Kino No Tabi is the novelized version of the popular anime series Kino’s Journey. Although published by Tokyopop in 2006, it is not a manga. The descriptive style of writing could easily work as a manga and it is a good companion piece with the DVD, Kino’s Journey, which is also available from Surrey Libraries. This young adult novel is set in a post-apocalyptic future Japan although any reference to time and place is nonexistent. Instead the novel is set more in a fantasy realm and uses elements of the known world as tangible points for the reader. Kino is a young adult, possibly a young teen. The reader is left to guess because her current age is only described by others as younger to them although we find that she started on her journey at the age of twelve. Her companion on her journey is a talking motorcycle named Hermes. Why the motorcycle is able to talk is slightly alluded to when on one of their adventures they meet another traveller with a talking dog. The dog and Hermes find each other’s ability to talk equally ridiculous, but accepted nonetheless. Kino travels with Hermes to different countries as they are described. These countries are more like city states which have their own rules and idiosyncratic beliefs. Kino has a fixed rule of not staying in one place more than three days in order not to become too involved with the people of the city she visits. This rule of course never holds true since she invariably becomes embroiled in some adventure or intrigue within the city. Kino’s travels are an allegory for a teen’s journey into adulthood and their similar contempt and attraction for what that will mean to them. (Submitted by Shane).
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A new pleasure I have recently discovered is reading books by different gender life partners writing together. I’ve explored books in Speculative Fiction, which includes Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Writing soft Sci-Fi are my new all-time favourites, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Having discovered their Liaden Universe stories last spring, I’m on my third read of my favourites of their books now, and most of my Christmas presents were their books! The intricate world building adds layers to stories which are coming of age stories, romances, space operas, and adventures. Fledgling, Necessity’s Child, Dragon in Exile, and Alliance of Equals are books available at Surrey Libraries which you can use to enter the series. The first book they wrote begins The Agent Gambit, which is available through Inter Library Loan.
On the Urban Fantasy side, Ilona Andrews is a pseudonym for another female-male writing partnership. Kate Daniels is a hard core merc with magic in her blood and a past to run from. World-building and adventure are again fantastic, and the romance is balanced with self-discovery and an appealing cast of secondary characters. Magic Bites is the first book in this series. (Submitted by Rebecca O.)
Reading the previous installment, Warm Bodies, (or watching the movie) isn’t a necessity. If you have, you’ll get a richer understanding, but if you haven’t, no big deal. That’s impressive, because I loved Warm Bodies, but I was sort of wary about a sequel. Don’t worry – Marion has expanded on Warm Bodies and brought us an action-packed, philosophical, futuristic powerhouse of a story. There are zombies trying to slowly regain their humanity, there are zombies who are not nearly human, there are survivors building a new world, and there is an eerie and mysterious new “Axiom Corporation” controlling the puppet strings somewhere. It’s a great read. Great fun, great adventure, and great writing. I loved R’s journey into self-discovery, I delighted in the mystery of the wholly unsettling Axiom Group, and I loved the band of resistance fighters scattered around what’s left of North America. The pages flew by. Definitely a must-read for fans of post-apocalyptic fiction and The Walking Dead.
Side note: This isn’t a book for the squeamish. It is about the undead and a bunch of humans desperately surviving, and there is some gruesome stuff in here. Zombies, you know. (Submitted by Veronica)
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