March 18, 2007
So the end is pretty epic, and it does things that I would not have expected from it. It was okay, there were many ways to go about it, but I respect it for having the courage to do something few series (well, at least the ones I read) do, even when it is promised throughout the entire run of the damn series.
Anyway, most of this volume consists of the final battle between Diamond and Lapis Lazuli. Diamond sets off the catalyst himself, by killing Shell and incurring Emerald’s wrath. Emerald shows him how to have the power to control the world, even though he doesn’t want it, and gets him to seize this power by telling him that Lazuli would come back to him. The end end is all the characters sitting around reminiscing with their children running around.
There are many shades of RG Veda throughout, though it is not really a direct retelling or anything as obvious as that. It’s quite good girl fantasy, if that’s what you’re into, but a pretty middle-of-the-road title otherwise if you’re not into fantasy. I liked it, anyway, a lot. An awful lot. I do wish we could’ve seen all the parts that were skipped over.
March 18, 2007
So this volume answered my question about continuity. It was kind of rushed, but not any more than the rest of the series… it just feels like they’re cramming slightly too much plot in every volume. To get to the end, they skipped most of the story and mines, and the group just appears here with Lapis fully formed in the last mine, Isle Mine. This is quite sad, because most of the characters don’t get a backstory, including those who beg for it. One of the guardians is Diamond’s step-brother, but he just says not to ask about it.
Isle mine is ruled by an immortal witch who submits to Diamond and says he can have her land without a fight. Most of the volume is spent on Diamond and Lazuli, and Diamond’s girlfriend Ivory trying to kill Lazuli or separate the two. As little as I’m going to describe this, the love stories are actually really, REALLY well done. We’ve got a triangle between Diamond, Lazuli, and Ivory, with Ivory trying to kill Lazuli. We’ve also got a love story between the witch Emerald and her… juju (there, I said it) named Shell. Shell knows she does horrible things, but stays beside her anyway because he knows he’s the only one that can help her.
Diamond actually turned out to be an awesome character. As big a jerk as he is, the love story changes him. I hate liking him, but I do.
March 17, 2007
This volume was EPIC. It takes place entirely in a desert kingdom, with another habit/prince who managed to be a total jerk to everyone. There is a blind seer that involves herself with the plot pretty heavily, and she manages to be more of a main character this time around than Lapis. Mostly it involves the Seer and the jerk habit/prince trying to defend from an attack from Diamond.
As much as I hated the fact that all the habit/princes were the same character, I wound up liking this one A LOT, both before and after they gave him a tragic backstory. He was ruthless (though no more ruthless than the other two habits we’ve met), but he was ruthless 24/7. He nailed people’s heads to pikes and made people live in total fear. I don’t know. They did give him a lame backstory and tried to justify his jerkiness by saying it was for the good of the people and he was trying to create an oasis, but… yeah, it worked. It worked on me despite the fact I knew what it was doing. I liked the love story too.
The battle was quite epic too, for both Diamond and the new habit, and they both had some pretty awesome strategies. Diamond saw plenty of action, and he had some faceoffs with other characters. They weren’t fantastic battles or anything, but they did manage to be pretty cool.
In the first volume, the writer mentions that she’s going to make the characters visit all 12 mines, and there’s also a setup with 11 guardians… either the manga ended prematurely or the last two volumes are going to be super rushed, because thus far we’ve only visited 3 kingdoms and there are only around 4 guardians. Urgh. I’m so mad, I thought it was complete in 5 volumes. If it’s rushed, it’ll make me mad too, because while it’s not spectacular I am enjoying it quite a bit.
March 17, 2007
This turned out to be a pretty solid fantasy series so far. Not anything spectacular in the wide scope of things, but a pretty cool fantasy series all the same.
In this one we learn a bit more about Lapis Lazuli’s prophecy, Carnelian steps out of the picture for a bit, and we also find out that Lapis and Lazuli’s conscience are somehow separate. A big chunk of this volume is spent with Diamond being his… mistress (I can’t bring myself to use the word they use in the series). Lazuli doesn’t seem to mind and softens up to Diamond quite a bit, but when she turns back into Lapis, Lapis is rather disgusted that such a thing could happen.
This volume mostly took place in the same kingdom, and some other friends step out of the picture, too. The scene, while I didn’t really know enough about the characters for it to have as much impact as was wanted, was still pretty moving all the same. The way the battles and action are drawn makes everything feel pretty epic, which is nice.
March 16, 2007
A product of my Sang Sung Park mania a few months ago was this, Ark Angels, and Tarot Cafe. Ark Angels only had two volumes, so I read that one first. Since it was garbage, I was hesitant to read others, especially this one. I abstained from this title despite the interesting premise because it had really terrible covers. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, yes, but I judged the insides of another one of her books and it also wasn’t good.
I’m not too sure what it is about the art in this series that puts me off, but something does. Fortunately though, the story doesn’t, and is actually quite interesting. This is a fantasy series in which civilization is split up into feudal order, with lords called… something and serfs called spurs. The culture mines gemstones for a living, and all the characters are named after different stones. Our main character, Lapis Lazuli, is also a genderbender (which surprised me, I can’t remember if that was explained beforehand or not), so he gets two names. We also get a cruel prince/whateverthey’recalled Diamond, and a few other characters… maybe one named Carnelian, I don’t know.
Basically Lapis Lazuli is trying to overthrow the social order, particularly after he gets thrown in prison for trying to stop Diamond from killing a child, and then when he escapes Diamond kills his mother and father, who are a hunchback and dwarf, respectively. Lapis Lazuli was also born with dark skin that made him stand out, so he is ostracized as a youth for that, too. Rotten luck, especially since Diamond is after him after Lapis puts out one of his eyes. Also, you know, he changes into a girl unexpectedly, so there’s stuff going on for that, too.
Actually, that paragraph makes it sound awesome as hell. There were plenty of cool things going on, but it also suffered a bit from having a condensed plot… there was slightly too much stuff going on in the first volume. It’s slid into an RG Veda prophecy thing where Lapis Lazuli is the chosen cursed child, and while they’re not totally alike, the two series are kinda similar, and at this point I’d say if you liked RG Veda you’d probably like this one too.
So yes, I was really pleasantly surprised by how good this was. Flawed, but I’ll happily finish off the other four volumes I have.