Mystic by Jason Denzel

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Now let go of fears. Give yourself the gift of not attaching to your worries. Show…how you give thanks for this precious life…sing me a song about you.

That one quote (edited cuz, well, spoilers) and the scene that went with it was actually a game changer for me, despite my initial feelings. This one was a random Bookoutlet find, and is one among many I picked up while binge buying fantasy series.

Synopsis: In a world of magic welders known as Mystics, and an inescapable caste system that dictates where you must live out your life, Pomella yearns to learn of the magic reserved strictly for nobles. And Pomella, much to her distress, is far from royal. That is until she receives an invitation from the prestigious High Mystic to become her apprentice. Now, with significant handicaps and a dire consequence if she fails, she must compete against 3 other nobles for the right to be the Mistresses apprentice.

Rating: 6.5/10 Unicorn Horns

I was actually pretty conflicted about this one. It’s a pretty good story, and I love the world set up, but the not so great parts stuck out too much for me to ignore. So I’ll break this up and start with the negative, ending on the positive side.

The Negative:

Main Character Pomella. You know there’s an issue when you’re 170 pages in and still trying to find reasons to like a character. I couldn’t help but be bothered by how immature and downright disrespectful she was. While I actually like snarky, and smart-ass characters, Pomella just came off as someone who is completely self-centred. Most of these actions are done under the guise of “independence”, which I was attempting to make the stretch to understand, but then her actions not 2 chapters later completely undermine all that. Which brings me to the second negative.

The romance. Nothing wrong with it in and of itself. I didn’t mind the hints of romance at the beginning, the issue came up later. It all eventually just started to feel really out of place considering Pomella’s situation, and her constant need to make her own way by herself- something she voices throughout the story. A. Lot. 

Alternative book cover (link)

The Positive:

The world building was easy to follow, and we learn along with Pomella, which was nice and info-dump free. From the abundant and mysterious spirit-like animals in the forests, to the nature filled settings, their environment is something I loved reading about.

While the story line, could maybe count as both, as it has it’s up and downs, overall I enjoyed it. It was the story and the music centred magic that kept me going when Pomella made me want to stop. Unfortunately the most amazing part of this story is in the last 7 or so chapters, but with some significant character growth from Pomella those chapters alone made me think it was worth reading. 

Lastly there was the other characters.  It was really refreshing to read a straight up fantasy featuring such a diverse cast of characters. While I don’t feel there was much depth to them, they were all undoubtedly more interesting than Pomella.  In fact, one of the major balms to putting up with Pomella was the alternative male POV, Sim. His attachment to Pomella (something that’s put out there from the first couple pages) will forever boggle my mind, but was otherwise the more interesting of the two. But of course there was the game changing character. This is the one behind the above quote who’s existence made me change my mind about writing this book off.  Of course they don’t appear till well into the book, but even if Pomella didn’t show significant growth with their help, this character would have made me want to read more just to hear more about them. 

So, I Will of course be picking up the next instalment July next year. But would only recommend this if you’re more of a story driven reader.

Mystic Dragon US cover


Injection Vol. 1, by Ellis (story), Shalvey (art), & Bellaire (colour)


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I’ve done a novel and manga/anime review this new year, but realized it’s been quite a while since I’ve done a graphic novel review, so why not? Came across this one, once again, at the local library (I thank God every day for it’s existence). Of course, the cover is what made me pick this one up, no surprise there. But the title and a quick flip through the first couple pages also had me wanting to take it home with me. 


Once upon a time, there were five crazy people and they poisoned the 21st century.

That little blurb pretty much sums things up better that I could. The story starts with a meeting at Sawling Hospital where we meet one of five major characters, Professer Maria Killbride. It’s clear from the get go that Killbride is there for a good reason, but despite that a company known as the FPI (Finest Production Industries) is in need of her brand of genius and are quick to contract her help.  From there we go on to meet the other four main characters Brigid Roth, Dr. Robin Morel, Vivek Headland, and Simon Winters, each with there own problems. 

pg. 1


My Rating: 9/10 Unicorn Horns!

So far this diverse group of characters and the mysterious story has me hooked. We get a snippet at the beginning that shows how these five characters met- as the new found Cross-contamination Unit brought together by a university, the Ministry of Time and Measurement, and FPI in, I assume, England. Though the faces shown in that past are completely different (with one exception) from the faces shown in present day.

First Meeting (pg. 5)

Present Day (pg. 8)

There isn’t a single character I didn’t find myself liking or interested in. We get to know a bit about Brigid, Robin, and Simon, though Vivek is still a bit an interesting mystery. Their back and forth intertwining story-lines had me confused for a second, but seeing the contrast in their personalities, past to present, made me hella curious to see what the heck they did/created to make them look like hell (something we finally catch a tantalizing glimpse of towards the end).

To be honest, I wasn’t even sure how to classify this series. It’s set in modern day with a blend of biology/physics, computers science, folklore, and, I guess, magic. The five geniuses (specializing in a broad range of fields) were put together to create and invent something that would inspire the future. So their creation has a bit of each of their diverse types of intelligence in it (hence my difficulty to classify things). This all just made me that much more interested in the story as a whole. The action, mystery, eerie atmosphere, and the sometimes unexpected humour were very well done (more than a couple unexpected jokes had me going).

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pgs. 52-53

Then there’s the artwork which was, overall, pretty eye catching. The otherworldly feel and downright eeriness of the story came to life with the images and colouring. I can’t say there wasn’t some awkwardness here and there, an oddly flowing scene here and an oddly drawn panel there, but didn’t come across it enough to be bothered by it in the face of all the usual beauty.

All in all it was a very good start to what looks like a promising series. I’d recommend this series to any paranormal fiction, mystery, or science fantasy. Just a heads up, like with most Image comics I’ve read they don’t shy away from swearing, and there are a couple scene with some mild gore (never thought there’d come a day I could classify gore levels). Though if that doesn’t bother you I hope you’ll give this one some time. I’ll defiantly be keeping up with this series, and look forward to reading more! 

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pg. 18



Golden Kamuy, Vol. 1 by Satoru Noda

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I actually never heard of, or seen this series before reading it. It’s just one from the (always) giant pile of random books I recently picked without reading the synopsis from the library. And I have to say I’m glad I decided to pick up so many unheard of books this time around, because I’ve found a few gems I know I’d never have picked up to read if I’d know what it was about before hand.

Synopsis: A recent war veteran dubbed Saichi “Immortal” Sugimoto finds himself dishonourably discharged, and desperately searching the wild mountains of Hokkaido for gold in postwar gold rush 1904. Of course he finds nothing, except an old man with an interesting story: a ruthless man murdered a group of Ainu (Japanese First Nations), stole their giant pile of gold, and was caught and imprisoned. Once the secret of the large gold mine got out, with all the people-government and otherwise- wanting a piece, escape became impossible. So what did this man do? In the hopes of getting a message to his allies, he tattooed cryptic instructions of where he left the gold on all his prison mates with the promise to share with them. They stage a prison break, and succeed.

Now of course Sugimoto doesn’t believe a word, until a bear attack and dead body later, when he gets to see the unique tattoos himself. While protecting this body from said bear, help comes from an unexpected ally, an Ainu girl who’s father was a victim of the murdering thief. The two form an unlikely bond while surviving the bear attack and begin working together to hunt down the prisoners. One for the gold, the other for revenge.

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pgs 61-62

Rating: 8.5/10 Unicorn Horns

This was a very different story from what I’m used to reading, so I was surprised to find myself liking it so much. Despite the historical setting and mystery (two things I enjoy, just not together), the story line and where it’s heading were more than enough to make me change my mind. Things get a bit graphic here and there once they start hunting down prisoners, but things never felt needlessly gruesome. I gave it such a high rating for it’s uniqueness. The story may be similar to others, but incorporates a fair amount of original ideas- like the multitude of referenced info about Ainu people I loved learning. 

golden kamui 2 001pg 95

I can’t say much about the setting since I know next to nothing about 1904 Japan, but I enjoyed the learning experience, especially when they took to the wilds. Noda gives tons of descriptions which made things feel more realistic. As for the characters, with the exception of one, I have no complaints. Sugimoto is a wonderfully complex ex-soldier who is decidedly unapologetic about taking lives if he’s threatened. Yet he’s also an intelligent, compassionate, and very capable fighter who shows hints of the recklessness and emotional instability born of surviving the horrors of war.

golden kamui 001pg 91

Even one of the inmates and the hints of future antagonists, each having their own unique personalities, were fascinating to read/watch. Which all made the lack that is Asirpa, the young Ainu girl who becomes Sugimoto’s partner, pretty confusing. Though she’s clearly very intelligent and can hold her own in a fight, I found her fading to the background among Sugimoto and minor characters. I was pretty disappointed with her, but to be fair this is only the first volume. We get quite a bit of Sugimoto’s background, and learn about his motives and personality, so it’s my guess Asirpa, as the secondary main character, will be fleshed out as a character in a later volume.

Regardless this was a great read and I’m really looking forward to checking out the next volume. I actually have no idea who to recommend this to, seeing as how I would have never in my life picked this up. So I guess if anything I’ve said about this series in my review interests you, please give it a try! Thanks for reading =)downloadg.jpg 



The Beauty, Vol. 1 by Jason A. Hurley & Jeremy Haun

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To be completely honest I had actually completely forgotten I had this book in my collection. I was doing a major bookshelf dusting and was on the shelf holding my graphic novels when BAM! I got to this cover and was unnervingly surprised. I lovingly…and possibly a little creepily…consider all my books “my children”, so to come across one I barely remember receiving as a gift was quite the shock. So of course considering I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately (hence the recent overabundance of manga/comic reviews lol), but am almost always up for a bit of horror I decided to give this neglected volume some much needed love. 

Synopsis: I like to put things in my own words, but the opening first few pages honestly sum things up quite perfectly so I can’t help but just quote it (Pgs 1-2 of The Beauty):

Two years ago , a new sexually transmitted disease took the world by storm. This S.T.D. was unlike any other that had come before. This was a disease that people actually wanted. “Victims” of this epidemic were physically changed by the virus. Fat melted away, thinning hair returned, skin blemishes faded, and their facial features slimmed. It became known as the beauty. The beauty quickly became a fad. Suddenly, perfect skin, flawless features, and a gorgeous body were only one sexual encounter away.

The only downside appeared to be a slight fever, but that didn’t seem to slow many people down. Now, over half the population has the beauty, and the other half of the country hates them for it. Anti-beauty cells have popped up around the nation. The majority teach preservation, reminding everyone that the beauty is still a disease. A few, however, have taken a more aggressive approach to stopping the spread of the beauty…

Image from Pg 3. of The Beauty

Rating: 9/10 Unicorn Horns!

A page after such an intriguing introduction to the modern world setting of The Beauty, we meet detectives Foster and Vaughn of the local city’s Beauty Task Force as they respond to the possible anti-beauty murder of a young woman. Only once they arrive at the scene it’s clear things aren’t as they appear as the young woman, by all appearances, looked instead to have spontaneously combust while traveling on the train. Things are quickly complicated even further when the case is quickly pulled from them by the Center for Disease Control by “Federal mandate”. This leads both detectives Foster and Vaughn (an unwilling carrier of ‘the beauty’) to look into the buried secrets behind the mysterious STD and those seeming to keep this horrific secret from the general public.  

Honestly…I don’t have much negative things to say about the first installment of what looks to be a very promising adult series. The story had a really good flow to it and was riddled with action, thriller, conspiracies, and a great diverse group of characters. One thing I loved was the bits of real life socially controversial thoughts and ideas about beauty woven in here and there. The art was visually appealing, and though I can’t say the main characters were personally among my favorites they were very well created and felt pretty genuine. The only reason it’s not a 10/10 is purely because of personal reasons. I would recommend this to just about every story loving adult, but warn about explicit violence, language, and a couple nude and censored sexually explicit scenes. This was an amazing start to a series with such a unique idea I couldn’t praise it enough!

Wayward: String Theory, Vol. 1 by Zub, Cummings, Rauch, Bonvillain, & Dillon

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Hey mom…I’ve been seeing invisible glowing lines in the air that lead me to important places or terrifying supernatural shit

I picked this one up by random…okay, no, that’s a lie. I picked this up and decided to review it purely because it has a ton of kitties on the cover accompanied by a chick looking like she’s ready to kick-ass. Other than that I knew nothing about this series going into it. So never expected to find that this story is almost like a Japanese comic (manga) in American comic form. 6.5/10 Unicorn Horns.

Synopsis: This story, largely translated from Japanese, begins with main character Rori Lane moving from her father in Ireland to start over with her mother in Japan. On her way home from giving her new settings in Tokyo a quick tour she gets surrounded by a clan of cats, attacked by kappa (monsters/demons from Japanese Folklore), and saved by a strange cat-like girl. This of course, along with the strange red threads only she can see, leaves her beyond confused. As she obeys her urge to follow these threads before a dark threat descends over the city, she’s lead to dive further into her strange new power, and unveil the “patterns” to the puzzle of ‘what the heck is going on?’. These patterns often lead her to a variety of new people. All with strange powers of their own.

wayward_chapter1.pngpgs. 4-5 of Wayward, Vol. 1

Overall I enjoyed this story and liked all the characters- Rori, Shirai (Rori’s first friend who has strange powers of his own and must eat living spirits in order to survive), the strange-cat-girl named Ayane, and others we meet later on. Though I have to admit, the dialogue/character interactions felt off here and there. I also can’t say the story always flowed well, as there were some odd transitions and things that didn’t quite add up or felt choppy/rushed. Either way this urban fantasy is set in a different country from what I’m use to (outside of most manga/anime I’ve read/seen), and riddled with Japanese Folklore which makes it very unique in many ways, and stands out from the crowd (there are notes in the back of the book providing snippets of background information). 

The pictures on the other hand were beautiful and I LOVED all the pretty colours. According to the forward at the beginning of this volume the scenes of Tokyo, the high school Rori attends, the city’s people, and the overall feel of Japan were truthful depictions of the country as opposed to an Americanized and glorified view. I’ve never been to Japan so can’t really comment, but will say that it was pretty cool seeing a realistic depiction of Japan in comic format (again outside of some manga/anime). 

Though the execution of the story wasn’t the best the overall idea is very intriguing, and with the way the 1st volume ended I get the feeling things will get better. Much better. I can honestly say I am looking forward to more. This wasn’t a favorite, but I’d still recommend this to most urban fantasy, folklore (especially from Japan), and superpower fans.

A Silent Voice By Yoshitoki Oima

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Bullying, miscommunication, and atonement. This is by far one of my all time favorite manga series: 10/10 Unicorn Horns! I’d been a little hesitant to review this series, but this is such a powerful story. With the movie now out (depending on your region) I decided to finally review the manga that I found so incredibly moving. So in my unashamed attempt to convince you that “you need this series in your life“, here’s a link to the beautiful, short, spoiler free trailer of the movie- I CANNOT WAIT to see- on YouTube, and of my review:

A Silent Voice- Official Trailer


Synopsis: In the first volume A Silent Voice (a.k.a Koe no Katachi), before jumping ahead 6 years, surrounds young and very adventurous elementary student Shoya. Jumping off bridges, play fighting, getting into trouble, Shoya is a typical crazy daredevil whose friends join him in his everyday “battle against boredom”. While trying to think of the next great adventure they get a new transfer student, a young girl named Shoko Nishimiya. Being new isn’t what catches Shoya’s attention, it’s the way she introduces herself- using a pen and notebook. Nishimiya is hearing impaired. This of course leads to a ton of curiosity from classmates. Unfortunately this lighthearted curiosity quickly begins to take a turn for the worse as misunderstandings build into a frustration that results in deeply scaring both Nishimiya and Shoya.   

Koe no Katachi

It is narrated from the point of view of Shoya, the one responsible for instigating the bullying and harassment that eventually forced Nishimiya to transfer schools. And that, the POV, is something that I found so incredible about this series. To be completely honest, as someone who has been on the receiving end, I may have never picked this up if I had known it would be from the point of view of the bully, but after some internal struggling I came to really like the 17yr old Shoya in spite of everything. 

This story manages to bring up a ton of important themes, strong emotions, and issues- depression, self-loathing, shame, a bit of social anxiety, etc.- but more than that I think this story is also about unheard voices. The rest of the story really starts when six years after the so very incredibly infuriating events in elementary Shoya, using the same sign language he scorned, reaches out to Nishimiya, making a tentative attempt to apologize for what he did. This leads to an emotional journey that had a real impact on me, where characters struggle to develop the ability to truly listen and to make their voices heard.

Through the diverse group of characters, personality wise, that come to surround Shoya and Nishimiya you get to see a side of each person’s painfully real and unique voice, as well as dive into the issues with human communication/ miscommunication and of bullying- primarily dealing with the aftermath of it. There wasn’t a single character, major and minor alike, that felt out of place or unrealistic in their emotions. I recommend this all-feels-train of a series to just about everyone.

Zeros by Scott Westerfeld

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I can’t say I love all his books, but I will say I am definitely a fan of Scott Westersfeld. So I was genuinely excited about his new series Zeroes…well new at the time seeing as this was published late in 2015. Aside from the author the premise seemed pretty interesting as well so, like with many of his books, I added it to my collection.

Zeroes is YA about a group of diverse teenagers born with special, and somewhat unique/original abilities. The story bounces from each of  six main character’s POVs, but starts off with just two, Ethan and Kelsey. Ethan (code name Scam) has just come from a date and using his unique ability- he thinks of something he wants, walks up to a person, and a foreign voice comes out of his mouth with enough intimate knowledge about the person to charm them into just about anything- tries to get himself a ride home. Unfortunately for him his ability appears to have a somewhat dark side, and ends up getting him into a very complicated situation where he’s forced to call up his old friends (Crash, Flicker, Anonymous, and Bellweather A.K.A Glorious Leader) each with there own special ability. 

Kelsey (A.K.A. Mob), a mysterious girl with the ability to feel the pulse an flow of a crowd and influence it, pulling or pushing them along with her moods, is mainly focused on just enjoying this crowd riding feeling at parties. Though all this fun comes to a screeching halt the night she crosses paths with Ethan and finds her father in deep trouble.

I honestly can’t tell if I really liked this group of characters or not. Watching them as they learning to use and control their abilities was pretty compelling, and I found myself anticipating the moments when they learned new aspects of their gifts, questioned their abilities, and revealed snippets of their childhood struggle with what they were and could do. But other than a few moments here and there, I can’t really say I loved any of them. The flow of the story and the diversity (race, economic background, gender, physical abilities, and overall personality) of the characters kept things interesting enough that even with less liked characters I didn’t feel the usual need to skip right over someones POV. The story line wasn’t action-around-every-corner interesting, but had a really nice flow going for it, balancing action with character insight and development.

Overall this was a good start to an interesting series. 7/10 Unicorn Horns