Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Detective Jermain


Jermain is a little bit Veronica Mars and a little bit Nancy Drew in this brand new Manga series by Misako Rocks!

Having grown up aggressively pursuing the role of being her father's daughter (he was a famous detective, murdered when she was young - still unsolved) - Jermain manages to find a mystery where others see nothing.

When a teacher and model student die in a car crash, Jermain believes it is somehow linked to the strange, vacant ways students and teachers are beginning to act and the shadowy chemistry teacher. But it's kind of hard to focus on solving it all when Mom is insisting on more college-oriented goals and your two best guy friends are suddenly declaring their more-than-friends feelings. But what else can she expect being a Manga heroine?

I thought it was very fun and breezy. To be honest, I was more interested in the love triangle than the actual mystery - but I thought the whole thing was definitely entertaining. It was a quick read - only took me a day to read it (but I used to blaze through my Archie comics, so maybe that's just me).

Thing is, at the end - I wanted more. Yep. The whole love triangle thing has sucked me in. No big surprise there, I guess. I was always obsessed with Archie-Betty-Veronica (I always rooted for Betty).


However, I did have some problems following along here and there with the way the picture squares (or whatever you call them) were set up. And I kind of wish there had been more story involving the mystery so I could kind of care about it...

But Jermain managed to win me over by the end, despite her bordering-on-annoying-perkiness and her being so clueless over her hot friends. She became more likable, and the story really just flew off the page in a rapid-fast, delightful manner.

So, despite the couple of minor complaints - count me in when it comes to Volume 2. I'll be there.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Down to a Sunless Sea


Mathias B. Freese's Down to a Sunless Sea is a collection of highly acclaimed short stories ranging from a slice of life look at a young Jewish boy's upbringing to the edgier and darker glance at a suicidal, deformed man's struggle.

Every character is expertly drawn and vivid. Freese obviously knows how to write about completely and totally different characters, each one being loudly distinct and bold in their own right, though admittedly sometimes a bit too disturbing for my taste. Each story is written in such a way as to never be boring or even slightly dull.

However, am I a big fan of short stories? No. And it's nothing against this collection in particular, it is more the genre in general. I like to follow characters for as many pages as possible and really get involved deeply in their lives, and I never feel I can with short stories. I'm sure there are many, many reader's who disagree with this and are able to have strong connections with short story characters but I'm afraid I'm not one of them. To me, it's kind of like being introduced to a fascinating person and then never seeing them again. Your interest is sparked, but you don't get the payoff or satisfaction that a novel (in my opinion) brings.

Plus, there is the feeling of profound confusion I get when the story seems to abruptly end. Again, this is probably my own lack of understanding and appreciation of the overall idea of a short story - so don't take this so much as a critique of Down to a Sunless Sea but more a general assessment of my take on it. My thirst was not quenched, so to speak.

BUT, as I said, the writing is crisp and daring - sometimes shockingly so - and I would easily recommend this to any fan of short stories. Especially readers who enjoy deciphering the puzzling, abstract, sudden end of each foray into these character's lives.