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

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

Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 10 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 10 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Spoiler Free Summary: Demon Slayer Volume 10 by Koyoharu Gotouge is the tenth volume in the Demon Slayer manga. The battle with Daki, one of the upper rank six, is in full swing, and Tanjiro must find a way to defeat her, but if a Hashira like Uzui struggles to fight her, what can Tanjiro do. They must all work together, but things only get worse when the team discovers this deomn’s unique ability.

Character: Things really develop well here as most of of the cast finds a new level. This isn’t just in regard to their combat ability. Tanjiro is starting to formulate his own philosophy, and that philosophy is going to be critical going forward. This character growth is particularly interesting considering this volume is mostly a fight sequence. We see Tanjiro’s growth and Uzui’s softer side all while the battle plays out.

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

Exposition: Since this is an action volume, there isn’t too much need for exposition, but there are a few text boxes that offer some explanation. The exposition is ever bit as sparse as it is unnecessary (in a good way).

Worldbuilding: Again, this volume (which is currently my second favorite (see my review for 15 later on)) takes a wonderful stride here in the worldbuilding because we see a deeper history of everything. We finally catch a glimpse of what the big bad fears so much about Tanjiro’s technique. It’s honestly only a glimpse, but it has such an impact on the series as a whole.

Dialogue: This is sort of par for the Demon Slayer course. It has moments of adorable interaction and comedic fun. There’s also some 1980’s cartoon villain speak, but I honestly like it. I think it’s fair to say some will think it’s a bit hokey, but I think it fits.

Description: This fight scene continues in this chapter (but it doesn’t end here, buy 9-11 and read it all) and the art and storyboard sequences are amazing. It makes me so hungry to see this animated because it will be epic. The art is enough to tide me over until I can see it all play out. You’ll need a careful eye here because there are some details one needs to note as this story continues.

Overall: This volume was my favorite overall until I read Volume 15, but for my money I still think the fight in this volume was the best (and that’s a very tough call to make). It has the right blend of comedy, action, emotion, and plot progression. It doesn’t stand alone though as the whole arc actually ends in Volume 11, so that’s kind of a demerit. The simple truth is I couldn’t put this down, and since I’ve read Volume 10, I don’t really want to stop reading at all. That’s how awesome this volume is.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 9 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Book Review: Demon Slayer Volume 9 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Spoiler Free Summary: Demon Slayer Volume 9 by Koyoharu Gotouge is the ninth volume in the Demon Slayer manga. Tanjiro and his friends agree to join Hashira Tengen Uzui (if only to protect his young friends back at what I call the base camp). Unfortunately, none of the boys asked why Uzui wanted women for this mission. They have to infiltrate a Geisha house, and Tanjiro and his friends volunteered. When they learn one of the Upper Six is hunting in the area, they’ll have to decide if they’re ready for such a challenge.

Character: Tanjiro is adorable as always, and this chapter is strictly comic relief. Sure it builds to a large plot, but it’s really just putting the characters in shameful positions for the sake of laughs, which, I guess, some people like, but I think Tanjiro’s innocence is funny enough sometimes. There is a “beauty” angle (a little on the nose even from my perspective), but we don’t see him grow in this volume, and that’s frustrating.

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

Exposition: This volume was necessarily heavier on this than others because we actually do get to know Uzui as a character along with his background. I’m not particularly fond of Uzui, so I’m not particularly thrilled with this exposition, but that’s only because of my opinion of the character. Creatively, I respect that exposition was necessary to help establish the next arc.

Worldbuilding: Here’s where the volume gains momentum. You see, while there were several chapters of kooky action, we do get to see more of Tanjiro and his ability. The end of this volume is worth the beginning and middle. I may be confusing Volume 9 and 10 here (let me know in the comments), but I feel like this is the Volume that establishes the deeper history of Tanjiro’s technique and how much of an impact it had on the big bad (whose name escapes me at the moment). The fight is awesome. The flashback is cool. The context it reveals is super satisfying.

Dialogue: Most of the dialogue I mentioned above is thinly hidden in the dialogue. It’s mostly a get to know Uzui volume, and that greeting is shown in dialogue. The voice is unique, and the character reactions to some of Uzui’s habits are hilarious. But this sort of stuff is par for the course in this series.

Description: So the fight scene in this is particularly stunning. There’s so much going on here and so much detail. the Upper Six they fight has an ability that requires so much detail. It’s really a visual fight that only a manga or anime could do any justice too. This fight might be my second favorite so far (the spider arc is my favorite to date).

Overall: This volume is probably my least favorite so far, but that’s not saying a whole lot. I think zany humor is kind of hit of miss for me. Let me read this later on in a different mood, and I probably love it. But this sort of humor is a kind of humor that relies on mood. However, the last chapter or two really sings with great action, plot development, and world building.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Now Presenting the Cover to Betrayed!

Now Presenting the Cover to Betrayed!

Greetings all,

Last weekend I presented this cover on my YouTube channel. You can check out how that went by watching below.

However, that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to show off this cover here on my blog. So before I get too far into the details, let’s just have a look.

Once again I just want to make sure I thank Carlos Villas for all of his hard work. I think the cover is beautiful! I’m still planning on a May 1 release date. I’m proofreading as quickly as I can, but I desperately want to make this book as polished as I can, so June 1 is a possibility, but I guarantee June 1 is the latest this book will be out.

I hope you all like the cover!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Today’s The Day! Join Me For The Cover Reveal of Betrayed!

Today’s The Day! Join Me For The Cover Reveal of Betrayed!

Greetings all,

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this day! Today at 2 p.m., I’ll be on Zoom to answer some questions. As I type this, I’m not sure if Carlos (the artist) will be able to make it or not, but I hope he will be. We’ll talk about the artistic process behind the cover, and then we’ll show it off.

If you want to be there to ask questions or talk to me about my work or Carlos (if he can make it) about his work, you can still shoot me an email with your name, email, and Zoom profile name so I can send you the link.

You can also post any questions you want me to answer in the comments below.

I’m excited to give this method a try, and I hope to see you there.

Thanks for reading,

Matt