The Grim Reaper and an Argent Cavalier by Irono

*This Review is Spoiler Free*

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*Sorry, this post is a little late, courtesy of my wondrous procrastination skills. I’ll get to everyone’s comments soon.

The Grim Reaper and an Argent Cavalier (or Shinigami to Gin no Kishi) is another random pick from Crunchyroll’s online collection that caught the attention of my superficial eye. Well that and the fact I just finished re-watching Kabeneri, wanted more thrilling action and (un?)death, saw the words “Grim Reaper” and went for it.  

Synopsis:

In a world where humans live at the mercy of the Grim Reaper and the Larvae, his soul-devouring monsters, one young man sets foot on a thorny path to protect everything he holds dear—even if it means falling into darkness himself…

-Crunchyroll

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Rating: 7/10 Unicorn Horns!

Overall the story isn’t bad, and i did enjoy reading it, but I just couldn’t help but feel it could have been MUCH better. While it definitely has some pretty good elements, it occasionally dips into too common tropes (primarily when it comes to the main character: Cyan). This is something I found pretty disappointing, since it really takes away from a lot of the more thrilling moments. Overall the few twists and group of side characters made this a pretty good read. For only about 6 volumes a good amount happens, but I think it would have benefited from being a little longer.

The characters are likeable with a few that genuinely had me wanting to learn more about them. That being said, I actually found most of the other main cast and side characters much more appealing than the two main pair. In fact it is because of them and a few pretty unique elements that made me give this a 7 instead of a 6 rating. The world building didn’t stand out too much for me (I really don’t remember much about it), but those few characters certainly did. 

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I wanted to review this, but while writing realized I really can’t say much about it without spoiling something 😅 lol, so that’s all I can say about it. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for an entertaining, light, short read to pass the time with. Despite it’s length it’s got a good amount of action, magic, twists, drama, and touch of romance to go with it.

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All Hallows’ Reads- Ajin by Tsuina Miura & Gamon Sakurai

*This Review is Spoiler Free*

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Much like Pandora Hearts and Vinland Saga I actually have my local public library to thank for this one as I came across this wonderful series while browsing the adult manga shelf section. I’d never heard of it before hand, but as someone who grew up watching  shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer I took one look at the cover and fell in love. I tried to resist getting into it after looking it up and noticing it was an on-going series (I’ve mentioned before the madness that plagues me when waiting for a good series to be released), but after a couple months of the premise and cover haunting me every time I thought of what to read next I finally caved. Even with the insanity inducing cliffhanger of the latest volume I read I don’t regret it.

I won’t give away anything beyond the first 25pgs (about halfway through the 1st chapter) as the less you know going in the better. Ajin is set in an alternative universe where the existence of immortal humans called Ajin or Demi-humans were only recently discovered. These very rare people, said to have additional powers and not considered human by the Japanese government and general population where the story takes place, are systematically rounded up by the government as soon as their existence becomes known. What becomes of these humans under the government’s care is not well known, though recent rumors hint at a horrifying existence: extreme and cruel human experimentation. Though hunting Demi-humans is a very difficult task given the fact that the only way to find one is to watch as they come back to life. Unfortunately for the main character of this story Kei Nagai, an intelligent high schooler well on his way to a medical profession, this shocking event is exactly what happens to him in on the way home from school with the eyes of dozens of onlookers. Nagai quickly realizes the position he’s in and takes off, leaving family and false friends behind, but not before reaching out to the one person he believes may still be on his side.

Though they are both different stories in their own rights it’s contrasting premise to another series I recently reviewed, Immortal Hounds, has really added to my interest in both (though I read Ajin long before Immortal Hounds was published).

So far Ajin is a pretty condensed story with plenty of action and progression in each chapter, and unique characters to go along with it. The story itself has been amazing with quite a few unexpected and surprising events (sometimes horrifying and a bit bloody) with enough to hook you within the first 30 pages, but in addition to that this story has a great antagonist and a very unusual protagonist. I knew from the beginning that something seemed a bit off about Nagai (the protagonist), but it took me awhile to put my finger on it. Though I won’t come right out and say it I will, however, say that this aspect or characteristic makes Nagai an anti-hero and is something (which the 2015 anime adaptation unfortunately fails to convey) that feels central to the story and that I really love about this series. I also really enjoyed how even though we get to see the POV of other characters central to the story (the antagonists, the police force chasing Nagai, and a few others), the focus remains on the main character. I can’t wait to see how this story progresses between the bad-ass antagonist (seriously, I am often in awe of his tactics…which leaves me feeling morally conflicted lol), protagonists, and the additional characters in between.

Ajin is something I wouldn’t recommend to everyone, namely those who steer clear of anything involving blood, horror, or murder, but would recommend to anyone who is looking for a good story (without fillers), and unique characters that make lasting impressions. 8/10 Unicorn Horns

Immortal Hounds by Ryo Yasohachi

*This Review is Spoiler Free*

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I randomly happened to pick this one up during my “walk through” the bookstore a.k.a 3hr book hunt. I’d never heard of this fairly newly released book before, the mangaka a.k.a author or the manga itself, but I decided the bad-ass looking cover coupled with the interesting title made it worth checking out, though to be honest I actually thought it wouldn’t be interesting enough for me to want to keep it. I was wrong. This was a really good read that exceeded my expectations on every point. The characters weren’t bland, the plot, though consisting of themes not entirely original, wasn’t at all generic and I think Yasohachi successfully made the story his own. 

I won’t go into much detail past the first couple pages or reveal anything past the 2nd chapter as the mystery and desire to put all the puzzle pieces together is part of why I’ll now be stalking each release date, but this story is set in an alternative universe where humans are immortal.  Things start off with a bang…literally, and surrounds two opposing characters- Shin’ichi Kenzaki, a young detective hunting and detaining humans infected with RDS (Resurrection Deficiency Syndrome), and a mysterious woman part of those known as ‘Escape Artists’ who show up to snatch such humans away from the Task Force, generally in a very violent manner. In a world where humans have taken to killing themselves to ‘reset’ and heal from any illnesses/injures RDS is a new and very terrifying disease that turns humans mortal. Kenzaki’s job (which he is hell bent on completing) is to hunt these offending people, called Vectors, no longer considered human by the government and send them to a facility for extermination, but the Anti-Vector Police Task Force begins to meet opposition when an Escape Artist comes tearing through the scene sending limbs flying to rescue these infected humans (though actual deaths are rare queasy readers should stay clear).

Though the whole immortality thing has been toyed with many times already I don’t know of any other stories that have put this type of twist on it. It was very interesting to see the Yasohachi’s take on how widespread human immortality would change and effect human society and can’t wait to delve deeper into this world, no seriously, why isn’t the next volume out yet?! Yasohachi’s world building and pacing are great and I’m pretty surprised it’s not more popular…could be that I’m just really out of touch lol. One thing I absolutely love about this series so far is how everything is just a big shade of grey. The good and bad sides are not clearly defined leaving readers to make their own conclusions, and the character’s moral stances are often in question. The story is amazing so far with tons of unanswered questions I’m dying to have answered, and (THANK GOD) the story ended with me needing more in my life ASAP but not feeling like I’d go completely insane, wondering about in a confused daze, having violent outbursts directed at the people in charge of the release dates, and not knowing what to do with my life while waiting. Though the 3 week wait helps. As you could probably already tell, I despise cliffhangers lol.

 

Clearly there were plenty – characters, events, hints towards future events, and lack of information- to keep me coming back for more I’ll definitely continue collecting this series and recommend it to anyone looking for a good sci-fi, mystery, action, or really to anyone who wouldn’t be put off  by the violence. 

7.5 Unicorn Horns for now, but with the exception of getting a higher rating in later volumes.

Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

*This Review is Spoiler Free*

Tell The Wolves I'm Home

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Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt follows June Elbus, a 14 y.o. girl who has just lost her uncle/bestfriend Finn to an illness that her family refuses to name. At Finn’s funeral June notices an unfamiliar man hovering at the outskirts of the funeral proceedings and at a later date receives a package from this stranger as well as an invitation to meet. June accepts the invitation and proceeds to form a kinship with the stranger, Toby. Toby turns out to be her late uncle’s partner and is able to help June along her grief process as well as helping her discover/realize things about Finn and her relationship with him.

I remember closing this book for the last time, looking around me and just wanting someone to talk to about the book. I pretty much walked around in a blur for a week trying to regain my composure and return to reality. This book is an emotional read, and I feel like most of the connection some readers are able to make is purely based on emotions and the subject matters of death, AIDS in the 80/90s and how it was handled, and homophobia.

I really really enjoyed this book. I would re-read it (…probably more than once). But, when I do, I would make sure to read it more critically. My first read was purely with my heart…so I am the first to admit that my rating is incredibly biased. With that said I am giving this novel a 7-out-of-10 unicorn horns.