Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 6 by Paru Itagaki

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

After rescuing Haru, she has a heart to heart with Legoshi while they’re holed up in a hotel before they can go back to campus. Louis also returns after being missing for two  months only to quit school and we get some back story on Legoshi’s roommate, Jack; a Labrador who was genetically engineered to be less aggressive than wolves in trade for higher intelligence.

While this volume is just as interesting and entertaining as the previous ones, I did do a double take as to the importance of the Beastar title. Having to call a meeting of the leaders of all the animals to put pressure on the school to pick one surprised me. In my mind, Beastar was a sort of Student Counsel President sort of position; giving them authority in the school but not really anywhere else. But it appears to be a bigger deal than I thought, making me wonder why such an important position would be given to a teenager and not an animal who is older and has more life experience. I’m sure we’ll find out, though. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “No Guns Life” Vol 5 by Tasuku Karasuma

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

In a vicious battle with Victor, Juzo’s dark past comes to light and we learn who Mary’s brother really is and what he’s been working on while he’s been missing. Meanwhile an old “friend” of Juzo’s returns along with Tetsuro, who was just let go from his captivity with no explanation.

This volume is really juicy. A lot is revealed, there’s some treachery afoot, another gun head is running around, and we get some really interesting Extended designs and abilities. All these twists and turns are written really well. It keeps the stakes high, the action interesting and clear, and the characters are diverse and entertaining. There’s very little in the way of fluff and there are enough funny moments to keep the overall story from being too bleak and depressing. This is a great series. 5 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “No Guns Life” Vol 4 by Tasuku Karasuma

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Juzo is hired to guard a young girl named Rosa who hates Extended because she believes one is responsible for her parent’s deaths. She believes she is haunted by a ghost but what Juzo and Mary uncover puts them in the cross-hairs of the Spitzbergen – the anti-Extended terrorist organization that currently has Tetsuro in their clutches.

Ok, gonna spoil a bit of plot here but I have to say this: Victor is fucking nightmare fuel. Very creepy character design there. So far, this has been the first volume I had to sit and read in one sitting with no breaks. It’s fast paced and heavy on plot twists while still keeping up the action. I also really enjoy how Juzo isn’t afraid to be silly sometimes. Very cool. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Review: “No Gun’s Life” Vol 3 by Tasuku Karasuma

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

With Tetsuro and Mary still in custody and Chief Olivia forced to step down, Juzo battles the fugitive, Gondray, and uncovers a conspiracy hiding the truth about a ten year-old massacre. Juzo’s meds are fading, his control is slipping, and famous hero Armed Sai isn’t about to let the truth be known.

I am loving this world. If you need some good techie sci-fi along the lines of Battle Angel Alita, this manga fits the bill perfectly. It’s got me hooked. I love to see the different types of Extended and how such a technological marvel is used in so many different ways. I am most curious about the anti-Extended group lurking in the background and what their ultimate goal is because, to me, they seem unfocused. But it’s only the third volume. There’s time to build them up. 4.6 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Breaks” Volume One by Emma Vieceli & Malin Rydén

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Cortland Hunt is an outcast and that’s the way he likes it. When the popular joker Ian Tanner refuses to take the hint to leave him alone; dead set on befriending the brooding loner, Cortland begrudgingly opens up to the idea. But Ian’s feelings grow to more than just friendship and Cortland isn’t sure how to handle it.

I like the way Cortland and Ian’s relationship progresses from friendship to possibly something ore and Ian is the perfect bubbly, silly counterpoint to Cortland’s sullen and aggressive nature. But I have some concerns about how this story will go considering Ian has a girlfriend that he’s been with for some time. I’m sure there’s a way to work this out in a way that’s not problematic but I’ll have to wait for the second volume to see it. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Aliens, Smith And Jones” by Blaine D. Arden

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+.

Set in the UK, Agent Connor Smith works for an organization that deal with aliens and alien artifacts. When he starts feeling paralyzed randomly, it is revealed that Noah, an alien, is making contact with him because he believes Connor is his soulmate. There is also an underground crime syndicate selling artifacts and aliens on the black market.

Despite the interesting premise, this book is sadly disjointed, unfocused, and stilted. I just didn’t feel much emotion from the writing and that made it hard to care once the plot really got going. I wanted to like this so badly but it just felt so dry. There’s some real untapped potential here but I didn’t enjoy this as much as I’d hoped. 2.9 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “No Guns Life” Vol 2 by Tasuku Karasuma

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

With the Beruhren Corp choking his resources, Juzo is running out of ways to protect the boy Tetsuro on his own. The Extended Management Squad comes calling for a favor to bring in the first non-compliant Extended, Gondry; a violent murderer on a rampage.

This volume has a better pace for it’s world-building than the first. Because a rogue soldier is on a killing spree, we get some insight as to how the military used – or perhaps misused – the Extended in the great war and after it. Staying focused on Juzo and his task, we get an action-packed adventure. Also, if you want some cheesecake, Chief Olivia provides it in spades. She may be fan service, but she’s a good character on top of that; very strong and capable so I like her. 4.7 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “No Guns Life” Vol 1 by Tasuku Karasuma

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Ex-soldier Juzo Inui, who has no memories of the war or what compelled him to have his body augmented to have a gun for a head, works as a Resolver for other cyborgs like him called the Extended. When another Extended shows up in his office with an unconscious boy, Juzo runs afoul of the Beruhren Corporation who is performing strange experiments in order to control the Extended.

This is a highly creative tech-noir but it throws a LOT at you all at once while it’s building its world. We do have some great characters with interesting designs, our titular evil corporation and conspiracies, a terrorist group, and a hard-boiled protagonist with an unknown past. Couple the great story with some great art for the Extended and you’ve got yourself a great read. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Twilight Man: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television” by Koren Shadmi

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This graphic novel details Rod Serling’s life from his time in war through his writing career before and after The Twilight Zone.

I think this was a very good biography. It highlights enough important parts of his life to get a firm grasp of the overall picture without getting bogged down in boring details, the art is perfect for this subject, and it also comes along with a great framing device. It was cool to see how much Serling put into the show; even some episodes flat out emulating his own issues. I think Mr. Serling himself would be proud. I do have to wonder how much of this is accurate but one never does know that for sure. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Dreaming Vol. 2: Empty Shells” by Simon Spurrier, Bilquis Evely, Abigail Larson, & Tiffany Turrill

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This volume centers around Rose, whose mother is in the hospital and she finds Lucien washed up on a beach. As she ponders how her love came entwined with Dream’s, the remaining inhabitants of The Dreaming struggle to keep it together.

If I were to sum up this volume in one word, it would be sad. Loss, yearning, and death sink you down into this story and don’t leave you with much in the way of hope. I wonder what sort of Dream we’ll get by the end of this story if we even ger him at all.

The stand out in this volume for me is the artificial intelligence currently in charge of The Dreaming. In a cast of highly unique characters, the AI is the one that really stuck with me. I look forward to seeing how it all goes from here. 4.5 out of 5.

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