Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hello everyone! I will be taking a break for awhile. Not sure when I will be back. But until then check out all the wonderful blogs on my blogroll and visit Blogcritics!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

'The Demon Ororon' Vol. 1-4 by Hakase Mizuki

ISBN: 1427807329
Format: Paperback, 880pp
Publisher: TOKYOPOP
Pub. Date: December 18, 2007
Price: $19.99

“So it was in the fall of my fifteenth year… that my first love died. He was just some broken guy I picked up on a rainy day… some lonely devil … who had beautiful dark gray eyes… and smelled like blood.”

Don’t expect it to end happily. Not everything does. Don’t expect it to be perfect. Not everything is. Prepare to fall in love and get your heart broken. Prepare to hold your chin up knowing what will come and how it will turn out. You won’t turn away, not because you wouldn’t like to but because you can’t.

When Chiaki meets Ororon he’s sitting in the rain, soaked and hurt, waiting to die. But she takes him home with her, against the advice of her best friend Rika, and treats his wounds. Chiaki is just one of those people with a good heart; a pacifist to her core, she abhors violence, so when she learns that this mysterious man she’s rescued is none other than the King of Hell she isn’t sure what to think. But her heart, which very rarely has anything to do with the head, falls in love with him anyway.

Ororon immediately recognizes Chiaki for what she is and understands why she has been followed all her life by monsters and ghosts, and why she can give them a kind of release. Chiaki is the daughter of an angel and a human, but not just any angel — her father was the Archangel Michael. But can a half breed angel and the Lord of Hell not only coexist but love?

Because Chiaki has saved Ororon’s life he offers to grant her one wish. That wish? For Ororon to stay with her forever, which he grants without a moment's hesitation. But Ororon and Chiaki aren’t going to have it easy. Ororon left his throne and ran into the mortal world, trying to escape the constant assassination attempts made by his older brothers, each of which want the throne for themselves. They aren’t going to stop just because he’s left hell.

With a large cast of characters ranging from the wonderfully cute demon cat brothers Shiro and Kuro, demon house keeper Miss Lucy, Ororon’s brother Othello — not to mention the many evil brothers and demons that come into play — this story moves swiftly and surely toward the inevitable ending.

This is Romeo and Juliet between Hell and Heaven. The damned and the good falling in love and struggling to find that middle ground where life can be lived in all gray tones; where the stark bleak realities of a black and white world don’t overshadow a tender passion surrounded by blood and sin.

The Demon Ororon should be recommended reading for everyone, a timeless story filled with enough gore to keep the guys turning pages while the heart-wrenching love story will keep most girls involved. Not to mention the elongated stylized bodies, and the tilted faces with side long glances that pop from the page and bring each moment into painful reality.

On December 18th Tokyopop is releasing an edition with all four volumes in one. Trust me, you will want to read it this way, because once I finished volume one I couldn’t stop until I had devoured the others. Lose yourself in The Demon Ororon — a story of heartbreak and belonging, of fighting and loving and lessons in how, in the end sometimes, it just doesn’t work out.

Monday, December 3, 2007

'Dancing with Werewolves' by Carole Nelson Douglas

ISBN: 0809572036
Format: Paperback, 240pp
Publisher: Juno Books
Pub. Date: October 2007
Price: $6.99

When the millennium came around a few things changed. But it wasn’t the computers that everyone had prepared themselves for. Instead everything that humans thought of as myth or legend revealed themselves to be true; vampires, werewolves, ghouls, witches, ghosts, and everything else that you think of while hiding under the blanket at 3am. They came out of the closet, and from under the bed, and demanded to be included in society.

Delilah Street was named after where she was found abandoned as a baby. She grew up in an orphanage, the center of constant attacks of one kind or another. Delilah is what she refers to as vampire bait. With black hair and pale creamy skin she has every vampire in a 100 mile area putting the moves on her, or at least trying to. But growing up like that taught Delilah how to defend herself. It also gave her a nose for the paranormal.

Now all grown up, Delilah is working at a paranormal reporter for a small town Kansas TV station. She’s happy there, having carved out her own spot and made herself a fixture with the local residents. She does anything and everything relating to the paranormal. But when a date with her vampire co-worker goes bad, Delilah gets frozen out at work. So with her self respect and the clothes on her back she high tails it to Las Vegas.

Once in Vegas she runs into Ric Montoya, a former FBI agent who has a nose for finding dead bodies. When the two connect over a double grave everything that Delilah knows about herself will change. Haunted by strange alien abduction nightmares and coming to terms with the fact that she might not be completely human, Delilah and Ric unravel the mystery of the dead couple.

The big draw for me with this one is the alternate history. I’ve read several paranormal novels that deal with a world in which vampires and werewolves are everyday things. Some authors handle it better than others and while Douglas’ world isn’t the best I’ve found, it is one that I wouldn’t mind spending some time in.

Carole Nelson Douglas’ writing is crisp and edgy. As I read Delilah’s voice came through loud and clear, a perfect mix of hard-nosed reporter and small town girl. She’s a likable character, the kind that you would quickly become a best friends with. Dancing with Werewolves is a wonderful addition to the paranormal genre and I can only hope that we’ll be seeing Delilah again.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

'The Tarot Cafe' Vol. 6 by Sang-Sun Park

ISBN: 142780396X
Format: Paperback, 192pp
Publisher: TOKYOPOP
Pub. Date: October 2007
Price: $9.99

In the sixth volume of The Tarot Café all of the characters are finally starting to realize they have become pawns in a much larger game. The missing pieces of the broken necklace of Berial that Pamela has been searching for are coming together. Once she has all the pieces if she so chooses she can finally die with Belus’ aid.

Belus meanwhile has realized that Pamela is much more to him than just a means to an end, much more in fact than just a partner in a contract. He has told her that life with her would never be boring, and coming from an immortal being that is saying quite a lot. He has shed blood for her, come to realize that he loves her, and in the end he might even die for her.

There is only one episode in this volume, Episode 17, “Invitation to Hell,” and all the pushing and pulling, the maneuvering by some unseen hand, has finally stopped. The players and the pawns, the characters of the stories have come to face what is inside their hearts.

Pamela finally remembers details of her past and come to see the truth about those in her present. Ash still has not realized that in another life he was Pamela’s lover, her protector and savior. He has no memories of their time together and has come to hate her in this life because he believes she stole Belus’ affection. Ash saw Belus as a father, his best friend and the one person who understood him, but when Belus left Ash to return to Pamela years previously Ash never recovered. Ash would do anything to keep Pamela from stealing Belus, including murdering his former love.

Pamela also learns the true identity of Berial, what his true face is behind the beautiful mask he wears. She comes to realize that it has been his hand all along that had guided her life, ruined her happiness and love. Berial has done nothing but take from Pamela, nothing but play with her life from the very beginning. Can she find a way to escape this dangerous game?

The artwork is stunning, each character beautifully drawn and detailed. Park’s continued fascination with fairy tales and gorgeous men have given the series a distinctive feel, a flavor that is purely Tarot Café, Making this series one of the best rendered manga I have read.

The seventh and final volume will be released in June of 2008. We will see what fate has chosen for Pamela and those around her, whether her love for Belus will be enough to keep him alive. The destiny of the lonely werewolf Aaron and his protector Nebiros; and finally Ash’s fate, lover and betrayer, friend and foe. I can’t imagine it will end too happily but I’ve got my fingers crossed anyway.