Naruto: Shikamaru’s Story Review

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It’s time for the second Naruto novel! Shikamaru is definitely quite the improvement over the Kakashi one. Unfortunately, Shikamaru himself comes across as rather petty and completely unlikable, but sometimes side characters shine best when they’re on the side. It’s possible that looking at the world through his perspective just makes him appear to be a bad character. Regardless, this novel didn’t need Shikamaru to succeed so he doesn’t ruin the experience. Of course, this is why I want Naruto to be the main character for a novel at some point. I think you would be able to see a noticeable improvement if that happened.

Shikamaru was trying to enjoy a normal day for a change when he sees one of Sai’s birds approach the village. In it, a message states that he has lost sight of his own identity and the rebellion in the Land of Silence is growing worse. If nothing is done soon, Sai writes that this could become a very large problem. Kakashi is tempted to go himself (Or just posturing) but Shikamaru decides to volunteer. He figures that this is the best way to secure a bright future for Konoha and especially since some of the other Shinobi like Naruto would be averse to outright assassination. Shikamaru’s not as heroic, likable, cool, or as good as Naruto so he figures that he’ll take the job. He never had a problem with murder after all. Kakashi assigns 2 Anbu Black OPs, Ro and Soku, to accompany him. Together, the three of them set off into the Land of Silence and prepare themselves for what is to come….or not.

Unfortunately, Shikamaru seems to have lost most of his intelligence during the years of peace. They know that the leader of the rebellion is incredibly charismatic and that Shinobi have been deserting from every one of the great ninja villages. Even Sai has been turned to the other side. Does Shikamaru suspect even for an instance that mind control or genjutsu is involved? Nope, he just walks into a villain meeting with no concrete plan around that and listens to the guy’s speech. He begins to feel its effects, but decides to ignore this and lets the guy keep talking. Eventually, the leader calls him out so Shikamaru attacks, but by then the genjutsu has been way too strong.

Shikamaru really left his team out to dry with that kind of plan. Of course, as “experts” the two Anbu Black Ops should have been able to resist this technique as well. Shikamaru also came across as petty when he continued to refer to Soku by her real name even when she made it clear several times not to call her that. They are on a mission after all and Black Ops must keep their identities a secret to that nobody can find out who they are. Moreover, she just doesn’t want to be called by her real name, is that a problem? Apparently it is since Shikamaru intentionally uses her real name at every opportunity to annoy her. It’s just very self centered of Shikamaru.

Finally, I also didn’t like Shikamaru because he’s way too full of himself. He spends a few pages insulting Naruto, Sasuke, and Kakashi and questions why they should be regarded as heroes. He acts as if they don’t deserve this title despite saving the world. Where was Shikamaru during the climax? As far as I can recall, he was hiding with the other ninja and talking a good game while doing nothing. He really has no room to talk and Naruto really shouldn’t even have him as an adviser. He seems like the kind of guy who will give you the wrong advice each and every time. Plus, he hints that he would keep things from Naruto to shield him from the darkness, but that also means that he’d probably keep on doing assassinations and such. Part of why the Third Hokage’s rule wasn’t so good was because Danzo and the Anbu elites rose up in the background as well. Having two factions will simply fracture the village as a whole. Well, regardless of all those technical elements, Shikamaru just wasn’t cool here.

Ro and Soku don’t get a whole lot of character since they’re only around for a little while (The book is fairly short after all and the team doesn’t get to the villain base until around 1/3 of the way in. Book pacing has always seemed rather intriguing that way. It always feels like the prologue takes a really long amount of time, but I suppose that there is still time for a lot to happen since each page has so much dialogue in it) Ro likes to make puns with words and mixes his old way of talking with modern day slang. He’s not much of a fighter, but he can alter how a person’s chakra looks. That sounds like it would only be helpful once in a while to be honest. Soku is really snappy and aggressive. I don’t blame her for constantly threatening Shikamaru though. Her chakra needles definitely seem like a handy ability to have, but one that wouldn’t help quite as much in a direct fight since they seem to rely a lot on the element of surprise. Physically she is definitely a capable ninja though as she speedblitzes..you guessed it, Shikamaru, towards the beginning of the book.

While Shikamaru’s team may have ultimately failed 100%, (They were turned into traitors as well) it’s good that Temari and Naruto aren’t quite as weak willed. With Gaara and a lot of other ninja around as well, the whole uprising was over in an instant. In the end, the villain wasn’t much of a fighter either. He was able to hold Shikamaru off, but that’s not saying much and together with the two Anbu Black Ops for a fair 3 V 1 fight, Shikamaru’s team managed to pull in a win.

I was definitely glad at the ending of the book though. Ultimately, the heroes spared the leader of the uprising and imprisoned him. There was certainly never a need for an assassination and while the heroes didn’t want another war, I think they severely overestimated the Land of Silence. Naruto himself could have easily walked in and ended the whole situation with minimal casualties. So, the plot in and of itself was a bit of a stretch there.

Overall, This novel was fun. It’s just too bad that Shikamaru was such a bad character. I felt bad for his partners since they got beat up quite a bit as a result. Naruto and the others should probably start to doubt his leadership skills right now. The only part where the novel gets a little dark is when the two Anbu members are kidnapped. Besides that, it felt like your standard Naruto adventure and had a good blend of sneaking around and action scenes. Now we are approaching the final Naruto novel for now. Let’s see if the Sakura volume can continue the novel’s acceleration through the rankings or if it’ll take a step back. One thing’s for sure, Sakura should be more likable than Shikamaru. (Although she was annoying in this book and ended up being wrong in the end)

Overall 6/10

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Naruto: Kakashi’s Story Review

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I finally got around to finishing the first Naruto novel! Reading the next two should definitely not take as long so you can expect reviews to be published for those much quicker. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the Kakashi story sets them off on a high note. Crude Humor, large amounts of plot hax, and sketchy writing hold this one back from being a hit. I honestly wouldn’t really want to see this one animated unless some significant creative liberties were taken. That being said, the anime writers could be up to the task since I’m sure that they’d be tempted to change things anyway.

A long time has passed since the end of the Naruto manga and people are pressuring Kakashi to take on the mantle of Hokage. He doesn’t want to do this though since being Hokage is a large responsibility and he’ll be held accountable for everything. Nonetheless, the choice isn’t his and the whole village continues to pester him about it. To take his mind off of this, Kakashi goes to guard a large boat. It will be the first ever flying boat (Blimp basically) in the world. The builders want to use it to revolutionize travel, but at the expense of a whole industry which will result in thousands of people being out of business in the long run. That’s a bit of a heavy price to pay, but at the same time, innovation always replaces the old way of doing things. If people resisted change because of how it would affect the job market, many inventions would simply not exist at the moment.

However, the main villains of the novel aren’t pleased. Kakashi notices that someone has sneaked into the blimp and gives chase, only to find out that it is Might Guy. He really wanted to go for a ride so he snuck in, but unfortunately, so did the villains since there weren’t any real guards around by this point. The Leaf Anbu Black Ops are taken down instantly so Kakashi and Might Guy will have to save the hostages in the Blimp and defeat the Rogue Shinobi. Time is not on their side either as these guys aim to free their master from Hozuki Castle and the other neighboring lands ar weighing in on the conflict. If the Blimp isn’t back on the ground before it crosses the border…then it will be destroyed. Moreover, Tsunade wants Kakashi to destroy the Blimp if it gets to close and murder every last one of the passengers. Kakashi’s not a cold blooded killer like Tsunade so he aims to find another way.

This should be easy right? Kakashi is one of the strongest fighters in the Leaf so he can crush some random rogue ninja. Not to mention that Naruto’s just a phone call away. With his final form abilities, he can move at hypersonic speeds and virtually fly. He can use his arm extensions to gently force the Blimp down or simply grab all of the villains and then escort them all away. Well..the first moment of plot hax happens here as Tsunade forbids anyone from telling Naruto about this. In her defense, everyone else goes along with this terrible plan including Kakashi. All right, back to the Kakashi plan right?

Wrong I’m afraid. Kakashi decides to go for a frontal assault and walks up to the villains. Guess he forgot about the hostages right? The main villain destroys a handful of them and then breaks Kakashi’s fingers so he can’t pull off any real ninjutsus. To add even more injuries, his right hand woman freezes Kakashi’s chakra so he can’t do anything with his ninjutsu or he’ll freeze over. Rahyo is the leader of the villains by the way and Kahyo is the ice ninja. Kahyo’s abilities are fairly impressive as she just needs to make contact with someone once to freeze their chakra whenever she pleases. Rahyo is more generic as he can punch people with super strength.

Kakashi is at a disadvantage from the start because Kahyo already made contact with him at the very beginning of the book when she pretended to fall and Kakashi helped her up. Unfortunately, Kakashi was already out of character as he fell for her instantly. So much for professionalism. As for Rahyo, he should be easy to defeat, but Might Guy looks incredibly bad here. Due to his injuries at the end of the series, he is still not at full fighting strength and I guess he’s back to being around Chunin level or something. Plus, his motion sickness has gotten even worse and it is at Natsu levels of terrible now. At least Natsu has a good reason for it though, Might Guy should be able to pull himself together.

His fight scene with Rahyo is actually very bad and even involves puking as a distraction. Might Guy’s also the reason why Kakashi’s first plan went so badly as well. If he hadn’t been around or if he could have just went to sleep for a while, the novel would have been very different. He’s comic relief, but not the good kind and he just holds the book down. Kakashi’s plan to throw up later on to trick the villains was also gross and definitely a large stretch of disbelief. These two scenes are the main reason why the book couldn’t get a positive rating in the end.

The fight scenes were good when Might Guy wasn’t around at least. Naruto’s fight in the intro was fun and I’m glad that only his Shadow Clone was hit since Naruto should be able to easily fend off these villains. In his current state, he should never lose to anyone ever again. Only aliens would be acceptable like in the movies, otherwise it is just too much of a stretch. Kakashi vs Kahyo was brief, but good as well. Hopefully we’ll get more action in the next novels.

Finally, my last complaint with the novel is just the fact that all of the characters are terribly unlikable to the point where I have to say that they are out of character. Not literally every character as Naruto is good, but everyone else is simply unreasonable. Everyone taunting Kakashi at the end of the novel is simply mean spirited. Shikamaru wanting to see if Ino has the same reaction while in another body is a really crazy scene that has no place in the novel and just makes him look terrible. Tsunade comes across as incredibly ruthless. Deciding to execute an entire group of civilians just to avoid an international incident is quite bad. It’s no wonder why Kakashi knows that he now has to accept the title of Hokage. He can’t let someone as unfit to lead as Tsunade take charge.

As for the two villains, they both want revenge on the cruel society. It’s easy to see why, but they really do lose themselves in the mission. They claim to not want to indiscriminately murder people, but that’s what they do the entire film. Both of them show remorse by the end and Kahyo always seemed to have more of a heart than Rahyo, but the latter’s big turn around I could not buy at all. He was way too evil and too unrelenting for me to believe that he simply lost sight of his original goal. At least for Kahyo there was a lot of foreshadowing and she did help the kid who really needed it while Gahyo was just going to let him die. I suppose that it’s still good to see Gahyo turn good, it just felt forced is all.

Overall, Kakashi’s Story was a weak first installment, but it shows signs of promise for future novels. There is still a lot more that can be done in these stories although I wish that Naruto or Sasuke would get one. Those two can easily hold their own stories. The next book is Shikamaru’s and since he isn’t much of a fighter, I’ll assume that the villains are even weaker than these two as I think that they probably would have crushed him. So long as the characters aren’t all super annoying and unlikable, the next novel should definitely knock this one out of the park. No more puking on the villains either since that was sad. If you’re a big fan of the Naruto franchise, then this is probably a good story to check out to make sure that you know all of the mythos. That being said, you may just want to skip this story. You won’t miss much and it tries to make Blood Prison canon which makes all of the characters look even worse so it’s best that the movie doesn’t become canon. Naruto’s chapter is definitely the best one in the book so at least you’ll start off on a high note.

Overall 5/10

Alex Rider: Russian Roulette Review

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The prequel to the Alex Rider series came out a while ago at this point, but I only just got around to it. As with the Godzilla book, I had it here for months, but I finally renewed it 10 times so this was my last chance to wrap things up. I just made it and am glad that I did as it was a good prequel. The ending was a little rushed I suppose, but it was still a good novel through and through. The writing is much better than what I saw in the Godzilla book and reminds me that we’ve still got solid books out there. You’ve just got to know where to look.

The main character of this Yasha, but his name quickly changes to Yassan so I’ll just keep it that way. The adventure starts him off as a child, but a plague infects his village and his parents have just enough time to give him a cure. Yassan is now the only survivor of that village and it has effectively been wiped off the map. Yassan is now a non person who does not even exist according to computer records. This puts him in a pretty interesting spot as his enemies won’t know about him, but vice versa as well. He goes through many hardships and ends up working as a slave for the man who was responsible for the incident. Through the Alex Rider events, we know that Yassan ends up….well, I won’t say who he works for I suppose, but you should have read the other books already before checking out the prequels. Needless to say, we know the ending, but this book is all about how he gets there.

In that sense, I think that things get a little iffy. As the book is from Yassan’s point of view, we learn a whole lot about the character. He was actually a very nice person back in the day and he really just wanted to fly a helicopter. Unfortunately, the village being wiped out put him on the path to destruction from the beginning. Working as a servant was essentially unavoidable and getting out of the situation was difficult, if not impossible. Those were tough years and his decision to escape was certainly a good one. From there, things just go from bad to worse.

The book’s plot is constantly evolving and adapting because it has to cover a whole lot of plot in a mere 400 pages. (More like 370, but close enough) I don’t want to mention all of the plot developments so I’ll mainly try to keep it vague, but this is still a review so I need to touch on some things. The best part of the book was probably the training facility that he goes too in the second half. That sounded like a pretty interesting chapter in his life and it would have been fun to have seen it get some more screen time. That part is glossed over the most so that we can see him as a professional.

Throughout the whole book, Yassan is mainly trying to not cross the line. He doesn’t mind stealing or committing other such acts in order to survive, but taking another person’s life is something that he doesn’t want to do. Unfortunately, it gets harder and harder to do this as his situation continues to get more dire. One of the reasons why Yassan was such a great character is he continues to choose not to pull the trigger even when it may mean death for him. It’s one of the reasons why he was lucky not to have any friends or family left. The villains could not use anyone as leverage against Yassan and threatening the main character’s life doesn’t have the same impact.

That’s why the ending just comes so suddenly. There is treachery in the air and Yassan gets very upset at the final twist. That being said, it unhinges him more than you would expect and he essentially decides to become a mass murderer just to spite someone. That is the part that came out of left field for me. The whole book, his consciousness had kept him from crossing the line and while he got upset at the end, it still seems like a big leap in logic to just start destroying everyone. Destroy the guy who betrayed you for sure, but taking it out on everyone was a little much. Yassan wanted to prove a point, which is why he didn’t destroy the traitor, but it was still definitely a bit much.

I feel like the author was running out of time and didn’t want to stretch this out into multiple books and just wanted to end things. I would have been happy to have had more books about Yassan, but maybe the fast pacing is what ultimately made this such an enjoyable book. I can certainly say that I enjoyed it much more than any of the Alex Rider novels and this was one of the most interesting books that I have read. The ending is the one sour spot for me and I knew that it was coming of course, but I just didn’t buy it. You could almost say that the author was trapped by the Alex Rider books as he had to keep Yassan in line with his self in the books even if the personality was different.

The author should have almost made this prequel non canon to just let Yassan end out with an escape. Disappearing forever was the plan that he had been leaning towards and it made the most sense. I was almost expecting him to go through with it at one point and then we’d get a sequel to see how he got pulled into the madness once again. That would have made much more sense and I can’t stress enough how much a sequel would have helped the ending. There’s also a chance that a sequel would jump the shark though so maybe it’s better safe than sorry.

The actual writing is very engaging and the author certainly has experience with writing a compelling novel. The characters don’t all sound like generic movie protagonists and they have character. You will feel bad for Yassan as the whole book is basically one tragedy after the other, but the author doesn’t overdo it. It’s sad and you’ll feel bad for the guy, but it’s done naturally and not just brought up to constantly remind you that you should feel bad for him. There’s one quick scene of animal violence at the end involving a spider, but it’s also handled really quickly and I suppose that it is easier for that not to hurt the score in a book than other forms of media. Although, it still depends on how it is handled.

Quite a few characters show up including Alex Rider’s dad. The dad was fairly likable although it’s hard to know what to think of him by the end. I guess I’m not a fan and he could have handled things much better. I also think that Yassan should have been able to defeat him in a fight. Thinking about it, the book doesn’t really have much of a climax. There is action throughout and yet there are very few action scenes. The dialogue is just strong enough to hold the novel up on its own, which is neat. There are quite a few likable characters throughout the book just as there are unlikable ones, but it is a colorful cast. The book gives us some nice details on how Yassan gets ready for a mission without going overboard and it was nice to see him continue to make the right decisions.

Overall, This was an excellent book and just what I needed after finishing Godzilla. Godzilla wasn’t exactly the big return to novels that I had been looking for so I’m glad that I got to find an elite title so quickly. If not for the ending, I dare say that this could be the best stand alone novel that I’ve read. It’s part of the Alex Rider franchise of course and many places just list it as being in the series, but I like to think of the prequel as being its own separate thing. Still canon and in the franchise, but not to be counted with the rest of the books as being in the series. If Yassan had stayed true to himself and ended out on a positive note, I probably would have given this a 10. I’m not even sure which book (If any) I’ve given a perfect score yet, but this probably would have snatched it away. The ending should have just been Yassan walking away and we still could have gotten the moment where he was back in the future and the author leading us to wonder how he got to that point. Still, abrupt ending or not, I highly recommend reading this title. You don’t need to read the Alex Rider books at all to understand what is happening here although it will give you more insight. As with just about every prequel, you can read this before the main series or after it. Either way, it works very well and it’s an engaging piece to read from start to finish. I also read it in hardcover, which helped a bit since I love that format. I’m not sure when I’ll have another book review up as it could be a while, but it’ll be tough to pass this one. It would be cool if the book got a film adaption someday to bring the Alex Rider franchise back into the forefront, but I don’t see that happening for quite a while, if ever.

Overall 9/10

Godzilla Review

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It has been a very long time since I have reviewed a book. It may have even been over a year at this point. What better way to get back into the industry than with Godzilla right? The film was fun even though it certainly could have been better to say the least. I know that many people weren’t crazy about Ford Brody in the film and I always thought that he was a bit of a non factor. After reading the book though, I can safely say that the character isn’t very good.

The book follows the plot of the film. Essentially, a creature destroys Ford’s mother along with many other people simply by waking up. Over a decade later, the monster has woken up along with a second one. They are known as the MUTO creatures and their abilities are unparalleled. With the EMP bursts that they can generate, the army is essentially out of their depth here. Their only course of action is to allow the Super Kaiju known as Godzilla to step in and save the day. The question is…did the government have a choice in the first place and can Godzilla really win the 2 on 1 fight? Pondering these questions is what makes the book fun.

I had a hard time getting past the beginning of the book because it starts off a little slowly. To the book’s defense, that is typically the case for just about every book that I read. It’s simply hard to start off with an interesting beginning that will keep you ready for action. Another problem is that the book adds some unnecessary details. See, Godzilla ended up attacking the island in 1954 because some animals were being tested on and it was defying nature. The government nuked Godzilla and the animals were hit as collateral. It makes the humans look terrible once again and you can see why a lot of people just end up rooting for Godzilla here. The Kaiju is the hero here and the humans need to get their act together if they want to win.

I wasn’t particularly crazy about the writing either. As I mentioned earlier, Ford wasn’t necessarily a negative for me in the movie, but I didn’t like him in the book. Not only is he incredibly generic, but he’s simply an unlikable character. He panics a whole lot and is almost always on the verge of tears. He constantly has to “tear himself away” from his son and family because he has a world to save, but he’s always so overly dramatic about it. Towards the end of the book, he even gets annoyed when people come to save him from the nukes. Sure, he’s tired and fatigued, but he should be grateful. It’s hard to simply spell out, but Ford just wasn’t my kind of character. I much preferred his father in the book. That plot was typically a lot more interesting than Ford’s.

Of course, the Godzilla scenes are the reason why you will buy the book. As with the movie, he doesn’t get a huge role and misses most of the first 75% of the book, but then he gets a solid fight in the end. The author definitely seemed to like the MUTOs as they were crushing Godzilla in the initial fight. In the film they temporarily started to overwhelm him as well, but here…they flat out beat him. Ford has to (accidentally) save Godzilla’s life by distracting one of the creatures. Once the MUTO is gone, Godzilla is able to take out the other one. Then he manages to defeat the second and proves that he is the strongest Kaiju out there, but I would have liked more G domination.

I also have to question the fact that the MUTO’s were able to short out his Atomic Breath. It’s not exactly standard electricity so I don’t think that an EMP would knock it out. If it could, then that means that the Government could essentially use the same tactic against him. Godzilla is also able to use it at the very end so I guess that the normal EMPs that the MUTO creatures generate is weak enough for Godzilla to overpower it. I’m glad about that at least. The Godzilla scenes are certainly the highlight as its fun to see the Kaiju in action although he could have looked a little stronger.

Back to the negatives, the writing goes to horror film mode at times as Ford loves to swear when he’s in danger along with just about every other character. It’s something that I always bring up because you wouldn’t have seen it back in the 70’s or earlier. Dr. Serizawa is a character that I didn’t like in any version and I still don’t care for him here. At one point, the government is out of options and they ask the doctor if Godzilla can defeat MUTO. Serizawa essentially shrugs and says his “iconic nature controls arrogant men” (Completely reworded and out of context, but you’ll likely know the line if you’ve scene the trailer. before he says to just let the monsters fight. Cmon Serizawa, the government is looking for a serious answer at this point.

Of course, the government doesn’t look too good when they decide to send a Nuke after Godzilla and the creatures. The climax has them essentially admit that MUTO and Godzilla could easily tank the missile. The plan seemed to be pretty bad from the start and reeked of desperation. While they like to think that there wouldn’t be too many casualties by dumping it in the river, many people would still die through the fish and the radiation that the wind carries. Nukes are never a great measure.

Also, they were hardly necessary. Maybe against the MUTO creatures, but against Godzilla, the airplanes were actually doing well. The book implies that they could have ultimately defeated Godzilla had some more planes come on board as they were dealing a lot of damage to the King. Long time Godzilla fans won’t like that of course, but it’s nice for the government to get in some wins once in a while. It’s like the old saying, “It’s why I’m here.”

I didn’t like the format that the book was in although I suppose that this will vary if there are any other versions. The type is simply too small. It’s part of the style as it allows the book to be small as well, but it’s not worth it. I like the classic hardcover style so much more as the print is nearly double the size of the Godzilla book and it makes the reading so much easier. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve had the book since sometime in February or earlier. I’ve renewed it 10 times from NYPL until I finally read it now. (And just in time too!)

Overall, the book got better once I was past the beginning, but I’m still not crazy about the writing. The characters just felt unlikable for the most part and the animals part in the beginning was really not needed. Godzilla also should have looked more impressive like how he was portrayed in the film. The book had its negatives to be sure and the format also made it a little tougher to read through. If you’re a big Godzilla fan, this is still a book to check out. If you aren’t looking forward to the Kaiju fights then you should probably take a pass on this book. After all, the fights were the climactic parts. If you don’t care for those, then it’s Game Over time!

Overall 6/10

My Little Pony: The Elements of Harmony: Friendship is Magic Review

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That’s a mouthful isn’t it? I probably could have used a shorter version of the title, but this is the way that Barnes & Nobles titled the book so I may as well do it as well. I am a pretty big My Little Pony fan, but I have yet to see the TV show. What better way to really get into the universe than with a guide book right? This one is pretty detailed and a must read for all MLP fans out there. Pinkie Pie gets the respect that she deserves!

Even for a guide book, Elements of Harmony is very well organized. There are 10 chapters and each one corresponds to a different section. Some are much longer than others of course so you should still be prepared to be reading it for a while. It took me 3 batches to finish it, but you can probably shorten that depending on how much time you have.

The opening sections are really about the layout of the land and all of the Ponies/other characters who appear in the series. Seriously, if a pony appears for part of an episode or for a few minutes, she shall be there. I don’t think that all of the Apple family members made it in, but they really could have. The Mane 6 naturally get bigger write ups than the other characters and it is certainly deserved. This book really cements the fact that Pinkie Pie is my favorite member of the Mane 6. It’s not even close to be honest because she is just so awesome. As it stands, 2nd = Twilight Sparkle 3rd = Rainbow Dash 4th = Applejack 5th = Rarity and 6th = Fluttershy. I’ll admit that Fluttershy being in 6th is a bit of a sad coincidence….but someone has to be there right? We also can’t forget the epicness of Derpy or the mysterious Nightmare Moon. The series certainly has a pretty great cast and the only area that is probably lacking is the villains section. There just aren’t many of them by the end of season 3 and the few that are left aren’t much of a threat.

Aside from the characters section, we get an in depth look at the episodes for the first three seasons. Have you ever looked up an episode for a show on Wikipedia or on the individual wikis? It’s like that as the section will cover each episode from start to finish. It’s almost like watching the actual episodes, which is why I say that this is a good way to catch up to the series very quickly. (Although it would probably be more fun to just marathon them online) The book stops after the final episode of season 3, but that’s still a lot of data and it’s easily the longest chapter in the book as it takes up almost half of it. That’s pretty impressive eh? It’s certainly the most enjoyable part to read.

After that, we also get a chapter that contains every song that was ever sung in the episodes. To fans who have already seen the episodes, you’ll likely remember the tunes. For new fans, you’ll just have to guess and it’s best to just read them all with the MLP theme song stuck in your head. The songs were pleasant enough. After that, the book basically just ends with talking about how MLP has redefined the current world and a short afterword. There aren’t really any big mentions of bronies or the ponies influence on the video game industry, but I suppose it’s good not to get too off topic.

It sounds like the main writer was leaving after these three seasons as we get a big farewell interview. I wonder if the series can manage to stay true to its high level of quality with new writers on board. Only time will tell and so far it seems like the show has held its own since the next season has already aired by now. Soon we’ll be in season 5, which is very impressive. Even if it does not get a 6th season, it’ll be a show that will have cracked 100 episodes and it shall not be forgotten anytime soon.

The book is hardcover, which is great since it won’t wrinkle very easily. The font size is reader friendly and it really hits all the notes for how a guide book should be. There’s not a whole lot more to say about it since I have already discussed what is inside. I definitely hope that they release a new guidebook once season 5 or 6 is done to help fans who haven’t seen the show stay caught up with the franchise. Of course, there won’t be many of those, but it’s also a good thing to read for fans who have seen the show. You’ll get to read about insider information that you may not even be aware of.

Overall, The Elements of Harmony is the perfect guide book to start you off on the franchise. I think all franchises could use a guide book like this one. It’s clear, concise, and to the point while still being very detailed. None of the sections drag on and every part of the book is interesting. I highly recommend checking it out. I probably won’t be watching the show in its entirety anytime soon, but I’ll be keeping up with the franchise through its other outlets. Speaking of which, I have another pony related review coming up later today. So, stick around to see if it holds up a little better than my very first pony review.

Overall 8/10

Accel World

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I’ve only read the first book in the series, but it’s off to a decent start. Haruyuki is just as unlikable as in the TV show, but at least Silver Crow is (sometimes) decent enough to hold his own. I’m looking forward to seeing the fights escalate as things heat up in the plot. I shall have a review for this series when it finishes….so this could take a while!

Overall 7/10

Sword Art Online

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After reading the first book in the series; I can safely say that Sword Art Online is off to a good start. Kirito is still pretty good for the most part and the concept of the franchise is still great. We’ll see if the series can keep it up and I shall have a review for it when I have finished reading all of the books. Overall 8/10