Mini-Reviews Series Edition–feat. world-building, feelings, and fan-art

Hello, friends!

I’m back today with some mini-reviews. I have to say, writing a mini-review of an entire series probably isn’t the best idea, is it? Good news: I’m not mini-reviewing a series. I’m mini-reviewing THREE SERIES.

This is a great idea.

This has nothing to do with the post, but NF’s Clouds the Mixtape dropped yesterday and I have FEELINGS. Drifting is SO GOOD. And Story?? WHAT. It’s a really intense short story…but in rap form?? WHO DOES THAT.

A-hem. But let’s get on to the post!

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The Murderbot Diaries* by Martha Wells

The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red by Martha Wells

My Very Informative Summary: Murderbot is a construct (part human, part robot) whose job is to stop stupid humans from doing stupid things. Or to save the stupid humans after they’ve done the stupid things. It has to do both frequently throughout the series, but it would really rather be watching serials and definitely not talking about its Feelings.

If you like high-tech sci-fi worlds and space travel, this is the series for you!

If you find those things ho-hum, but love complex, snarky, mistreated, avoid-emotions-and-humans-at-all-costs-characters, this is also the series for you!

You will have Feelings.

I keep accidentally calling Murderbot “he” (and “MY BOY” and “MY SON”)…even though I should technically be calling it “it”? So…I guess you can be mad about that if you want. (But Murderbot is my son.)

I am here for:

  • MURDERBOT.
  • Seriously. Murderbot is my favorite. How do I have this many feelings.
  • “Person who has been horribly mistreated meets actually nice people and whAT ARe ThEY suPpOSED to dO” is one of my favorite tropes *cries*
  • Murderbot being so snarky
  • Murderbot being like, “I don’t care about stupid humans” and then immediately risking its life to help them
  • Murderbot watching people through security cameras instead of through his eyes during conversations because this is very Uncomfortable and OKAY let’s put some DISTANCE between us–
  • …I think you get the gist of it by now. I’m here for Murderbot.
  • Also some of the world-building was pretty cool. I liked that there are things that are never actually explained (like the feed, hoppers, etc.), but you understand what they are through the context. It’s like it was written for someone who lives in the story world, so it only explains the things that the average person in that world would need explained to them (or that’s how I thought of it anyway)

Not so here for:

  • So yes, I’m here for the world-building some of the time…but other times I was Confused. (My fault, not the books’. I would probably follow it better if I read more sci-fi)
  • Also, I found the world itself weirdly depressing. The constant surveillance and data-mining? The fact that every single time a marriage was mentioned it was…a 3 or more way marriage? Fine in small doses, but if all I read was books set in worlds like this one it would get pretty depressing.

*Note: I read the first four book. Book four had one of those THE CONCLUSION OF THE SERIES! deals on the cover flap…but there are actually more? I might get to them at some point, but the end of book four did feel like the end of a series, so I’m stopping there for now.

The Queen’s Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner

The Thief - Megan Whalen Turner - E-book

My Very Informative Summary (of the first book): The Magus of Sounis is setting out on a road-trip with a bit of stealing-a-legendary-artifact at the end of it. Which means, he needs a thief. Good news: there’s a thief in the dungeon who can be dragged along. Even better news: that thief is our protagonist Gen and he will loudly complain about being hungry for the entire length of the journey.

*realizes this is a terrible series to do a whole-series review of because talking about any one book can give huge spoilers for the preceding book(s)*

*resolves to dodge spoilers with poise and grace*

*sweats*

Just a series about a clever, skilled, overly dramatic, can’t-stop-sassing-people-to-save-his-life, whiny, perhaps a tad bit self-destructive, way too endearing thief. And all the politics of the world around him.

(Ok, but look at this other cover I found:

a book a week: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

*chokes laughing*)

I am here for:

  • Eugenides. This kid.
  • And Eddis. And Sophos. And the Magus and– *stops before it turns into an exhaustive list of characters*
  • The WORLD-BUILDING. Greek-inspired fantasy world? Multiple kingdoms with complex politics? Original myths artfully woven into every single book?
  • COUSINS (the scene in ACoK when he comes up behind her and puts his chin on her head so they’re both inside the hood and wraps the cloak around her might have been the most wholesome, accurate cousin interaction I’ve ever read)
  • Even though I enjoyed the whole series, I love that the first book CAN stand on its own. Because it’s Practically Perfect in Every Way.
  • The sheer SCALE of it all. I feel like the series starts with a really tight focus on this one thief on this road-trip, and then slowly zooms out until we’re dealing with international conflict and??
  • Information being withheld…until it’s not.
  • PHERIS. Get to book 6 so you can meet Pheris, because he is My Son.
  • “Like riding a slowly moving sofa.” <<-THIS

Not so here for:

  • Most of the time I was a fan of the politics, but sometimes…I was confused. (Again, like with The Murderbot Diaries, I think this was more my fault than the books’.) And sometimes I wanted less politics, more characters-talking-about-stuff-besides-politics.
  • …I’m honestly not sure what I think of the romance. When it was first introduced my reaction was NOPE. In the next book, I sort of got used to it and even enjoyed parts of it, but was still slightly bothered. At this point…I think I’m okay with it? (If nothing else, I’m putting it in this section just because of how upset I was at first)

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

Fullmetal Alchemist (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 1 | Book by Hiromu Arakawa | Official Publisher Page ...

My Very Informative Summary: Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric tried to bring their mother back to life using alchemy and…it did not turn out well. (There’s probably a reason why there’s a rule against using alchemy for such purposes.) Minus a few limbs and a body, they have spent the last four years searching for a way to recover aforementioned limbs and body. But their search might just lead them to discovering a sinister plot much bigger than their quest… Or maybe it will just lead them to rural villages with sheep.

I have…many feelings.

This is the first manga series I have ever read in its entirety. (*screams because HOW LONG do I have to wait for the last two volumes of the Promised Neverland to come out??*) And…I was not expecting to be so invested.

If you’ve never read manga before, and don’t have any particular interest in it, DON’T LET THAT STOP YOU. I was in the same boat just a few months ago.

I am here for:

  • BROTHERS. Ed and Al care about each other so much, and Ed feels responsible for what happened to his little brother and I have Feelings.
  • WINRY. My favorite auto-mail mechanic.
  • Once again, the world-building is excellent. (I’ve recently gotten more interested in world-building, and now I’m noticing it EVERYWHERE.) The rules of Alchemy as well as the politics and history and??
  • The way it starts out so focused on Ed and Al and their personal journey, and by the end the scope of it has widened SO MUCH, with so much going on and so much at stake *screams*
  • The ARTWORK. I mean…it’s kind of a big part of a graphic novel. And it’s WONDERFUL.
  • In so many books with kid/teen main characters, the adults are either useless or evil. Not so here. There are so many excellent adult characters who are as much a part of the story as the kids.
  • Speaking of excellent adults: MUSTANG AND HAWKEYE. As individuals. As best friends. As a couple. I just love them.
  • Wholesome marriages *cough cough Sig and Izumi Curtis cough*
  • Half the adults lowkey adopting Ed and Al
  • You know when you’re reading (or watching) a series and something really awful happens and then…it’s never really talked about again because it’s not important to the plot? There’s something really upsetting that happens in volume 2, and throughout the entire rest of the series, Ed keeps being reminded of it and grappling with it. I appreciate this so much.
  • The ENDING. Many Feelings.
  • Baaaackstory. We get almost an entire volume devoted to backstory–not once, but TWICE
  • All the running jokes, including, but not limited to, Ed being short, milk, and Al adopting cats.
  • Ok, I really need to stop now.

Not so here for:

  • NOTHING. IT IS PERFECT.
  • There’s some of that “We believe in science, not God”/ “Only fools believe in God” attitude, which bugged me a little. But, aside from a line here and there, it was mostly just in the first volume (I think?)
  • There were parts where I could have done without quite so much blood. But what can you do, eh?

****

Have you read any of these (tell me your THOUGHTS)? What’s a series you’ve read that has a satisfying ending? Do you think you’ll ever try manga? Isn’t fan-art great?? What are you reading right now? Do tell!

17 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews Series Edition–feat. world-building, feelings, and fan-art

  1. For some reason I found Murderbot’s world significantly less depressing than most sci-if I’ve read. It’s actually a major reason I don’t like sci-fi, the depressing worlds. I think the fact that everyone KNOWS it’s awful in Murderbot’s world helps?
    But yes. It’s really an awful world. In a realistic way, too, which makes it worse.
    And MURDERBOT. Everything about Murderbot. Watching people’s faces through the camera instead!!! I relate so much to this!!! And the SNARK. I just finished book 4 too and will probably stop there for a while. It was a wonderful ending, anyway.
    And I always think of Murderbot as “he,” too. Not sure why.

    Everything you said about the Queen’s Thief books ❤️❤️💙 (except I have ended up loving the romance, somehow) (and I still have to read book 6, I must meet your son)

    I have never read a manga but am considering trying The Promised Neverland…

    Have I ever mentioned how entertaining your mini reviews are?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, interesting. I really haven’t read a lot of sci-fi, so I don’t have much to compare it too. Mmm, it does help that people KNOW some of the stuff is awful.
      But MURDERBOT though. I really related to the watching-peoples’-faces-through-cameras part too. And when he can’t have his face-shield opaqued and is like “HOW DO YOU CONTROL FACE EXPRESSION”
      Ack, I honestly can’t sort out my feelings about the Romance in the Queen’s Thief! Part of me likes it, and part of me is still processing all the long conversations I’ve had with my Sponge Sister about it XD
      I’m still hoping book 6 will fall into a flowerpot for you 🙂
      *fights back excited squeal* I’m really curious what you would think if you read The Promised Neverland!
      Aw, thank you!

      Like

      1. I haven’t read much sci-fi, but what I have read is mostly from like the Golden Age of Science Fiction and so everybody’s all optimistic about the future and science and stuff and it’s SO horribly depressing and Murderbot’s world where it’s like “yeah it sucks and we all know it” is almost a welcome change. But yeah.
        Okay yes the part when he can’t have his face shield opaqued!! Gosh why is it so relatable. Why. (What is wrong with us that we find it so relatable xD)

        Ah, yes! I had a most intriguing conversation with your Sponge Sister about it myself, so I imagine there’s a lot to process. (I can completely understand hating it, honestly, let alone being unsure how one feels. Even though I love it very much myself.)

        Thank you! I’m still hoping that as well. Maybe I should empty more flowerpots. Maybe it WANTS to fall but it doesn’t want to smash the pansies???

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh man, I can see how that would be depressing.
        Really though. Is it a problem that I relate so much to a construct who can’t handle human interaction XD
        Indeed, much to process. (May or may not have been creepily stalking that comment thread, munching popcorn while “listening” to you two discuss it [Is that actually creepy?? I don’t usually do that, but I was SO CURIOUS to hear both of your sides XD])
        Ahh, that could be the problem right there. Any self-respecting book would blanch at the propsect of crushing some innocent pansies. Solution: I WILL SEND YOU EMPTY FLOWERPOTS

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’t think it’s a problem. Seems normal to me. I see humans coming though, we should hide in case they say “hi” or something to us.

        (so are you, I’m assuming from what you said, in the middle of our two sides, like the judicious listener you are?)

        I APPROVE OF YOUR SOLUTION. When my sisters ask why I received a bunch of empty flowerpots in the mail and am decorating the lawn with them, I will tell them it is to catch Gen. They’ll definitely understand.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. These all look really good!!! I really want to read murderbot and the thief one now.

    ALSO

    I FOUND THE NEW BRIGHT SESSIONS EPISODES AND I DIED IN DAMIEN’S BRIGHT SIDE EPISODE (jeez that was a rollercoaster of feelings) AND I’M SUUUUUPER EXCITED ABOUT THE AM ARCHIVES BEING RELEASED AND JUST AHHHHH

    please be screamy with me

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay, the Murderbot books were already on my reading list (well, the first one, at least), but now I want to read them so much more! Murderbot sounds like My Kind Of Character.

    I admire your bravery in trying to review the entire QT series without giving spoilers. You did admirably, and I am impressed! (And that summary was hysterical!) THE COUSIN VIBES I almost forgot about them? But I love them so much. And the scale! The scale is amazing. And Pheris. And THAT QUOTE. (And also, I cannot remember a time where I did not adore the romance, soooooooo. Yes. They are just perfect together and I am here for it.)

    I am not a manga person. But you have almost convinced me to try Fullmetal Alchemist. Key word being almost.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Murderbot is a wonderful character that everyone should know and love ❤
      The spoiler danger is REAL, but I guess I did ok? XD Yesss, the COUSINS. (I don't mean to bash your ship! Initially conflicted feelings about the romance aside…there are so many moments I really love. Like, "THE QUEEN IS FINE" and the whole elephant part in book 6 XD)
      I guess manga isn't for everyone. I have a lot of friends I would recommend FMA to if it WASN'T manga, but as it is…I would probably have a hard time getting them to read it. But what can you do, eh?

      Like

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