An intricately plotted mystery with sf elements.

Two young women commit suicide under mysterious circumstances, but when a third dashes out into the path of a taxi, the driver is blamed for her death. The taxi driver’s nephew, teenage Mamoru, is living with the family after his father embezzled money and then disappeared. All of these elements and more intertwine as Mamoru investigates the deaths.

Like Miyabe’s other novels that I’ve read, this begins with a who-dun-it (or why- or how-) and spirals out into more primal mysteries about why people behave the way they do, how far they’ll go in pursuit of their desires, and what we really mean when we talk about morality and justice. There are also strong noir elements, in which people play out their desperate dramas within a larger society that couldn’t care less about any given individuals and whose impersonal forces can crush them like bugs and never even notice.

This novel is written in omniscient point of view, and the God’s-eye perspective works well with the complex structure, in which a web of connections and coincidences begins to seem like some greater power is at work behind the scenes. (God, fate, Miyabe— you decide.)

Engrossing, thoughtful, and well-characterized; dark but also humane and hopeful. Note that the most gruesome bit in the whole book is in the first few pages, so if you can get past that, you’re good to go.

View on Amazon: The Devil's Whisper

Read more... )
An intricately plotted mystery with sf elements.

Two young women commit suicide under mysterious circumstances, but when a third dashes out into the path of a taxi, the driver is blamed for her death. The taxi driver’s nephew, teenage Mamoru, is living with the family after his father embezzled money and then disappeared. All of these elements and more intertwine as Mamoru investigates the deaths.

Like Miyabe’s other novels that I’ve read, this begins with a who-dun-it (or why- or how-) and spirals out into more primal mysteries about why people behave the way they do, how far they’ll go in pursuit of their desires, and what we really mean when we talk about morality and justice. There are also strong noir elements, in which people play out their desperate dramas within a larger society that couldn’t care less about any given individuals and whose impersonal forces can crush them like bugs and never even notice.

This novel is written in omniscient point of view, and the God’s-eye perspective works well with the complex structure, in which a web of connections and coincidences begins to seem like some greater power is at work behind the scenes. (God, fate, Miyabe— you decide.)

Engrossing, thoughtful, and well-characterized; dark but also humane and hopeful. Note that the most gruesome bit in the whole book is in the first few pages, so if you can get past that, you’re good to go.

View on Amazon: The Devil's Whisper

Read more... )
This manga is an adaptation of the very long children’s fantasy of the same name by adult mystery author Miyabe. Her dark, psychological mysteries are well worth reading, but if this manga is representative of the novel, she’s yet another adult writer who fell on her face when she tried a children’s book.

Average junior high school boy Wataru loves video games. Other than that, he has no personality, and neither does anyone else. When he crosses paths with a mysterious transfer student, he is popped into a world which is a cross between a clichéd video game and a clichéd fantasy novel, full of clichéd monsters that he can kill and guarded by a clichéd bearded and robed wizard. The art is a cross between clichéd shounen and clichéd fantasy D&D illustration. The translation is annoyingly slangy.

I did not like this one little bit… until toward the end, when it took a sudden left turn into dark adult Miyabe territory, and introduced a possibly promising plot twist. I don’t think I’ll continue the manga in any event, but has anyone read the novel? Is it better?

View manga on Amazon: Brave Story Volume 1

View novel on Amazon: Brave Story

Some of Miyabe’s excellent adult mysteries: Shadow Family, All She Was Worth
This manga is an adaptation of the very long children’s fantasy of the same name by adult mystery author Miyabe. Her dark, psychological mysteries are well worth reading, but if this manga is representative of the novel, she’s yet another adult writer who fell on her face when she tried a children’s book.

Average junior high school boy Wataru loves video games. Other than that, he has no personality, and neither does anyone else. When he crosses paths with a mysterious transfer student, he is popped into a world which is a cross between a clichéd video game and a clichéd fantasy novel, full of clichéd monsters that he can kill and guarded by a clichéd bearded and robed wizard. The art is a cross between clichéd shounen and clichéd fantasy D&D illustration. The translation is annoyingly slangy.

I did not like this one little bit… until toward the end, when it took a sudden left turn into dark adult Miyabe territory, and introduced a possibly promising plot twist. I don’t think I’ll continue the manga in any event, but has anyone read the novel? Is it better?

View manga on Amazon: Brave Story Volume 1

View novel on Amazon: Brave Story

Some of Miyabe’s excellent adult mysteries: Shadow Family, All She Was Worth
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