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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World
Abigail Revasch, Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Tara Sands, Listening Library
Progress: 25/473 minutes
The Mystic Marriage
Heather Rose Jones
Progress: 302/426 pages
Ichi-F: A Worker's Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant
Kazuto Tatsuta
Progress: 58/553 pages
The Naked Sun
Isaac Asimov
Progress: 20/187 pages
50 Girls 50 and Other Stories
Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, Gary Groth
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 pages
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: A Novel
Becky Chambers
Progress: 148/441 pages
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas, Bill Homewood, Naxos AudioBooks
Progress: 667/3165 minutes
A Matter of Oaths
Helen S. Wright
Progress: 101/277 pages
Medical School for Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases
Professor Roy Benaroch, The Great Courses, The Great Courses
Progress: 34/725 minutes

Nightschool: The Weirn Books (vol. 1) by Svetlana Chmakova

Nightschool: The Weirn Books, Vol. 1 - Svetlana Chmakova

I found the first and second volumes of this series at a used bookstore and snatched them up. Although I never fell in love with Chmakova's Dramacon the way some others did, I liked it well enough. I enjoy fantasy and was interested in seeing how well she'd handle a switch to a new genre.

Although I didn't hate this volume, I was a bit disappointed in it. There was just too much going on, too many characters being introduced. I'm going to guess that Alex is the series' main character, since she's on the cover and got several pages all to herself. However, it's difficult to tell which of the many, many characters who popped up throughout the volume will play a larger role later. I couldn't even tell you much about most of them, since they appeared and disappeared so quickly.

I felt much the same way when it came to the details of what was going on and how the world worked. Alex is a weirn, which is...something. The back of the book tells me it's a “particular breed of witches.” All I know is that Alex can do magic, and she's got a being called Astral who follows her around. There are two groups, the Hunters and supernatural beings, some of whom attend or teach at the Nightschool. I'm pretty sure neither group is supposed to be considered villainous. The Hunters kill supernatural beings who've gone bad, and the Nightschool people attend/teach classes on the grounds of what, during the day, is a regular school. Normal humans don't appear to be aware of the Nightschool. Alex, for some mysterious reason, is home schooled and is potentially dangerous, although I'm not sure how aware of this she is.

All of this might turn out interesting, but, at the moment, it's just a jumble of vague information. With fantasy, it can be difficult to balance world-building and character development without letting one or both slide, and I think Chmakova may have bitten off more than she could chew. It was worrisome to learn that the series is only four volumes long. Here's hoping the story becomes more focused in volume 2.


Four pages are in full-color. Also, there are some author comments at the end.


(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)