[Manga Monday] A Song Someday (Shaman King #32) ★☆☆☆½ [Final]

asongsomeday (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: A Song Someday
Series: Shaman King #32
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 224
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

All the various groups are on the beach and Anna projects the mana numbers for everyone. The Gang is fighting the next Patch Officiant and Hao is at the last plant, preparing for the sleep that will put the Great Spirit within his grasp.

The Patch Officiant Number 3 kills Faust to prove how serious he is. He warns everyone to just give up, as they’ll run out of mana before even reaching Hao. Faust resurrects himself. And is promptly killed AGAIN by the Patch. Yoh then defeats the Patch through the Power of Love and Faust is a now a ghost.

The two kids who use the golem disappear from Mikihasa’s supervision. They want to attack Hao directly on Mu. They die in breaching the mana walls surrounding Mu but the golem is revealed to be powered by the soul of their mother and so they all keep on trying to kill Hao. Goldva, the Patch Chief, destroys them with the oversoul of the First Patch but the golem regenerates.

The next officiant takes down Horohoro but Yoh integrates with the ghost of Faust and fixes him up.

Team Gandala has gained 3 of the 5 ElementalSpirits and the Gandala leader is about to fight the King of Hell for the 4th.

One of the golem children, now a ghost, delivers the Spirit of Fire to Yoh, as Hao doesn’t need it anymore.

Yoh realizes, or reveals, or whatever, that the only true way to defeat Hao is to let him have what he wants and realize how empty that desire is.

The storyline ends with Anna and Manta saying they’re going to wrap up loose ends while Yoh and the Gang deal with Hao.

The manga-ka then includes an afterwords apologizing for ending things how he did.

We then jump about 10 or 15 years into the future and follow the son of Yoh and Anna. Anna sends Hana (the son, a 6 year old) to an American Prison with Ryu to find Jocono, now known as the Legendary Warrior. Ryu tries to break him out and ends up in jail himself. Hana then attacks some tourists thinking they’re trying to mug him. He ends up with Ryu in jail. Once released they make their way to a mountain seeking an old hermit. We then see the woman Hana knows as his mom, only she reveals herself to be Tamao, not Anna. She reveals that she’s been taking care of Hana and will tell him the truth on his birthday.

The book ends with 5 mysterious characters making their way towards Funbari Hot Springs and 2 of them appear to be Anna and Yoh.

 

My Thoughts:

So the series got cancelled and that is why the manga-ka wrapped things up, or didn’t. The fight scenes I didn’t care about at all and I gave the rating I felt it and the “ending” deserved. It sucked. The power-up’ing trope was out of control and I was bored. This had become like every other fighting shonen manga I’d ever read or watched and the multiplicity of groups just diluted any connection I had from the beginning.

The ending with Hana and Ryu and the revelations about Tamao was fantastic. It captured the spirit of what Shaman King started out with. The 5 Mysterious Strangers was an awesome thing. That part I gave 4 stars to but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the boring slugfest that came before.

 

Series Thoughts:

Shaman King started out fantastic. The friendships and interactions between Yoh, Manta and Ryu and Yoh and Ryu’s ghost allies worked really well. Ren was a good frenemy and could have carried the villain/anti-hero part for the series.

Things started to go downhill when “Avengers, Assemble!” began happening. While characters like Horohoro and Jocono were ok in and of themselves, including them began to dilute what Yoh had with both Manta and Ryu. Both of those characters ended up being sidelined and not taking much part of the story later on. The main characters became those who had power instead of those who were just friends with Yoh.

When Hao was introduced as the Ultimate Bad Guy and he just kept getting bigger and bigger, that is when I felt this series slid off the rails. Instead of telling an intriguing story, like had been going on, the manga-ka devolved to Power Up and Escalation. It was boring and cliched in the bad way. I’m not surprised the manga was cancelled due to lack of interest by this point.

The Epilogue with the son and everything was a complete return to form and if the manga-ka had managed something like this sooner I suspect the series might have lasted longer. Having said that, I looked up on Wikipedia and the sequel to Shaman King, following Hana, only lasted a couple of books then fizzled out. I’m guessing the manga-ka is great with initial ideas and creating fun characters but then runs out of how to keep them going. Maybe if he’d stuck with writing shorter series he’d have done better.

Overall, considering how this ended I’m pretty disappointed in it. The humor was what drew me in initially and that just slowly drained out as characters kept getting more and more powerful.

★☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Patch Song (Shaman King #31) ★★☆☆☆

patchsong (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
Title:
Patch Song
Series: Shaman King #31
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

The gang must make their way through the 10 Patch officiants to reach Hao. Ryu fights and loses against the first Patch and Ren and Horohoro step up. They defeat the Patch while using the absolute minimum mana.

The scene then shifts to Manta and his dad. And Manta’s dad is tied up and on a leash held by Anna. All of the shamans killed on the beach have been resurrected and everybody is everybody elses friend all of the sudden.

The second Path catches most of the group in a net but Lyserg and Ren are not caught and fight back. Lady Jeanne comes out of her coffin thingy and she and Lyserg take down Patch number two. Patch number three is being taken care of by Ren while Yoh talks to little Opacho about his skills.

Back on the beach everyone is having a cookout. Anna and Mikihisa are keeping track of the group fighting the Patch via an Oracle pager and realize that Jeanne is out of the running with her resurrecting Ren and Ryu and Horohoro.

Then we move on with another installment from Yoh’s parents past. Part way through it switches to a future installment where a young boy is venerating at a shrine for Mikihisa and calls him “Grandpa”. An older Ryu bursts into the room calling him Young Master and the volume ends with the pictures that the young master was venerating. One was the former owner of the hotsprings Inn that Anna runs. The second was Faust. Apparently he died during the final Shaman Fight and refused resurrection. The final picture was of Mikihasa, who died in a car accident while coming home from a pachinko parlor. He was not resurrected due to his wife being mad at him for something.

 

My Thoughts:

At the beginning of the book there is an author’s note where he says “something” is up with Shaman King but he’s going to do the right thing. It sounds like Shaman King got cancelled out from under him and he’s going to have to wrap things up in one volume instead of a bajillion more, ala Bleach.

Yeah, this was feth’ing crap. The manga-ka has lost control of his own story line and even the battles with the 3 Patch wasn’t very good. It was fighting for fighting sake’s and even worse, it was obviously that. I read everything to make sure I wasn’t missing anything important but I just wanted this to end.

The ending with the Young Master venerating at the shrine and the little blurb about each deceased really came across as wrapping things up without having the time or ideas on how to actually wrap it up.

I am very disappointed even while not being surprised by this.

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

The Hyena and the Hawk (Echoes of the Fall #3) ★★☆☆☆

hyenaandhawk (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Hyena and the Hawk
Series: Echoes of the Fall #3
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 465
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The End of the World has arrived. The Kinden are soulless and whereever they go, they bring that soullessness with them and force The People into their animal shapes and into their animal minds forever.

The People, under the leadership of one of the Bears and with the help of the River Kingdom, prepares a mighty army to resist the Kinden. However, whenever they come into battle, too many of The People are lost by the affects of the Kinden.

Maniye gets captured and realizes that the Kinden can’t transform and know nothing about “the soul”. They watch her as she transforms from wolf to tiger to Champion to human. Beatle researchers are intrigued and one of them tries to transform and dies. Maniye escapes.

There is a big climactic battle and Maniye and some others chase after their gods (who have run away) in the godsland. In the process they allow the gods of the Kinden into their land. Suddenly the Kinden are transforming left and right with no control. They retreat.

Everyone celebrates and prepares for the day when the Kinden return.

 

My Thoughts:

What a disappointment. This is the first book of Tchaikovsky’s that I was disappointed in because I didn’t care one way or another about the characters, the story or anything. If this had been almost any other author I probably would have DNF’d the book.

The whole soul thingy was cool in the first book but then when it kept on going with the Kinden it just started rubbing me the wrong way.

Then the whole “gods” thing pissed me off too. I am sick to death of “gods” being nothing more than some manifestation of the believers will. That isn’t a god. And if the gods were running away from the kinden, good riddance I say. So when the kinden gods suddenly came into being, I rolled my eyes, mentally spit on Tchaikovsky and raced to the very end just to get it over with.

This has really shaken my interest in anything by Tchaikovsky that isn’t directly related to his Shadows of the Apt series. Thankfully I’ve got 4 or 5 books of short stories about them to wash the taste of this dreck out of my mouth.

Highly NOT recommended.

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Wrecking Crew (Matt Helm #2) ★☆☆☆½

wreckingcrew (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Wrecking Crew
Series: Matt Helm #2
Author: Donald Hamilton
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 272
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Matt Helm is back working as part of the Wrecking Crew, that shadowy blacker than black government organization that carries out assassinations against targets around the world who are enemies of the United States.

Helm’s wife served him separation papers after finding out about his secret past during World War II and with nothing else to occupy him, Matt returns to the only thing he really knows. This time he is sent after a shadowing agent working for Russia that took out a valuable double agent for the United States. Hooking up with the dead man’s wife, Helm uses her to find his way to the Mastermind. With lots of twists and turns (who is working for who, are the good guys actually the good guys?), Helm bulls through it all in Norway. Using women like sanitizer soap, Helm eventually gets his man.

The book ends with his wife sending him signed divorce papers and a note that she and the boys are now with another man, a “good” man.

 

My Thoughts:

I liked the story. The twisty turny Cold War aspect was great. It was fun, it was thrilling and it kept the suspense up right until the end when Matt shoots the Mastermind.

Sadly, that just wasn’t enough. Helm’s sleeping with multiple women while still married is not something that I want to give countenance too. Someone as controlled as Helm CAN control himself in the area of sex. He simply chooses not to and I consider that a fatal flaw in a book character.

Throw in that he’s pretty “Awww, whatever” about his wife leaving him and the fate of his 3 children and he just sickened me. When he found out they were all with another man they liked, he was like “Oh good, now I don’t have to worry”.

Very disappointed with how this turned out. Matt Helm is no hero and characters like him, with an empty moral framework, do more to destroy this country than any hardline communist ever could. So I’m done with this series and will be moving on.

★☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

The Bear and the Serpent (Echoes of the Fall #2) ★★★☆☆

bearandserpent (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Bear and the Serpent
Series: Echoes of the Fall #2
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 465
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Asmander has returned to the River Kingdom with Maniye and her Steel wolfpack, only to find he is too late and the kingdom is already riven asunder between the 2 siblings vying for control. Asmander’s father continues his manipulation to make the best of a bad situation (in his eyes) and Asmander is finally forced to realize how bad his father truly is.

The male heir, who Asmander is championing, is set upon by assassins and his own supposedly loyal servants. He escapes with the help of Maniye and the Wolfpack and they have adventures out in the swampy swampland. They come across a segment of the Serpent that is trying to make a deal with the plague people, who are their mythical enemies. However, the plague people are on the run from the soul-less people from over the ocean. A lot of pointless crap happens and Asmander finally sneaks his two friends (the siblings) together so they can talk. The female heir takes the crown and her brother takes the number 2 place. Their storyline ends with the news that the soulless have already started attacking the River Kingdom and the Horse People are almost gone.

The second storyline deal with the Bear and his attempt to bring all the northern tribes together when he finds out that the villages of the Seals have been attacked and all the Seal people have turned into their animal forms but lost their minds. He puts together an Olympic style event and everyone does feats of this and that and eventually they go after the soulless people invading their land. They drive them off but with horrific losses and we the readers are shown an airship in the colors of Black and Gold.

That storyline ends with the Tribes victorious but the Bear realizing just how small their victory actually was.

 

My Thoughts:

This is the first book of Tchaikovsky’s that I’m actually disappointed in. Even when I read Spiderlight back in ’16, I was more pissed off than disappointed. I was bored for most of this book and it felt like it was re-treading so much from the first book in terms of the Tribal abilities and the reveal about the Wasp Kinden being the soulless people, while it should have been wicked awesome, just left me feeling kind of “Oh, ok, whatever. Next!”

I can remember halfway through when Maniye and her crew are dealing with the male heir and all I could think of was “throw that pussy to the crocodiles and get this story moving, please”. The Bear story didn’t please me any more with “fear” just turning everyone into animals. Whatever. Master your fear or you DESERVE to go extinct. Needless to say, I was not feeling generous and nothing in this book made me feel like being generous.

Now, with all of that being said, the reason I gave this 3 stars is because it is completely up to par in terms of technical writing. Tchaikovsky can write like a master wordsmith and even in books like this where I’m just blah’ed out, I can still appreciate the skill even while not really enjoying the ride.

My expectations for the third and final book have really taken a nosedive with this. Poop.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Outcast (The Empire’s Corps #5) ☆☆☆☆½

outcast (custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Outcast
Series: The Empire’s Corps #5
Author: Christopher Nuttall
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 443
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Due to some of the subject matter included by the author, I will not be continuing with this series nor with this author.

 

My Thoughts:

3 or 4 throw away sentences. That was it.

Gahhh, the hits just keep on coming in. February is turning into one sucky month for book reading.

☆☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

To Trade the Stars (Trade Pact #3) ★☆☆☆☆ DNF#1%

totradethestars (custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: To Trade the Stars
Series: Trade Pact #3
Author: Julie Czerneda
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: DNF @ 1%
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

“…leaving me cold along one side until I snuggled under the portion of sheet warmed by his body.”

 

My Thoughts:

This is not SF. This is now a woman’s romance novel with spaceships. I don’t want to read crap like this, thank you very much.

What a frelling let down, especially considering how much I enjoyed the first book. But this is exactly why I tend to stay away from women writers. They’re always dragging in stuff like that that has zero interest to me. They are more than welcome to write it but don’t fracking expect me to read it or to put up with it when I do make the mistake of stumbling across it.

★☆☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)