Top 5 Problematic Characters

Copy of Top 5 Wednesday Banner

GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS.

Every Wednesday at work, I just send this camel to my coworkers all day. ALL DAY. I’m a walking meme and I’m okay with that being my work persona. It’s neato. One day I’ll develop a sense of professionalism. One day.

Today’s topic is problematic characters – ones that are honestly pretty awful people but you can’t help but like. Hoo boy do I have a few. My brain says ‘No they’re terrible!’ but my heart says ‘ba-bump’.

If you’d like to participate in T5W, you can do so here.


5. The Dragon from Uprooted by Naomi Novik

UprootedThis character is such a weird character and if I met him in real life I feel like I’d make a point to avoid him. There are so many things wrong with this guy. He steals away a young girl from towns every so often, he makes them work, he’s a jackass to the main character, he’s arrogant. So many issues, so many things that would make real-life be go ‘nope’.

But in the book he was one of my favorite characters. sigh.

 

4. Naraku from Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi

Image result for narakuThis character is probematic in the sense that he was in love with a woman fifty years ago but since she was a priestess and turned him down, he allowed demons to infiltrate his body and transform him into some evil creature to subtly sabotage what romance she does manage to have and then continue his vengence 50 years later when the dead priestess is brought back to life.

OBSESSED MUCH?!

I love Naraku. He’s such a butt. And his theme music is always ‘dung dung dung duuuuung’. because he’s dung. 😀

3. Levi from Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama

Attack on Titan, Volume 14Levi is one of the lead characters in the surveys corps. He’s an ass. He’s obsessive-compulsive when it comes to making his team clean, he’s ruthless when it comes to getting what he wants. He’s willing to proceed with plans that could potentially risk more lives than necessary. He’ll punch whoever in the face without hesitation.

But at the same time, he had a strong sense of right and wrong and everything he does that is wrong has an underlying end goal of something that is right. So I guess… not? so? awful? Maybe?

2. The Darkling from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)I feel like anyone who reads YA likely will at least consider this character if he’s not on their list already.

The Darkling is one of those characters that while he’s awful, vindictive, manipulative, and all-around slimy, I stilllll shipped him with the main character. Still wanted it to happen. Buh.

But if met in real life, I have a feeling that this character would just rub me the wrong way. Would not be a fan.

1. Hakkai from Saiyuki by Kazuya Minekura

Saiyuki, Vol. 4Hakkai is by far my favorite person on this list. He’s a youkai made, one of the few that retained his sanity when the minus when spread throughout the land, driving the rest of the youkai crazy.

The best part about his problems are that looking at him, you have no idea that they’re there. He’s not a jerk like the others on this list. He’s not inconsiderate. He’s not ruthless. On the contrary, he’s the most well-mannered of the bunch of main characters, the most likely to make friends with those they’re staying with, or make accommodations for others.

But his back story, man. Yikes. This guy is messed up.

But at the same time, even with his back story, you read it and find yourself feeling sorry for the guy amidst your disgust. Like your view of him changes forever but you still want him to end up happy.

Buh. I need to reread this series again. <33

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Fairytale Retellings – Blogmas 12/9

Today is Wednesday and this week’s topic is favorite fairytale retellings. I haven’t read many so I may or may not end up coming up with five books. But here goes nothing. T5W was created by Lainey and here is the full list of posters should you like to join.

Onward!


Hey guess what I could only come up with three, and two of them are a bit of a stretch at that.

3 – Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya

This series is based loosely on the legend of the Chinese Zodiac. The legend states that there used to be 13 animals in the zodiac. The 12 that are there now and then another one: the cat. Here is where you can learn more about the legend if you’re curious. Otherwise, Fruits Basket is about a girl, Tohru Honda, who through a set of circumstances ends up living with the Sohma family. She quickly learns that the family is cursed, each turning into a different animal of the zodiac when hugged by the opposite sex. This series is cute, funny, and pulls on your heart strings after a while. Highly recommend it.

2 – Saiyuki by Kazuya Minekura

Saiyuki is another series based on a Chinese myth. This myth, The Journey to the West, tells a tale of a legendary pilgrimage by a Buddhist monk into India. He goes to collect ancient and coveted scrolls along with three companions, all sinners who accompany him to redeem themselves. This series is really, really cool. This myth entwines with the myth of the Monkey King. One of the companions in Saiyuki is Goku, the monkey king himself (this is the myth also in Dragonball Z for those curious). This series is funny, action-packed and intense. It has a strong story-arc and is relatively short for a manga series (9 volumes in the original series) Again, highly recommended.

1 – Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

This is the only retelling that’s an actual fairytale retelling. Some people don’t differentiate between legends and fairytales but I feel they have a different uh… feeling to them? I guess? Does that make sense? Anyways, since this is the only one I’ve read, it’s my number one choice. I’ve got into why I love this book in the past, so I’m not going to again. But I’ll just say it’s wonderful for young girls to read, so go get one to read it.


 

And that’s it for today. 😀 Happy reading.

 

March Wrap-Up and Book Haul!

Yay, a book haul! I don’t think I’ve ever done a book haul 😀 I’ve also never purchased enough books within one month to warrant one, either. Well lucky me, my local library was having a book sale. It was $5 for a bag full of books! My friend and I split a bag 60-40, so I paid three dollars for all of these:

IMG_1169On the chance you can’t make out the titles from the photo, they are:
The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan, Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood, Geisha by Liza Dalby, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, Night by Elie Wiesel, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Emma by Jane Austen, Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan, Priest volumes 1 and 2 by Min-Woo Hyung, and Dune by Frank Herbert

I’m so excited about all of these, the Margaret Atwood ones especially. I read ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’ last year and was really sucked in by her writing. She was an author I was keeping an eyeball for while going through the selection. And they had two! I was so happy. 😀 I can’t say when all of these will get read. My to-be-read shelf is well over a hundred books at this point, so it all comes down to my mood I suppose.

Right right, onto the wrap-up bit. First off, my TBR Jar challenge from last month was to read a classic, and I had chosen ‘A Clockwork Orange’. Well. Shocker. I still haven’t finished it. I do like it though! Well, I think ‘like’ is a strong word. More like ‘am fascinated by’. I hate the main character so much. He’s such an asshole. I hope he steps on a lego. So I’m still reading that. I got distracted by other books, sorry!

Otherwise, I finished up the Saiyuki series towards the beginning of the month and wrote a series review (here), and I bought and read The Girl of Fire and Thorns immediately. I reaaaally liked that one. Wrote a review of that one too (here). And then there are a few that I started during the month that haven’t been finished yet, but I’m going to mention those in my Currently Reading/TBRy post next. If there are any books in that book haul that you think I should read immediately, tell me! They all sound good, so I’m being indecisive, haha.

Right. Happy April! 😀 (And happy Easter tomorrow!)

Book Review (Series Review) – Saiyuki

Saiyuki by Kazuya Minekura
Saiyuki, Vol. 1 by Kazuya Minekura

Saiyuki is a nine volume manga series. It has two prequel and two sequel series, each having between 5 and 10 Saiyuki, Vol. 6 by Kazuya Minekuravolumes in them as well. This review will be on the 9 volumes in the main series.

This series begins in Shangri-la, essentially mainland Asia. After a wave of strange energy has been released from India, all of the youkai (demon spirits. Though not ‘evil’ naturally) in the land are driven mindless and violent. They go crazy, killing with reckless abandon. The plot begins when the four main characters are set on a quest to travel across Shangri-la to determine the source of the strange energy and the reason behind the youkai madness.

Saiyuki, Vol. 2 by Kazuya MinekuraThroughout their travels, the reader gets to see how wonderful these characters are. A gun-happy priest, a womanizing half-youkai, a child-like monkey king (think Goku from Dragonball Z – both of these Saiyuki, Vol. 7 by Kazuya Minekuracharacters are based on the same myth!) and an overly polite youkai with a dragon jeep and more to him than he lets on. The interactions between these characters I think are the best part of Saiyuki. Minekura-san really knows how to develop characters through dialogue, through flashback, through body language. Through body language! There was character development through body language!

Reading this, you get a sense of extreme closeness between these characters, even when they’re threatening to kill each other (and trying to). I know some fans of this series are adamant that there is romantic feelings between Saiyuki, Vol. 3 by Kazuya Minekurathem. And… well… I don’t know what to say to that. I mean, seeing how they interact, it seems… plausible. There is nothing that blatantly says this, mind you, but they just seem to.. I Saiyuki, Vol. 8 by Kazuya Minekuraknow don’t know, seem so attached to each other (in the ‘I hate you, die’ kind of way). You’d have to read it. And then again, like I said, there’s nothing that actually says there is. So if you’re not looking for these hints, you won’t find them. So it comes down to the reader. (Meaning, if you’re open to reading a theme like that, you’ll like this because you’ll find hints. If you’re not open to reading a theme like this, you’ll like it because you won’t find hints).

Right right, moving on from my obsession with character interactions. Each of these characters has a well-developed history. Even the ‘bad guys’ have them, which I came to really like as well. You get to see why each Saiyuki, Vol. 4 by Kazuya Minekuracharacter has come out like they are. You become attached to them, even though each has situations that could be called questionable at best riddled throughout their stories. The author makes who Saiyuki, Vol. 9 by Kazuya Minekurawould be normally unlovable, loveable. I love these characters. I want stuffed animals of them. I want posters of them on my walls. I want to meet them (I know at least two of them would be pleasant company).

Right. The plot! The plot of this is rather straight forward at the beginning – go to India, find out about weird energy. Each volume though introduces struggles to that goal. Events intertwine and link back to each other in the most surprising ways. I loved it. Bad guys and good guys kinda blur. Bad guys become really bad guys. It’s an interesting mix, the events of these books and how they effect those in them.

Saiyuki, Vol. 5 by Kazuya MinekuraAnd as for cons of these books… uhm.. not long enough? 😀 I honestly can’t think of much I didn’t like about them.

All in all, each book I read was either a five or four and a half star book. At the end, I’ll average the rates out to give a series rating. I WANT TO READ THE SEQUEL. I NEED IT. GO READS THESE BOOKS.

Overall rating: 4.83/5 stars.
I love it. I’m obsessed. Halp.

March TBR

I’ve decided I’m going to flip my TBR around a bit, because I noticed that basically every time I decide ‘I’m going to read a book this month’ I end up reading everything except that book. So my TBRs now I feel are going to include my TBR Jar Challenge for the month and basically anything I’m in the process of reading already. And at the end, I’m going to say what I feel in the mood for, if that makes sense. This way I’m not locked into reading any certain book and essentially read what I want while still making a post like this worth typing.

My TBR Jar pick for this month is “Read a Classic Novel”. This one is both exciting and daunting for me. I’ve been wanting to get more into classical literature, but honestly the field of it is so huge, I don’t know where I would begin. I own a few already, but none of them are sticking out to me too much at the moment. I feel the one that most catches my interesting is 47 Ronin, which is a collection of classic Japanese stories. I might end up saving this one for another challenge though, so don’t quote me. I know I can read a classic this month, but at the moment, I’m not settled on which.

Other than that, I plan to continue reading the books/series I’m currently reading:

Saiyuki – I borrowed the entire series from my sister so I should zoom through it.

Life, the Universe, and Everything – I’m very much enjoying this. I want to chase couches across prehistoric earth, it’s not fair.
Monsters of Men – the last book in the Chaos Walking series.

Game of Thrones – This one I’m listening to on audiobook. There are sooo many chapters, man. Really enjoying it, though 😀

And if I get to anything else this month, the more the better. I’m feeling epic fantasy.

What are you reading this month?

February Wrap-Up

Welcome to my February Wrap-Up! This month, I read two novels and three manga. Not a wonderful reading month for me – my course work this semester is insane. You probably don’t care, but it seems like all my professors are in cahoots. They all make things due on the same day. It’s butts.

BUTT ANYWAYS, THE BOOKS. THE IMPORTANT BITS.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide, #2)The first thing I completed this month was The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams. This is the second book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, and man, I think I loved this one more than the first one, and I really really loved the first one. Douglas Adam’s humor just clicks with me. It’s just perfect. I have probably mentioned before, but this series for me is being read very sparingly because my SO and I are reading it out loud to each other. So, it only gets read a chapter or two at a time, and only when we’re both free to do so. I think it makes it all the more enjoyable, because his voice is just perfect for this book. But anyways, I love this series, partially because of the series itself, and partly because of the memories I’m making while reading it. I hope to get through the rest of them as well. 😀

The second book I read was The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness. This is the second book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy, and I actually wrote a full review on it, which can be found here. I really enjoyed this book, and am currently reading the third one. I know my TBR Jar Challenge for the month was to finish a series, and I had chosen this one to do that… well, I didn’t finish the third one. (I did complete a different series, but I’ll get to that in a moment). I highly recommend checking this series out if you haven’t already. The premise of it alone was enough to pull me in, and the writing after that kept me there.

The third and fourth things I read were volumes 1 and 2 of Rurouni Kenshin Restoration. This is the series that completes my ‘finish a series’ challenge. I also wrote a review on this series, if you’re interested. This series is a condensed retelling of the 28 volume series Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki. This series is fantastic, and the retelling was pretty damn decent as well. This is a historical action manga set in the Meiji Era of Japan. If you’re at all interested in this, read the original 28 volume one first, or you’ll be confused as hell.

Saiyuki, Vol. 1And the last thing I finished was volume 1 of Saiyuki by Kazuya Minekura. This, I borrowed from my sister, who is lovely. This is the first of a nine volume series that deals with demons and science and humor and action and feels. It follows four characters, a buddhist priest, two demons and a half demon as they travel across Asia to India to investigate a strange release of energy that has caused the continent’s demons to go crazy and bloodlusty. The characters are fantastically developed and very funny. This is as much of a comedy as it is an action manga. And technically, this is a reread for me – I read it when I was in high school. At that point though, I didn’t have a goodreads, so the website counts it as first time read for me, yay. And it kind of feels like it regardless, but I don’t remember what the hell is going on, it’s been so long. So needless to say, I’m really enjoying it. And I remember loving it when I was younger, so hopefully I’ll love it just as much this time around.

So that’s all that I read this month. My TBR for March will be up soon here. Happy reading!