Bookish Wednesday: Otherlife Awakenings by William D. Arand

Hey all this week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with the third book in Runner’s adventures. It’s Otherlife Awakenings by William D. Arand!

Plot Synopsis: Runner and his team managed to bring peace to Tirtius, successfully log the crew out, and have begun settling in to make a home on the isle of Vix. North Wood fort itself. Fate isn’t going to let them go that easily though. She clearly hasn’t decided on what to do with him. Plots are in motion. Threats local, outside of the ship, divine, and abroad in game scheme to exterminate Runner and the threat he represents. The possibility of what he could become. To top it all off, the server is clearly ramping up towards a full awakening. What does one do with an entire world of “living” beings who are aware? It all comes to a head when an assassin attempts to take his life in his own home. Now comes the true test. What is he willing to wager to build the future he wants, both in game and out? Or rather, who?

Plot: The plot is awesome, with plenty of revelations all around about the world Runner has come to inhabit. It also deals with Runner’s severe depression after the events of the last book, which I won’t spoil. There’s more “idiot plans” and new additions to Runners group of close followers.

Characters: Of all the new characters I found Satomi to be the best, though that may be slightly affected by the soft spot I have for the name as that was one of my teacher’s names in my Japanese High School class. That said Runner still was great to live the world through, even if Scott and Linda weren’t as present in this book as I would have liked. The rest of the cast was great, but truly the female leads were awesome in this entry with plenty of screen time for Grace, Sparky, Minxie, Brighteyes, Angel, and Bell.

Overall: An excellent ending to the trilogy, but not the end of the series apparently. The series will continue in the future, hopefully by the end of the year.

Bookish Wednesday: The Secret of the Dark Forest by Vasily Mahanenko

Hey all, I’m back with the third entry to the Way of the Shaman series for this week’s Bookish Wednesday. It’s The Secret of the Dark Forest by Vasily Mahanenko!

Plot Synopsis: The Virtual World of Barliona is a place of rest and entertainment – but not for everyone. It has become a survival arena for Daniel Mahan after he was sentenced to 8 years in its virtual jail. Mahan has been through it all: the back-breaking work in the mines, betrayal by other prisoners, and finally, the retrial which has released him into Barliona’s common world. What more could one want? Mahan could have kept a low profile and enjoy relative freedom while serving the rest of his time. But being a Shaman, he can’t help himself…

Plot: The plot of this entry is pretty good, and while there were a few annoying parts I didn’t mind it all that much. That being said if you weren’t a fan of the previous books this won’t change your mind on the series.

Characters: We get introduced to a few new characters, but really the stars of the show aside from Mahan are Anastaria and Plinto, both of whom were pretty awesome. The newcomers were good, but the character we had already met are better. That being said if I had to choose a newcomer as my favorite it would be Barsa.

Overall: If you enjoyed the previous two books, The Secret of the Dark Forest will be just as enjoyable for you. Otherwise you’ll probably not enjoy it all that much.

TNT: Battle Through the Heavens Chapters 1-40 by Heavenly Silkworm Potato

This week for Translation Necessary Thursday I’m covering the first set of chapters in a series I have yet to cover. It’s Battle Through the Heavens Chapters 1-40 by Heavenly Silkworm Potato!

Plot Synopsis: In a land where no magic is present. A land where the strong make the rules and weak have to obey. A land filled with alluring treasures and beauty, yet also filled with unforeseen danger.  Three years ago, Xiao Yan, who had shown talents none had seen in decades, suddenly lost everything.  His powers, his reputation, and his promise to his mother. What sorcery has caused him to lose all of his powers? And why has his fiancee suddenly shown up 3 since he lost it all?

Plot: The plot of this first set of chapters is pretty good, but slow. This is definitely a foundation building set of chapters.  That’s not a bad thing, since the entire series is 1648 chapters long and is complete, and although not completely translated yet we’ve reached the 700’s in English. It also shares the same universe as two other series by the author, Wu Dong Qian Kun and The Great Ruler. The Great Ruler in particular actually is a sequel to both, with characters from both Battle Through the Heavens and Wu Dong Qian Kun showing up in it for cameos.

Characters: Xiao Yan is probably one of my favorite main characters, for his snark, ruthlessness, and calm demeanor. He’s an excellent main character, and while not as roguish as other main characters I’ve covered before he is pretty good.  The rest of the cast is also great, although I think I enjoy Xun Er the most as a side character.

Overall: This is a great series, and is just a little under half translated, so you’ll have plenty of chapters to read.

For those who like: Xuanhuan, Fantasy, Martial Arts, Cultivation, Alchemy, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Set of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Anime Sunday: Youjo Senki Episode 01 Impressions

This week for Anime Sunday I’m covering one last series from the Winter 2017 Season. It’s my Youjo Senki Episode 01 Impressions!

Plot Synopsis: Youjo Senki takes place in an alternate world’s version of World War I, but there are mages who take the place of aerial support instead of biplanes. In the Rhine there is one very young lieutenant who despite her incredibly young age is quickly gaining her foothold in this world. But there is something a little odd about her and her speech that makes her seem much older than she is…

Plot: The plot of this first episode is really intense, it’s pretty much nonstop action the entire time, and while there are some more low key sections in the episode they are only low key in the term that there isn’t any physical combat occurring. I really enjoyed this first episode and while I have yet to watch the entire season’s worth of episodes it will be watched in the next few days. However based on this first episode I’ll be incredibly surprised if I don’t love the hell out of it.

Characters: Tanya Degurechaff is our heroine, and she’s a feisty little girl who somehow ended up on the front lines in the Rhine theater. She’s not the typical heroine, and that’s all I’ll say about her. The rest of the cast is interesting as well, although Vicky is probably going to end up being my favorite side character.

Art: The art is excellent, by a studio I’ve never heard of NUT before. It was quite well done. I hope the quality sticks throughout the entire run of episodes.

Music: The music was equally as good, although we really didn’t get to hear the opening and ending themes I’m going to guess they are just as good.

Overall: This is definitely a must watch for any Anime fan. Although the subject matter is probably not appropriate for children so don’t watch with them.

For those who like: Fantasy, Military, War Fiction, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters, Amazing Artwork, Great Musical Score.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, but really you ought to give this a chance.

Bookish Wednesday: Soulstone Awakening by J. A. Cipriano

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m looking at the first entry in another LitRPG series. It’s Soulstone Awakening by J. A. Cipriano!

Plot Synopsis: Aaron Hope plays video games, like a lot, just not professionally. When he entered the EpiX! Games! PVP World Championship on a lark, this college senior never expected to make it to the final round, nor to get drugged and shoved into the alpha test for World of Ruul.

Plot: This book tries too hard to be something it shouldn’t be and it has a lot of tropes that have made up the LitRPG genre, stuck in a game, permadeath etc…  Frankly betweeen the somewhat stale premise and the various references that litter the book about other series like Legendary Moonlight Sculptor or Sword Art Online, which aren’t even hidden they are just flat out mentioned, it’s pretty obvious that this is the authors first attempt at writing in the genre. Frankly anything slightly original in this book just doesn’t make up for the pure boredom the story gave me.

Characters: Aaron is a smart ass, and while I tend to enjoy that in a character, the entire cast is pretty unlikable including Aaron. In fact I hated just about every character.

Overall: Stay away from this book, and series. There are plenty of more entertaining and better written series out there for those who want a good LitRPG book.

For those who like: LitRPGs, Mediocrity, Stale Plot, Dull Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Manga Monday: Black Torch by Takaki Tsuyoshi

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This week for Manga Monday I’ve got another Quick Review, although this is a very new series. It’s Black Torch by Takaki Tsuyoshi!

Plot Synopsis: As a descendant of shinobi, Azuma Jirou has been learning ninja techniques his entire life. But in addition to that, Jirou also has the ability to talk to animals. One day when he rescues a strange black cat named Ragou, he learns that the world is filled with spirits called mononoke that can take the form of both people and animals…

Plot: The plot of this first chapter was pretty awesome, and while there were tropes aplenty I didn’t really mind them. That being said some will probably be less excited, but personally I think this might just become a great series in the future. I’ll probably hold off on reading the second (and latest chapter) until there are a lot more chapters to read.

Characters: Jirou is a pretty interesting main character, he’s a pretty slick young man who seems to have his stuff together pretty well, although he is a bit arrogant. Ragou on the other hand is pretty snarky, which was fun. I hope he keeps that quality as the series continues, as I always enjoy snark.

Art: The art is excellent, but given that this is a Shueisha publication I expected nothing less.

Overall: Giving this a go ahead, though with the warning that it’s only got two chapters thus far.

For those who like: Urban Fantasy, Ninjas, Supernatural, Action, Adventure, Drama, Great Plot, Excellent Characters, Awesome Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Bookish Wednesday: Work Experience by Christopher G. Nuttall

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This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the fourth entry in the Schooled in Magic series. It’s Work Experience by Christopher G. Nuttall!

Plot Synopsis:n the summer between Second and Third Year at Whitehall, Emily accompanies Lady Barb on her rounds of the Cairngorm Mountains bringing magical help to the locals and searching for new magicians. For Emily, tired and broken after the events of Study In Slaughter, it should be a chance to relax as well as a visit to a new part of the Nameless World, to put her responsibilities aside and just be herself.

Plot: The plot is pretty good, and we finally get to see a new side of Lady Barb, someone who is increasingly becoming a more central figure in the series. That being said this wasn’t the best entry in the series thus far, I think that honor lies with Lessons in Etiquette.

Characters: We don’t really get introduced to any new people in this latest entry, which is a pity. That being said we get to see Lady Barb and Emily bond, which is nice.

Overall: A good entry in the series, but not the best.