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Familiar Diversions

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

Currently reading

Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion!
Natalie Reiss
Progress: 20/120 pages
Fluency
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
Report on the Selected Problems of the Technical Departments of the University of Illinois Library
Raynard C. Swank
Progress: 20/42 pages
Medical School for Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases
Professor Roy Benaroch, The Great Courses, The Great Courses
Progress: 34/725 minutes

Pandemonium

Pandemonium - Chris Wooding,  Cassandra Diaz (Illustrator) Maybe I didn't look in the right place, but I haven't been able to find any confirmation on Chris Wooding's site that Pandemonium is the first volume of a series. [This was written before a comment on my blog pointed me towards info confirming that this was intended to be the first volume of a series, although it's not clear whether Scholastic will continue that series.] I hope it's not intended to be a standalone volume, because it really doesn't work as one. By the end of the volume, Prince Talon still hasn't been found, there are unanswered questions about Seifer's origins, there's more political unrest on the horizon, Seifer and Cassie's romance is still in its early stages, and Prince Talon's fiancee has just come home.According to Amazon, Pandemonium is intended for readers ages 8 and up. I have a feeling this book would work better for readers who are closer to 8 years old than, say, their later teens or adulthood. As an adult, I found the humor to be a tad too goofy when mixed with all the political unrest. I would have liked it if the balance had tipped more in favor of seriousness, with the humor used to keep things from getting too dark. Instead, there was something over-the-top on almost every page: a giant house cat that wanted to eat Seifer, midgets that liked to cosh people, the Big-Face plague (it's exactly what it sounds like), knowledge of another culture demonstrated via loud burping, etc.The story was extremely fast-paced. It felt like as soon as Seifer had dealt with one problem (or Cassie had dealt with it for him), he had another problem dumped on his lap. At first, it was an assassination attempt, but, by the end of the book, Seifer was leading thousands of people into battle. The romance with Cassie, too, was fast-paced. Cassie talked a bit about her past and spent some time showing Seifer how to use magika (I'm assuming the color art in the final version shows this better than the line art in my ARC), so I suppose Seifer had some time to get to know her, but the moments when he almost kissed her still felt a little rushed. Speaking of Cassie, I wish Wooding had spent more time developing her character - she had the potential to be awesome, but, after explaining her past and why she came to the palace, she became little more than Seifer's magical sidekick.I know one of the ways a lot of readers, myself included, initially judge graphic novels is by their artwork. Unfortunately, since only the first 16 pages of my ARC are in color, and the finished work is supposed to be entirely in color, I can't really say too much about the artwork. Those first 16 pages look really excellent, with my primary criticism being that the action scenes could be a little better. Of course, part of my problem with the action scenes may be due to me being used to black-and-white manga and its copious motion lines. Amazon has a few pages available for preview (which appear to be bad quality, since my ARC pages look better than they do), so take a look and judge for yourself whether the artwork is to your taste.Overall, I didn't dislike Pandemonium, and I'd love to see the full-color artwork in the finished book. However, I think I'd have liked the story more if either Seifer hadn't had to deal with impending war or the humor had been scaled back a bit. If this is the first volume in a series, I wouldn't mind reading future volumes – this book left me with lots of questions I'd like to know the answers to. Currently, I'm guessing that Seifer is Talon's twin, and the two were separated at birth.(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)