Sunreach, by Brandon Sanderson and Janci Patterson

Title: Sunreach
Author: Brandon Sanderson and Janci Patterson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Ebook ISBN: 9780593566619
Copyright © 2021 Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC

When a planet-destroying Delver suddenly appears in the sky of Detritus and vanishes just as suddenly, FM knows that the last free human society got lucky. Her Skyward Flight companion, Spensa, figured out how to draw this Delver away, but it won’t be so easy next time.

This novella is a good surprise. Is it a novella, though? I mean, it has more than 200 pages. Anyways, I was not expecting something bad under the glass of Brandon Sanderson, but still, the surprise exceeded my expectations.

Now everyone called me FM, but my parents named me Freyja, after the warrior goddess of my ancient heritage.

The protagonist, this time, is FM, one of the members of the Skyward Fleet. Spensa is mentioned in the book, but after certain events in Starsight, we know that she has not returned from that mission. It is the goal of FM and the rest of the fleet, with some of the intel they got, about the hyperdrives—a cytonic slug species called the Taynix. We realized Doomslug the Destroyer has a more important role than just being the cute pet.

The interactions between the characters are really good, and a romantic interest between other characters began here. I especially love that these relationships are very subtle and don’t end up being the main focus or half of it like most YA novels. It’s so refreshing to know there is romance without all the typical cheesy stuff happening. Besides that, the conversations with the fleet and other beings are exciting and do a good job of keeping you reading through the whole book. Actually, I mentioned a lot more about the romance in this post than the novella itself; there’s action and good development there, which is great!

This is obvious, but you should not start with Sunreach if you haven’t read Skyward and Starsight. You’d be clueless if you tried to start the series with this book. So avoid it if that’s the case. However, if you have read the other books, then this is a good novella.

Additional note: the book is ONLY available in digital format, but there’s a plan for a physical release next year.

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Bakemonogatari (Manga), Vol 1

Bakemonogatari (Manga), Vol 1

The manga Bakemonogatari is an adaptation of the light novels, or should I say, it is an adaptation of the anime that is an adaptation of the light novels of the same name?

I asked because I have not seen the anime, and I have little to no interest in doing it anytime soon. At least until I have read the light novels. Also, I mention it because the manga is weird, compared to the book, which is weird already. It does not start where I believe it is supposed to start; Hitagi falling from the stairs and the protagonist, Koyomi Araragi, catching her before hitting the floor.

Do not worry; that was not a spoiler. It’s the beginning of the problem, the introduction of the girl Araragi’s going to help. The manga starts on their way to see a character that may be able to help Hitagi, something that happens soon, but certainly not at the beginning. The protagonist also mentions certain events that happened and might happen in the future, things that apparently come from the anime to prepare for the things to come.

Ignoring the fact that the manga does not tell the events in order, I believe it adapted the first chapter of Bakemonogatari pretty well, Hitagi’s arc, taking a few liberties here and there, which I believe it’s a good decision. I know there are purists that expect an adaptation to be hundred-percent accurate to the original work; should that be the case, I would stick to the original work instead.

The art in the manga is gorgeous. Seriously, it’s been a while since I read a manga that looked so beautifully drawn.

Hitagi Senjōgahara

From the first panel to the last, it’s a delightful read; just by looking at the illustrations by Oh! Great you know that the artist loves what he does, and the love for the series.

To conclude with this, I would not recommend the manga as an entry to the series, based on this first volume. However, I heard they plan to adapt all Monogatari with the title Bakemonogatari. If this is the case, it’ll be worth checking out; maybe the liberties I mentioned will be explained later in the manga. Just be cautious of this. Oh, and I repeat just in case: I believe this is an anime adaptation, and perhaps the manga is aimed at the fans of the anime adaptation.

By the way, I read the Spanish version of the manga. Panini México is publishing them in my country, so I decided to buy it from them.

Have you read the manga? What do you think about it?

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The Last Wish, by Andrzej Sapkowski

Title: The Last Wish
Author: Andrzej Sapkowski
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978-0-316-43896-4
Copyright © 1993 Andrzej Sapkowski

The Last Wish is the first book about The Witcher. It is a collection of short stories that work as an introduction to the main series. Our main character is Geralt of Rivia, and he’s a witcher that hunts monsters for money. Each story works loosely; it does not specify a chronological order, so one can assume that each quest/story happened at different times.

All of the stories are interesting; it was hard for me to put the book down. I got hooked from the beginning to the last story called “The Last Wish.” However, I must admit that the opening could be a little uncomfortable, to say the least, for some readers. I am not against sex scenes, but I can see many people closing the book after the initial paragraph. Once you get past that, the story moves on quickly; as I mentioned, these stories are short quests or looks at the witcher’s life. The most beautiful thing about them is that I perceived some as fairy tales; I am sure there were many references that I’ve missed, but I felt the charm similar to the old fairy tales.

The world presented in the book and stories is a medieval fantasy setting, and the subtle Polish folklore makes it feel unique. Our protagonist is very professional, but despite the way people see the witchers, he can make friends, be kind, sarcastic, and unintentionally funny. The other characters are a great addition to the world; their interactions with Geralt make everything even more entertaining.

It is a fantasy book worth the read. Even if you have limited time, a collection of short stories adjusts perfectly if that’s the case; but I doubt you’ll be able to put it down once you start reading. Do not be quick to judge the initial paragraph. Everything after that gets better.

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Are You Okay With a Slightly Older Girlfriend? Volume 1 | Light Novel Review

Title: Are You Okay With a Slightly Older Girlfriend? Vol 1
Author: Kota Nozomi
Illustrator: Nanasemeruchi
Translator: Sean Orth
Publisher: J-Novel Club
ASIN: B08PKPCMG2
Copyright © 2018 by Kota Nozomi

This is one of of those times when a light novel is the perfect pick for the SJWs to cancel and convince themselves they’ve done something for society. There’s no anime adaptation, so it’s going to take a while before that happens.

First-year high school student Momota Kaoru just saved a beautiful high school girl, Orihara Hime, from a train molester. One thing leads to another, and they end up going on a date! They have a lot in common: they both love video games, they both jam to their favorite songs on mixtapes, they were even both born in the Year of the Snake. Except… Orihara’s first game console used cartridges… and her old mixtapes are all on MiniDisc… and, oh, her birthday is actually 12 years before Momota’s! When her secret comes out, she thinks it must all be over… but will Momota really let something like a little age gap get in the way of his love for Orihara? Find out if love really can transcend generations in this sugar-sweet romantic comedy!

The novel could be disturbing or it could be a beautiful story based on that description. I must say it’s neither.

The story is something you would expect from an anime of the romance genre with a bit of fanservice. It does its best to be cute, but at the same time, it breaks some of these adorable moments with teenage talk.

I’m going to give you an example of it. At the beginning of the light novel, our protagonist, a high school student called Momota Kaoru, is on his way to school on a train. He sees Orihara Hime, the other protagonist, and starts describing her beauty, her clothing, her hair, and then:

“And… so BIG. There they sat, underneath her blazer, pushing up her thinly knit sweater: two rolling hills with the ability to drive a man insane with one look. So abundant… hanging so heavy… the kind of terrifyingly beautiful breasts whose very existence feels like a crime, breasts that make you want to sue someone.”

Momota Kaoru

Through the story, you’ll find interruptions like that. I know that as an anime fan I should’ve gotten used to it, but some variety wouldn’t hurt readers, in my opinion. Kudos to the protagonist and the funny way to deal with the train molester. I won’t complain about some good humor.

After the things I said above, I must say that it does make sense. Momota is a teenage boy, and most teenagers have their hormones acting crazy. It’s expected to see our protagonist having an extra pick at a woman’s curves. However, in the relationship (it’s not a spoiler, from the title you know they’ll start a romantic relationship), Momota shows himself very shy; he gives Hime space and never tries to do anything weird to Hime. He always does his best to make her feel comfortable all the time and even finds the right words to make her smile. He acts his age and a bit mature at the same time.

Hime is where the problems begin. She’s a 27-year-old woman with a good job and a position as chief, although she mentioned that her position sounds more impressive than it really is. We get to know her more later in the book; some chapters focus on her first-person perspective. It is a good detail to see pages from her eyes and thoughts. But this left me a lot of questions—one of them asking who’s the real adult in the story: Momota, a 15-year-old student, or Hime, the 27-year-old worker. This is the first time, even in fiction, that I see an adult worrying so bad about a teenager and his feelings; and the feelings she started to have for him.

We see a really dumb explanation for it, and a dumbest reason why she was wearing a school uniform in the first place. I’m not kidding, I tried to imagine the situation they described, and I still don’t see anything that makes any sense.

If you think that the “age/maturity” of the adult protagonist is my only issue, you’re wrong. Their friends are the exact kind of weird people whose the more years they’ve lived, the more immature they talk. Momota’s friends are the high school students you would expect; they act their age and do their age. I have no problem with them. Hime’s friend, though, is another story; first, she is the reason why Hime was wearing a school uniform, and second, she spoke like an adult when we met her and warned Hime about the legal consequences that relationship might bring. Pages later, she seems so okay with that romantic relationship that she almost seemed like the person trying to make them go a little further.

To be fair, the light novel is not bad. I don’t consider it offensive or a cringe-fest. I am not sure, though, if the author just tried to make an excuse to make a student’s proportions that big telling she’s a 27-year-old worker. Hime acts so childishly that I can’t have any other impression of it, but I don’t know the author, and I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt. I guess if you like fan service with a few cute moments, this could be your cup of tea, but I bet there are many better options out there.

If you’re still interested in reading the light novel, here’s the official website – https://j-novel.club/series/are-you-okay-with-a-slightly-older-girlfriend

Thank you for reading my review.

A Different Ending | Book Review

Title: A Different Ending
Author: Amanda B. Jaworski
ISBN: 978-0-578-76617-1
ASIN: B08H824CQ1
Copyright © 2020 by Amanda Burke Jaworski.

Love is a weird thing. Love is a feeling so intense that it could be either beautiful or horrible, the freedom of your body and soul that blends with your other half, or the chain that ties you up in a place where you should not be in the first place. This is one of the things we rarely speak about love.

Let us begin by telling you how the author wrote the book. A Different Ending is a first-person story written using the present tense. Considering the nature of the book, it is adequate to the situation and theme.

Our story is about Aliza, a normal woman that lives with her boyfriend. His name is Tyler Smith, a despicable, abusive, and the purest form of a burden. The man does not work, does not help in home at all, and goes out without telling Aliza where he’ll be.

The relationship between them is progressively getting worse. Tyler is the kind of person you want to punch in the face. It is unfortunate that our protagonist, from the beginning, talks about codependency, a feeling that is not letting her move away from that toxic partner.

I guess I have always been codependent in a way, and that is never NEVER a good trait. At this point, I’m not sure if I have always been this way, always needing another person around, or if this is something that started after all of the things I have been through.

Excerpt from Aliza’s diary

When you fall in love, or when you spend too long with a person (family, friend, or romantic relationship,) one might end up getting used to that company, regardless of the situation they put through, or even if the relationship gives a 180 turn. From Aliza’s eyes, we will see how desperate she is to walk away, but it is not as easy as it seems.

There’s another character in the book, her friend Nolan. The man that is always there to support Aliza. The man, always caring and playful towards her, accidentally creates different conflicts. The most obvious is triggering Tyler’s jealously. Then the conflict within our protagonist. We see that they could be the perfect couple, always joking with each other, laughing, giving a hand whenever needed.

“All I want to do is grab him and tell him he’s a damn moron for not being able to see that I want to be with him, but I’ll keep playing the role of the not-interested asshole, like I have been for years… yes, years.”

She wants to be with him. But she is also afraid to ruin that friendship.

Then again, we have Tyler in the middle. As Aliza mentioned in the book, Tyler is also a narcissistic person who does not recognize when he is wrong. In fact, even when he does betray the relationship all the time, or does NOTHING to help, he manages to come up with an excuse to blame her. You have no clue how many times we hear (read) him saying everything is Aliza’s fault.

One interesting thing is that, every two or three chapters, we have an entry of Aliza’s diary. I think this is where she speaks to the reader. Every entry tells us what she is feeling on a deeper level; what is happening in her head. I mentioned that the author wrote everything using the present tense, so in theory, we see through the story her feelings and such; but I believe these diary pages go into a more personal level, as short as they are. A diary is for Aliza like the only friend who’s been there for so long. That only friend who is truly capable of understanding.

In the end, I must admit that the story didn’t end as I would have wanted. Tyler had a way better ending than he deserved. But we should not forget this is not a story about karma; the book is meant to show us an abusive relationship. It is a problem that unfortunately exists, and it could be happening to your friend or neighbor next door.

I don’t want to use “eye-opener” to describe this work. I believe it should be common sense to know this is a problem that always has existed.

Overall, this book does a good job of speaking about domestic abuse. You feel empathy for the main characters and hate for Tyler, and you know it is a good thing when your emotions toward the characters are genuine. The book also has a couple of moments that feel very intense, and it hooks you in; it is almost impossible to put the book down.

Highly recommended.

Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? Volume 1 | A Light Novel Review

Title: Do You Love You Mom and Her Two-Hit Mullti-Target Attacks?
Volume 1
Author: Dachima Inaka
Publisher: Yen On
ISBN: 978-1-9753-2800-9
ASIN: B07D2B5ZWD

Let’s have a quick look first. The light novel got an anime adaptation in 2019. The reception was mixed, from regular to terrible, but not for the story or characters; many people mentioned an Oedipus Complex. When we talk about anime, you know it’s easy to expect a lot of weird stuff. At the same time, though, people on the internet are getting offended by everything; apparently, any letter from the alphabet is an insult, so I can’t take any of their opinions seriously.

I am here to have a look at the light novel.

For some reason, the government in Japan is concerned about teenagers and their relationship with their mothers. That’s why they asked schools around the country to give students a survey. Masato, the protagonist, filled everything and wondered about the last question: If you went on an adventure with your mom, would you become closer?

This is the beginning of a story. After that, our second (or perhaps main) protagonist, Mamako; Masato’s doting mother. She is described as a housewife who could easily pass for a teenage girl, a transcendent being.

Masato feels very annoyed by his mom; she cares too much about him that he’s tired. I’m not going to lie; the boy is kind of a dick to her at the beginning. Although I believe a lot of people might remember being annoyed by their parents.

There’s a character named Shirase, whose name means inform in English; I learned it because every single time she speaks is to tell us she’s there to inform. A joke she kills immediately. Shirase is the person that distributes an MMORPG videogame… oh no, wait, I meant MMMMMORPG (Mom’s Massively Maternal Multiplayer Making-up-with-Offspring Role-Playing Game.) Yeah, that is what the genre is called.

This light novel is of the isekai genre, so it’s unnecessary to explain that Shirase, using Masato’s computer, transports both mother and son into the game. At first, Masato was happy because he would be the protagonist and perhaps the hero of a fantasy videogame until he noticed his mother, Mamako, was there too.

It all starts like any other fantasy game. They start with assigned stats and quests. The first quest is to choose the sword they’re going to carry along the journey. For some reason, Mamako was able to retrieve two swords. By this point, we know that the game is a beta version; thus, the characters believe that’s why the mother was able to do that. The overpowered trope is with most isekais, so there’s nothing strange here.

Mamako pulled out the lava and deep-sea swords as well. The legendary swords that only chosen could use, and she’d just picked two of them up.

However, it is predictable that the game is about mothers, so I don’t need to tell Mamako IS overpowered. And the series points out a lot that she doesn’t even know how to play a game, so everything she does is unintentional except when protecting Masato.

As with any MMORPG… right, MMMMMORPG, I’m sorry. The protagonists need a party to help them in the adventure. They recruit two characters; Porta, the loli of the group that works as the party’s support member; and Wise, the tsundere that functions as the mage. And that’s it. That’s all you get from these two characters, a loli and a tsundere; they are the definition of both stereotypes, and there’s nothing else.

I know that most anime characters follow these tropes, but here is what they are. There’s no trace of personality that could make them likable. Porta is adorable, yes, but she’s just a little thing in the background picking up loot.

I have to say that the protagonists are the stars. Masato is another trope, but his relationship with his mother makes him a unique character in a good way (and weird), and he grows throughout the story. Mamako is adorable, and she’s the reason the story has some progress; she even makes Porta and Wise look a little bit like something.

The world does not seem attractive, but I’m not going to blame the author or so. I believe we don’t see much of this world because it is the first volume of a light novel (light is the keyword here.) However, there are not many signals that there’ll be something to pick the reader’s interest. This situation is the same case as Porta and Wise. The story is set in a fantasy game, and that’s it—a generic fantasy world.

I must admit, though, that the reading is enjoyable. It is actually well enough to make you enjoy what is happening, and some of its imagery is very good despite any idea anyone may have of a light novel. Overall, I recommend it to any hardcore isekai fan. The characters and world are, as I mentioned, a pure representation of the usual stereotypes, but the mother is something that no one has ever done before, so kudos for that little addition.

For me, this first volume of Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? was not interesting enough to get the next number. I got tired of the isekai formula, and I believe there are better light novel series of the genre.

I could keep going if you ask me to. Other than that, this is my last review of the series.

There’s one important question now:

Is this light novel as creepy or disturbing as some people say?

No, I believe people are exaggerating a little. The light novel, however, is a mixed bag. I can understand that some of the situations that happen are very weird; we’re talking about mother and son here; it wouldn’t have anything strange if the things I talk about happened to the other party members.

The majority of Masato’s comments said that it’s weird to have a mother that looks his own age and others that she’s cute for her age.

Geez, she’s cute. No, no, no, wait, wait! That’s my mom! She’s, like, forty! Well outside the acceptable range of “cute”! Not the point anyway!

There is one part that went a little bit far. It did last a few lines, but that one part, I understand some readers got uncomfortable. The party was fighting a giant slime, and Mamako’s clothes dissolved after an attack. Her son tried to protect her, but he fell on her, and both of their bodies were slippery. And it didn’t help that Mamako herself said something like this:

“N-n-n-no, Ma-kun! We’re parent and child! I know you love me, but how could you push me to the ground and dissolve my clothes like this?! At least…at least turn off the light!” She continued to shine brilliantly.”

It was uncomfortable to read all of a sudden. As I said, the light novel is not like this all the time. I admit it surprised me. However, the rest of the light novel is your normal isekai full of the purest form of stereotypes. The ecchi tones are not even present, just in a few lines, but it is not nearly as disturbing as the internet is making it look.

Feel free to share your thought if you’d like. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Feel free to let me know in the comments.

Light Novels

I’m a person who enjoys anime. Most anime series are easy and fun to watch. It has a lot of genres for all types of individuals. I enjoy all of them; if I feel like a high-action and funny anime shows, I watch a shonen anime (One Piece, Jujutsu Kaisen, just to name two). If I want to watch some comedies, Asobi Asobase and Konosuba are my favorites.

Suppose I want to watch something more serious; romantic, paranormal, sci-fi, or other genres that take themselves more seriously. In that case, there are so many recommendations I’d probably make in the future.

As some of you already know, most of the anime shows came from Japanese comics, better known as mangas, with a few exceptions. Some people like to collect merchandise, and that includes the sources from their favorite shows. One of my friends is a hardcore One Piece fan; he watches the show on Crunchyroll and collects the mangas.

I’m not much of a collector, but there are a few shows that I loved so much I got tempted to acquire the mangas. Boogiepop and Others, Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World, and Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! are just a few shows that I loved so much no I want to collect the original material. I was surprised, though, when I realized these shows didn’t come from a manga. These shows came from something called light novels. It was the first time I heard of such things as light novels.

As an avid reader, the term got me intrigued. At first, I thought a light novel would be pages full of dialogs with one illustration to complement it; you know, left page the image, right page the dialogues, something like that. I was wrong.

What is a light novel then?

A light novel is a style of Japanese light novels for young adults, although there are some series for adults. Most of these novels have an average length of about 50,000 words, which is the minimum word count for a traditional book to be considered a novel.

Bookstore in Macau (photo I took from Wikipedia)

Many light novels, like their manga older brother, is serialized. There is more than one volume of each series. I like to think of light novels as books for anime/manga fans. This format is becoming very popular, with publishers like Yen On and J-Novel translating them into this language; I believe some English original light novels exist. Perhaps it’s a format that’ll become something more in the west. For now, it’s a niche that will get some strength; time will tell.

Another similarity with mangas is that some of them get compiled as omnibuses, two or more volumes in one book. The first light novels that I bought were the Boogiepop series, which unfortunately didn’t get translated past volume 6.

Today you can buy the English version of the Boogiepop light novels, whether you’d like to buy the six individual volumes or two omnibuses like I did (image above). Just saying!

How is the content like?

Light novel is an accurate term to describe these books. They are easy to read, follow, and finish. There are no heavy descriptions as you usually see in traditional novels. There is a general description of the world and the characters; the reason is that you’ll find a few illustrations in the books. These are basically manga-like drawings of the characters and a situation so that you won’t get lost.

All of this work very well to complete what a light novel is. On one side, you have some descriptions, first-person or third-person point of view, depending on the story; and on the other side, you know how the characters look because you have an illustration.

One thing does NOT replace the other

I am sure new folks looking at this format may wonder if these light novels would replace traditional books one day. Short answer: no.

If you’re new and feel curious about them, you might think that the light novels are like YA (young adult) books that are very popular in any bookstore. Sure, but you need to divide the soul of your favorite book into two: its narrative and illustrations. One is not going to work without the other, even if you add more images. Needs to be a balance between the two to make a light novel.

Also, it is important to mention that this format is clearly written for manga and anime fans. Of course, this does not mean that someone else should not read it; quite the contrary. I believe this is an excellent opportunity for two kinds of hobbyists to approach the other. The anime and manga fans look at literature, and the literature fans look at the anime and manga. For me, this is another good way to break stereotypes, open our minds to other media, and realize there are many exciting works created in different formats for all tastes.

Give light novels an opportunity. I’m sure you’re going to find something interesting.

Love is a Mixtape, by Rob Sheffield | A book review

Title: Love is a Mixtape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time
Author: Rob Sheffield
Publisher: Crown Archetype
ISBN: 978-1-4000-8303-9
ASIN: B000N2HCMY
Copyright © 2007 by Rob Sheffield

I read the Kindle version of the book. It is not relevant, but I must say digital goods are very comfortable.

The book is an author’s autobiography. Here we’re going to find a good place filled with nostalgia. Rob is the narrator, and he’s going to tell us the story of how he met Renée and how the mixtapes became a considerable part of his life.

The mixtapes defined Rob, his passion for music, and his current work. Mixtapes helped him to gather new bonds. Mixtapes made him grow to be the person he is today.

But how is the book written? The book relies on imagery. His memories are well-put on paper since we can imagine everything he’s describing.

We have a couple of time skips, which are required because, as readers, there are many things irrelevant to a story. Just take a look at our own lives. Would you like to read a book about every single second of your life? I sure won’t; there are days, weeks, or even years where nothing exciting happens.

Rob succeeded in taking us on a nostalgia trip. There are many references to the most especial decades of rock and pop, the seventies to the nineties. I could not help but smile whenever I read something about the bands or genres we loved and danced.

We must remember, though, that life is not perfect. Life is not hundred percent about love and success. In everyone’s life, there will be a loss, and this is not an exception. Sheffield, as the title states, talks about something more than just his love for the mixtapes.

I suddenly realized how much being a husband was about fear: fear of not being able to keep somebody safe, of not being able to protect somebody from all the bad stuff you want to protect them from. Knowing they have more tears in them than you will be able to keep them from crying.

Rob Sheffield

It’s hard to think about losing someone. It is even harder to believe that that loss could come at any time. Death is unpredictable; one day, the love of your life is here, and the next that person is gone. This is a lesson the author accidentally gives to the readers. The nostalgic trip among the mentioned decades is part of the story, which is so well-written that dialogs are unnecessary. There are just a few dialogue lines, but these are just a complement to those memories he’s telling.

After Renée died, I assumed the rest of my life would be just a consolation prize. I would keep living, and keep having new experiences, but none of them would compare to the old days.

The second part of the story is where Renée dies. This is not a spoiler; it is mentioned in early pages that it would be an important part of the book—the loss.
Loss is part of our lives, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Everything needs to change, and moving away to give space to the new generations is a cycle the world has.
In the end, we don’t see a devastated man. We actually see someone that has accepted his life as it is.

The nineties moment has been stomped over so completely, it’s hard to imagine it ever happened, much less that it lasted five, six, seven years.

The decades, just like our lives, come and go. Nothing lasts forever, and just like the decades of music we loved, they will eventually vanish; but the songs are going to keep playing to remind the future teenagers that there was life before the 2000s.

Love is a Mixtape is a nostalgia trip. It is the mixtape that took the form of a book, the words that will make us look at the past and appreciate the moments we shared with our friends, family, and loved ones.

This is a book written in the United States of America, and of course, the life Rob describes might not be relatable to many people, especially the readers from foreign countries. However, the fascination for music and the constant references to those particular decades in music is more than enough to fall in love with this work. It is unfortunate, though, that perhaps in the future, most of these references, including the mixtapes, will be forgotten.

The Eye of the World | A Book Review

The Eye of the World version I read

Title: The Eye of the World
Author: Robert Jordan
Publisher: Tor
ISBN: 978-1-250-25146-6
Copyright © 1990 by Bandersnatch Group, Inc.

The Eye of the World is the first entry of fourteen books, and a prequel, that The Wheel of Time has in the series. The book narrates in third person the story of a young man called Rand al’Thor and his friends.

The book presents itself with a lot of descriptions, a world building that I personally find fascinating. It is one of those books that, even though takes a lot of time before any action, it is enjoyable. Robert Jordan indeed took a lot of inspiration from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Perhaps A LOT.

This first entry has a lot of fantasy tropes, more specifically from Tolkien, which could be considered as an unoriginal story; from the start we meet Rand al’Thor as the normal young man that does not show anything out of the ordinary. Then there is this woman named Moiraine, known as something called the Aes Sedai, or the female Gandalf as some of the comments out there said. Also, we have her guardian, and the two Rand’s friends that join him on his adventure.

No one can deny that there are so many similarities between Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring and Jordan’s The Eye of the World. The inspiration and the tropes are there. However, does this make it a bad book or a carbon copy of Tolkien’s work. I say no. The situations and tropes are there, both the characters in both series are so different among themselves that make Rand’s gang unique. Yes, at the beginning we have the “hero’s journey” with the protagonist that seems like any other person and ends up being something else. But our protagonist, his friends, the Aes Sedai (basically powerful sorceress in the story), the guardian, and other characters, are very interesting. I feel that every step they take; every town they visit, every character they met, have something substantial to add to the story and they’re not only there to be a burden or a “filler” to force us to believe the world is alive. No, the world feels very alive.

“As the Wheel of Time turns,” Moiraine said, half to herself and with a distant look in her eyes, “places wear many names. Men wear many names, many faces. Different faces, but always the same man. Yet no one knows the Great Pattern the Wheel weaves, or even the Pattern of an Age. We can only watch, and study, and hope.”

One of the things that interests me the most about the series is the symbol, a snake eating its own tail, and as the story goes there are many hints that the world has been through many cycles, with different names, and different forms. This, among other words within the book, make of The Eye of the World… no, The Wheel of Time as a series, one of the most impressive world buildings I’ve read in fantasy literature. The rhythm could be a little slow at the start, but as you go through the pages the gears will move faster.

This is the first book of fourteen, as I’ve mentioned above, so I guess I don’t need to say that the conclusion of The Eye of the World is the start of a long journey for our protagonists. The Aes Sedai, just as Gandalf, leaves a lot of mystery for the main characters to solve.

Do not let the similarities get you, though. The Eye of the World, with its obvious inspirations, is different enough to help you enjoy the book. The character and world building is so good you just want to know more about the world itself, and I am sure we’ll know a lot more on the following entries.

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

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“It’s Coraline, Not Caroline. Coraline,” said Coraline.

Coraline, as it is described by the author during its introduction, tells the story of a little girl called Coraline, not Caroline.Caroline… sorry, Coraline is a kid that is bored. Her parents are always busy, rarely paying any attention to their daughter. Even her breakfasts are bland. One day, Coraline wanted to explore but a dull and rainy day traps our little hero in her house. She must entertain herself, and her parents, as I have mentioned, are too busy, and one might believe they don’t even care.

She finds a little door in the drawing room and a key that fits in. That takes her into the otherworld where it looks like her house. However, Coraline does not find her parents there; she finds her other-parents, and guess what; her other-father and her other-mother are perfect! Both other-parents are very attentive with Coraline and the breakfast they cooked for her is so delicious.

“You will always be safe here with me.”

We’ve learned from movies, games, literature, and other media that whenever something seemed perfect, it means something is not right. Coraline is not the exception. Her other-parents have buttons instead of eyes, and this is not even the beginning; I mention it, but apparently our protagonist didn’t mind much. Though as the story progresses, we see the world is weirder than we’ve initially thought.

I want to tell you how much the other-neighbors are weird, too, but it would be too redundant. Is not like the real neighbors weren’t weird in the first place. They are not very relevant to the story, it is just part of the “scenery”, to call it a way. They do have a purpose, though, and is to tell you that everything has changed, not only in Coraline’s flat.

Coraline is very short, and it is a good book to read at any age. There are very creepy moments accompanied with some creepy illustrations (at least in the edition I have read.) It is the adventure of a little girl that wants to explore out of boredom, and ends up doing her best to be brave to get out of that world and its situation. Highly recommended if you are looking to read a child’s book that does not look for children!