Short Reviews #10: Micro Reviews (3 Titles)

CODENAME: SAILOR V, vols. 1 & 2 by Naoko Takeuchi
Kodansha Comics, 2011, 276 pages, 978-1-935-42977-7, Paperback, $10.99
Kodansha Comics, 2011, 291 pages, 978-1-935-42978-4, Paperback, $10.99

Genre: Shoujo Manga

Liked it: Not as much as I expected.

Thoughts: Having once been a fan of the Sailor Moon series, I decided that a little time with the prequel manga was in order. Unfortunately, Sailor V didn’t prove to be as enjoyable as I had anticipated. For the majority of the story, Mina is boy-obsessed and entirely self-interested. She’s shallow and obnoxious in the extreme, and it isn’t until the end of the last volume that she begins to show any depth or sense of who she really is. References to Sailor Moon are amusing for fans, and her squabbles with Artemis are funny at times, but beyond that I found Sailor V to be slow and taxing on my patience.

THE EMPEROR’S KNIFE by Mazarkis Williams
Night Shade Books, 2011, 352 pages, 978-1597803847, Hardcover, $24.99

Genre: Fantasy

Liked it: For the most part, yes.

Thoughts: This novel is about political maneuverings, no doubt about it. If you’re looking for an action-packed thriller, you’ll want to read something else. But if you like intrigue and questions of succession, then you’ll probably enjoy this novel. There’s also an interesting magical system in play here. Sadly, we don’t get a lot of information about that during this volume, but, hopefully, we’ll see more in the second. The main characters are interesting, particularly Sarmin, the half-mad prince, and I look forward to seeing him again in book two along with the Felting girl Mesema. The only downside to this book was that, despite being well written, the prose felt a little dry. Readers may find that it moves slowly for the first half of the story, but it does pick up as you become invested in the characters.

Del Rey, 2012, 408 pages, 978-0-345-52750-9, Mass Market Paperback, $7.99

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Liked it: Naturally!

Thoughts: This is definitely the most introspective of the Downside Ghosts novels to date. There’s still plenty going on with Chess’s work, but it almost takes a backseat to her attempts at reconciling her low sense of self-worth with the fact that there are people who actually seem to care about her. Depending on your taste in books, this may come off as a slower read than the other Chess Putnam novels, but as part of the series, I think it’s essential. Plus, if you’re a fan of the relationship between Chess and Terrible, then I’m sure you’ll be pleased that so much of the story has this at its core.



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