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Attack On TBR: A Feast of Vampires, Samurai, and Space Ships

I’ve got problems, and all of them are related to my Babylon Tower of books I own, but have never read. Since transferring to the University of Washington, creating Bookish Valhalla, and diving into literary internships, I devoted most of my free time to either reading for authors or studying for exams; I don’t regret a single day of it!

However, I do miss digging around in my TBR pile and reading simply for the blind adventure of it all. I think my current TBR stack, virtual and IRL is 1,500 books? 2,000 books? I can’t even remember, but it’s grown so high, I’ll be happily reading well into the afterlife. With Attack On TBR, though, I’d like to sift through the piles every once in awhile and find a treasure, new or old, to sink my talons into. Make no mistake; this is not a full “currently reading” list. I’m one of those monsters who likes to switch between several books at a time, BUT this post is a sneak peek of the kind of stories I’m into at the moment, as well as old beauties I’ve raised from the TBR grave.

Devils' Line - Kodansha ComicsDevil’s Line by Ryo Hanada (Vol.1)

Genre: PNR, Horror   Audience/Market: Adult

Publisher: Vertical Comics     Length: 223 pages

Tsukasa, a college student, is rescued from an attack by a devil, one of many vampires that can blend in among the human population. Anzai, her savior, is a half-devil who exploits his supernatural gifts as a member of a shadowy police task force that specializes in devil-related crime in Tokyo. As Anzai continues to keep guard over Tsukasa, the two quickly forge a tentative bond—one that Anzai fears will test his iron-clad rule of never drinking human blood… 

My thoughts: My first encounter with Devil’s Line was watching the anime on Hulu. I’d never heard of the manga series and on a bored, rainy day (there are many of these in Seattle), I finally got around to checking out the books. I can definitely see where people compare it to Tokyo Ghoul and why it might seem a bit hollow, but I think comparing a 12 book series with a very popular one (like TG) which has over 14 volumes and then a whole sequel is a bit like comparing an apple to an orange. Okay, okay. Maybe not that different, but what I liked about Devil’s Line is how it kept up the mystery. It went hard and fast with its own darkness without apology, while addressing issues of consent, racism, discrimination, and addiction in a less cheery, but no less serious manner. The anime followed the manga quite closely, which was meh, but I got around to reading the manga and I’m not sorry about it. I plan to continue the series as soon as I can spare the time.

Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. MaetaniSeven Deadly Shadows Cover Image

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Mythology  Audience/Market: YA

Publisher: HarperCollins  Length: 288 pages

Seventeen-year-old Kira Fujikawa has never had it easy. She’s bullied by the popular girls in school. Her parents ignore her. And she’s also plagued with a secret: She can see yokai, the ghosts and demons that haunt the streets of Kyoto.

But things accelerate from bad to worse when she learns that Shuten-doji, the demon king, will rise at the next blood moon to hunt down an ancient relic and bring the world to a catastrophic end.

Not exactly skilled at fighting anything, much less the dead, Kira enlists the aid of seven powerful death gods to help her slay Shuten-doji. They include Shiro, a kitsune with boy-band looks who is more flirtatious than helpful, and O-bei, a regal demon courtier with reasons of her own for getting involved.

As the confrontation with Shuten-doji draws nearer, the fate of Japan hangs in the balance. Can Kira save humankind? Or will the demon king succeed in bringing eternal darkness upon the world?

My current thoughts: This one is cheating a smidge, since it’s not exactly from the depths of the TBR pile. However, I’ve been screaming for years about my love for Japanese retellings and how much I wanted to read a YA fantasy steep in its lore. So it kind of counts…right? I only just started reading Seven Deadly Shadows and I’m HOOKED.

Nightflyers (TV Series 2018) - IMDbNightflyers by George R.R. Martin

Genre: Science Fiction, Horror   Audience/Market: Adult

Publisher: Bantam Books (2018), originally published 1980    Length: 177 pages

When a scientific expedition is launched to study a mysterious alien race, the only ship available is the Nightflyer, a fully autonomous vessel manned by a single human. But Captain Royd Eris remains locked away, interacting with his passengers only as a disembodied voice—or a projected hologram no more substantial than a ghost.
Yet that’s not the only reason the ship seems haunted. The team’s telepath, Thale Lasamer, senses another presence aboard the Nightflyer—something dangerous, volatile, and alien. Captain Eris claims to know nothing about the elusive intruder, and when someone, or something, begins killing off the expedition’s members, he’s unable—or unwilling—to stem the bloody tide.
Only Melantha Jhirl, a genetically enhanced outcast with greater strength, stamina, and intelligence than other humans, has a chance of solving the mystery—and stopping the malevolent being that’s wiping out her shipmates.
But first she has to keep herself alive.

Current thoughts: I saw this series on Netflix and LOVED IT, but having a real tough time stumbling through this novella. It’s not long. It’s not necessarily boring. I’ve never been much of a Martin fan, so maybe that’s why? I’ve started, stopped, and re-attempted to read through Nightflyers, but it’s proof that 177 pages is an eternity lost in space if the motivation just isn’t there.

The Great Big Anita Blake ReRead – The Laughing Corpse | Stitch's ...The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton

Genre: Mystery, Urban Fantasy  Audience/Market: Adult

Publisher: Ace, 1994   Length: 301  pages

Harold Gaynor offers Anita Blake a million dollars to raise a 300-year-old zombie. Knowing it means a human sacrifice will be necessary, Anita turns him down. But when dead bodies start turning up, she realizes that someone else has raised Harold’s zombie–and that the zombie is a killer. Anita pits her power against the zombie and the voodoo priestess who controls it.

In The Laughing Corpse Anita will learn that there are some secrets better left buried-and some people better off dead…

Thoughts: I’ve been on an Anita Blake series kick as of late. It’s one of those series I have seen, heard of, passed in the night, but have never actually stopped to give it a chance. It’s odd to be so familiar with the name of an MC without having ever read one of the books. So I guess a day of boredom and pure curiosity got the better of me.

I know the main character isn’t the best buttkicker in the world, but right now, her reckless pride, dangerous cheek, and ridiculous temper have me burning through the pages. The series has a weird reputation of turning into smut fodder or troptastic in every way, but I’ve also been informed the smut doesn’t start until book 6 and maybe, just maybe, tropes are what I need in my life right now. All I know is it’s giving me True Blood vibes and I loved that series, so I’m hanging on to see if this goes anywhere good.

There you have it, lovely readers. Whether it be trash or treasure, I’m diving in to discover something interesting to read. Classes kick off again tomorrow (boo) and after that, RevPit at some point this month (don’t ask me to remember dates), so I will be busy, busy, busy, but rest assured I’ll make time to read for fun, and then some. You should too!

About Ari Augustine

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