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The House Of The Spirits 

It does live up to expectations of a saga. As this story slowly unravels and balances the first person narration and mostly third person narration so incredibly well. The main narrator of the entire story is Esteban, who at times disgust me of the way he thought that Clara was his. And that she should be willing to share everything with him. 

As for Clara, in her own right, she is a strong woman. She would put her foot down and leave him, which she does in this book for her own daughter. The way that she is always so incredibly wise and aware of the world, and how she is portrayed is like a clairvoyant sometimes. Where she doesn’t try to speak. And her abilities really quite magical, and the way it is presented places this book into magical realism. Where sometimes certain events barely have any explanation, and this does pass due to the way Clara appears so incredibly aware. 

As for the family, which they are all rather crazy. Esteban with his obsession with Rosa and became a reason why he married Clara in the first place. Clara with all her abilities yet choosing not to interfere in many of her fates. Blanca, and her eventual life working hard and doing what she likes. All the while giving birth to a daughter. And Jaime and Nicolas, both of which finds their own strange path. Nicolas moving from one point to another without much thought, Jaime and his constant need for helping the poor. 

I really liked how their entire family became part of politics eventually. Such as Esteban running as a conservative, Jaime standing on the opposition side. As for eventually what happens to Alba and her, I would say that another party has come into power and one that is indeed a cruel tyrant. 

As for the story slowly beginning and ending, it all ends with Alba. And this saga has been quite entertaining really. Such as Clara deciding once and for all leaving, even though they still kept up appearances. Blanca and her affair, Jaime and Nicolas where both their paths diverged so incredibly much. And Alba, who grew up in this ridiculous environment.

So, this is a good book. More in the part that it developed characters over the years, and yet still kept their essence in the way that I could still recognize them. All the while spanning years and years with three generations of the family. And well, this books handles it all well. With how bizarre some of them are, and eventually having Esteban realise that he on some level had faulted. And Blanca deciding to let her first love go, after seeing that he was unwilling to be chained to her. 

And the way Alba views the world at the end. I would say that all this took a lot of work and planning, given how each character eventually had their own role to play and their own role to fulfill. And even seeing Esteban begging on his knees was nice indeed, and the way that he simply wants Alba back is really heartwarming too. 

So this is a family saga, and centered about their entire family and lives. And the way that somehow a lot of things eventually come back to them, and a lot of times there aren’t a lot of answers seeing as how Alba changed, and how mysterious she was at the epilogue. So, I would say that this book is more about the family than anything else. And each character was handled well for me, at least within the Trueban family. 

Rating: 4 out of 5′

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Kuroshitsuji 128

What is revealed here can say that it can be his twin. It’s really the only reason why Ciel looks so incredibly frightened, why Soma recognized him and why Lizzy chose to stay at the music hall.

And how the message is veiled subtly. “Who stole the candy from my tummy?” These does suggest that the candy is the ring, and it was taken from his stomach. Well, this is beginning to hint more obviously at the twin. Which I am fine with the twist as it is, as it brings a completely different kind of subtext to the story. 

What did Ciel do? He probably sacrificed his own brother. And his reaction subsequently make me think that he is afraid as he is guilty, and that he had wholeheartedly sacrificed his own brother. 

For this story, I won’t expect survivor’s guilt, since it is one of grey morality from the very beginning. And Ciel barely has a shred of humanity left in him, and we don’t know how their relationship had been. But I can say that the younger twin must have been jealous. Because in Victorian Era, primogeniture was the thing. And so, it makes sense why he would be jealous. He wouldn’t have been accessed to a single cent of the fortune. 

He all the more suffers from asthma, which is something that has affected him quite badly when he was a child. So, what could this mean? He could have a real reason why he would have sacrificed his brother, out of fear and eventually tried to rationalize it as everything would be for himself. 

And really, it does make the most sense among all the other ideas. So, I am more or less ready for the reveal of the twin this arc as it was suggested. 

But I would also expect the twin to be mentally unhinged and rather unstable. And with Sebastian’s reaction, it suggest that he has died and really was revived as a bizarre doll. 

But this is all my speculation and how likely it would fit if the theory is true. There is still that chance there is a completely perfectly good explanation which doesn’t include a twin(Victoria and John Brown deciding that this is the perfect chance to strike back at him, and reveals the twin.)

Or that John Brown and Victoria also has something to do with the Blue Sect(Even though that pointed to Undertaker more due to the Campaigna and the blue star liner), but I think that Victoria closing her eye to this and only bringing up now has a point, and Ciel to her isn’t of the best image. 

So, I think that this chapter revealed a lot and made me think that it’s the twin theory slowly coming to life. But I don’t know, maybe there are other explanations. Maybe there is a whole new twist. But I would expect a brutal faceoff should the twins meet each other again. 

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These Ruthless Deeds

This has been a joy to read. The last book left Evelyn having to mourn her sister’s death, and well, there are much more twists in this book than I initially thought. 

All the while still managing to make me laugh out loud every time. Especially the interactions between the three main characters. They clearly are the funniest bunch here. 

As for the entire plot, I really didn’t seem so many things coming. Except for that last twist as for who was the head. It was a bit on the easy side, but one which gave her plenty of motives too. Since there weren’t a lot of characters from the nobility at the beginning of the story. But a lot of them, aren’t what you would expect and some come as pleasant surprises instead.  

Despite how light hearted and fun it seems on the surface, beneath it hides a lot more about the actual theme of the story. What should be done? Should someone make the decision to save just one person or a hundred? Should someone have the right to say who had the greater good? I really liked how those tragic moments within the entire story served to this theme. Even those moments have a much deeper depth when looked down. 

Since they have X-men like powers in this situation, it has a lot about how this powers should be used. Who should run them? And really who was revealed to be the head at the end, also gives her insight towards this. It really is great to see that these authors have managed to answer these questions and leave it to us. With people with extraordinary abilities, it gives a lot of questions that needs to be answered. 

As for Evelyn’s decisions here, and how it reflects in the book title. I really enjoyed that Evelyn wasn’t perfect, and well she sometimes made decisions not nearly as moral sometimes. And how she eventually realised that she isn’t all that different from them. I really enjoyed that and the ending, where it left everything as a cliffhanger yet a lot for Evelyn to reflect upon at the end. 

So overall, I really like this book for what it is, and how it balances the funny moments and really dark moments in this book. I always enjoyed a book with both comedic and dark elements, and well this does this really well. 

I recommend this to those who like young adult novels set in the Victorian Era who want to see something rather different, and one which had plenty of comedic moments and dark ones too. So, I recommend it to anyone really. And those who have enjoyed the previous book. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

2

Stalking Jack The Ripper 

This book is utterly perfect. The mystery of Jack The Ripper, and the main character. To me, this was perfect in my eyes. Even if I could have seen where it would head with the characters, and who would be the murderer at the end slightly before it was revealed. The murderer’s motives were at least plausible and decent enough to be real. 

And from the beginning, Audrey Rose was a fantastic female characters. She isn’t obsessed with propriety, or even about how deserving of their fate those women were. She only thought that they also had mothers, they may also have children, they would definitely have a family. They might have only done this out of pure necessity not because of their choice. And that is what I like her for. 

Also, for the fact that she is skilled at forensic science and always tries to fulfill her curiosity. At the very beginning, against her father’s wishes she finds a way to do what she likes. And all the while, she doesn’t just fall head in heels for the first guy she meets. Their relationship is a developing one, where it goes from banter and eventually he helps her when it is most needed. 

Thomas comes off as conceited and arrogant from the very first page he is introduced. He knows a great deal, and loves to show off his knowledge. But the one thing that does set him apart is that he isn’t a complete jerk, he gets it that Audrey still needs her reputation, and he respects her for who she is without ever demeaning her. The way he acts arrogant is one that is in his personality, but never sounding incredibly rude if you ask me. And having his own charm lying in the way he speaks not his good looks, which I have been waiting for years for such a character. 

As for her family, there are some issues with them. Her aunt is religious and rather pious, which was quite okay if you ask me. She didn’t play a rather important role. Liza on the other hands was slightly more interesting, given that she allowed herself to love a variety of men. And well, let’s just say I pretty enjoyed a quote that she said. That Liza chooses who she wants to be and in certain times, she shows different sides of herself. To me, that was a rather interesting side of the story too. 

As for her father, I do admit that he has his faults but at the end he redeems himself instead. I rather like the ending for his decision and realizing that he wasn’t doing a pretty good job. Well, you would find out what would make him reflect on his choices. And well, I did like the ending where Audrey would leave to learn forensic science in Romania, which is why the next book is set there. Well, I definitely will be catching and continuing this series should the next book also have the same sort of mystery this provided me with. 

Since the ending, and no matter what the murderer will be someone that hurts Audrey rather deeply. And well, I cannot wait for the next book to be released since this has given me so much of a joy. 

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Chang Ge Xing (Manhua) 

I know I have posted a post about this with the same title. That was a drama while this is a manhua. I really enjoyed this work, even though right now it is on hiatus. To me, the real selling point on this work was how Chang Ge was thinking about her own identity, her revenge. And eventually finding a path for herself. Also, there is a sense of slow romance here. I sense that the ending for this series is Chang Ge marrying towards the Turks at the end, seeing as how she barely even left a name in history. All that she is known as is by her surname, and nothing else. So, chances are the author wouldn’t be able to make her name in history but still give a suitable ending which is that she married a Turk in the end, or she left the country which I think would the best way out. 

Despite crossdressing initially, the author added a lot of layers. Such as her struggling to identity with being a man and a woman at the same time. Whether her path was on revenge or to help Tang. Those were the moments which I savoured very much, about Chang Ge. 

Eventually, it also went towards her Heritage. Chang Ge is born to an Uighur mother, and her father. Both have some impression on her. And both leave a mark on her. It doesn’t feel as though it was either her father or mother, both sides have made her who she is. And well, I really liked this as well. 

As for Ashina Sun, depending on how you view it. He is someone who lives by his own heart and he isn’t a savage. He simply makes decisions based on his heart and feeling, and doesn’t let it down ever. It is clear given how he treats Chang Ge, even after finding out that she is a woman. And really, the way that he always tries to protect his tribe, those that were under him makes him not so much a ruthless commander. Just one who is stuck in a terrible situation, after he was taken from the Khitans. 

I admit that the historical context is really well done, and the art is glorious. Given that this is just at the beginning of Tang, I wouldn’t expect much on its riches. Since it is before Wu Zetian, where Tang reached its peak. But the Khitans, the Uighurs and the Turks especially all resided near the Tang Dynasty at the point. 

And Chang Ge’s decision to become one of the princesses who would marry outside the country, to me was realistic. There were so many instances which happens depending on the situation, Emperors either married their own daughters or someone close to the family. Not just random women of their clan raised to the title of Princess. 

I really enjoyed how this work was true to its history. The Xuanwu gate incident had indeed robbed Chang Ge of not just her father, but also all of her brothers. And the reality is painted well here. 

As for the arcs, I really began to ship the two of them together, since it was rather good to see their relationship grow closer and closer together. Both have their own development, and their own personalities. The romantic tension, could be said is there yet not completely so. But I do want to see them together in the end. And despite all, they are rather independent and both accept the decisions of each other rather than fight to be together. 

Ultimately, I guess this manhua appealed to this history lover and the fact I wanted to not just read about romance. But also about war, and a lot more. Here is a very good way of portraying Chang Ge, and there are some very intelligent moments and analysis. And the male and female characters, they are all quite different in their own way, and the women despite being in a patriarchal society aren’t merely just vases. 

So, I would recommend it to those who are quite tired of seeing women objectified or wanting a different sort of work from the usual shoujo work. Though, I would warn you that the manga is on hiatus and may not be restarted for quite a while. So, don’t pick it up if you want an ending to your series. 

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Nemesis

This entire book was mainly on Sepora and her romance with Tarik. That’s all there is. Eventually Tarik decides to love her as well, and then decides to kiss Sepora after she managed to get soldiers killed just by revealing her face. I have never read a more pointless love story where there was no chemistry, no spark and most importantly nothing else to keep my attention. 

And the entire world, is centered around the kingdoms yet their romance have more place than the politics between them, I really only gotten a shallow view of the entire kingdoms form here, and really all there is to the entire book is how the romance is between them. Now Tarik having this find a cure and you know stabilize his kingdom, nor Sepora finding her way here. Nope, they have to meet and fall in love. 

What does it achieve? Nothing at all. I would have preferred Tarik seeking her out instead needing her abilities and her identity. It would have been so much more of a surprise rather than taking in her for what reason? She’s odd looking and pretty. 

And come on, I mean does this guy even have the mind to rule. He trusts Sepora fully to not betray his secrets to her, and really doesn’t even bother sending someone to ensure her loyalty. And he is a good ruler, more like idiocy if you ask me. A good ruler should at least have someone by her side to inform him of the situation should Sepora just decide to go back. 

Heck, I was waiting for the moment Tarik would find out about her identity and feeling shocked. Well, it never comes. Instead, her father finds her and she’s a princess all over again. 

Then what was the point of her escaping in the first place? 

I like romance when it is believable, when the world is developed and when the obstacles between them is so much, and their live runs deep within their hearts. They simply loved each other. But they will still put their countries first, since they are royals. Here, most of them are mostly idiots. Tarik doesn’t even bother to protect his own country, Sepora does a poor job at it. Their romance, just felt so forced that I simply lost interest in the whole book. 

It felt as though everything was to build their relationship. I was waiting for King Eron to reveal that he let her run, so that he could get close to Theoria and she was nothing more than his chess piece and his puppet. 

Safely, I can say that the plot was what killed me. I expected complex politics, and I really only got a short overview of their entire world. And nothing else. Really nothing else. 

The main issue was how the execution of the plot, and even the villain was handled. The plot didn’t move me, and failed to have me cheering for the main characters. The main villain had so many places to shine such as using his daughter again yet he never does so. It felt as though there wasn’t enough on the world, and just way too much on the romance. Which I can say, wouldn’t be interesting here since it is a fantasy, I expect a lot of stakes and complexity. Which never got delivered.

That’s really all I have with this book. I didn’t like it or especially hated it. But it just had so many points where it could have been done so much better. And the world she built was complex and layered, but never really shown well enough to save the book. 

Rating: 2 out of 5

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Kuroshitsuji 127

Well, Soma survived. But it really seems that Agni would die, given it all. I’m more or less confirmed seeing that there was a panel where Ciel asked whether he was even breathing. And well, he’s not. The only thing I’m really sad about, is that these two characters in a sense provide some light for Ciel despite all, and well especially Agni who really is a model butler, to the degree that he would out his mother above anything else. 

So, was Yana right to have ended the chapter in the way it was, she was. Having Sebastian for once commend Agni, and even a way of saying that he was a much better butler than Sebastian was. Which was true. Sebastian only cares about aesthetic and his meal, but very little for Ciel. While Agni is willing to die for Soma. That is really the pinnacle in a sense. 

As for Sebastian, I wonder will he learn from Agni. Or will he die for Ciel in the same way. It is difficult to guess, but with his death, I can say that we can finally see some growth in Sebastian. For good or for worse though, I can’t really decide. 

More likely I want to know what would happen to Soma after this. Maybe he would become consumed with guilt and revenge. Maybe he would instead go back to India. Which I highly doubt would happen in this case. 

As for Ciel reacting, the shock can be real. Since it used to be a safe place for him, one which wasn’t always targeted given the way it seemed that Soma and Agni remained there for quite a long time. Most importantly I want to see Ciel reflecting a little bit on his own actions, and see how vulnerable he really is. 

As for the attacker, there are just a lot of possibilities. But there are definitely two assassins in this case, one which held the gun to Soma’s head and the other who took care of Agni. This suggest that perhaps it is Lord Sirius, and the other attacker might be Lord Polaris given how his room looked. Almost as though he had a pretty twisted mind, really. So, having Agni die the way he did, with multiple knives suggest really that man is a little sick. 

Well, I’m more or less curious as to who the mastermind was. Some think it’s John Brown, which does have some merit given that the Blue Sect existed for two years yet they are only being investigated now. And that, who could actually stay right behind him, Queen Victoria. And well, she is a very sketchy character from chapter 1 to allow Ciel to become the guard dog when he was only ten. And well, I’m still not surprised if this turns out to be real. 

As for the younger attacker being Ciel’s twin, I think the possibility is high. And well, Undertaker may only be just someone who took care of him, but not necessarily helped him. I mean, John Brown is really suspicious if he could travel to Germany in a single day. So, my idea is that Queen Victoria, in a sense perhaps is keeping his twin for the moment where Ciel betrays her, and then she will have a doll of sorts that she could control. A guard dog that will be solely loyal to her and would help her in starting the war that she wanted. Since Claudia, Vincent, Ciel, they all have their mistakes and their weaknesses. And even they are not fully loyal to Victoria on the level that she wants. 

I mean, look at their death dates. Vincent died on the same day as Prince Albert, effectively Ciel’s birthday. And Claudia, although not on a 14th but on a date of the 13th, like her son’s birthday. 

With this, I highly doubt it is Undertaker behind the whole Blue Sect. But another character who wants to really torment Ciel, and well use this kind of means to start driving away his allies. 

Well, enough said. This are mostly theories that I have thought up or read and seemed to have made sense to me. But, as I said only next month’s chapter would reveal something more. And well, I think we have seen quite a bit of plot progression at long last.