Godchild volume 1, demented manga by Kaori Yuki. The first panel is more cracktastic than entire multi-volume runs of some series.

Narration from the first panel: "Perhaps to ease his lonely soul, Cain starts collecting dangerous poisons. While living with Riff, his manservant since childhood, half-sister Mary Weather-- daughter of his father by a maid-- and Oscar, who wants to wed Mary, Cain meets Dr. Jizabel Disraeli, an assassin of the secret organization 'Delilah.' He wants to rip out Cain's eyes to add to his collection."

Barking mad Gothic horror, made even weirder by the tone-deaf English translation (that should be Merriweather and Jezabel), full of over-the-top horror, Gothic Victoriana, Lewis Carroll allusions, mad killers who wear rabbit masks impregnated with exotic hallucinogens, and disturbing sexual undertones and overtones such as a half-naked pubescent Cain writhing in his sheets, saying to his sexy valet/butler/true love Riff, "I didn't want that guy helping me dress."

Volume 2 contains the Parrot of Doom.

ES (Eternal Sabbath) volume 3, manga by Fuyumi Soryo. Gorgeous, spooky, and smart manga about a young man who can enter the minds of others, and the woman scientist who gets entangled with him. This volume is especially creepy, with great use of white space and silence to induce a sense of paranoia and tension. I continue to be very engaged by the main characters.

The Empty Empire, volume 1, manga by Naoe Kita. From page one: "Beyond the year 2500 AD, he appeared to unite the world: the Emperor Idea."

The telekinetic amnesiac clone of the dead (or is he?!!!) Emperor Idea escapes and is found by an ass-kicking young woman and a strange scientist who looks a lot like Hakkai. There is a sexy butler/valet, and a missing body, and two missing eyes from different people. Everyone's heads are strangely bulbous, and I laughed every time someone referred to Idea, but the characters were growing on me by the end of the volume.

Thud, by Terry Pratchett. Very funny, very smart. Vimes tries to stop Ankh-Morpork from exploding via ethnic tension between the dwarves and the trolls, and also to meet the equal challenge of getting home every night at 6:00 PM to read "Where's My Cow?" to his son. I particularly liked the bits with Mr. Shine. And the Gooseberry. And the girls' night out. And the guy who's supposed to audit the Watch. And I continue to love Vimes.

What the Lady Wants, by Jennifer Crusie. Early romantic comedy, slight but funny. My favorites of her earlier books are still Getting Rid of Bradley (the green hair!) and Manhunting (the terrible fates that befall every man the heroine meets).

Niccolo Rising, by Dorothy Dunnett. I only just started this, but it already makes more sense than A Game of Kings.

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