Manga Review: Noragami: The Stray God vol.1

 

Synopsis:

DIVINE INTERVENTION FOR SALE

Yato is a homeless god. He doesn’t even have a shrine, not to mention worshippers! So to achieve his ambitious goals, he’s set up a service to help those in need (for a small fee), hoping he’ll eventually raise enough money to build himself the lavish temple of his dreams. Of course, he can’t afford to be picky, so Yato accepts all kinds of jobs, from finding lost kittens to helping a student overcome bullies at school.

What I First Thought:

I watched the anime last year right before a set of finals and I was hooked. It isn’t your typical story and the characters aren’t what they first appear as. I had a coupon for Barnes & Noble one day so I decided to grab the first few volumes of the manga while I waited for the second season to hit the US.

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

3/5

It never ceases to amaze me how different it is to read the manga vs. the anime, either the characters don’t sound like you imagined or the tone is completely different than expected. The humor reads a lot differently than in the anime. For the manga, some of the humor as it travels across the world, through translation and due to our standards of comedy. On the page some of the humor just losses its impact or is harder to pick up, it’s almost like how British humor can go over Americans’ heads. If you have an ear and taste for it, you’ll probably laugh as much as you should, if not it just looks confusing. For me, it a hit or miss, though I hope there were hits than misses.

A lot of the manga that I’ve read before spend a good chunk of the first volume to set up the premise of the story, going into some details about the world/setting to get the readers comfortable and on task. Noragami, however, does most of the set up in the first chapter and then subtly sketches out a rough outline of how the story will go. It’s a simple plot and definitely not completely unique in concept, but I think it’s the story telling that will make it stand out from others like it. It’s about gods and demons and wayward souls; it’s about some of the darker parts of humanity and where it might come from. It’s nothing new, but the characters are different than what they first appear and they have a depth that I can already tell will only go deeper as the story progresses. The first volume only gives you a taste of the main characters, but it makes you care enough to want to read further.

Overall, it’s a good start of a story. The plot is a little rough looking, but I’ll cut the writer some slack since it’s their first time actually writing the story. I can already tell that this will be a different kind of manga than I’m use to and I’m looking forward to continuing on!

Details:

Title: Noragami  (Vol. 1)

Chapters: 1-3

Written by: Adachitoka

Artist:  Adachitoka

Translation/Adaptation: Alethea Nibley & Athena Nibley

Publisher:  Kodansha Comics

Published:  September 2nd, 2014

Pages: 200

Genre: Manga, Shonen, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mythology

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Why I Couldn’t Finish Abandon

AbandonDetails:

Title: Abandon

Author: Meg Cabot

Publisher: Point

Release Date: April 26th 2011

Genre(s): Young Adult, Romance, Paranormal, Mythology

Pages: 320

Synopsis:

New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can’t help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she’s never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she’s moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can’t. Because even here, he finds her. That’s how desperately he wants her back. She knows he’s no guardian angel, and his dark world isn’t exactly heaven, yet she can’t stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

First Thought(s):

I love mythology, especially Greek mythology, so when I saw this book was about Persephone and Hades I got excited.

Here’s the Deal:

So I couldn’t finish the book. Now, I won’t be one of those people that reviews what they read and applies the review to the rest of the book. I believe that it is unfair to post a review for a book you did not finish, because it is always possible that the book got better some point after you stopped reading. However, I will explain why I couldn’t finish the book.

I stopped reading the book a few pages after a hundred and it was surprising how little the story actually progressed in those hundred-something pages. The story starts off at the main character’s “Welcome Home” party, and then there were several pages of backstory. I’m not saying that backstory wasn’t necessary; in fact, there were several times in which I questioned if this was actually the first book in the series. What do I mean? The main character, Pierce, was the narrator that would constantly mention events as if the readers knew what she was talking about, then sometime after she would go into backstory about the event we had no idea she was talking about. I’m sorry, but I prefer my books to have a chronological order about them. The story would have read better if it had started out with how she got to the Underworld and back out, not talk about it 50 pages after the story began. Instead, the beginning was kind like “yea, so what?”

My biggest problem with this book was how it was structured. I also couldn’t connect with Peirce or John; they were kind of flat for main characters. Now, they could have gotten rounder sometime later. However, these characters didn’t compel me to read further, especially when I was no longer interested in the story.

This book will be placed at the bottom of my ‘to-be-read’ pile to be re-read later. Maybe by then I can get through it without wanting to chuck it out a train window. Also, the experience I had with this book will not affect my opinion of the other books by Meg Cabot.

Related Reviews/Books:

Coming Soon!