The Third Lynx (Quadrail #2) ★★★✬☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Third Lynx
Series: Quadrail #2
Authors: Timothy Zahn
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 266
Words: 99.5K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org & Me

The Third Lynx starts several months after the events of Night Train to Rigel. Having destroyed the hub world of the Modhri, Frank Campton is riding the Quadrail with Bayta, his traveling companion and friend, when a murder occurs on the Quadrail car which he is traveling on. The victim is a middle-aged man who had proposed a deal to Compton a few hours before.

Turns out some valuable art pieces of an unknown race are actually parts of a weapon that can go undetected through the Quadrail sensors. Frank and Bayta must capture the remaining pieces so it can’t be reverse engineered. They stop the pieces from falling into the hands of the Modhri’s walkers, only to discover there is a whole planet filled with the weapons, and not only weapons, but spaceships as well.

My Thoughts:

When I originally read this back in ’08 I stated that I hoped Zahn would dig a little deeper into the universe he’d created here. Having read the whole series I know he didn’t but oddly enough, knowing that actually allowed me to enjoy this a bit more this time around.

I wasn’t worried about trying to read a cracking fantastic scifi detective story. I just had to enjoy a decent sf detective who was as laid back as if he’d been smoking blunts his whole life. Despite many protestations to the contrary, at no time did Frank Compton ever come across as worried or afraid. I’m afraid he was lit to the max.

Whatever relationship Zahn was trying to create between Frank and Bayta came across as weird, uncomfortable and just plain awkward. It felt like watching two 13 year olds trying to talk to each other. It was almost as uncomfortable to read about as it seemed to be for them to actually do.

And I still had a good time reading this. Weird huh?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Oratorio (One Piece #29) ★★★☆☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Oratorio
Series: One Piece #29
Arc: Skypiea #6
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 231
Words: 10K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(187_388)

“Pirate Robin vs. Heavenly Forces Commander Yama”

“Pirate Chopper vs. Vassal Ohm”

“March”

“Suite”

“Concerto”

“Serenade”

“Pirate Zoro vs. Vassal Ohm”

“Play”

“Quintet”

“Oratorio”

“Divina Commedia”

Having had a specific goal for becoming god, and with that goal now in sight, Eneru starts picking off the remaining combatants to complete his plans and ensure his prediction will be accurate. Those who remain (plus Luffy’s snake-captor) are drawn into one big, final brawl. Meanwhile, Nico Robin locates the city of gold, only to find that all the gold is gone. The pieces begin to fall into place, and it is discovered that Eneru plans to destroy everyone who resides in the sky, while escaping to the seas below on his ship made of gold. With the five surviving “contestants” unaware of this, they engage Eneru (the sixth) in battle to see who will be excluded from his prediction. With his mastery over thunder, Eneru reduces the playing field to the promised five, but then decides that none of them is worthy of escaping with him to the blue seas.

My Thoughts:

I made a mistake in my last review. I had stated that volume 28 was the last volume I had originally read in back in ’10, but the truth of the matter is that it was actually volume 29, THIS volume. Just wanted to set the record straight so no one can accuse me of deceiving my adoring public.

This was a bit better in terms of plot because we learn a little bit about the island and “secret history” of the world that Nico Robin is trying to track down. Of course, that is offset by Kami Eneru monologuing in the most confusing way about some sort of god delusion. He’s eaten a gumgum fruit, gotten some really powerful powers and thus thinks he can do whatever he wants. What his ultimate goal is was lost in the babble, if it was even there. He does want to return to the blue sea people, which makes me wonder what he’d do if he ran across one of the more powerful of the 7 Pirate Lords.

Unfortunately, there is still a LOT of pointless and interminable fighting and the artwork for them just makes me skim over it all. After this, everything is completely new to me. Hopefully the manga-ka goes back to his cleaner, simpler artwork. This Skypiea arc has featured so many backgrounds that blend into the characters that blend into all the “action” lines that it’s really hard to see what is actually happening.

Thankfully, he’s still doing little one off pictures between chapters and here’s the one I liked the best for this volume:

Seeing the lion with his pinky up in approved tea drinking fashion just made me grin.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The BFG ★★★✬☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The BFG
Authors: Roald Dahl
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Childrens Fiction
Pages: 138
Words: 38K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

Sophie, an eight-year-old girl in an orphanage, cannot sleep. Looking out of her window, she sees a mysterious giant in the street, carrying a suitcase and a trumpet. The giant sees Sophie, who tries to hide in bed, but the giant picks her up through the window. Sophie is carried to a large cave in the middle of a desolate land, where the giant sets her down. Believing that he intends to eat her, Sophie pleads for her life, but the giant laughs and dismisses the idea. He explains that although most giants do eat humans, he does not, because he is the Big Friendly Giant, or BFG.

The BFG explains, in a unique and muddled speech, that his nine neighbours are much bigger and stronger giants, who all happily eat humans every night. They vary their choice of destination both to avoid detection and because the people’s origins affect their taste. For example, people from Greece taste greasy, and so no giant goes there, while people from Panama taste of hats. As he will never allow Sophie to leave in case she tells anyone of his existence, the BFG reveals the purpose of his suitcase and trumpet: he catches dreams in Dream Country, collects them in jars, and gives the good ones to children all around the world, but destroys the bad ones. Since he does not eat people, he must eat the only crop which grows in his land—the repulsive snozzcumber, which looks like a cucumber.

When the Bloodbottler, one of the other giants, enters the cave, Sophie hides in the snozzcumber; not knowing this, the BFG tricks the Bloodbottler into eating the vegetable. Luckily, the larger giant spits her out and leaves in disgust. They then drink frobscottle, a delicious fizzy drink where the bubbles sink downwards rather than upwards, causing noisy flatulence, which the BFG calls “whizzpopping”. The BFG takes Sophie to Dream Country, but is bullied along the way by his neighbours, led by Fleshlumpeater, the largest and strongest. Sophie watches the BFG catch two dreams—while one would be a good dream, the other is a nightmare. The BFG uses it on Fleshlumpeater, who has a dream about a giant-killer named Jack and accidentally starts a brawl with his companions.

Sophie persuades the BFG to approach the Queen of England for help with the other giants. She navigates the giant to Buckingham Palace, where he places her in the Queen’s bedroom. He then gives the Queen a nightmare which closely parallels real events; because the BFG placing Sophie in her bedroom was part of the dream, the Queen believes her and speaks with the giant over breakfast. Fully convinced, she authorises a task force to travel to the giants’ homeland and secure them as they sleep. The BFG guides a fleet of helicopters to the sleeping giants. Eight are successfully shackled, but Fleshlumpeater awakes; Sophie and the BFG trick him into being tied up. Having collected the BFG’s dream collection, the helicopters carry the giants back to England, where they are imprisoned in a massive pit.

Every country that the giants had visited in the past send thanks and gifts the BFG and Sophie, for whom residences are built in Windsor Great Park. Tourists come in huge numbers to watch the giants in the pit, who are now fed only on snozzcumbers; they receive an unexpected snack when three drunks manage to climb the fence and fall in. The BFG receives the official title of Royal Dream-Blower, and continues bestowing dreams upon children; he also learns to speak and write more intelligibly, writing a book identified as the novel itself, under another’s name.

My Thoughts:

I have not re-read this book since the 90’s (I have no record of it since I started keeping track in April of 2000) and yet, I remembered it all. How does Dahl do that?!?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Moby Bone (Bone #13) ★★★✬☆

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: Moby Bone
Series: Bone #13
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 22
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

Fone Bone is dreaming that he is in the position of Ishmael in Moby Dick. Phoney is turned into Captain Ahab, and a confused Fone Bone soon finds out that only he knows his identity in this dream. Ahab-Phoney soon spots Moby Dick (Smiley). In the chase to catch him, Fone Bone is thrown overboard and into the sea. Managing to grab onto a coffin, he calls for Phoney, a call that is not answered. Suddedly, a tidal wave appears, and Fone Bone sees the Great Red Dragon’s head in the wave.

Fone Bone wakes up and finds himself in an empty house. When he goes outside, he realizes that he overslept. Walking around, he meets up with Ted. Ted tells him it’s already the afternoon and asks him how his love poetry is doing. After panning his choice on a previous poem, Ted jumps off, and an irritated Fone Bone walks off to work on another. THIS poem almost gets spotted by Thorn as Fone Bone is writing (he quickly hides it before she can really see what it is) She asks him if he remembered his dream (the one that she saw him in while she was on watch duty). He recollected the dream in short fashion, then asked her if she had any dreams. She retold him her dream, also meantioned that him, or at least his face, was in the dream as well, and then left to continue with her work. Bashful Bone, however, didn’t notice this, and pulled out some flowers for her…only to find out that the DRAGON had taken her place. When asked about the dream Fone Bone had (that included his head), the Dragon merely meantioned that both Bone and Thorn’s dreams were intruded (the Dragon reveals that he purposely invaded Fone Bone’s dream by saying “Welcome aboard, Ishmael.”). At that, the Dragon walks off, leaving Bone to angrily stammer and finally tell/yell at the Dragon to stay out of his dreams, all the while wondering how the Dragon knew.

Two distractions aside, he continues on his poems…only to be spotted writing them by Smiley and Phoney, who, almost imediately, takes the poems and starts reading them. Phoney, at this time, thinks that Fone Bone is starting to look like “a drooling idiot” to Thorn…until Fone Bone reveals he hasn’t shown them to her. Then Phoney claims that Fone Bone is getting a little too obedient to them; Fone Bone says that Gran’ma Ben has been giving them a home and food; the LEAST they could do would be to help out with the chores. Phoney points out that Fone Bone hasn’t seen Smiley and Phoney drop what they’re doing everytime Thorn and Gran’ma Ben snap their fingers…right when a bell rings-the dinner bell, as Smiley and Phoney deem it as-and the two cousins run toward the noise, with Fone Bone trailing behind.

However, they found Gran’ma waitng behind the house for them; they weren’t going to be eating dinner yet, because the Bones were going to be making it. She sends Smiley with a pot to get some hot water and brings Fone Bone and Phoney to the chickens, where their job is to kill four chickens and dip them in the water that Smiley would bring back. At the mere mention of how they were going to kill them, they fainted, leaving Gran’ma to kill them herself, which she does, muttering to her self angrily, “City boys!”

My Thoughts:

This was actually a little scary as you realize that even dreams are now going to be a battleground.

The last page just made me laugh. Phoney and Fone are supposed to kill 4 chickens for dinner and Gran’ma Ben tells them they can wring their necks before cutting their heads off if they don’t want the chickens running around afterwards. So they faint. Gran’ma Ben’s reaction is literally picture perfect. I can imagine myself having this reaction too in the right circumstances.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

George’s Marvelous Medicine ★★★✬☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: George’s Marvelous Medicine
Series: ———-
Authors: Roald Dahl
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Childrens Fiction
Pages: 63
Words: 12.5K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

While eight-year-old George Kranky’s parents are out grocery shopping, his elderly maternal grandmother bosses him around and bullies him. She intimidates George by saying that she likes to eat insects and he wonders briefly if she’s a witch. To punish her for her regular abuse, George decides to make a magic medicine to replace her old one. He collects a variety of ingredients from around the family farm including deodorant and shampoo from the bathroom, floor polish from the laundry room, horseradish sauce and gin from the kitchen, animal medicines, engine oil and anti-freeze from the garage, and brown paint to mimic the colour of the original medicine.

After cooking the ingredients in the kitchen, George gives it as medicine to his grandmother, who grows as tall as the house, bursting through the roof. When his grandmother doesn’t believe it was George who made her grow so tall, he proves it by feeding the medicine to one of his father’s chickens, which grows ten times its original size. As they return home, George’s parents can’t believe their eyes when they see the fattest chicken ever and the grandmother. George’s father grows very excited at the thought of rearing giant animals. He has George feed the medicine to the rest of the farm’s animals, causing them to become giants as well. However, his grandmother begins complaining about being ignored and stuck in the roof, so Mr. Kranky hires a crane to remove her from the house. Her extreme height has her sleeping in the barn for the next few nights.

The following morning, Mr. Kranky is still excited about George’s medicine and announces that he and George shall make gallons of it to sell to farmers around the world, which would make his family rich. George attempts to recreate it but is unable to remember all the ingredients. The second version makes a chicken’s legs grow extremely long, and the third elongates a chicken’s neck to bizarre proportions. The fourth has the opposite effect of the first and makes animals shrink. George’s grandmother, now even more angry she’s sleeping in the barn, storms over and starts complaining loudly that she’s once again sick of being ignored. She sees the cup of medicine in George’s hand and erroneously mistakes it for tea. Much to his and Mrs. Kranky’s horror, and Mr. Kranky’s delight, she drinks the entire cup and shrinks so much that she vanishes completely. At first, Mrs. Kranky is shocked, confused and distraught about the sudden, and very strange disappearance of her mother, but soon accepts that she was becoming a nuisance anyway. In the last page, George is left to think about the implications of his actions, feeling as though they had granted him access to the edge of a magic world.

My Thoughts:

I am coming to the conclusion that this will probably be my final read of Dahl’s body of work for my own enjoyment. Not that I am disliking them but I do want “more” and these don’t offer that any more. I feel that in my multiple reads I have plumbed the depths of these stories and I would rather explore a new author or series than to re-tread material this familiar to me.

That is in no way a denigration of Dahl’s skill as a writer or a story teller, but I’ve realized that I’ve done a bit of growing up in the last 15 years and I cannot go back. Reading these books have been an attempt to see if I could actually go back, but as we all know, time only flows in one direction.

I have to admit, I am surprised this was published as is. George puts in a LOT of nasty stuff into his medicine and even I know that some of them would kill you outright. If I read this to a kid, I’d be keeping an eye on them for the next week or two to make sure they didn’t try to experiment on themselves or others 😀

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Wyper the Berserker (One Piece #28) ★★☆☆☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Wyper the Berserker
Series: One Piece #28
Arc: Skypiea #5
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 185
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(187_388)

“Wyper the Berserker”

“Dial Battle”

“The Many Souths”

“Pirate Zoro vs. Warrior Braham”

“Pirate Luffy vs. Berserker Wyper”

“Warrior Genbo vs. Heavenly Warriors Commander Yama”

“Pirate Chopper vs. Vassal Gedatsu”

“Pirate Nami and the Weird Knight vs. Heavenly Warriors Subcommanders Hotori and Kotori”

“Warrior Kamakiri vs. Kami Eneru”

With the war’s start, Eneru decides to make a bet: of the eighty-one combatants currently on Skypiea (the Straw Hats, the Shandians, and his own forces), only five will remain in three hours’ time. The Shandians engage Eneru’s forces, the remaining priests fight the Shandians, and the Straw Hats fight whoever is left. After two hours, the number of active combatants dwindles to twenty-five. Luffy mistakes a giant snake’s mouth for a cave.

My Thoughts:

This is just about 180 pages of people fighting each other while screaming how impossible everything the other person is doing. Over and Over and Over again. I am at the point in my life where displays like this don’t do a thing for me. And splitting everyone up so I get to see 3-5 different fights REALLY doesn’t do it for me.

This was the last volume I read back when I was reading One Piece as it was released in english. I can totally understand why I stopped here. Big, flashy and confusing fights simply do not hold my attention. Not anymore. It’s not like I’m going to stop this time but I must admit, Oda-sensei better get off his keister and start telling a story again.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Night Train to Rigel (Quadrail #1) ★★★✬☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Night Train to Rigel
Series: Quadrail #1
Authors: Timothy Zahn
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 279
Words: 105.5K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

The story starts with former government agent, Frank Compton, meeting a young man who drops dead at his feet. Compton finds a ticket to a strange, interstellar train called the Quadrail. During Compton’s ride on the Quadrail he falls asleep, and wakes up in the custody of the spiders, the operators of the Quadrail. The Spiders explain to Compton their worries of a weapon of mass destruction, which may be able to bypass their Quadrail security. Compton agrees to help, and is given a pass for the Quadrails and they assign him a traveling companion named Bayta, who has a strange talent for being telepathic in her communication to the Spiders.

Frank Compton discovers the power behind the Quadrail system: an ancient civilization called the Chahwyn. On the course of his travels on the Quadrail, he learns of the existence of the Modhri: the equally ancient enemy of the Chahwyn. The Modhri has its mind bent on controlling the galaxy.

My Thoughts:

When I read this originally back in 2006 I was still under the impression of my youthful foray into Zahn and thought he was an exciting and blockbuster of an author. As such, I didn’t enjoy this back then as I was still expecting something from Zahn that he had never given. That something is excitement. I have come to realize that Zahn is a dull writer. He has fantastic ideas, writes correctly and is an absolute work horse, but you’ll never come out of one of his books pumping your fist and screaming “Oh yeah, that was AWESOME!” If you do, well, I’m guessing either you are 12 years old or your life is even more boring than mine.

So with all of that whininess, it was just to explain that I went into this re-read with a much more accurate set of expectations. I wasn’t disappointed. I read a good Future Detective story with lots of talking points and just enough barely there action to keep me awake. Having read much of the “mystery” genre, and specifically the “detective mystery” genre, this made a lot more sense. Didn’t make it any more exciting, but it did make sense.

Having bumped this up 1/2star, I think I’m going to go through the entire series. I wasn’t sure when I started, but I did enjoy this enough to warrant looking at the other books.

I’m using the original cover for this review. In ’06 I remarked how ugly it was. It still is, isn’t it? I know it’s hard to see in that little pix, but sandy colored nobodies without an ounce of attraction to them isn’t going to draw the readers in. HOWEVER, I was looking for a different cover and the new one is even worse, if you can believe it:

How boring and unattractive is THAT?!? Publishers certainly do move in Mysterious Ways….

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Fantastic Mr Fox ★★★✬☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Fantastic Mr Fox
Series: ———-
Authors: Roald Dahl
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Childrens Fiction
Pages: 58
Words: 10K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

Mr Fox is an anthropomorphic, tricky, and clever fox who lives underground beside a tree with his wife and four children. To feed his family, he makes nightly visits to local farms owned by three cruel, rude, wicked and dim-witted farmers named Boggis, Bunce and Bean, whereupon he seizes the livestock available on each man’s farm; chickens from Boggis, ducks or geese from Bunce, and turkeys from Bean. Tired of being outsmarted by Mr Fox, the triumvirate devise a plan to ambush him as he leaves his burrow, but they succeed only in shooting off his tail.

The three farmers then dig up the Foxes’ burrow using spades and then excavators. The Foxes manage to escape by burrowing further beneath the ground to safety. The farmers are ridiculed for their persistence, but they refuse to give up and vow not to return to their farms until they have caught Mr Fox. They then choose to lay siege to the fox, surrounding Mr Fox’s hole and waiting until he is hungry enough to come out. Cornered by their enemies, Mr Fox and his family, and all the other underground creatures that live around the hill, begin to starve.

After three days trapped underground, Mr Fox devises a plot to acquire food. Working from his memory of the routes he has taken above ground, he and his children tunnel through the ground and wind up burrowing to one of Boggis’s four chicken houses. Mr Fox kills several chickens and sends his son to carry the animals back home to Mrs Fox. On the way to their next destination, Mr Fox runs into his friend Badger and asks him to accompany him on his mission, as well as to extend an invitation to the feast to the other burrowing animals – Badger and his family, as well as the Moles, the Rabbits and the Weasels – to apologize for getting them caught up in the farmers’ hunt. Aided by Badger, the animals tunnel to Bunce’s storehouse for ducks, geese, hams, bacon and carrots, and then to Bean’s secret cider cellar. Here, they are nearly caught by the Beans’ servant Mabel and have an unpleasant confrontation with the cellar’s resident, Rat. They carry their loot back home, where Mrs Fox has prepared a great celebratory banquet for the starving underground animals and their families.

At the table, Mr Fox invites everyone to live in a secret underground neighbourhood with him and his family, where he will hunt on their behalf daily and where none of them will need to worry about the farmers anymore. Everyone joyfully cheers for this idea, while Boggis, Bunce, and Bean are left waiting in vain for the fox to emerge from his hole.

The book ends with the words “And so far as I know, they are still waiting.”

My Thoughts:

This was a very short story but much like any of Dahl’s stuff, it is just chockful of children’y goodness. If you smoke cigars, wear a monocle and wonder when Queen Victoria is going to get off her duff and kick some sense into little Charlie and his progeny, well, this might not be the story for you.

On the other hand, if talking foxes and badgers raiding chicken farmers makes perfect sense to you, then I’d say you’d better read this without delay. Get cracking slackers, I know you haven’t read this!

Because if you had, you’d be lamenting the fact that I haven’t even mentioned the existential crisis exhibited by Mrs Fox or the symbolic suffering represented by the Fox children who are starving to death. The dehumanizing representation of Boggis, Bunce and Bean is one the most clever ever shown in literature but at the same time falls prey to most representations’s common problem, ie, the Jungian ideals fall flat upon their backsides when examined in the light of chaos theory. Yep, you can’t beat Scyenze for figuring out how to make other people do what you want. Dahl was obviously a great Scyenzetist! Bow low you plebes before your lord and master!!!!!!!!!!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Overture (One Piece #27) ★★★★☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Overture
Series: One Piece #27
Arc: Skypiea #4
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 187
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_One_Piece_chapters_(187_388)

“Ball Challenge”

“Former Kami vs. Vassal”

“The Village Hidden in the Cloud”

“Ball Dragon”

“Overture”

“Junction”

“Varse”

“Aubade”

“The Anaconda and the Search Team”

Upon entering Skypiea they incite the wrath of Eneru’s four priests. As Luffy and company deal with one of the four, the “captured” crew is forced to fight a second of Eneru’s priests. They are saved by his predecessor, Ganfor, who is only able to make the priest leave after being defeated. Elsewhere, Luffy is able to defeat the first priest, and soon afterward reunites with his crew. After Ganfor is healed, he tells them of a city of gold hidden somewhere in Skypiea. To make themselves rich, the Straw Hats go looking for the gold, only to find themselves in the middle of a war between Eneru and the Shandians, the natives of Skypiea.

My Thoughts:

This was an action packed volume. At the same time I am feeling rather blah about the overall story that is introduced for the first time here. I was ok with Luffy and the Straw Hats going to Magical Island Land and trying to find treasure, but now we’re dealing with a 400 year old war between 3 factions and that gets split into a 3way war 6years before the Crew arrives. I fully understand why I stopped reading this series as it came out back in 2010. For whatever reason, I cannot immerse myself into the overall story arc as of yet.

As I was reading this, even I realized I was being really picky for no good reason that I could discern. I think my problem is that this arc is repeating the whole shonen’esque cliché that we’ve already seen in the previous “Princess Vivi (who I hate and wish was dead) Arc”. Luffy and Crew are going to fight the underlings, win or lose in very creative ways and then Luffy and Kami Eneru are going to fight and somehow the old Kami is going to be involved and the Straw Hat pirates will go back down to the Grand Line. I hope I am wrong because I want an interesting story, not just a shonen power up duel-fest.

I’ve read enough manga, finished and unfinished, to see a pattern that all to many manga-ka fall into. It is easier to draw fights and power up sequences than it is to tell a good story. That’s what happened with Hunter X Hunter. It started with a really fun story and eventually devolved into a multi-volume fight and then went on indefinite hiatus. While I know that One Piece isn’t going to go on hiatus, I want the storytelling to stay in the forefront. Luffy is a great and hilarious character and he has gathered an extraordinary crew and I would like to see the manga-ka really use his imagination with them instead of falling back on tropes.

With all that complaining, as is my wont, I realize you might be wondering WHY this still got 4 stars? That is because even the battle between 2 of the Kami’s underlings and the Straw Hat Pirates was very inventive. I have to give Oda-sensei credit, when it comes to making up fight scenarios, that man has got a really weird imagination that works perfectly for me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.