Most of what I read this month was Fruits Basket, though I picked up a few other things in my down time between reads. I also decided to DNF a series over the course of a month, ah well!
I’ll start off with the single volume I read, Volume 5 of A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori. This manga series is the single most beautifully drawn series I’ve ever read. Hands down, I cannot think of another manga or comic series with such an attention to detail and consistency of beauty. I’m five books in and can’t think of a single time I thought ‘that panel was subpar’. It’s also a historical fiction series with a heavy draw on the history of the different tribes of people on the nineteenth century Silk Roads. The focus of the different stories always starts with weddings, but we jump back and follow and revisit these girls and their families throughout the volumes. I cannot express how much I love this series, it’s one of the few I try to take slowly. I recommend it highly for fans of manga and even fans of non-fiction because I’m learning a lot about these cultures at the same time as I’m enjoying the art and story.
I also gave a new series a try, which I’d definitely say was a beauty – 5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel, etc. This is a middle-grade, fantasy graphic novel about a world beset by climate change and political clashes. Seem topical to anyone else? Having said that, I’ll disclaimer and say I usually do not enjoy things that are that close to real world pressing issues. I deal with these things daily, I’d rather not deal with them in my fiction for fun. But this was sneaky and delightful. It presented it’s story and conflicts in a way that make it approachable and engaging. I recommend it for kids who enjoy graphic novels and want to try it out.
The series I decided to DNF was the Ouran High-school Host Club manga. While it’s cute, and keeps me reading when I have it checked out I don’t know if it’s worth the time right now for me to continue reading. The most recent volume I read (vol 5) had some actual character growth, but it’s taken a really long time to get there. I may return to this in a few months after I have my baby and everything evens out for us, but for now the payoff isn’t worth it for me.
Finally I’m almost done with Fruits Basket! I am incredibly sad about that, I might add. We’re starting to see the story arc solidify and begin to ramp up. I’m going to be honest, a lot of the characters have trouble with their families – specifically their mothers. It seems a theme, absent mothers either by choice or a twist of fate. As someone who is a new Mom, just about every time this comes I get so emotionally twisted into loving this more. I either get ridiculously misty eyed and sad, or misty eyed and… happy. Besides that theme hitting me in the FEELINGS, I enjoy the variety of characters we have and their different interactions so far. I’m hoping this one just continues out strong.