Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 18 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 18 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Spoiler Free Summary: Demon Slayer Volume 18 by Koyoharu Gotouge is the eighteenth volume in the Demon Slayer manga. The fights just keep coming. Doma and Shinobu are still going at it, Tanjiro takes center stage as he and Giyu face off against none other than Akaza, the very demon who killed Rengoku. To beat Akaza, Tanjiro will have unlock a new ability.

Character: Shinobu steals the show here. Tanjiro’s story is more worldbuilding than character building. We also learn more about Akaza (if I remember right). What’s nice is the back stories don’t interrupt the fights. Sure, we see the flashbacks common in any mana, but they are brief as opposed to half the volume. These volumes allow us to learn more about the hashira, and the stories are worth it.

Exposition: Maybe there is some exposition hidden in the dialogue, but there’s not too much to notice. Sure, we get a flashback that teaches us a new technique (you should read this volume for that part alone), but the story moves at a blinding pace, which is probably the strength of this series.

Worldbuilding: So this volume expands on new techniques. What happens in manga is not surprising. There’s no secret to manga. Main character fights new, stronger bad guy. Main character must unlock a new technique. So the art isn’t in the surprise of the new move, but in how the new move is revealed and helps the hero win. This manga does it well. It also expands on the overall magic system. To be clear, there is no “magic” per say. I use this term describe the fighting styles and techniques which are (obviously) unrealistic, but cool to see.

Dialogue: Despite the common hero/villain banter I’ve discussed in other reviews for this series, the dialogue is pretty steady. While it’s true that it’s a bit campy, it’s pretty much what one would expect from a manga like this. It gives me plenty of chuckles and witty phrases. So it’s not a lesson in how to write natural dialogue, but it is fun.

Description: So the art depicts the new technique in a great way, and that’s cool. The real distinction of manga is that it uses the art to fill in the gaps writing just couldn’t fill. Writers use fight scenes as more highlight reels because reading every punch and attack would actually get pretty boring. Making those fights visual removes that concern. When you add the techniques unique to this manga, it just gets better.

Overall: This volume just continues the the heart-attack worthy pace of the last volumes. This volume is actually pretty extreme emotional roller coaster. The action is non-stop, and it’s simply impossible to put down.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 17 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 17 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Spoiler Free Summary: Demon Slayer Volume 17 by Koyoharu Gotouge is the seventeenth volume in the Demon Slayer manga. This is pretty simple to understand. That fight we’ve been waiting 16 volumes for. Here it is. Upper Ranks vs the Hashira. It’s a freaking royal rumble and the awesomeness, heartbreak, and joy are just starting. It starts of with a (literal) bang, and before you know it, we’re in Infinity Castle. First two big names is Shinobu vs Doma, Upper Rank 2, and another recently promoted upper rank faces off against Zenitsu.

Character: Just when I think the main cast is as rounded out as they can be, we see a side of Zenitsu we’d never imagined. Not only are these fights awesome, they reveal parts of these characters we didn’t know. I’ll probably do a character arc study on Zenitsu after this. His story is icing on a cake though. If you haven’t read these yet, wait another few weeks for the next (and what I assume will be the last) Demon Slayer volume. Then read them all at once. You’ll thank me later.

Exposition: Nope. No time for that nonsense. Sit tight, and hold on! I don’t remember a bit of exposition here.

Worldbuilding: We learn a bit more about how the big bad has adjusted to his latest losses, and we honestly start to get a picture for just how much stronger in magnitude one upper rank is from the previous. It’s not much in expanding the world, but it does expand on the hierarchy and lore of the bad guys.

Dialogue: Well, ok, so the 1980s cartoon banter is back, but I don’t care. While that is part of it, there’s another conversation (see above) that is so powerful. I didn’t mind the corny throwback stuff anyway, but this conversation I’m referring to makes it so worth it.

Description: We se way more of Infinity Castle and the fights are so stunning. There’s no way this final battle isn’t done as an epic movie. Heck, each fight could be an epic movie and I’d watch (but I’d rather not wait three years for each fight).

Overall: While the last volume was a bit of a letdown for me, this volume gave me everything I wanted and more. These fights probably aren’t as epic as a few before (and one to come), but they’re up there. If you’ve read this volume, feel free to tell me how these two fights rank against the rest of the series for you. No, they aren’t my favorites, but they’re in my top ten. Before you get all angry at me, I’m pretty sure each future volume has between one to two fights, and they’re all epic. I imagine I’ll have to do a top ten once I finish these reviews. Just trust me. Buy volumes 17-22; sit down, and enjoy!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Back From Vacation With A 5-Star Review to Share!

Back From Vacation With A 5-Star Review to Share!

Greetings all,

I know it’s been a few weeks. As my vacation got more fun, I decided to take it easy more and more. Of course I’m motivated to get back at it, and I’m happy to be sharing with you all again, but it was nice being with family and focusing on that for a bit.

Not only is it good to be back, but I was happy to see a new review for Bob Drifter, and that means I have the honor of sharing that with you now. You can read that review here.

Discovered is coming along pretty well. I’m about six or so chapters from being done. I’ll have some things to clean up in this draft, but I’m confident that this first pass is laying all the necessary groundwork for a great finish to the Oneiros Log.

Thanks for your patience, and thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 15 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 15 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Spoiler Free Summary: Demon Slayer Volume 15 by Koyoharu Gotouge is the fifteenth volume in the Demon Slayer manga. Tanjiro is on the cusp of victory, but the sun is about to rise, and he’ll have to choose between killing a demon, which would save hundreds of people, or saving his sister from the sun. Even as this choice arises, Tamayo is starting to understand why Nezuko is so different from other demons. How is this secret related to Tanjiro’s plight? The answer unlocks the door to the climax of the story.

Character: This manga is unique because it reveals a lot about Nezuko, not just her secrets, but her character and mindset. In other issues, we’ve seen Nezuko protect her brother and his friends, but here we learn the depths she herself is willing to go through to save others, and it’s beautiful.

Exposition: There is some exposition here, but it is only to the degree to explain some of the events that simple art couldn’t or dialogue couldn’t do without becoming wooden and obvious. It’s honestly a great volume in the series.

Worldbuilding: This is the issue that reveals what the big plan is. It’s sets the stage for the final battle and the stakes of that battle. Everything about this issue opens doors that are awesome. There are so many rewarding moments in this volume that make the journey worth it.

Dialogue: I’ll say there were some hokey parts in this dialogue. In fact, I’d accept it if someone said this was Gotouge’s weakest area. They’d probably be right. There was a moment that was touching. I was crying while it happened, but the dialogue really chopped a significant portion of the emotion out of it for me. Does it kill the story overall? Not in the least, but it can get pretty cheesy here and there.

Description: This is still more about the end of the fight, so the panels are mostly cool art that is rendered beautifully. The detail in the other panels is outstanding as well. Most the of the description is revealed in the art, and that’s always top notch.

Overall: I hope I’m consistent (I’d have to go back), but I’m pretty sure I’ve been teasing for a while that my favorite in the series is coming. This is it. Even having caught up on all the remaining available volumes, this one still stands out as the best in so many ways. I hope the animators make this arc a movie to give it the justice it deserves, but as long as it gets animated, I’m happy. It’s the best in the set, and it provides the landscape for the final epic battle, which comes after a few more “training” chapters.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Announcing the Week 4 2021 May Book Cover of the Month! Vote for Your Favorite!

Announcing the Week 4 2021 May Book Cover of the Month! Vote for Your Favorite!

Greetings all,

We’re coming up on our second moth of the 2021 M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year, and that means I need your help to name one! So, let’s start by naming the winner for the fourth week of May.

The Week 4 2021 May Book Cover of the Week is…

Facing Off by Tanya Ross really is all about nostalgia for me, and that’s enough. I love the ’80s feel to this cover, and apparently a few other people did, too. That means Facing Off joins A Hag Rises from the Abyss by Douglas Lumsden, The Sunfire King by Sylvia Mercedes and Betrayed by, well, me! I’d apprecaite it if you took a moment to vote for your favorite (especially if it’s mine). You can vote for the 2021 May Book Cover of the Month right here.

But that’s not all! The 2021 June Book Cover of the Month contest is already off and running. You can vote for your favorite Week 1 2021 June Book Cover of the Month right here!

I’d be grateful if you would be so kind as to watch my channel, where I talk about all seven of the covers and why I think they were so cool.

Remember to vote for your favorite through the links I provided above! You guys can choose who wins the title and then support your favorite in the yearly competition (obviously next year)! I hope you’ll participate.

Thanks for reading and watching,

Matt

A 5-Star Review for The Power of Words

A 5-Star Review for The Power of Words

Greetings all,

I don’t care how “big” I get (not claiming to be big now); I’m always going to love sharing reviews. The five-star review below from Shawna is for The Power of Words.


Great Collection!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

These short stories were a great collection. I love having short stories by different authors in one book. It always seems to shake things up a little bit.

These stories really spoke to me and I loved every second of them. Usually, I can’t really connect too well with shorter stories but these ones all had me hooked from the moment I hit play. Very well done!


I truly appreciate the thoughtful words.

As always, please allow me this opportunity to ask that if you’ve read any of my books (especially Betrayed), please be kind enough to leave a rating and review on Amazon, Goodreads, or Audible (or all three). They really do help.

Thank you for reading,

V/R
Matt

Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 11 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 11 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Spoiler Free Summary: Demon Slayer Volume 11 by Koyoharu Gotouge is the eleventh volume in the Demon Slayer manga. The fight against Daki enters its final stages. Every time our heroes feel like they have found a new level, we see the upper Kizuki are still just that much better. No one demon slayer stands a chance, but what if they fight as a team?

The cover image for this volume was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Character: The development continues here, but this volume is far more about the fight scene (and man is it great). Here what makes the character work is something important: I was genuinely worried about the characters. To make a fight scene great, and to make a character sympathetic, we have to worry for them. We have to be afraid that they hero might lose, and that’s an impossibly high standard sometimes because who goes into a story genuinely expecting the hero to lose. We’ve seen an uptick in side-character deaths, but it’s a rare author (Martin) who’s willing to kill off any character. This means establishing that worry is very hard. I had that from this issue through (I’m currently caught up and eagerly awaiting Volume 22).

Exposition: Once more, we’re seeing an actual fight, so the exposition is pretty much non-existent and not necessary.

Worldbuilding: The worldbuilding doesn’t really shift from the earth-shattering reveal in Volume 10, but I don’t need every volume to have that. This issue is the culmination of an arc, and so all the worldbuidling had been done. That lest us readers sit back and enjoy the show.

Dialogue: That 1980’s cartoon villain banter was still present, but I didn’t mind. There is minimal dialogue in this volume aside from “I can’t believe you’re still alive!”

Description: The art is amazing. The way the breathing forms are done is just wonderful. I love aspects like that, and I intend to steal it at some point (the technique, not the literal names). There isn’t any description via the written word, but the detail of this art is second to none (at least outside of anime/manga).

Overall: This volume ends the fight that started in Volume 9. It’s not the best fight anymore (see later reviews), but it still really holds up. To me, this volume represents the last surge before the final push that begins in Volume 17. From 11 to 17, there is a lot of great stuff, but once you start 17, you better have the rest ready to go. This arc, however, is similarly (if not as) difficult to put down. I love it when a conclusion (even to a chapter) is worth the build up, and this volume is.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Betrayed Is Now Available In Paperback!

Betrayed Is Now Available In Paperback!

Greetings all,

A short but sweet post today! I’m proud to say that Betrayed is now available in paperback!

If you are wondering about the audio version, I honestly have to save up a lot of money for it. You see, I want to be able to pay the narrators up front. I hope to bring both Shawn Compton and Jennifer Wooster back. That depends on a whole lot, but the money is the first part. To help, I’d sure appreciate it if you headed over to Amazon and bought Betrayed or any (or all) of my titles. If you’ve done that, maybe recommend it to your friends?

I still have a goal to sell 189 copies. Why? Well, if I sell that many, I hit #1 in my category. I have more than 1,000 followers here, so that means I only need about 20% of you (less than that actually) to help a friendly neighborhood self-published author out. Would you be so kind?

I’m already hard at work and more than 71% through the discovery draft of Discovered, the final book in the Oneiros Log. So far, I’m very pleased with how it’s coming out. I’m sure there are a few rough patches because of how often I had to stop to get Betrayed out, but that won’t be an issue now that I’m not freaking out over having readers wait years for a book. I’ll always be grateful to you all for your patience.

Thank you all for reading,

Matt

A 5-Star Review for Repressed!

A 5-Star Review for Repressed!

Greetings all,

This review has actually been waiting a bit, but with all the news I’ve had lately, it just took this long to post it.

Did I mention that Betrayed is finally out!? I’d be grateful if you gave it a try.

Anyway, I’m happy to share this five-star review that was posted on both Goodreads and Audible.

As always, I humbly request that you leave a rating and review on any of the books of mine that you’ve read. It really does mean a lot to me.

In other news, my 2021 April Book Cover of the Month poll is still up. If you like books, click on over and support your favorite.

As always, I’m so honored that anyone chooses to take time to read something that I’ve written.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Betrayed is out!

Betrayed is out!

Greetings all,

I’m so happy to report that Betrayed is live! You can head over here and pickup the ebook for $3.99. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m so thankful for your patience.

The print book isn’t far behind. It’s way easier for me to get an ebook out than a print version, but I’ll work on that over the next few days. I’ll have to format it. Then I’ll need to have a proof sent to make sure it looks good. Once that’s done, the print version will be out.

For now though, I hope you’ll consider giving Betrayed a chance. If you liked Caught, I honestly think you’ll love Betrayed!

Thanks for reading,

Matt