Reviews by Brad B.
Interesting Hybrid
Part of this series’ premise is, admittedly, over the top, but it only makes it all the more intriguing: In the near future Japan, libraries have formed their own military defense force to protect themselves against a government bent on confiscating and censoring inappropriate books in military style raids. The setting is a great piece of fun about upholding the first amendment, and there is a backdrop of training for an elite military group for the main character, but understand, at it’s heart, this manga is mostly a love story about a girl and her seemingly bossy/rude superior officer, who may or may not have actually saved her life when she was younger. The other stuff is backdrop, but the hybrid makes for a very unique romance story.
Slow Start, but Sinister
This series, admittedly, starts off rather boring: Vacuous dinner parties; a butler who has to make sure everything is set for social engagements and who is always, seemingly, perfect. Then, near the end of the first volume, it turns suddenly sinister and you understand. This is a horror manga, and in that vein it succeeds brilliantly. You just have to give it a little time to get going.
Nice, Tense, Political Intrigue
This tells the story of Sophos, the young boy and would be king of Sounis, with a few guest appearances from some old favorite characters along the way.

I adored the Queen’s Thief, and while King of Attolia was not bad –and worth the read- it let me down a little just by comparison. This books is more of a return to form in my opinion. This series by Megan Whalen Turner is one of the finest kids books at delivering political intrigue in a fantasy setting. Maybe it helps that there is very little magic (the world is grounded in real actions and consequences — usually), and it doesn't hurt that one of the main characters is a conniving, lying, well...thief. My only complaint is that it takes so long for her books to come out.

If you’re new to this series, make sure you’re start with the first book, the “Thief”, or you might ruin some surprises for yourself along the way.
Cathartic; intelligent
This is actually one of Stings better albums, though I think it gets overlooked. It’s more somber, akin to Soul Cages, and while there are some uplifting tunes on here, finishing this CD all the way through feels like going through a cathartic experience. It’s all over the place genre wise, from jazzy to poppy to classical to country-ish in parts. The constant is that it’s, well, catchy music, and intelligent. If you to want lump Sting in with “easy listening”, you’re dead wrong, though I suspect if you’re looking at this review you know that already.
Historical Action
This series is a straight up adventure story that reads like an 18th century version of James Bond, complete with numerous affairs with beautiful, dangerous women and outlandish action secenes. Over the top? Certainly. But, older teen boys who find historical fiction to be nothing but boring-boring-boring might find something quick enough in pace here to be worth checking out.