Category Archives: Book Review

Review: BERSERK Volume 24

BERSERK 24

by Kentaro Miura

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Guts no longer travels alone. To protect Casca and get her to Elfheim where the broken, insane woman can be safe from the evil spirits drawn to her brand, Guts has allowed Isidro, Farness, and Serpico to travel with him. He can’t protect Casca from her madness and the darkness trying to kill them.

Worse, he can’t trust himself around her.

While traveling through the woods, the party is ambushed by trolls. Since Griffith’s rebirth, the boundary between the physical and spiritual worlds is weakening. Trolls, dwelling in the edges of the spirit realm, are rampaging through the woods and terrorizing a nearby village. Their ethereal bodies are impervious to normal weapons. Only a young witch named Schrieke can save them.

Schrieke and her mistress are the only hope for the village in destroying the trolls, and helping Guts and Casca. But will they stir from their protected home? Or will Guts and his companions stumble on without their aid?

BERSERK is shifting more and more into the pure fantasy story, but the grimdark brutality still exists. The trolls are horrible creatures, squat and brutish. It will take the aid of magic to allow Guts and his group to continue on. Miura’s world develops more and more in this chapter as he dives into not only the metaphysics of his world, but whether the Godhand’s belief that causality controls all is the truth.

Perhaps man has a choice when presented with their fate. But can they resist taking it? Griffith couldn’t resist sacrificing the Band of the Hawk to achieve his dream, but way back in Volume 3, the count did resist.

BERSERK continues to be an exciting read as Guts and his group deal with the trolls while Guts is beginning to remember what it was like to belong again. They’re not the Band of the Hawk, but has he found a new family to protect? A way to escape his destructive path of vengeance?

If you’re a fan of fantasy, you need to check out BESERK!

You can buy BERSERK Vol 24 from Amazon.

To save the skies, Ary must die!

If you love the works of Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin, R. Scott Bakker, and Steven Erikson, then check out first ever Fantasy novel is out!

You do not want to miss out on this awesome adventure!

You can buy or burrow Above the Storm today!

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Review: Higurashi Beyond Midnight Arc 2

Higurashi Beyond Midnight Arc 2

Story by Ryukishio7

Art by Mimori

Reviewed by JMD Reid

In the ruins of Hinamizawa, twenty-three years after the disaster, a group of strangers realize there is a murder among them. Takumi, the boyfriend of Yae, was found strangled and left in the shrine. Who among them is the killer? Did Otobe really “lose” his friends and how did his cell phone break? Is Mion Sonozaki really who she says she is since she was reported killed in the school terrorist incident twenty-three years ago? Is Ryunosuke really a journalist working on a reporter?

Something strange is going on tonight. The dead are bleeding over into the living as the strangers have to reveal their pasts to survive the night. Because they are not alone. Another will is moving against them and if they don’t work together, none will live to see morning.

This is quite the exciting volume to read. The mysteries are mostly resolved early, along with showing the supernatural is a real thing in Hinamizawa. Theories are bandied about, giving clues on what may or may not happened to village along with some hints for the Answer Arcs to come.

For those who know this series, there were some poignant moments. We’ve seen that these arcs end with at least a few of the main characters dying. Now we get to see the effect the story has on the survivors. There are a few clues to what needs to be done to succeed, a line from the dead that will help ensure the summer of 1983 can be defeated.

If you like mystery/horror manga, or those stories in general, Higurashi is one of the best. It’s engaging and intriguing in turns. The art is great in this one. The action is exciting. The characters have to make choices and face the consequences of their actions.

You can buy Higurashi Beyond Midnight Arc 2 from Amazon.

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REVIEW: BERSERK Volume 23

BERSERK 23

by Kentaro Miura

Reviewed by JMD Reid

For two years, Guts has spent his nights battling the demons and evil spirits drawn to the brand on his neck. It pushed him to his limits. Now he has to protect Casca, too. Her brand and his only draws more spirits while her shattered mind doesn’t understand what is going on. To protect her, he only makes her hate him.

The evil spirits pray on his wounded emotions. He loves Casca, and they use it. Seeking to feed on his passions, the spirits will drive him to acts that will only frighten her more. How can he defend her while protecting her happiness?

Perhaps allies is what he needs. Has Guts’s solo war finally come to an end?

In Midland, the Kushan invasion continues to devastate. A young noble named Mule has to choose to defend his people or live to fight another day. Rumors, however, persist that Griffith and the Band of the Hawk have been reborn. Are they Midland’s salvation?

Miura jumps between the two stories, showing the desperation of Guts’s situation contrasted with the reborn Griffith. His powers have never swelled so fast. Everything seems to fall into Griffith’s place like fate itself has been manipulated to ensure his success. Delving into the nature of casualty and free will, Miura explores what happens when you’re able to change the odds and ensure every toss of the dice lands your way.

The Godhand have put their plans into Griffith’s shoulders. They are inspiring the world, allowing Griffith to achieve his dream of his kingdom. But what will happen when he has it? Why are such evil beings seemingly so altruistic?

On the other side, we have Guts struggling to protect Casca. His emotions are raw, bleeding. She’s right there, but she can’t stand his touch. Her trauma has scarred her so badly and the evil spirits haunting them only exasperated matters.

Miura’s characters come to life as always. The art is great. This continues to be an amazing fantasy tale!

You can buy BERSERK Vol 23 from Amazon.

To save the skies, Ary must die!

If you love the works of Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin, R. Scott Bakker, and Steven Erikson, then check out first ever Fantasy novel is out!

You do not want to miss out on this awesome adventure!

You can buy or burrow Above the Storm today!

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Review: The Archmage Unbound (Mageborn Book Three)

The Archmage Unbound (Mageborn Book Three)

by Michael G. Manning

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Mordecai has to deal with his fallout of rebelling against King Edward to protect his people from the enemy invasion. He needs a way to find peace with the king and stop civil war to break out. He has his pregnant wife, Penny, and his friends to think about.

He also has to understand his own powers. He has rejected the method of control to keep mages from making pacts with dark gods and going insane. He has defied the king doing this just as much as his refusal to abandon his lands to the enemy forces. If he can’t understand what it means to be an archmage, all will be lost.

Can he do it while dealing with the political maneuverings of the King Edward and the realm? Will he prevail or will his naivety cause his undoing?s

This series gets better and better. Manning has some nice twists and turns that keeps the story flowing fast. It’s exciting and tense in turns with the characters still being a standout. Fans of indie fantasy have to give this series a try. He explore some nice themes and conflicts between his characters as they debate the ethics of ruling, of power, and what it means to be a good person. Great stuff.

Having fun with this series. Eager to read the next book!

You can buy The Archmage Unbound from Amazon.

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Review: Higurashi Beyond Midnight Arc 1

Higurashi Beyond Midnight Arc 1

Story by Ryukishio7

Art by Mimori

Reviewed by JMD Reid

In 2006, twenty-three years after the Hinamizawa Disaster, a group of strangers find themselves meeting up in the ruins of the city. Each has their own reason for being there. Can they actually even trust each other. One claims to be Mion Sonozaki, a resident of the village; another is Ryunosuke, a tabloid journalist writing a story on the haunted village; Yae and her boyfriend Takumi who just happened to drive out to this village; and Otobe, who got out of the car with his friends to relieve himself only to find them gone when he returned.

It’s a stormy night as these strangers gather. Are they telling the truth about their motivation? Is the spirit or entity that caused the mysterious murders in the past still around? Or is it a human agent that lurks in the darkness.

Because it is clear that these characters are not alone. Something still haunts the ruins of Hinamizawa.

This scenario is a version of The Atonement Arc. We get a tease of what happens in this arc in the talk of a terrorist incident at a school and the students who were killed before the disaster. If you’ve read the series, Mion Sonozaki present won’t be a surprise. There are some other hints to the true cause peppered about.

However, if you read this story knowing what is going on, the tension is a little lacking. It’s interesting. The art is drawn in a way to accentuate the tension of the story. The angular look to the characters is effective at the task. It’s several mystery tales all rolled into one and the ending leaves you wondering what will happen next.

For an additional arc, it gives you a taste of the Answer arcs to come with those little tidbits that make sense when you know the entire story. Higurashi keeps being an excellent mystery/horror series. The tension builds great in this arc.

If you’re a fan of these type of stories, check out this series!

You can buy Higurashi Beyond Midnight Arc 1 from Amazon.

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Review: BERSERK Volume 22

BERSERK 22

by Kentaro Miura

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Guts has rescued Casca and returned her to Godo’s place only to learn that the old blacksmith has died. Rickert and Erica are excited to see Guts’s success while Guts is wondering what to do next. He’s rescued Casca while he suspects Griffith has been reborn in the chaos of Albion Monastery.

When a mysterious, silvery-haired figure has come to visit, Guts learns his suspicious are true. Griffith is back in the flesh, apparently human once more. Will Guts finally have his chance for revenge? Will Guts once again throw himself down the path of vengeance?

While Guts faces Griffith, the Kushan army’s invasion worsens. They are butchering the peoples of midland. But there are those who have faith that the White Hawk will save them. Will Griffith be these peoples’ saviors, or the damnation?

Miura shifts gears into the third part of Berserk, and the longest. This part still isn’t done. The art continues to be amazing. The characters emotions continue to shine as their passions collide. Miura’s storytelling continues to expand his world-building, laying the foundations for the new story lines to come.

If you’re a fan of Fantasy, you should be reading BERSERK! It only gets better and better!

You can buy BERSERK Vol 22 from Amazon.

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Review: Higurashi Time Killing Arc 2

Higurashi Time Killing Arc 2

Story by Ryukishio7

Art by Yoshiki Tonogai

Reviewed by JMD Reid

Akasaka, a detective investigating the kidnapping of Japan’s defense minister’s grandson, has come to Hinamizawa. The village, protesting the government’s plan to build a dam that will flood their valley, have grown violent. The long shot that they might have kidnapped the kid has paid off.

Akasaka has a lead.

With Oishi, a local cop, Akasaka heads out. He’s about to find that the men who have the minister’s son are not your average citizens. They are armed and dangerous. Will he be able to survive. Rika has already promised that he’ll regret not going home. Is he going to die to save the kid.

Well, no, we know he lives. This is him talking to Oishi seven years in the future. So what does Rika mean? What will Akasaka regret?

This chapter is intriguing. We have Rika with knowledge of the future. She knows events that always happens, including her own murder. Something is definitely wrong in Hinamizawa. We have plenty of suspects, but the clues are not lining up. This is the perfect ending to the Questions Arcs. We’ll transition to the Answer Arcs and see if our theories match up.

The story is poignant. Especially the parts in the present as Akasaka realizes that Rika’s predictions of the future all came true. That this poor girl was crying out for help and he was too wrapped up in his own grief and life to come to her aid.

Whatever is going on, Rika is at the center of it.

The art is beautiful. The story is poignant. It goes from the action pack fight to the surrealness of Rika. The story is great. It leaves you wanting more. Higurashi continue excelling as an intriguing and engaging mystery series!

You can buy Higurashi Time Killing Arc 2 from Amazon.

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Review: BERSERK Volume 21

BERSERK 21

by Kentaro Miura

Reviewed by JMD Reid

The built up torture and pain around Albion Monastery has combined with the wish of the Behleit Apostle. The negative energy surges through the refugees, consuming all who encounter it. Father Mozgus, transformed into a pseudo-apostle, sees himself as an avenging angel. He believes burning the witch will stop the madness.

Only problem, the witch is Casca.

Guts won’t let any touch the woman he loves. He has fought through so much pain to reach this moment. But Father Mozgus may prove too much for Guts to conquer. And even if he defeats the “angel” how can they survive the tide of darkness sweeping across everything, consuming all life it touches.

And at the heart, the Godhand watches on as something new is birthed into the world, the final wish of the dying Behleit Apostle.

Miura delivers one powerful ending to this volume. The action explodes across the pages. His art can depict the horror of the dark ooze dissolving all it touches to the titanic battle between Guts and Father Mozgus. The characters have to band together, helping each other. Guts can’t do it all on his own.

He’s gaining his own followers. Like before, he’s learning to rely on people. First Isidro, but soon others. And at the end, when the dust settles, we’re left wandering now what? Where does the story go from here?

Good thing we can keep reading.

Once again this series shows how amazing fantasy graphic novels can be. Any fan of fantasy will love this series. It brims with beautiful words, horrific monsters, and engaging characters. It has it all!

You can buy BERSERK Vol 21 from Amazon.

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Review: Higurashi Time Killing Arc 1

Higurashi Time Killing Arc 1

Story by Ryukishio7

Art by Yoshiki Tonogai

Reviewed by JMD Reid

In 1985, two years after the Hinamizawa Disaster, a detective named Akasaka learns that the young child he met seven years ago on a case was murdered in the shrine the night before the volcanic eruption released the toxic gas that wiped out the village.

The story flashes back to 1978, when the village of Hinamizawa is in the middle of protesting the dam project that would see their village flooded beneath an artificial lake. A high profile politician’s son was kidnapped and the village’s protest group, known to be violent, is suspected. Akasaka is sent to investiage. There he meets Rika Furude, a little girl respected by the village. Akasaka isn’t happy to be on this assignment since his wife is in the hospital with complications from her pregnancy.

He gets to know Rika as he’s given a tour and learns about the village. They seem friendly and he has a hard time believing they could be behind the kidnapping. That is until Rika suddenly begins talking like an adult and warning him that he should leave before he regrets it. She predicts that the dam project will fail within the year and he’ll only find grief if he stays.

Undaunted, Akasaka soon learns that his cover is blown and he maybe in danger from the Sonozaki family. Will he stay, or will he leave?

This short arc provides a lot of the back story. It shows us there is something up with Rika. She’s shown herself to have a surprising maturity at times in the story, dropping her girlish act. Now we see her giving threats to Akasaka that have the young detective unnerved.

This arc has mystery and gives us clues, providing a great transition from the question section of the series and the answer part. We see that the Hinimizawa disaster and Rika’s murder happen in multiple timelines since the Oishi of this timeline doesn’t go missing in the woods while investigating Teppei Hojo’s murder like in the last arc. It’s a hint towards what is going on, though we are still struggling to understand it.

There is something evil in Hinamizawa. The question is this: is it Oyashiro’s curse or is there a human culprit working in the background. We’ve had both the Sonozaki family put forth as the human cause, and the curse punishing the wicked on the other end. But the story is murky, and like all good mysteries, nothing is what it seems.

The art is great. Young Rika is adorable and the artist captures her childish glee and enthusiasm. It has a mellow story, but the tension slowly builds as new information is revealed, leading us towards the ending driving us towards the ending.

What will Akasaka find with Oishi?

Higuarshi is an intriguing and engaging series. The characters are likable, making you feel for them when things go wrong over and over again. You are rooting for these characters to survive one of these summers. Will they?

You’ll just have to read this series to find out.

You can buy Higurashi Time Killing Arc 1 from Amazon.

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Review: BERSERK Vol 20

BERSERK 20

by Kentaro Miura

Reviewed by JMD Reid

As the demonic goo rampages through Albion Monastery, the watching eyes, the Behleit Apostle, makes his appearance. As the torturous Father Mozgus and his minions are about to overwhelmed, they are given “holy powers” and assume the form of “angels.” But their piety hides what they truly are.

In the Monastery, Guts and his companions battle to survive and reach Casca, swallowed by the demonic ooze. It dissolves the flesh of all it touches. How can Guts defeat this and rescue the broken Casca?

Powers clash and new alliances form as survival takes over. A reflection is about to be cast upon the world. An egg verges on hatching that will change the world forever.

The pages flyby in this volume. It’s nonstop action. You will find yourself unable to turn away from the action or the tragic life of the Behleit Apostle, unique among all the demons out there. His will we’ll bring about a dream of a new world. But what sort of world will be born from him when he dies?

Miura’s art is amazing. It’s detailed. It’s powerful. The action is easy to follow. The characters emotions shine through the pages. The translation is great and the lettering adds more emotions to the story. This is some of the best fantasy out there to read. If you’ve never read a graphic novel but are a fan of fantasy (especially grimdark), then BERSERK is the perfect place to start.

You can buy BERSERK Vol 20 from Amazon.

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