Just So Happens by Fumio Obata
I was recommended this title because of the London/Tokyo/Kyoto setting, but I ended up loving it because of the gorgeous watercolour art. Focusing on Yumiko, a Japanese woman who had been living in London for years, and her visit to Japan upon her father’s death. The story is told in a simple, subtle manner, slowly unveiling her relationship with her parents and siblings. In the beginning, Yumiko seemed disconnected from Japan – she would avert her eyes when passing by other Japanese people, as her English boyfriend observed. She didn’t talk a lot about home, either. Once she reached Tokyo, however, we get to see her memories – past conversations with her father, who seemed to wish she would take on more feminine, filial attributes (and get married/stay close). Continue reading “Just So Happens, Skim & The Shadow Hero”
Note: spoilers for The Girl From Everywhere
This is the fifth book I needed to complete a bingo for #AsianLitBingo, for the Mixed Asian MC square.
Nix Song, the main character, is a Hapa (a Hawaiian term for someone with mixed heritage) teen unlike any other – that is, she was raised at sea outside of her native time as the first mate on Temptation. Her father is a Navigator, able to travel to any land, imaginary or real, at any time – as long as he has the right map. Nix had never known her mother, who died giving birth to her, and all of her life the only father she’s known is one consumed with grief. The Ship Beyond Time is the second book in a duology; in the first book, Nix’s father is obsessed with finding the right map that would bring him to a moment before her mother dies, so that he could save her. Nix fears that the act of saving her mother would erase her from existence, and braces herself for it – but when they do find a way to 1884 Honolulu, Nix’s mother have disappeared, and the crew of Temptation ends up getting mixed up in a plot that would be a prelude to the American’s conquest of Hawaii. Continue reading “The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig”
Yet another comic for the #AsianLitBingo! And another Malaysian one – this time featuring a Chinese Malaysian author/main character.
This book is a compilation of comics by Fishball, who (mostly) chronicles the ups and downs of being in a relationship with a man who is 30cm taller than her – which makes him way, way taller than the average Malaysian. The comics are all bilingual with Chinese and English text, and are freaking hilarious. According to the comic, Fishball is of average Malaysian height, which makes her a little taller than me, but I relate to all the bits about being inconvenienced by one’s (lack of) height. Continue reading “My Giant Geek Boyfriend by Fishball”
Hattori Mariko was on the way to meet her betrothed when her carriage was attacked, leaving her the lone survivor thanks to a servant shielding her. Knowing that it was likely that she was the target, she disguised herself as a boy and tracked down the Black Clan, the group she suspected was responsible for the attack. She wanted to find out why someone would want to kill her, as well as exact her revenge. When she found herself one of them, however, she began to wonder if they were really the ones responsible for the attack. In the meantime, her twin brother Kenshin is convinced that she’s still alive, and is doing his best to find her.
I have to admit that this book isn’t as fantastical as I was led to believe. I wanted a magical feudal Japan, and I got… mentions of yokai and a little magic at the end. The scene with a Jubokko was great, but it happened halfway into the book – I stopped at said to my friend Kit (this was during lunch) “finally some yokai!” and she replied, “halfway through the book?” Continue reading “Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh”
Shimana Kameko felt like she no longer belonged at home – ever since her father remarried, he was utterly devoted to his new bride, and now that she had a new brother she felt more invisible than before. Deciding to run away from home, she skipped school to think about what to do next, when she met a strange man who claimed that he would let her rent out a room at his place for cheap if she fulfilled three conditions. And that was how Shimana ended up in an odd household with Taiga, Asahi and Zen. Continue reading “Dreamin’ Sun Vol. 1 by Ichigo Takano”
I have to confess that while I remember enjoying Malinda Lo’s Ash, I remember so little of it now that it’s as if I’ve never read it. Because I remember enjoying it, I had included Huntress in my TBR, and because I couldn’t remember it, Huntress lingered in my stack… for a very long time. Until now, because (1) it’s about time I read it! and (2) it’s perfect for my Queer Asian MC square in the #AsianLitBingo, being one of the first YA books I encountered that featured characters that were both Asian and queer, with a story that didn’t revolve around either of these identities. That alone made this book quite an achievement, but I liked it for other reasons too.
Set a few hundred years before Ash, there isn’t much to connect the two other than the fact that they’re both stories from the same universe, where fairies and humans co-exist. After a war that happened long before the beginning of Huntress, humans and fairies had made a treaty and stuck mainly within their own borders. But strange, dark things are occurring on the human side, and when the king received an invitation to visit the Fairy Queen, the humans took it as a chance to save their world. Continue reading “Huntress by Malinda Lo”