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Reviews from November 2021 (20)

My Baby Shot Me Down

Our Violent Ends  (These Violent Delights, volume 2)

By Chloe Gong  

29 Nov, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

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2021’s Our Violent Ends is the second and final volume in Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights duology. 

To paraphrase the Bard:

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Shanghai, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. 
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers (…) 

The two households in question are the Scarlet Gang and the White Flowers, the two gangs that hold Shanghai in their grip. The two star-cross’d loves are the Scarlet Gang’s Juliette Cai and the White Flower’s Roma Montagov, both as smitten with each other as they are high in the councils of their respective families’ gangs. 

When last we saw our leads, their rekindled love affair hit a minor road bump. As far as Roma knows, Juliette murdered the White Flower’s Marshall Seo in cold blood. Outraged, his love turns to hate. Now Roma is determined to kill Juliette as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

At least, that’s what he tells himself.

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Years Go By

The Doonesbury Chronicles

By G. B. Trudeau  

28 Nov, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

2 comments

G. B. Trudeau’s 1975 The Doonesbury Chronicles collects 501 daily Doonesbury strips first published between Oct. 26, 1970, and Dec. 20, 1974, as well as seventy-nine Sunday strips from Dec. 27, 1970, to Dec. 221974

October 26, 1970: crudely drawn football quarterback B.D.” meets equally poorly drawn roommate Mike Doonesbury for the first time.

It is an unpromising beginning of more than a half-century of daily and Sunday weekly cartoons ranging from slice of life to political commentary.

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O Death

Apprentice Shrine Maiden, volume 4

By Miya Kazuki  (Translated by Quof)

24 Nov, 2021

Translation

1 comment

2016’s Apprentice Shrine Maiden, Volume 4 is the fourth and final volume in the second arc of Miya Kazuki’s Ascendance of a Bookworm secondary fantasy world series. The 2020 English translation is by Quof.

Urano has built — well, more stumbled into — as comfortable a life as she could expect under the circumstances. Reborn after a fatal book-related accident into the body of a sickly peasant girl named Myne living in the city-state of Ehrenfest, she has used her memories of a wide variety of arts and crafts to enrich herself by upending the local economy. The malady that threatens her health also makes her a prodigious source of valuable mana; this has earned her a position as a shrine maiden despite the social impediment presented by her adopted family’s low status. 

She is about to get a pointed lesson about power and law in the archaic society in which she is living.

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All Your Dreams of The Future

We Are Legion (We Are Bob)  (Bobiverse, volume 1)

By Dennis E. Taylor  

23 Nov, 2021

Special Requests

4 comments

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) is the first volume in Dennis E. Taylor’s Bobiverse hard science fiction series. 

Having made a bundle selling his company, InterGator Software, Bob Johansson arranges for his head to be cryogenically preserved in the event of his untimely death. This proves incredibly prudent because having signed the contract, he is almost immediately struck and killed by truck-kun.

One hundred and seventeen years later, Bob regains consciousness. At least, an artificial intelligence that thinks of itself as Bob is activated by researcher Dr. Landers.

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That Transfigures You and Me

Red Moon and Black Mountain  (House of Kendreth, volume 1)

By Joy Chant  

21 Nov, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

4 comments

Red Moon and Black Mountain is the first volume in Joy Chant’s House of Kendreth trilogy.

Siblings Oliver, Penny, and Nicholas Powell set out to explore Essex. Thanks to the intervention of an arcane being, the trio are transported from England to Vandarei. Vandarei needs heroes of a very special sort and English school children have the necessary qualifications.

Penny and Nicholas arrive together but Oliver, somewhat in the lead of his younger siblings, arrives somewhere else entirely. 

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Waitin’ For the Day Your Ship’ll Come In

Far from the Light of Heaven

By Tade Thompson  

19 Nov, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

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Tade Thompson’s 2021 Far from the Light of Heaven is a stand-alone science fiction novel. 

Starflight is challenging but routine. Michelle Shell” Campion’s father may have made the history books by vanishing mysteriously in space; but Shell does not expect to earn even a footnote. And why should she? Shell may be second-in-command on Ragtime but this is a sinecure. Starship Ragtimes captain is an infallible AI and there will be no need for human input. 

Shell’s expectations are too humble. She makes the history books, in the worst way possible.

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Fairy Tale

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

By Susanna Clarke  

18 Nov, 2021

Special Requests

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Susanna Clarke’s 2004 Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a stand-alone historical fantasy novel1.

In 1806, John Segundus raises a question that many in York’s society of magicians would prefer not to have been asked. Once the North was dominated by the Raven King, whose sorcery is the stuff of legend. Why, then, is there no more magic done in England? 

York’s magicians being theoretical2 rather than practical, some among them feel the question makes as much sense as expecting astronomers to rearrange the stars. In fact, Segundus’ question is incorrect but not for that reason. In fact, there remains at least one practical magician in England: wealthy, antisocial, arrogant Gilbert Norrell. 

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Hello In There

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, volume 1

By Kanehito Yamada & Tsukasa Abe  (Translated by Misa)

17 Nov, 2021

Translation

1 comment

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, Volume 1 is the first collection of the ongoing Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End (Japanese: 葬送のフリーレン, Hepburn: Sōsō no Furīren) fantasy manga series. Written by Kanehito Yamada and illustrated by Tsukasa Abe, Frieren has been serialized in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday since April 2020. The 2021 English translation is by Misa Japanese Ammo.” 

Adventurers Himmel (the hero), Heiter (cleric), Eisen (warrior), and Frieren (mage) spent ten years together vanquishing the Demon King. Once the foe is defeated, the elven sorcerer bids her companions goodbye and heads off to pursue her lifelong hobby: seeking out magical arcana. 

Fifty years later Frieren returns for magical loot she left with Himmel. She discovers that humans age faster than elves. Who knew? 

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