Manga Classics: The Count of Monte Cristo by Crystal S. Chan (Story Adaptation), Nokman Poon (Art) & Alexandre Dumas
My Rating: 5 Stars
Once again, a brilliant adaptation of the original into a Manga Classic! It keeps the dramatic atmosphere and the gripping suspense of the most complex classic revenge story.
This is the story of a young man that had a bright life ahead of him. He was to become captain of his own ship, marry the love of his life and save his father from poverty. Until, on his wedding day, he's arrested for a crime he didn’t commit and is sent to an isolated prison with no contact with the outside world. After digging into the cell next door, he becomes friends with an old man that helps him discover the truth about his arrest and carefully plans his revenge. Giving invaluable information about a hidden treasure, the old man teaches Edmond everything he knows. As the years' pass, Edmond Dantes is a changed man with a single goal in life: make the people that betrayed him suffer as he did and take everything from them.
A masterpiece that still gives me pleasure in reading. It’s a complex story full of betrayals, murder, blackmails and hidden businesses.
The story is engaging and the complexity of the plot is addictive. Much like the original, the manga was able to keep the same emotion and suspense that defines this French classic in 400 pages. In end, it motivated me to read the translated version of the original again.
The story has been shortened quite a bit but Crystal was able to keep all the important details that keep the story attached and that leave no loose strings. The plot follows the story of the Count and his path to execute his revenge. This is the perfect book for the readers that don’t want to go through the 1000-page original.
The style of writing is faithful to the translated copy but the language is simplified in certain scenes. I imagine that it’s for the reader to be able to fully understand the story.
There is a big number of characters in the manga and for me, it was easy to recognise who is who. The designs are unique to each character, going from facial expressions to the dressing details. I’ve read the novel before and the drawing of these characters go in line with the way I imagined them.
The visuals are captivating and beautifully created. There is a special attention to detail; from the dresses and the suits to the prison itself and Edmond’s home. I could hear the noises in the street and walk around in this world. It definitely pulls the reader in and doesn’t let go until they fall in love with the story and this reality.
I highly recommend this adaptation to both readers that already know the original story and those that didn’t read it yet.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Udon Entertainment, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
After the shocking events that left a grieving Sebastian Braddock, Evelyn wants to put an end to the reign of Captain Goode. As he used his and Sebastian’s powers to kill everyone at the ball, Goode permanently destroyed their world and any hope for them to return to the life they once had. But revenge comes with a high price. Evelyn will have to choose between putting her friends in danger, run from the city or just give up. When Goode turns the populace against them, can she find a way out without anyone else she cares for? A great sequel to These Ruthless Deeds and a great finale to the trilogy.
After the shocking events of the previous instalment, I was very curious to know what would happen in this amazing world. I loved every chapter and I felt a little depressed when it was over so quickly.
The plot is captivating, addictive and builds up perfectly. The development happens at a fast pace and throughout the story; the feeling of connection with the characters grows. At the same time, the thirst to see justice done and for the villain to pay for his crimes grows to the point it’s impossible to let go of the book. The world is built to the minimal detail without being overly descriptive. The authors Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas continue to surprise me, how much they can bring to life with words and how much colour and depth they give this reality and their characters. The depth of everything is breathtaking.
The reader is taken on a ride on a roller-coaster of emotions as the main characters live through the devastating events at the ball. Sebastien, the main male character, struggles to process what happened and to realise that his powers are responsible for all the death he witnessed. I truly left for him. The way Shanker and Zekas describe his turmoil is heart-breaking and truly brings the character out of the book. He is pushed to the ultimate limit when everything turns against him. Even if the killing wasn’t completely his fault, I felt like his sanity was being tested and I must admit that I feared for it in certain chapters.
Evelyn, the main female lead, turns her pain into anger and aims to catch the person that lead to that moment. She is ready to take him on and while other characters recommend caution, she just wants to face him and has a chance to end it all, to ease her pain and the pain everyone she loves. Her fury, passion, determination are impossible not make a difference in the reader. She is a true heroine with flaws but also with a depth that made me want to know her in person. In addition, the depth the authors describes their thoughts and feelings is admirable and brilliant. I could feel their emotions throughout the novel and almost stand with them through their trials.
Captain Goode is a horrible character that manages to always make narrow escapes. It’s very annoying to read about it. He’s a tyrant with a dangerous gift that he uses intelligently. It makes it really hard to catch up to him or guess his next move. I think he’s a great villain, a good story could never be as good without a bad guy/woman play on the same level or even higher than the good guys. Even so, I kept rutting for Evelyn and her revenge. The authors did a great work in building up the “hatred” for Captain Goove. It definitely added spice and adrenaline to the story. A few new characters are introduced, each one with a unique ability and they all fit into the story, they made the difference. No loose ends, no loose characters. Perfect for me.
A great ending to this amazing fantasy series. I have to get my hands on the paperback versions for sure. I highly recommend this collection to all the fans a different type of fantasy in a steampunk world and a badass female character!
I want to the thank Xpresso Book Tours and the authors for accepting me as part of the book tour of These Vengeful Souls.
My Rating: 4 Stars
This was the first novel I’ve read of Jack Taylor and despite the dark atmosphere and writing, I found myself enjoying it.
After being misdiagnosed and being involved in a scandal due to it, former cop Jack Taylor has almost everything he needs: his whiskey, his books and his faithful watchdog Storm. Everything, but money. In an attempt to restart his life, Jack gets a job as a night security guard. It doesn’t take long before things are given a turn. When a man offering a considerable sum of money to find “The Red Book”, the first book of heresy, approaches him he knows its way over his head. When a woman from his past reappears in his life and seemly connected to the book, Jack is pulled to a probable deadly path. Haunted by the dark, unfortunate events of his life, Jack soon discovers that the city’s corner hide secrets and some more fatal than others. Unfortunately, for Jack, nothing in his life went as he expected, and this won’t either. Can he make it out alive and with the rest of his sanity?
One thing that I learned with this book is: never take a plot for granted. This is a story that starts at a steady pace and suddenly it takes a much darker and shocking turn, one where the reader realises that characters are going to meet their ends. The first part of the novel the reader faces several plot lines and different characters. In the end, everything comes together perfectly and the revelation is unexpected.
The depth of the characters was something that impressed me. Even though I haven’t read the previous books, I got glimpses of the past of each character and ended being fascinated with a few. None of them is simple, they are all complex Emerald was one of the best for me. She’s a complex character not only due to her multiple personalities but also her determination to hold on to her consciousness. She’s both the source and the weakness of poor Jack. There are moments that I felt my heart squeeze a little for him and his torments. Jack is a complex character that has been both virtues and flaws. He’s a lost character that suffers most of his misadventures due to bad decisions mostly. As the reader is taken through a combination of what he’s doing and his thoughts and feelings, one way or the other, they grow attached to him. He takes time to look back on his life, to confront some of his ghosts and to reflect on his mistakes and his decisions. For me as a reader, it taught me a few lessons.
The style of writing is great. It’s smooth, flows perfectly with the events of the story adapting to the general mood of the plot and of the characters. The author’s vivid imagination and rich vocabulary are seductive and pull the reader to such depth that even when it gets gruesome, it’s very hard to let go of the book. It’s a distinctive style, worth remembering.
I think that I should read the previous ones to truly see how much the characters and the author’s style developed through the series. It can be read as a stand-alone but it still felt like I was missing something.
I recommend this novel to all the fans of a complex, thrilling story that stands out for all the right reasons.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Mysterious Press and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
A must-read amusing, complex and elegant epic story.
In the American West, Missouri in 1854, Didier Rain has a long list of occupations. Poet, philosopher, a gentleman in the making and a low-life rogue. In desperate need to have money, Rain accepts to become a Sacred Deliverer and take a baby girl named Virtue to the Prophet Nehi in the City of Rocks for her to become his wife. Even though he feels this is way over his head, he accepts and starts a long journey filled with dangerous encounters, new friends, new enemies and difficult choices. Will they make it?
This is a novel that readers can read several times and never get tired of it. It’s a complicated, intriguing story that is seen and lived through the eyes of Rain, a man will flaws that faces his past and his own conflicts throughout this journey.
The style of writing is poetic, elegant, philosophical at times and very engaging. The author Brian Kindall delivers a witty dialogue that mixes both vulgar and philosophical language and ideas, creating rich interactions. He also manages to blend both human and religious themes that give relevance to the story and the feeling the reader gets as the adventure proceeds. From the trials of fate, the fragility of the human mind to religious beliefs and ultimate love, Kindall revealed himself a master of story-building and character development. A lyrical style that pulls the reader deep into the plot and its characters and leaves a long-lasting impression. This is a novel to remember.
There are quite a number of characters in the novel and each contributes one way or the other for the growth of the characters. Some encounters are symbolic which adds a wonderful spark to the story. Rain is a grand main male lead. He’s both despicable and lovable and his misadventures are both hilarious and heartfelt. It’s impossible not to connect with him, feel for him and understand his actions. Deep down he proves to be a man of pure heart, good intentions and able to forgive and forget just for the sake of his mission. He proves to be a better man than Nehi and his followers. In addition, his instincts are the only thing that saves him from tight situations and places. He’s a complex character, haunted by his past that both repulses and attracts the reader. The best part is that the reader always ends up learning something with him, both with his victories and failures. Virtue, the female protagonist, is a silent spectator that also manages to leave a lasting impression and teach a few good lessons too. She’s not a normal child, as she grows at an incredible rate during the journey from babyhood to womanhood. Her relationship with Rain is touching and to read about their growing complicity, how they complement each other is one of the many highlights of the story.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s the type of novel that changes something in the reader, that holds on and when it’s over leaves a feeling of longing. I will definitely read it again.
I want to thank the author Brian Kindall for reaching out and sending me a paperback version of his novel in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 4 Stars
I didn’t think the sequel to Still House could get any better as the first novel raised a high bar. I was wrong; I’m both glad and disturbed that it was better. This collection takes a dark turn in this novel and even though it’s cruel and agonising at times, it’s next to impossible to stop reading it. I’m getting ahead of myself though.
When Gwen Proctor won the battle to protect her children from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, she thought the war was won too. She was wrong. Things take a dark turn when Melvin escapes from prison and threatens her family’s lives. This time, however, she refuses to be the hunted. Not longer safe at Stillhouse, Gwen leaves her children, Connor and Lanny, in the custody of a well-armed neighbour and goes hunting. Who knew that knowing one of the sickest serial killers gave you some essential knowledge? Together with the brother of one of the many victims, Larry, how far is she willing to go to protect her children? Very, very far.
It’s a strong and dark sequel; it made me stay glued to its page even when it got unbearable. A complete washing machine of emotions and moments that keep the reader on the seat. The pace of the story is fast, full of action and non-stop suspense. Unlike the unique perspective of the main female character, in the sequel, the reader has four perspectives: Gwen, her children and Lanny. Rachel Caine manages the different points-of-view perfectly and it’s easy to jump from one to the other without getting lost in the process.
The setting is much darker than the previous instalment. Caine takes us on a dark journey through the world of torture, child pornography and the exchanges made on the dark side of the internet.
The characters are incredible, more than in the first book. Now that we’ve been introduced to Gwen and her works of her serial killer ex-husband, this novel explores the effect of all the moving, close calls and the lasting repercussions of being implicated in the horrid works of a monster. It was a bit heartbreaking to read the doubt in the minds of the children, questioning their mothers’ motivations and actions. Gwen is still a woman to be reckoned with, even more than before. Now, she’s tired of running and ready to do whatever it takes to have peace. Her emotions and her attitude make her one of the most believable characters I've read so far this year. The villain is both scary and incredibly imagined. The way he's described and his style of hunting had me looking over my shoulder in the street.
Caine raised the bar very high for the next installment. I can’t wait to see what she will create next. I recommend this book to all the fans of a good, heart-stopping thriller filled with action.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Thomas & Mercer and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 4 Stars
A great adventure novel about Roanoke Island and the legend of the Lost Colony.
The bizarre and unexplained event of the sudden disappearance of the 114 island inhabitants remains in the memory even 400 years later. When in the present days, 114 of Roanoke disappear without a trace, everything points to a re-run from the legend of the Lost Colony. It’s up to Miranda Blackwood and Grand Rawling to find them before they are gone for good. Between the police, dead alchemists and unrevealed secrets, the teens will race against time to stop history from repeating itself.
I finished this book in two days; it was hard to put it down. It mixes YA, supernatural, mystery with a touch of historical facts in a great way and the style of writing puts a nice ribbon around the whole thing.
The storyline is exciting and complex, full of suspense and action. It’s also very easy to follow and to understand. There are two different points of view, which makes the reader go deeper into the story. There is a steady build-up of the mysteries, details are giving along and each is important to the story. The level of research that was used for the novel was the right amount; it wasn’t a lesson in history, but it was enough to make the story believable.
The style of writing is simple, addictive and easy to follow just like the storyline. Gwenda Bond describes the settings just enough to let the reader an idea of it, which works fine for me.
The characters are very well developed and explored in depth. Miranda, the main female character, has a history of being the “bringer of bad luck” and tries to be invisible as much as it’s humanly possible. She’s bullied and the centre of merciless teasing at school. She really tries to keep her nose in her business but every time she tries to do something nice, everything falls apart. These events bring out empathy and they connect the reader to Miranda. She proves, however, she’s not a victim. She throws herself into the quest, risking her life to protect the people she loves and the ones that and actually manages to have a good relationship with the main male character, Grant, even after he publically humiliated her years before. He’s a good male lead and I enjoyed reading how his relationship with Miranda slowly evolved into the story without being in the centre of it. The other secondary characters are easy to follow and easy to memorise their roles and correspondent stories.
I fully enjoyed this novel, how this world is built and the slow rise of tensions and suspense. It blends YA, mystery, history, romance and the supernatural. I highly recommend it!
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Switch Press and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
A great, fresh novel with a gripping storyline that is on the level of Hunger Games.
Welcome to The Beck, a society divided into several sectors: Agriculture, Sustenance, Development, amongst others. In the Assessment, everyone gets assigned to their factors or, if they fail, sent to the Clearance, the darkest place in The Beck. Life there is very simple: follow the rules, always obey your orders. One infraction and you’re sent to the Clearance. Governed by tight laws and regulations, everything is controlled to the maximum, including human touch and interactions. Quinn has only known the Agri Pod, where she and her friends work in the fields. However, she thirsts for something different, something that can make her feel alive. When Quinn makes a decision, it will change her life forever. When Quinn discovers the terrible truth about the system, she realises that her choice comes with a high price.
A great storyline with brilliant characters! The story has a steady pace to it and the reader is slowly introduced to the world of The Beck and its dangers though Quinn’s eyes. It’s a brutal reality and Clare Littlemore gives the reader glimpses of hope through the interactions and the emotions of and between the characters. There is friendship, truth, violence, oppression and the difficult choices one has to make to change their lives. Every piece of information that the author gives it important and is part of a bigger picture. There is also a bit of romance in the story, it builds up nicely but it’s not in the centre of the novel, which is perfect for me. A few surprises and twists kept me connected to the story from beginning to end.
The style of writing is captivating and engaging. The language is simple, easy to follow and to understand. Littlemore gives enough descriptions and details for the reader to imagine this world but leaves the details open to interpretation and design.
The characters are very nicely constructed and developed in depth. They are all very likeable and it’s easy to feel the connection they have with each other. Quin is a great main leading female character: she is compassionate, determined but kind and very down to earth. She knows her limits and he’s not afraid of going for a change that feels like a jump into the unknown. Nonetheless, she takes the leap and even when things don’t go as planned, she keeps going while motivating the others. Cameron, the main male character is still a bit of a mystery but his relationship with Quin was a very addition to the story and I’m curious to see what happens next with them. Quinn’s relationship with the other characters, Cassidy and Harper was a treat to follow. They share a very strong connection and the reader can both see and feel it throughout the novel. I hope the author will reveal more about these characters in the next novel.
This novel is a breath of fresh air for the fans of dystopian novels. I highly recommend it!
I want to thank Clare Littlemore for reaching out and sending me a free digital copy of her novel in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 4 Stars
A great, creepy graphic novel to be fully enjoyed!
After the death of his mother, Christian and his father moved to Shell Bay. Christian doesn’t seem to be destined for an easy life. As he starts in a new school, he becomes the target of bullies. When the group of weird kids help him, Christian becomes part of something that he doesn’t fully understand. Unknowingly, he joins them in an occult ritual that gets them possessed by darkness. Soon, they all start developing strange powers and Christian learns right after that it comes at a high price. Faced with horrifying truth, he has to make a choice if he wants to reverse the ritual: kill off the circle before they kill him or let the darkness take over him completely. Will he be able to make his choice before time runs out?
Both the story and the art are amazing and they complement each other very nicely. The angle of the drawings and the dark colours only bring out the horror of the story more.
The story develops at a steady, suspenseful pace and it ends with a dramatic climax. There isn’t a boring moment with this graphic novel. There aren’t any loose ends left when the story is over and I felt that the story should have a sequel. Damon Clark started and finished the story completely, but I think there’s still space to explore Christian’s life after his horrifying adventure. However, I felt that the deaths and the ultimate feeling of fear weren’t truly there. Everything happens very fast and I couldn’t feel or see the impact of the events on the characters. It would have given more depth to the plot.
This graphic novel is all about wrong choices; how bad life can get, especially when one thinks it cannot get any worse. On the contrary, of other graphic novels, the main character doesn’t have a single drop of luck. Every time he tries to make amends, everything just turns ever so darker.
I read this novel in one go, I couldn’t put it down. Even though it’s a horror story, I felt nostalgic and a bit like a kid again when I was reading it. I recommend it!
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Diamond Book Distributors and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
This book is like of those that shouldn’t be judged by its cover. I was expecting an adventure and instead, I was taken of a roller coaster of emotions and genres that brought this book on my top reads for this year. The perfect mix: mystery, drama, suspense and a bit horror great an almost-perfect novel.
Lydia Smith has a past marked by horrors that she wishes to forget completely. Years later, she lives quietly, unseen, working in the Bright Ideas Bookstore, towns away from her childhood home. Having cut any relation with her father, Lydia lives for her books, her close friends and energetic colleagues. Until her friend, Joey commits suicide by hanging, in her bookstore. He leaves Lydia clues and notes with information that will lead her to find a connection between him, her dark past and a killer that never truly left her life. When Raj, a childhood, reappears in her life, they have to work together to discover the truth of the event that changed their lives forever. However, the truth comes with a cost and it can be very, very, unexpected.
The novel is addictive and very well organised. The plots are engaging and they both fit perfectly, bringing an intriguing challenge for the reader. There are quite a number of characters and all of them fit the story perfectly until the end. The first plot is the search for the murderer that killed Lydia’s friend, when she was younger, and her family. The second plot is to discover the history of Joey and the search for his biological family. The story is told in the third person, jumping between the past and the present of Lydia. The main question the reader faces is if both plots are connected and why. Why would Joey leave clues? How did he know about Lydia’s past?
The style of writing flows perfectly with the story and the descriptions are just enough to give the reader an idea of their surroundings. All the given details, however, are important to the plot and they give away pieces of crucial information from time to time. Even when the story switches between the past and the present, it’s very easy to follow the story and connect with the character in both timelines.
The characters are special in their own way and the author thought very well of how they are all connected. They felt real; the reader gets glimpses of their childhoods and how their relationships develop over time. Even with the little descriptions, I felt as if I truly connected with the characters and through their actions understand them better.
A mystery novel full of suspense that I highly recommend to the fans of the genre looking for a more complex story.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Scribner and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
A great sequel to the first instalment of the Lost City series! In this one, we get to know more about Noryad and what happened after he left.
During the attack of the Caribbean, the royal family was whipped out. As Raphael ranges in search for the boy of the prophecy, the king sends his fourth son through a portal to the Guild Never Too Late. Unfortunately, the boy was marked by the dark vision of his family being slaughtered before his eyes. 24 years later, an older Noryad is forced to leave the Guild that he dedicated his life to because his powers are running wild, making him a danger for the people he cares about. He has no choice but to go back to his origins and face the dark memories that never stopped haunting him. His mission is to find his ancestor’s weapon and claim his rightful place as King of Camelot. But, if he fails to overcome his thirst for revenge, he will lose everything: his kingdom, the woman he loves and his life. Will he be able to fulfil his destiny before the evil that approaches takes over?
D.L Cólon didn’t disappoint, and this novel was, for me, even better than the first one. King's Inheritance is a novel filled with action, adventure, mystery, fantasy and a bit of romance. It takes a different approach to the legend of King Arthur, developing more the after-legend. The war between good and evil with supernatural beings, God and the Devil in the front seats just pull the reader into the story.
The plot is well developed and everything connects perfectly. It’s a fast-paced story-line, never a boring moment. Cólon takes the reader on a memorable journey and it’s easy to fall into this world and feel its loss after the book is over. In the end, I wanted more but I’ll have to read the next one!
There are quite a few number of characters and three main ones: Noryad, Coral and Merlin. Every simple one contributes to the story, they are there for a reason. They aren’t perfect, each one has their inner conflicts and issues but it’s what makes them so believable and likeable. Adding colour, spice and depth to the story is one of the elements that make this novel so unique.
The style of writing is very nice and I could definitely see an evolution in it compared to the first novel. It’s very easy to read and even though they're a nice number of characters, the reader doesn’t lose track of the plot. The descriptions are detailed but not enough to be boring.
I highly recommend this series to all the fans of a good epic novel that mixes several genres and it’s packed with action and adventure.
I want to thank D.L. Colón for reaching out and sending me a free digital copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.
Hope you find an idea for your next reading here.