Lenni Reviews: “The Prey of Gods” by Nicky Drayden

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

Set in a futuristic South Africa where everyone has a personal robot and designer drugs are a frequent past time; we have a seemingly unconnected cast of characters slowly drawn into what could be a cataclysmic series of events.

I really can’t say too much more about the plot without spoiling the experience of how a young man named Muzi, his layabout friend, Elkin, a nail technician named Sydney, a superstar singer named Riya, a politician named Sydney, and a young girl named Nomvula are all connected to the end of the human race. You just need to read this. It’s ruthlessly creative, character-driven, thrilling, and almost perfect except for some aspects of the ending I didn’t like; which I won’t spoil. I loved it and highly recommend it if you’d like some futuristic sci-fi in a unique setting. 5 out of 5 and I hope there is more to come.

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Lenni Reviews: “Smokin’ Parade” Vol. 6 by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou

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With the frequent losses the Northern Jackalopes face, Captain Kukuri launches a full-on hunt of the massive spider they have named Lord.

Spoilers but I like how Kukuri and Youkou go to gather data on Lord and have no idea exactly how to get it or what the data means. We see these types of “gather intel” scenes all the time and the characters magically know how all the tech works and what part of what they find is important. It was nice to see that trope played with.

This volume is paced better than previous ones with a fair balance of action and backstory. It’s dark, touching on the implications of gear technology and the advances and consequences of playing with such things. Got some twisted stuff in here, too, so if that’s not your thing, I’d avoid it if I were you. 3.7 out of 5.

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: “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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Finally Watched it: “Rick and Morty” Season One.

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Yes, I have finally caved into peer-pressure and plunked my ass down to watch this show. It was also a sobering thought that my daughter has already seen this (gosh, thanks Internet), so I wasn’t about to allow myself to remain ignorant of this.

And well… I get why people like it. I had some laughs and felt entertained but I’m still left with the feeling that I didn’t so much ENJOY it if that makes any sense. And if you’ve read my blog over time, you know it’s not because I’m easily offended by raunchy, crass, or bloody media. Hell, there are things I like because they push me outside my comfort zone. I like the dimension-hopping allowing for infinite plot possibilities but after some thought, it was just how casual the death was that got to me. Not much, but it did. It’s a similar reason to why I dropped Game of Thrones; it’s hard to care if anyone can just get killed whenever. It felt senseless and left me wondering why I should keep going if I can’t see a story arc come to fruition.

It’s also hard for me to relate to any of the characters. Maybe the mom a little bit but I will freely admit I am more of a Grunkle Stan than a Rick. I absolutely understand his attitude: when you have literally been everywhere and done everything, regular finite concerns don’t exist. It’s all white noise.

And there is where I keep watching. What does a man who has been everywhere and done everything have to motivate him for four seasons of this show? I guess we’ll see because that’s the question I want to be answered. Time to take a deep breath and dive into Season 2.

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Lenni Reviews: “An Unkindness of Ghosts” by Rivers Solomon

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

Aster, a surgeon, is assistant to Theo, the Surgeon General on board the spaceship Matilda. The ship is heavily segregated with darker-skinned poor people consigned to the lower decks and forced to toil in the service of the upper decks. It is only Aster’s medical talent and connection to Theo that allows her a level of freedom to grow her own plants and discover the mystery behind her mother’s disappearance when she was a baby via a journal she left behind.

While highly creative and interesting, I think this is another book that would have benefitted from being only in the third person to give me more of the world around our characters. Don’t get me wrong, the world-building is great but I found myself getting confused too often in this book.

However, I did enjoy this book. We have some great realistic characters, a dystopian future starship, an intriguing mystery to solve, and great integration of LGBTQI characters. It’s like Titan A.E. only with even more social commentary. I came to enjoy Aster’s attitude but I really wondered as to the fate of the Matilda. Mostly Theo since I enjoyed him as well. Maybe there will be more in this universe in the future? I sure hope so. 4.6 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Orbit” by Leigh Hellman

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

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Committed troublemaker Ciaan Gennet runs afoul of the law one too many times and ends up sentenced to probation at a spaceship port facility. He blonde hair makes her a target for bullies so she hopes to keep her head down and serve her time without incident. But when a captain with obviously suspicious cargo docks his ship, Ciaan gets caught up in a multiplanet conspiracy that puts her life in great danger.

Perhaps a little slow going until Ciaan ends up on the spacecraft but it’s still interesting. Great characters, awesome worldbuilding, and a great spin on some dystopian concepts. We have a smart woman of color as our main lead and I love reading about a motley crew of space rebels. Very cool book. 4.9 out of 5.

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