparing to go to London with Mrs. Meredith (Dorothea) as her hand maid. Dorothea and Emma meet Mrs. Trollop while they are out and Emma is borrowed to be Mrs. Trollop's maid for a ball she is going to. Mrs. Trollop decides to dress up Emma as a guest rather than a maid and no one recognizes her at the ball until the reader realizes that the ball that is being thrown is in celebration of William and Eleanor's engagement. William recognizes her at once and she faints. William goes to see if she is alright, and they kiss and makeup, only to be discovered by his mother, Mrs. Trollop, who makes them explain the whole situation. Recommended for ages 13+, 4 stars.

Emma, Volume 5 by Kaoru Mori
This one is probably one of my favorites thus far because the story is actually progressing at a faster rate than normal. The reader is first introduced to the story of how William's mother (Aurelia) and father (Richard) met, married and separated. Emma goes back to Haworth with the Merediths. Aurelia and Richard discuss William and Emma's situation and hope that they will be able to face the reality of not being together. Emma helps avert a fire that would've destroyed the Meredith's home. Emma and William start corresponding by letter and he makes a surprise visit to see her, which now makes everyone at the house privy to what has been going on. We are introduced to Eleanor's parents. Recommended for ages 13+, 5 stars.

Emma, Volume 6 by Kaoru Mori
William decides he needs to break off the engagement with Eleanor and in order to avoid this, his future in-laws arrange for Emma to be kidnapped, create a fake "I'm giving you up" up later and shipped to America to get her out of the way. Vivi, William's little sister, is a whiny brat the whole volume. William has to tell Eleanor again that he is breaking off their engagement later on in the book and his father is furious. Recommended for ages 13+, 4 stars.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I would just like to reiterate before I give this review how much I love John Green's work. He just has some really insightful and hilarious things to say in his books. This is an awesome book, though tragic and hard to read at times given the subject matter.
It is about Hazel, a 16 year old with cancerous lungs and a boy she meets through her Cancer Support Group, 17 yr old Augustus who had a rare form of leg cancer and lost his leg (he has a prosthesis). Hazel hated going to group until she met Augustus and he fell hard for her, though she had problems doing the same given his past relationship history and her current condition. It wasn't until he lets her go to Amsterdam with him to meet her favorite author (who turns out to be a douche, but a douche for a reason that you don't find out till the end) that she lets herself fall in love with him. It is short-lived however, as his cancer resurfaces. Although it was a very sad book, it was hopeful in a life-sucks-but-love-makes-things-bearable kind of way. Recommended for ages 14+, 5 stars.

Legends of the Dark Crystal, Vol. 1: The Garthim Wars by Barbara Randall Kesel
First off, I loved Dark Crystal the movie. So I figured this would be good as well. It was alright, it is supposed to be a prequel to the movie version but the storyline is very similar to the original. The Skesis are ruling and draining gelflings (who are more abundant at this point) for their essence, to keep the emperor looking young. The Garthim (giant beetle-looking things)are still being used to round up things and Lahr, the main character of the novel, has figured out a way to kill them. He discovers another gelfling, whose village has also been destroyed, and they end up going together to warn the next gelfling village. Basically the village decides to fight and wins the battle...for now. Recommended for ages 13+, 3 stars.

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