Thraxas and the Oracle (Thraxas #10) ★★★☆☆

thraxasandtheoracle (Custom).jpgThis 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: Thraxas and the Oracle
Series: Thraxas #10
Author: Martin Scott
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 184
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The armies have come together and they all, under the leadership of Lisutaris, begin the march to Turai to take the fight to the orcs. Thraxas has been made head of Security and his number one job is to find Deeziz the Unseen before she wreaks havoc on the barely holding together armies. Add to that that Lisutaris must consult with an Oracle who has been banned and whose followers have been wiped out by the true church.

Thraxas is going to have a very hard time. Worst of all, there are no taverns and Lisutaris has told him to stop drinking.

The oracle proves right in all her accounts that do come to pass, Thraxas does find Deeziz (who escapes yet again) and the allied armies surprise an orcish one and completely route it. Now they can begin to head to Turai.

 

My Thoughts:

This was probably the weakest Thraxas story to date. In the middle of an army is not the place to have Thraxas being a gluttonous drunk. It just didn’t work for me this time. Thraxas is just hit or miss for me and I can’t figure out the why’s and wherefore’s of the formula regulating that. I guess it’s just a mystery! In terms of enjoyment, this was a bunt. I still connected with the ball, but it didn’t knock it out of the park for me.

If I were to recommend these books to anyone, I’d say to stop at book 8. Yes, there isn’t any resolution at the end of that book, but 2 books later there still isn’t any resolution. Also, considering that it has been 3 years since this book was published and there hasn’t been another, I’d say Scott has dropped the creative ball and is done as an author. These are not long books. If you are on fire, it doesn’t take 3 years to write a sub-200page book. It is only when struggling that that is the case.

Scott needs to write one more book where the armies take back the city of Turai, Thraxas marries Makri, becomes the proconsul of the newly renovated Turai and the whole gang (Lisutaris, Gurd, Tamrose, etc) all hang out at a brand new bar and shirk their duties. The End. Seriously.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

 

 

Advertisements

Mara Strikes Back! (Oh My Goddess! #8) ★★★☆½

marastrikesback (Custom).jpgThis 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:
Mara Strikes Back!
Series: Oh My Goddess! #8
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 176
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Chapter Stories.

Mara returns. She releases an unhappiness demon on Kei but because of Belldandy the unhappiness is turned to happiness. At the same time Mara also possesses Megumi to try to separate Kei and Bell. With predictable results all around.

Kei and the Auto Club go for a vacation to an old inn and there Kei is visited by a ghost. A ghost his grandfather made a promise to long ago. Kei must fulfill the promise or be possessed.

Skuld makes a new robot, Banpei and there are the typical misadventures. Urd is recalled to Heaven but the goddesses put their heads together and cast a warding around the house, to ostensibly keep Mara out but a side affect is that the gate for Urd can’t open either. This crashes the system, again and so the girls are still dependent on moon rocks.

The final story is about Sora trying to make a box lunch for the guy she likes. Belldandy helps her out and Sora gives one to Kei and everyone, but Bell, thinks that Sora likes Kei. Turns out Kei was a test subject and Sora really likes Aoshima, that jerk cousin to Sayoko. No accounting for taste I guess.

 

My Thoughts:

The stories in this volume were a lot more enjoyable than in previous volumes. The whole Mara Strikes Back was probably the best with the others being slightly funny to meh.

There is so much potential here that Fujishima HAS to get a story right even if by accident. I like his drawings a lot, just kind of wish he’d had a separate manga-ka to do the storylines. But when you write for a monthly magazine, kind of tough to split the cut two ways and have enough to live on I guess.

This time around the picture I chose to showcase stood out to me the moment I saw it and I KNEW it was the one to include. Urd has just messed with Sora’s boxlunch with one of her infamous love potions and Belldandy is NOT happy. While Belldandy is usually the levelheaded, peaceable one, she’s also the most powerful. It is rather nice to see her looking so determined, with that “annoyed adult” look on her face.

somg9_27.jpg

Bell might be sweet but she’s also the most mature

 

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

 

Queen of Vengeance (Oh My Goddess! #7) ★★★☆☆

queenofvengeance (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:
Queen of Vengeance
Series: Oh My Goddess! #7
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 152
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

And we’re back to chapter stories.

With the goddess computer system down, the goddesses can’t convert the energy they need. Plus Skuld and Urd begin aging differently so Urd gets kiddiefied and Skuld grows up overnight while Belldandy has to split herself into tiny versions to conserve energy. Keiichi ends up solving the mystery by making moon rocks and turning them into bracelets for his 3 houseguests.

Then Skuld and Megumi get into a robot battle and while Megumi wins, Skuld throws a tantrum and blows everything up.

The volume ends with Sayoko trying to steal Kei away from Bell again and failing, again.

 

My Thoughts:

Thank goodness we return to the chapter stories. Much more slice of life. The ridiculous factor gets dialed down, as it is physically impossible to stuff as much nonsense as we read in the previous book into a single chapter story here. I just read them, was amused and moved on to the next story.

Also, trying to get a decent picture is getting harder and harder as these Dark Horse original releases are out of sync with the actual release and there are no chapter numbers or even page numbers in these paperback copy releases. I have to hope that the digital volume number contains most of the chapters the paper one has and then start diving around. Since chapters are moved around for the paper copies, I feel like I’m throwing a bent fork at a target sometimes.

I was a huge fan of this series when I was in my 20’s but now, I have to admit, I am having some real serious doubts about just how far I’ll go. Obviously I’m not the target audience anymore, but there are manga that still interest me. It’s not even that I don’t like romantic comedies, as my owning W Juliet and Karo Kano shows (of course, I haven’t re-read those since I bought them either. Oh dear….).

I enjoyed this more than the previous book and think that at this juncture that Fujishima can tell a better short story than he can a novel. However, I had to drop it down 1/2star because being honest, it feels like I’ve been rating the previous volumes with some serious nostalgia goggles and I can’t do that anymore. The cold cruel reality of the weaknesses of this manga have clawed their way into my brain and eaten my eyes and filled my ears with maggots. Ok, that last sentence was just to see if anyone was paying attention * wink *

This is the picture that stuck out to me this time around. I’m not exactly sure why, but something about Kei and Bell, both looking up, it is almost like they are inviting me into the story, into the romance of their life. Being on the motorcycle and in the sidecar, with no other goddesses, grounds the picture in hard reality. But they are both smiling and looking happy and content. THAT is very appealing.

tomg1_01

 

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

 

 

Terrible Master Urd (Oh My Goddess! #6) ★★★☆½

terriblemasterurd (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: Terrible Master Urd
Series: Oh My Goddess! #6
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 140
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The first full book plot. Mara is trying to awaken the Lord of Terror and it is revealed that Urd is his heir. She’s had her goddess license suspended for constantly lying and so is wide open to the temptation to take power whereever it may come from. LoT (Lord of Terror) possesses Urd and is on the way to destroying the whole universe. Keiichi gets captured and then accidently reveals that there is a master Total Destruction program. This allows Urd to release the wolf Fenrir and the LoT then jumps from Urd to Fenrir.

Fenrir/LoT then summons the Cosmic String (string theory plays a rather large part of this plot) and is going to cut it and so destroy the universe. Only he needs a goddess made 10 Dimensional scythe to do so. So the LoT jumps from Fenrir to Kei, as he knows that the 3 goddess will make one of those handy dandy 10D scythes to separate him from Kei’s body. Belldandy disobeys ‘daddy’, ie The Lord and releases her seal, making her “Nigh Invulnerable!” (if you don’t get the Tick reference, go read ben edlund’s graphic novels).

The 3 goddesses trick LoT to jumping into a computer disk, hence freeing Kei and stopping the threat of the end of the universe. Skuld then wipes the disk clean with a magnet thus removing the threat of the LoT for good. The whole Yggrasil system is out of whack though, so there will be consequences. The book ends with Belldandy revealing that she is staying with Kei becomes she loves him and not because of the contract.

 

My Thoughts:

This was just ridiculous. 15 years ago I could read, accept and enjoy such ridiculousness with ease. It slid down my throat like a bite of chicken finger dipped in sweet&sour with some vegetable fried rice on top. Mmmmm! However, while I still really like said food concoction, the same can’t be said for the shenanigans pulled here.

This was the first time that the manga-ka goes from a chapter by chapter story to an overarching plot and his lack of experience really shows. Things “just happen because” and they make zero sense. The revelation about Urd being part demon? I’ve been under the assumption that the Lord was the father of all 3 of the goddesses but with this revelation, does this mean that god sleeps around? Or is the Lord not actually god but just a super powerful angelic being? Fujishima just pulls explanations out of a hat to suit where he wants the story to go without thinking through the consequences of those explanations.

This was definitely slapstick humor. One thing I did laugh about was when LoT takes over Kei he, the LoT, threatens to hurt Kei by hitting himself on the head with a hammer. Now that is funny! The rest of it though, it kind of flew by me and made me go “huh” instead of laughing.

I know I’ve complained a lot here but this wasn’t a bad volume, it was just a very juvenile volume. I do have to admit though that my heart kind of sank when I was done with this volume and I realized I had 42 more volumes to go.

On to the artwork! Here we get Keiichi possessed by the Lord of Terror. Goth Kei! His “look” and how the LoT used him was probably what saved this volume from a blasé 3star rating. I mean, look at him! Hahahahahaa.

uomg5_28

 

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

All’s Well that Ends Well ★★★☆☆

allswellthatendswell (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: All’s Well that Ends Well
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play
Pages: 226
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

A young woman, Helena, the daughter of a famous doctor now deceased, has been taken under wing by the noble family Rousillon. She falls in love with the family heir, Bertram but knows her commoner status will prevent her from ever marrying Bertram. Helena remembers a secret formula that her father gave to her and uses it to cure the King of France (Boo!) who in turn pretty much grants her one wish. She chooses to marry Bertram and the King makes it so.

Bertram chooses to go to war to avoid his bride and falls in lust with a young lady where he is stationed. Helena tracks him down and tells her tale to the young lady. Shenanigans ensue and Bertram woos and beds his wife thinking it’s his paramour.

The young lady, under the direction of Helena, goes to the king to get justice and Bertram acts like a complete loser and denies everything. Helena jumps out of the closet with a secret ring and pregnant and claims Bertram as her own. Bertram is so overcome by his wife’s cleverness and determination that he falls in love with her.

The End.

 

My Thoughts:

I am guessing this was supposed to be one of Shakespeare’s comedies. Lots of clever wordplay where people make fun of each other and ham it up to the audience. However, I hated Bertram so half the play was a bust for me. He was just a jerk. The ending was as much a hollywood blockbuster ending as you could wish for, ie, everything gets resolved even if it makes no sense whatsoever.

It did take me a little while to get into the cadence of the reading this as a play and not as a novel. I also had to really slow down and think about what I was reading because how it was presented was not what I am used to. It is always a good thing to slow the reading down and not devour it like I am in a hotdog eating contest.

Overall, I am pleased at this start to my reading of the Complete Shakespeare.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge

Thraxas and the Ice Dragon (Thraxas #9) ★★★☆½

thraxasandicedragon (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: Thraxas and the Ice Dragon
Series: Thraxas #9
Author: Martin Scott
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 198
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Thraxis, Makri and Lisutarus all survive and end up in the small kingdom of Samsarina, which is quite strict about such things as public drunkeness, thazis use and dwa. Not the best place for our three Heroes to end up!

But Samsarina is a staging ground for the surrounding kingdoms to gather, create a warhost and march on Thraxas’ beloved city of Turai and free it from the orcish horde that has conquered it.Of course, by the time they all actually agree, there might not be much of Turai left.

Lisutaris, as head of the Magic Guild, must contend with other jealous sorcerers who want her removed and themselves installed as head of the Guild and then most likely as head of the Warhost.

Makri enters a fighting contest because they are broke and Thraxas has a sure fire gambling plan, ie, Makri will win every fight and make them rich.

Thraxas runs across an old flame, now a duchess and her daughter is convinced someone is out to kill her. Thraxas is hired as Number One Investigator to find out what’s going on.

It all ends with Makri winning the fight because she was kind to a baby dragon. Mama dragon eats Lisutaris’s Number One Foe and Thraxas solves the crime AND wins over 10,000 gurans. Everybody, except the dead sorcerer, is happy!

 

My Thoughts:

Man, I’d forgotten just how much light hearted fun these Thraxas books are. Filled with witty banter, huge amounts of alcohol, drugs and a Fat Private Investigator, you simply can’t go wrong. Throw in the whole realm of fantasy and you’ve got a sure fire winner.

Everything that I have written about previous Thraxas books still applies to this one as well. Shallow, whiny, tiresome one liners, this has them all in spades.

BUT THAT IS WHAT A THRAXAS BOOK IS ABOUT!!!!

So I just sat back, let the shenanigans roll along and had a jolly old time. I would say that Thraxas is like a circus peanut. A small amount goes a long way and you definitely don’t want to overdose. But my goodness, when you haven’t had circus peanuts for over a year, and you open that bag and pop that first delectable sugar delight into your mouth and feel it melting on your tongue, it is good!

★★★☆½

bookstooge

Sympathy for the Devil (Oh My Goddess! #5) ★★★★☆ (Manga Monday)

sympathyforthedevil (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: Sympathy for the Devil
Series: Oh My Goddess! #5
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 160
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Mara causes a lot of ruckus trying to divide up Belldandy and Kei and in the process it is revealed that Mara is a demoness.

Bell and Urd’s little sister Skuld comes to fix some bugs and Kei is almost sucked into another dimension while hijinks ensue.

Other hijinks, involving Megumi, the Motor Club, Sayoko and Aoshima, happen and laughs are called for by the audience.

 

My Thoughts:

It is really being brought home to me that this is a comedic, episodic manga. It is nothing like Eyeshield 21 and I need to stop expecting something inspiring. This is for laughs and 3 Stooges style of humor, ie, poking of eyes, hitting with hammers, etc.

One thing that did make me smile pretty good was the fact that Urd is put to sleep by Polka music and that’s used against her by Mara. At the same time, Mara has to dance if she hears Disco, and Urd uses that against her! Speaking of Mara, I don’t understand why the “mystery” of her gender until now? It was good for one gag, and that was it.

With the introduction of Skuld, we now have the 3 Norns and the author can play around with Norse mythology interwoven into modern Japanese culture all he wants. Urd and Skuld fight a lot and if that continues, it will get old very fast. Skuld is young and impetuous and very much a “little sister” figure, which makes me wonder just what part Megumi, Kei’s younger sister, is going to end up playing.

Most of the stories were much more focused on Bell, Urd and Kei this time around instead of having them mixing with all 72 other side characters.

The cuteness factor continues to ramp up, especially when you get multiple chibi versions of BOTH Belldandy and Urd!

omg-chibi

I’m just a sucker for cute little chibi’s!

 

This felt like a very busy volume yet beyond the introduction of Skuld, not much actually happens. Fujishima the author really doesn’t seem to have an overarching story and is just playing it by ear week to week ie, chapter by chapter. When that is done right, like with Yotsuba!&, it is fantastic. Here, it is walking the line of feeling frenetic and slightly directionless.

★★★★☆

bookstooge