Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Strawberry Marshmallow & Abhorsen

I am now alternating between Lord of Light and Strawberry Marshmallow (aka 苺ましまろ, Ichigo Mashimaro).

Strawberry Marshmallow is an accidental venture into a new genre for me, because I normally like dark, violent or supernatural manga/anime instead of the cutey type which Strawberry Marshmallow is. I saw a copy of the manga in the library shelf and decided to read it because I was attracted to the drawing style. Now, as I read it, I am surprised that I am falling in love with the characters!

P says I look like Matsuri/Matsuri looks like me. Haa! I like the idea - cos she's one of my favourite characters. I think it's the messy hair and the glasses, because I seriously don't look that young. I'm pleased nonetheless.

In between reading, knitting, watching Taken on disc, and shopping, I don't seem to have any energy to write well. I can't even think about writing letters and sending out resumes. I hope nobody is waiting for my proper Abhorsen trilogy review! I can't seem to get it out! So I'll just write a short note or two and count it as done. I hope this doesn't disappoint anyone! Right, here are some points:

1. Don't stop at book 1 (Sabriel) without continuing on to book 2 (Lirael); and don't start reading book 2 without book 3 (Abhorsen) on hand. All three books should preferably be read one after another.

2. These are fast-paced, adventure-filled books, written with a younger reader in mind, so don't expect too much soul-searching depth. The 3 stores are well-constructed as a whole: the story arcs and rules for the world the Garth Nix created are consistent and logical. In fact they are quite imaginative but you seldom feel the need to stop to think about much of it at all. The plot dragged a little between books 2 and 3, when Nix tried to make some exploration into introspective writing. That sort of writing is not his strength, so it was in some parts, a little boring to me. And I personally couldn't wait to reach the end of book 3, because I sort of already expected or guessed at what might happen next.

3. The one failing is my lack of attachment or emotion for any of the characters in the book. Sometimes, I even felt irritated with the characters. Perhaps it is because Nix tended to describe them in very simple, often one-dimensional terms. So, for example, when Lirael and Sameth were wallowing in self-pity, I felt no sympathy for their sorrow, and instead felt like slapping them. I have no properly-thought-out explanation for why I disliked Sameth so much in the 2nd book, but I don't feel like thinking about it because that's not important. The real energy of the books comes from the plot, not the characters, so I still enjoyed the books as a whole.


Chris said...

That's kind of how I felt about the series as well, but I still loved it. It was just a damn fun read :)

One of my guilty anime pleasures is Fruits Basket. The anime is absolutely hilarious and really touching at times. Never thought that I (as a guy) would enjoy something like that. You should check it out.

Carl V. said...

The Strawberry Mashmallow art looks really fun. I go through phases where I want to read manga and watch anime and generally I'm not too picky about what kind it is as long as it is good.

Look forward to your thoughts on Lord of Light since that is a book that many of my favorite authors seem to praise.

Nymeth said...

The thing that surprised me was *spoiler alert* *spoiler alert* *spoiler alert* what Mogget turned out to be, and more than that, how crucial a role he came to play.

In retrospect I should have seen it, though, and I knew there was some mystery surrounding him, but somehow I didn't think it'd be that.

And yeah, the books are plot-driven, not character-driven, and though I tend to prefer the second kind, I still enjoyed the series enormously.