Arc Review: Logue Town & Reverse Mountain

Arc Review: Logue Town & Reverse Mountain

I figured it would be best to review both of these arcs at the same time. Not because they are that heavily related, but more so because they are both really short and there wouldn’t be much to say about just one of them.

This is the point of the story where the Straw Hats are going to this “Grand Line”. This terrifying part of the world where the strongest pirates sail free. The part of the ocean where storms can hit in an instant, and be gone the next. The part of the world that the Pirate King, the worlds strongest swordsman, and a brave warrior of the sea need to conquer.

This was the real start of the Straw Hat’s journey, and this ocean would be the place where many of their dreams would come true, or be crushed.

Logue Town is the last city before the Grand Line, so the Straw Hats decide to stop there and get some supplies. Zoro is in need of a few swords since Mihawk destroyed his, Sanji needs some food for the ship, and Luffy wants to see the town where Gol D. Roger, the king of the pirates was born and was executed.

Not much happens for Usopp and Nami other than regular shenanigans, and Sanji just gets some food for the Going Merry.

Zoro and Luffy have the interesting moments in this arc, and they’re pretty interesting because of what they show for those characters.

Luffy wants to see the spot where Gol D. Roger was killed, and eventually gets nearly killed by Buggy. The moment before his death, Luffy smiles and a lightning bolt saves him from getting his head chopped off.

This was the first instance where we got to experience the Will of D. Not much is known about it, but one thing we do know is that everyone with the name D. dies with a smile on their face. Luffy was smiling the moment before his death, and Smoker (a captain in the Marines chasing Luffy) notices this and notices the similarities of Roger and Luffy.

We know Luffy is destined to do great things because he is the main character, but this was the first chance we got to notice Luffy’s connection to Roger.

On the other hand there is Zoro. He’s going sword shopping, and is rather poor. Luckily he comes across Tashigi, a near-blind Marine when she doesn’t have her glasses on, who helps him find a rather good and rare sword basically for pennies.

The other sword he is looking for he gets by throwing it in the air, and betting the sword salesman that if it cuts his hand off, then he doesn’t get it, but if the sword spins over his arm and doesn’t cut him, then Zoro gets it for free…and guess what happens.

Yes, the sword spins over Zoro’s arm and doesn’t hurt him, and the swordsman, believing that the cursed blade belongs in Zoro’s lucky hands, gives him the sword for free. As it turned out, this sword was even more rare than the sword he got for cheap.

Another big part of this arc is the occurrence of Smoker and Dragon. Smoker, who ate a logia devil fruit, gives Luffy some trouble because nobody can actually hit him. Thanks to Dragon, who we discover is Luffy’s dad later on, stops Smoker and helps Luffy et. al. escape.

This sort of sets up Smoker as the “rival” of Luffy in the Marines. Coby is supposed to be I think, but I like the idea of Smoker being the rival like Gard was for Roger.

Reverse Mountain Arc doesn’t offer much in terms of story. Basically the only thing that happens is that the Straw Hats make it over Reverse Mountain and into the Grand Line, where they meet a man named Crocus, who they learn worked on Roger’s ship.

They also meet Laboon, which becomes a pretty important whale later on in the story.

There is a brief moment of camaraderie when they all pledge to achieve their dreams and conquer this ocean.

In terms of the overall story, these two arcs don’t offer much. I think together they take up less than 10 chapters, but their impacts are huge for the rest of the story.

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Book Review: Norse Mythology

Book Review: Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology was a book I had on my radar the minute I heard about it. I’m extremely interested in all things mythology and history, as you should know by now, and Norse mythology has interested me since I was a teenager.

Greek and Roman myth are shoved down our throats time after time, but Norse myth has sort of taken a step back from stories and movies, until Thor became popular in the MCU.

I would argue that Marvel is one of the biggest reasons Norse myth and stories are still alive. Scholars and academics have been fascinated with them for a long time, but a big reason we don’t get to learn these stories as much as Greek or Roman is because there isn’t much to learn.

Not a lot of the stories and poems survived the test of time, which is unfortunate to those who want to know more.

Gaiman, in my opinion, does a wonderful job of taking these stories, written hundreds of years ago in a language few of us can understand, and turned them into something that modern audiences can enjoy.

I’d read one other book by Gaiman before this, but as most of us probably have heard, his reputation as an outstanding author precedes him.

Not only were the stories funny, interesting, and informative, I thought they were very thought provoking because they told the story in a way that allowed me to understand how some of these stories would have come about.

Most mythology books are a bit tough to get through, at best. If they’re written well, they are written as a story that is easy to follow, and not as a historical retelling.

At worst, they’re basically a translation from ancient Greek/Latin that put you to sleep more than they entertain you.

Norse Mythology was the best myth-related book I’ve read because it was like reading a bunch of short stories that really didn’t overlap at all, other than the characters involved.

If you know any of Norse myth stories, there’s a good chance you’ll find it in this book, along with all your favourite, or least favourite characters.

Thor, Loki, Odin, Baldur, Freya, they’re all there and more. You’ll learn about some gods you’ve never heard of, and even get to read about how a baby killed a blind man, and I’m not joking.

There are two things about Norse Mythology that I found kind of funny and that are also commonplace with most stories involving a “god” of some kind.

The first is that gods are assholes. No need for anything but being blunt, they’re assholes, and to them it’s always normal.

Bet a man he can’t build a wall in a month? Kill him because he is close to doing it. Jealous of Thor’s wife? Rip out her hair. Guy doesn’t want you coming into his home and drinking his mead? Kill him.

There are very few actual “good” gods in mythology. Yes some come across as good and all, but when it comes down to it, they’re usually assholes, and I kinda love it. I love that they are so clearly seeing themselves above everyone else.

The second thing that I love about a lot of mythological stories of gods is how “smart” they are.

Gods are so clever. They can outsmart any mere mortal. Except most of the time, they really aren’t that smart. Most of their problems they just solve by making themselves look like something else, or smashing them with a really big hammer.

Now to me, that doesn’t really seem that clever, but I like how the world and the gods think it is.

There’s one more thing I wanted to mention about Norse Mythology, and that’s how quickly I got through it.

Being used to taking a month or so to finish an 800 ish page fantasy book, I found that I flew through Norse Mythology extremely fast.

I started it on a Monday morning and had it done by Saturday afternoon, and most of the reading was done on the 20ish minute bus ride to and from work each day.

It wasn’t that the book was that short even, more so that it was that easy to read, which I think is a compliment to Gaiman’s abilities to write a book based off of established stories.

Book Review: The Path of Daggers

Book Review: The Path of Daggers

Since I finished this book on Friday, and I am morally and internally obligated to cover it as soon as possible, and since this is the first book review after Friday, here it is.

The Path of Daggers is the eighth installment in The Wheel of Time series, and in my opinion is one of the better ones (at least from what I’ve read so far).

Unfortunately we don’t get any Mat in this book. He’s still recovering from his injuries he obtained at the end of the last book, but him being away is related to one of the main reasons I like this book so much.

About 75% of The Path of Daggers takes place over a few days/weeks. I think about the first half of the book is different characters doing whatever it is they were doing after book seven.

It’s nice because we aren’t rushing ahead weeks and months with no real progression. Not that it’s bad or anything, but I like the story being fleshed out days and weeks at a time.

So on one hand we don’t get Mat, but on the other hand we get a shorter timeline which I really enjoy. I guess you have to pick your battles right?

The last 25% ish of the book does a pretty big time jump, but in this instance it makes sense for the time jump.

Since the weather has been “corrected” and heavy snow falls now cover the land, all of the main parties are slowed down heavily.

Where normally people would take a week or two to get somewhere, the snow is taking people a month or more to get to the same place.

Hence the time jump. We just skip that month or so, and get ready for book nine which has a lot of stuff ready to go.

What’s most enjoyable about TPOD is that there is very minimal “mystical” confrontations.

The Wheel of Time series has an overall enemy who is, to sum it up briefly, Satan, and the good guys need to beat him. He has incredibly powerful lieutenants that are the main bad guys for most of the books, but TPOD doesn’t follow that rule.

TPOD has minimal interaction with these Darkfriends, and instead focuses on the other, regular enemies and their goals and ambitions. Allies become traitors, enemies remain enemies, and some “friends” show their true colours.

I’m a sucker for cliffhangers, and we have three different ones that we are left with at the end of the book.

Perrin and his group have two by themselves, and I think I’m most excited for those ones right now. We know Mat will be coming back with a vengeance after resting up for over a month, Egwene has rested her troops and is on the warpath, and Elayne has finally made it to her rightful place.

Plenty of story lines have me hooked right now which is good. Usually there’s only one or two story lines per book that I want to see unfold, and maybe by the end something interesting happens or is set up for the other characters, but as it is now, I’m excited to see what happens to just about every character/group.

Book Review: The Name of the Wind

Book Review: The Name of the Wind

I’ve written three different reviews for this book, and for some reason none of them are posting or saving in any way so I’m a bit annoyed and tired of the post, so I’ll keep the review short.

This book seems to have been gaining a bit of popularity since I read it a few years ago. I honestly can’t remember where I found it, or even where the book came from, but I’m glad it magically appeared on my shelves.

I liked the book a lot, especially seeing Kvothe grow up and discover the world, but I was not a fan of the time jumps that would happen every so often.

I wanted the time jumps to be more fleshed out, giving me a bit more of the main course of the story instead of making me upset that I wasn’t getting more story, but that might be my opinion.

Sorry again for the short post but I spent three hours today trying to make this post and it wasn’t working so I’m just going to admit defeat.

Book Review: A Crown of Swords

I just finished up A Crown of Swords just last week, and since I am morally obligated to review any book I finish recently as soon as I can, here it is.

Every time I open up a Wheel of Time book, I get a bit nervous about what’s coming for me.

I mean there are 14 books in the series, some of them are bound to be a bit more dull than the others.

Game of Thrones suffered from some dull moments, and there are less than half the amount of Wheel of Time books. So far, I haven’t been disappointing. For the most part, Wheel of Time books have a lot of moments that are spectacular, and some that are dull, but necessary.

A Crown of Swords fit that description, but one thing I will give it, that I don’t remember happening to me in any of the previous books, was that the events in the book seemed to fly by.

I’ll probably do a bad job at explaining it, but when I was reading it, I would sometimes find myself chapters further in the book, and twenty minutes had gone by.

You know the old saying, Time flies when you’re having fun. That fit perfectly when I was reading this one, and I don’t think I had experienced it in any other Wheel of Time book.

I think what made the book fun for me was Mat. As of now he is my favourite character, and he was heavily prominent in this segment of the series. That, mixed with other character plots and setting up future events in the series really made me enjoy the book a lot more than I was hoping for.

But, as much as I liked A Crown of Swords, it was not perfect. In fact, there were some classic Robert Jordan moments in it that get on my nerves whenever they happen.

Jordan likes to have an overarching villain throughout the series, which is fine, and give him some Lieutenants that sort of do his dirty work while we wait to get to the main villain.

I don’t mind the concept. In fact I’d prefer it because we can sort of see the main characters grow and become stronger over time, defeating more and more bad guys.

A problem that Jordan has though, is that he will introduce some bad guys, fleshing them out three or four books before they become relevant again, and then in a snap of your fingers, the main characters win against him/her.

Nynaeve’s conflict against Mogedhien was completely relevant. We know there’s a grudge there, and we know that the two of them fighting in some way was going to happen.

Rand and Sammael had a conflict brewing, and we knew the fight between them would happen eventually, but to me it sort of seems their fight this book was rushed and unnecessary.

Rand is scheming all the time, and I understand that, but he literally wakes up from nearly dying a few days earlier, and instantly he brings some allies to go kill Sammael.

I know the battle needs to happen, but the second after he wakes up after being passed out for a few days, and against an opponent that I don’t think was mentioned more than once in the book previously.

Rand has a lot of wasted time in this book, so giving him a few chapters to better set up the conflict between himself and Sammael would have made a lot more sense.

And the battle itself ends in almost an instant. Rand shoots off some Baelfire, and BAM, fights over. Rand doesn’t even confirm that Sammael died, he just assumes that nobody could survive that attack and leaves it there.

As annoying as this was, I am excited for what Jordan did for Mat at the end of the book.

In his last chapter, Mat is searching Ebou Dar for Olver, as the city is being attacked by the Seanchan Empire. Mat basically gets thrown and crushed by rocks as they attack the city, and that’s where it stops.

I hope that the book continues from there, or not long after. I know in The Path of Daggers, he isn’t present because of his injuries in the attack, which was the same as Perrin earlier, but Mat’s storyline is one of my favourite ones in the books, so I am excited to see where he goes from his present situation.

overall, A Crown of Swords is a great book. I’d put it in the upper half of the Wheel of Time books I’ve read so far.

Manga Review: Naruto

Naruto was one of the first anime I ever got into, and was the first manga that I started reading. I enjoyed it way more than the anime, because it wasn’t filled with months upon months of filler episodes, it was just the main story.

I am still on the fence about my final rating for Naruto though.

The biggest reason I am not doing an arc review for Naruto like I am with One Piece, is because it has been a few years since Naruto finished, and so I don’t really think people would be interested in arc reviews.

I may do one of Boruto one day, but I’m not sure.

Naruto has its moments. One aspect that really made me enjoy the series was the overall story being told. The first half of Naruto was discovering his powers and abilities, and becoming a ninja, but it was still supplemented by the overall world building and character development that helped the series springboard into the second half…which is where the most important events take place.

Part of me wants to say Naruto was this amazing manga that had no issues in it because it was the first manga I started to read. I mean it does have a great story, in typical Shonen fashion. It has a great world building aspect to it as well, and we know that there is more to the world than just what we see on the pages.

There are villains we get to learn about, these great historical figures that shaped the world that are mentioned over and over, but aren’t really brought up, and there are is even great world building within the Leaf Village due to all of the other characters we know about.

It does have a lot of pros going for it. I think any manga reader that has read Naruto would agree with me there, but I think they’d also agree that there are plenty of flaws as well.

The main character Naruto is super annoying in the first half of the manga, and even in the second half his habit of sticking to his ideals and trying to convince his enemies he is right gets annoying, because it works time and time again.

Aside from the main character, the biggest issue I have with the manga is the characters and their power scaling. Some of the characters, mainly the females, are essentially useless throughout the entire series, but because they are considered main characters, they keep coming back over and over.

That is another issue. Basically every female in the series is useless when it comes to fighting. There are some that are extremely powerful, and they’re usually pretty interesting characters, but for the most part it’s just the guys that are doing all the work and I’m not okay with that.

There are several female characters we know of that are very powerful, more powerful than some males, but they get less time. It is also a surprise that this is the case because you’d think guys, who are the main audience for the manga, would want to see women more often.

The power scaling is also annoying, like I mentioned. I won’t dive into it too much because I could talk about it for hours, and I understand it’s not a perfect system, but all I am going to say is that there are several times where a character goes from being wayyyyy too weak to becoming an overpowered bad ass master of some ability in basically an instant.

It becomes an issue when characters do it two or three times in basically a week…Naruto.

So yeah…like I said I am conflicted on how I would rank it. It’s good. I definitely recommend the read, but I don’t want to say it’s the perfect manga ever, because it’s not, by a long shot…

Book Review: The Book Thief

When I think back about this book, I can honestly say that there are no happy memories that come to mind. From how I recall The Book Thief, it’s similar to A Series of Unfortunate Events–it’s just miserable.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book as a whole. I thought it was fantastic, but there weren’t any moments that I genuinely remember being happy about it.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

I hadn’t heard of this book before I started reading it, but I really enjoyed the suspense and the drama that came from it. 

If you’ve ever read the book, you’ll remember that there is a very interesting narrator–Death. Yes death is the narrator of the story, and because this is World War Two, you can imagine how busy he was collecting the dead. 

Death foreshadows constantly throughout the story, so we know a bit about which of the characters will die. I think Death’s perspective adds to the building suspense through the story. 

You might assume that Death being a narrator can be sort of intimidating. I mean he’s Death, why wouldn’t his POV be dark and greusome right? 

The truth is, Death was one of the brigher parts of the story. He was a ray of sunshine through some of the darker moments. 

I do not carry a sickle or a scythe.
I only wear a hooded black robe when it’s cold.
And I don’t have those skull-like
facial features you seem to enjoy
pinning on me from a distance. You
want to know what I truly look like?
I’ll help you out. Find yourself a mirror while I continue.


The Book Thief is also a bit of a different view of the Holocaust, because it focuses on a little German girl, Liesel, who is living in Hitler’s birthplace.

And the character growth, in my opinion, is remarkable. There are many characters that we hate throughout the story, only to love them by the end. I definitely recommend picking this one up if you haven’t read it yet. It’s technically considered a YA book, but I think it has more impact the older you are.

I will give you a fair warning though, if you want a fast read, this book isn’t for you. It’s a bit of a grind at times. You’ll feel like your clawing your way through mud, but that slow crawl adds something to the story. It adds a sense of accomplishment and connection to the entire story. 

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I’m not one for re-reading a book, but this one is on the short list for books I plan to re-read in the future. 

I have never met someone, or found a single review that has said anything against The Book Thief. Many people state it is a modern classic. It is truly a remarkable book, and I will firmly recommend that EVERYONE should read this book if they call themselves a book lover.  

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