Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An anime review: Paradise Kiss

One of short anime I watched during the vacation was "Paradise Kiss". I found it few months ago, by searching josei anime with good ratings on AniDB. I didn't have some special wish for watching it because I was a bit put off by bland-looking picture on its profile. But, because of its rating and shortness, I gave it a chance. In the end, I wasn't disappointed.

Series follows Hayasaka Yukari, a high-school girl soon to graduate, as she encounters and befriends (or better to say, gets befriended by) a group of fashion high-school designers. Yukari is nice and intelligent girl, but feeling a bit lost in her life. For as long as she can remember, she obediently followed her mother's wish to succeed in school. When she meets the group, named ParadiseKiss, she realizes that she doesn't actually know what she wants and decides to find herself.

Her connection with ParadiseKiss starts when they ask her to be their model for annual fashion competition at their school, because of her height and beauty. At first, she doesn't believe herself to be good enough, and think of them as time-wasting truants. But, she changes her opinion of them as she sees the passion and effort they invest in their clothes. All this help her to understand herself better, making her to leave school and try to make a living as a professional model. In only 12 episodes she will encounter various troubles, in professional and emotional view.

ParadiseKiss group consist of four people. Koizumi Jouji, nicknamed George, is a person I would probably hate in real life (joking). He is a genius designer, rich and good looking, independent and cocky; he is the center and main force of the group. As show goes on, I realized that I actual like George and after watching whole series, think of him as a protagonist, even though events are focused on Yukari. He has much depth as a character and he is very aware of himself. It is displayed how he is ready to sacrifice much for his real passion, design. Although he is sometimes cruel and insensitive, her cares for people and helps them to realize themselves, even though at times it looks like he is just a prick.

Miwako and Arashi are the couple of the group. Arashi is pierced and plays a guitar in band; he looks scary, but he is actually very emotive and caring. Miwako is cute and looks younger than she really is, which is amplified by her dressing style, which consists mostly of pink and lace. Isabella (just a nickname) is tall and tacit, but also very passionate. Some people will be surprised with a "revelation" about her somewhere toward the end of series. I say "revelation", but it is actually revealed in first or second episode, you just have to be open-minded to see it. Except these main five characters, there is also a big cast of supportive characters, each with their own life and history and each nicely done.

At first show reminded me much of "Nana". Just that instead of music it deals with clothes. If show wasn't finished, I would like it much less that now. And it has a definite end! If it lasted 24 or more episodes, I would judge it just a mediocre. Compared to "Nana" or "Lovely Complex" or even "Hachimitsu to Clover", it is much less intense. Main character have their own problems, which each of one can understand, but in long run are not very interesting to watch. But, as series has only 12 episodes, it works very well. You don't get irritated by character stupid choices or unending stream of bad luck. This way, they all get presented well, but they don't have time to become boring.

Ending was the greatest part of anime for me. As I said, it is definitive. It invokes feelings but you are not disappointed that is ended. Even though it's not a typical happy end, it makes you happy for the characters.

I saw on AniDB and Wikipedia, that this is a semi-sequel of one other similar show: "Gokinjo Monigatari". But I don't plan to watch it, since it's long and old (1995/1996).

From technical side, all good. Animation is OK; nothing spectacular, but nothing poor either. It does its job. Music is much better; OP and ED are great. Can't say anything about SFX during the episodes, but voices were good.

For conclusion: "Paradise Kiss" is not one of the greatest anime I watched, but one of the best josei. Only 12 episodes, it's a great choice for those who like romance anime, and a must for those who watch josei.

Monday, June 28, 2010

An anime review: XXXHOLIC: Rou


I am not really a fan of CLAMP and their works, but I liked "Code Geass" anime and "XXXHOLIC" franchise. "Tsubasa Chronicles" I think it's OK, but I don't think much of it. So, if you didn't watch previous "XXXHolic" anime, watch the first one and continue with rest if you like it. If you watched it, then continue to the review of latest anime installment, "XXXHOLIC: Rou"...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A book review: The Painted Man

As I mentioned it in my recent post(s), this week I am on vacation, so I though I would be able to enjoy my books in the "old way". Meaning, reading whole day. Unfortunately, I was constricted by the fact that I had only one book at home. I didn't want to do a reread, mostly because one week is not enough for that, and also, I'm saving rereading of "The Wheel of Time" for fall and "Malazan Book of the Fallen" for winter. That reminded me, announced a reread of "MBoF" few months ago, like they have it for "WoT", but it's very, very late.
But, let's get back to the book in the topic. It was "The Painted Man" (or, in some countries, "The Warded Man"), a first novel by Peter V. Brett. I am usually skeptic about first novels, but the second book, "The Desert Spear", was published recently. Reviews say that, even though it's not as good as first, is still very good. Also, I mentioned it before, I'm in a phase when I want classical high fantasy, and reviews agree with this. One more reason for buying it was that this will be a trilogy and the last book is announced for next year, so I would not have to wait long if I liked it.

I bought a paperback edition, which fooled me a bit. Judging from the size, I expected 1000 or near-so pages, but it has only 550 pages. Another my expectation about this book that proved to be false was that it is based on Tibetan mythology. Reason for this misconception was that some review on Amazon that I have read few months ago mentioned "Tibbet's Brook", which is the name of birth-village of the main character. This half-remembered name and mention of demons convinced me that the world is based on Buddhism, but I was wrong.

Now, to the book. It features the world where humanity of losing three-hundred-years long war against demons. There exist only seven cities and multitude of small villages, although the world was covered with civilization once. People struggle for survival during the day and keep themselves locked in their houses during the night. Because, night is time for demons. There are six well-defined species of demons, and their sole passion is killing and eating humans (although, they will attack animals if they have chance). Only protection humanity has are protective wards. People draw, chisel or imprint these wards in circles about their houses (and even towns) to protect themselves from the night. But, even the slightest mistake can mean the death of whole household, or even whole village. People accept this situation as their reality, which is encouraged by the Church, and live in constant terror of the night. Only people who dare travel longer distances are Messengers, who are paid very well for their effort. And only in the southern city of Krasia (based on Islam), people still try to fight demons instead covering in terror.

There are three main characters in the book. Most prominent one is Arlen. At the beginning of the book, he is eleven years old boy living in before-mentioned village of Tibbet's Brook, small hamlet of few hundreds souls. He will live trough a personal trauma and have a close encounter with demons. But, instead making him fearful of them, it will only serve to ingrain him with strong yearning for freedom. He will have a chance for it when he finds himself in the City of Miln, as an adopted son of a Messenger.

Leesha is some thirteen year old girl at the beginning. She lives in Cutter's Hollow and her only wish is to finally become a woman and marry her betrothed. But a series of coincidences will show her the dark side of human nature and strip her of her naivety. On the other hand, it will broaden her viewsApprenticeship under Bruna, an ancient Herbalist, although not wished for in the beginning, will give her a chance of a life she never dreamed of and bring her to the fortified City of Angiers.

And Rojer, who is only three years old kid at start, is character with least coverage in the book. After losing his parents in attack of demons, he will find himself in care of successful, but selfish, Jongleur Arrick. He will also find out that this is not an easy life, especially when you run out of luck.

Story is told in three phases, with few years skip between. First part describes Arlen's and Leesha's life as kids, second some of their training, and third is about the main plot-line of the book. And I believe that this second part is the weakest part of the book. Or to explain it better, it's best, but too short. I think I am not the only one who likes to read about apprenticeships and trainings of heroes-to-be (just look at success of "The Name of the Wind") and this part is mostly skipped here. Though, there is a nice part of book describing Arlen's training to become a Warder and his teen years, but I most certainly wouldn't mind additional hundred of two pages more about it.

Development of main characters in character and skill is probably the strongest part of the book, next to the unique world. Leesha and other Herbalists reminded me to village Wisdoms from "The Wheel of Time" world. Arlen is very likable character, with emotional scars that I think anybody can empathize with. Leesha also, you just must admire her strength, but also feel sorry for her sacrifices. Rojer is somewhat less likable, but also very believable character. He is sometimes selfish and coward, but manages to express and even realize his good intentions occasionally.

There is lot of mentions of sex in the book. Nothing too explicit, but the book deals with some disturbing themes like raping and incest. On the other hand, I can't say this is very violent book, even though a good portion of it describes fighting against demons. It just that violence it mild, if I have to put it in one word.

To summarize, I liked "The Painted Man" very much. It is not a best book that I have ever read, but it has a nicely imagined world with good potential and some strong characters. Story was intense and made leaving this book for the night hard. Nice book for the time between your favorite series, especially if you like lots of action and fighting in your books.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An anime review: Mononoke

I had "Mononoke" in my wishlist for some time, but I skipped it each time because of unattractive picture on its AniDB profile. Since this week I am on vacation and I haven't downloaded anything else, I decided to use it as a quick-watch, since it got only 12 episodes. From AniDB I knew it is some kind of mystery-horror anime about some guy travelling around and fighting evil ghosts.

I will start my review from unusual side for me: the animation. This is not a classical Japanese animation; it reminded me of European cartoons from when I was a kid (in the eighties). I have recollection of some cartoon, featuring a detective, that had this same type of animation, and its name is on top of my tongue, but I just can't remember it. Anyway, it had static background (but wavy, like road in a hot summer day), but characters are not singled by brighter colors (like in e.g. "Tom and Jerry"). Movement is slow when there is a movement; mostly are characters shown in one position, then after a change of angle or scene, they are in different position. In some way, it reminded me also on "Gankutsuou", but mostly, because of colors and textures. Also, design of characters is not Japanese, and people in background are represented my mannequins. Characters look like Japanase people drawn in European cartoons. It is unusual, but it looks very nice. At first look, they look a bit crude, but later you see that there are lots of details and effort invested. I think that I noticed some use of CGI (scales).

My initial expectation about story was true. It follows unnamed Medicine Seller, traveling around. His actual call (or maybe passion) is really killing Mononokes (Mononoke is a type of ghost; it is all well explained in anime). We don't know anything about his background and chapters (five of them) are mostly unconnected (there is one repeating character in two chapters). He kills ghosts with his Sword, but to release it, he needs to know Form, Truth and Regret of the Mononoke. So, episodes consist mostly of interviews with related parties and connecting it to the whole story. Ghosts are based on Japanese mythology; I recognized few of them, even the names. In a way, it is same as "Mushishi", just with ghosts instead mushrooms, and with more (much more!) action.

Stories are very interesting and tense; I way usually surprised after the solution. There is lots of blood and violence in this anime. Themes are mostly human weakness and sins: jealousy, corruption, greed, even incest. It was disturbing sometimes, but on the other hand, you can read about similar cases everyday in newspapers.

Except opening and ending (which I didn't like), I didn't notice any song or melodies in background; there are mostly just noises and sounds. This helps in creating the mood very well. Voices of character are unique as their design.

Interesting thing, I can't say when this anime takes place. Few chapters are definitely in medieval Japan, but last chapter (that chronologically happens first) takes place in a train and features a woman reporter, typing machine and a telephone! Also, I would like to know more about the main character, the Medicine Seller. He looks and act very cool, especially his alter-ego (at least that is how I perceived person wielding the Sword). There is one anime connected with this one, "Ayakashi", so I'll definitely watch it.

In short, a very nice anime to watch when you have some free time. It doesn't have any overall plot you have to remember, but it works well with keeping the viewer amusedDefinitely worth watching; not suited for kids, though.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A book review: "The Charnel Prince"

I have planned to spend more time reading the sequel of "The Briar King", "The Charnel Prince", and to savor it for a week or so. Instead, I read it in less than three days. Of course, the book is quite short, less than 500 pages. But it mattered more that I couldn't leave it out of my hands.

To avoid revealing any spoilers about previous book, I will write just a general description here and part with the spoilers below. As you can remember, I liked "The Briar King" immensely. Second book features mostly known character, with addition of one new POV and a number of side-characters. It finished few plots started in the first book (I am relieved that most irritating plot is finished now), starts a few new ones and reveals more about whom and what the enemies are. On the other hand, it presents some new unexplained hints or theories, which will probably be explained in next books. This is a nice way to keep the reader interested.

I liked this book less that the first one. While first part was super fun and second books continues with the same style, characters and feeling of suspense, it offers less novelty. While plot advances forward and characters grow in ability and integrity, I have a feeling that all this could have been suppressed in fewer pages. However, I really enjoyed this book and have no reservations recommending it to those who liked first part.

To read a detailed description, containing spoilers about "The Briar King", continue further... To read my post about first book, click here...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

News and various stuff

I usually write short news or opinions about other stuff at the end of my regular posts, but this time I have a few of them, so I decided to put them in this post. So, I no order of importance.

Naruto has become very interesting and tense for last few episodes. I almost wish that fighting scenes were prolonged as at the beginning of Shippuuden arc (like fight with Orochimaru or Deidra and Sasori). I was surprised how the training sequence was short. Pain has very interesting abilities and it will be fun to see how Naruto will counter them. Personally, I don't think he would have any chance if Pain didn't use his Almighty-Push on such a grand scale. So, if you stopped watching Naruto, it's time to start it again. Episodes from 152 are good as final fights from original Naruto, before the fillers. And if you want to know what's going on, you should better watch episodes between 113 and 143, where lots of unknown history is revealed.

Also, Crunchyroll will be streaming Bleach from now on, for free (as it does with Naruto), so maybe I will start watching this again. I stopped because of too much filler.

I have watched 14th episode of Bakemonogatari, 4th episode of the last arc. It is great like the rest of this fantastic anime, you can read my thought about it here. I don't remember that previous episodes were so charged with erotic. I know that there were occasional fan service cuts, but in this episode it's much bolder. On the other hand, it has connection with the plot. I see that Wikipedia article numbers more characters that are featured in anime, so I take this as a clear sign that there will be a second season in the future.

Then, there is some news for It's not that I try to advertise them, but I visit it daily and most of the news about fantasy I read, I read it there.

There is an excerpt from Brandon Sanderson's new book, "The Way of Kings". It comprises a prelude and first three chapters. I have read it and it looks very good. I was in a bit of dilemma should I start reading it right when it's published or to wait when it reaches final volumes (I presumed it will be only a few books, judging by authors previous works). But, I saw it on Wikipedia that it is planned to have 10 books and that it will be finished in 14 years, I think I will join the train very soon.

But, the book I will wait the most this year is "Towers of Midnight". And it's only four more month of waiting. I have a feeling that I will have a busy summer, so the time will fly by. Of course, there is also "The Crippled God" coming out on the beginning of next year. It means that I will finish two of my favorite series.

In next few weeks I plan to watch some anime or two (first will be "Mononoke"), maybe read some manga. And in two or three weeks I plan to start reading "The Painted Man", by Peter V. Brett, for which I've read some promising reviews.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A book review: "The Briar King"

Lately I've been thinking how I would like to read something with a feel of a classic, stereotypical high fantasy. Lately I've been reading and watching SF, romance, innovative fantasy and so on, but I had a yearning for something really classical. Something including knights and princesses (or at least some kind of royalty), magic that doesn't resemble science (like in Brandon Sanderson's books) and it is mystical, a nice romantic relationship... You know, something "fantastic". I do have a long wishlist on Amazon, but I wasn't really sure what to buy that meets this requirements.

So, I decided for already finished serial, written by Greg Keyes, named "The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone". There are four books, with king, prince, knight and queen in titles. I didn't know much about plot, just that it involves some princess, medieval-ish world and big enemy connected with flora. I added these books to my wishlist a long time ago so I decided to give it a go and ordered first two books. After reading prologue, my thoughts were "Oh, no!! How could I made such a mistake and order another quasi-fantasy!?".


But, I turned out that prologue doesn't have much with the events in the first book. Or, to be more precise, things that bothered me don't have much relevance. Instead, it is a nice touch and a way to make a connection between the world from books with our world (just like Mercedes-Benz sign or mentioning of names from our time in "The Wheel of Time" books).

There are several plots, following each of POV characters. Central character would probably be Princess Anne. She is the youngest of four children, some fifteen years at the start of the book, tomboyish in manners and looking like her famous ancestor, Virgenya Elizabeth Dare. She enjoys fantasizing about princes and knight, likes ridding her horse and escaping her guards. She has first encounter with her romantic side when she meets a dashing knight Sir Roderik, but things are not simple or idealistic as she believes. Aspar White is a King's holter (title for woodsman/ranger) in charge of King's forest. He leads a good life, interesting, but without many surprises. But he will find himself feeling outside of his league when he goes off to investigate rumors of strange happenings in the forest. He will have a short adventure with Stephen Darige after he saves him from forest bandits. Stephen is a scholar with a great talent for languages and history, on a way to becoming a monk in the monastery with most famous library. But he too will find out that Church has its secrets and that some apples are rotten. From one of the allies of Kingdom of Eslen, arrives Neil Meqvren, with dreams of becoming a knight and a royal guard. He is unaccustomed to life at court, but his martial prowess, honor and bravery with earn him a title of knight. But instead of becoming King's protection, he will be first member of Queen Muriele's guard. However, the Queen is hard to guard, because, although she is a women, she has much influence, over her husband and in her own right and doesn't hesitate to use when she sees it fit. But she too has problems, one of them her stubborn daughter Anne. And King William I, the King of Eslen and Emperor of Crothany, has probably the biggest problems. Never in peace with their neighbors, kingdom of Hanza, lately situation has taken a turn to worst. Not to mention their internal problems. Of course, life of young Casio of Avella, small town far from Eslen, is much different. He is a poor but skillful master duelist, rich only in honor and pride.

All this life will be connected when some ancient evil starts stirring. Evil that has been almost forgotten except in oldest histories or stories of old village-witches. Evil rumored to be more horrible and older then ancient Skasloi, who once ruled this whole world, but were defeated by army led by Virgenya Elisabeth Dare, some 2300 years ago.

Plot, characters and themes, even world in same points, resemble those in "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn" by Tad Williams. But personally, it reminded me more of George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" serial. Although at much smaller scope; Martin's books have few dozens of POV character and world is much more detailed and rougher. But nevertheless, feeling was similar, at least to me.

World is typically medieval: rich kings, royalty and knights, poor peasants, important Church. Reading is considered a rare talent, but on the other hand, there are colleges and schools, some even not connected to the Church. There are no advanced inventions, like compass, steam or gunpowder, at least not mentioned so far. Although, there is one interesting thing: polders like in Netherlands. Magic is existing, but very rare. Common folk talk about shinecraft, but rarely see it in real life. Church has some special abilities granted by means of Saints, and there are orders that know some kinds of spells. But regular people will live whole life without encounter with something supernatural. Of course, this is about to change... Except of regular humans, there is at least one other common race, named Sefrys, and they greatly resemble Gypsies.

Characters are classical for these types of books, but they are nicely written. Don't expect depth like Gene Wolfe's Severian, but neither they are totally stereotypical as with Feist. You can believe in them as real persons, and they are able to give you an occasional surprise. There are other, less important characters, but you will not have to write a "dramatis personae" to help you to remember them all.

Plot is interesting and tense. It was hard to leave the book, because there are no boring chapters. You can predict some events, but I think that is how author intended it, not because of his inadequate skills.

My only objection was revelation of the Big Enemy at the end of the book. It leaves impression of something our heroes will not have much trouble with. But, there is a big possibility that I am mistaken and this is just a small revelation of his full powers so he will become much more dangerous later. Even more so, I could be completely mistaken about him being the Big Enemy! That is left to be seen.

In short, one of the greatest books I have read in a while, at least in department of classical high fantasy. You will not be disappointed with this book, if that is what you are looking for. But, I will wait with final recommendation until reading the next book, to see if it will maintain this level of quality.

I will be reading next part immediately, so my next post will be about "The Charnel Prince"

Monday, June 14, 2010

A movie review: Sex and the City 2

Yesterday evening I went to the movies with my girlfriend to watch "Sex and the City 2". It was her idea, but I did watch the first part and I occasionally watched the series when it was aired, so I didn't have any real objections. Just to make a notice, ratio between males and females was something about twenty females (mostly 20 to 25 years) for one male.

Events in the movie happen two years after the first movie, but they are not directly connected to it, or the TV-series. You can watch without knowing anything about this franchise, but watching experience is better if you are already familiar with the characters. First third of the movie introduces us to present life of four main characters and their main problems. Carrie is afraid that her marriage is growing in to just a habit, Charlotte is exhausted by her two kids, Miranda is having problems at work and Samantha is fighting her menopause. They get a chance to go to Abu Dhabi for luxurious trip for free, so they take it, but after initial bliss, they realize that their problems didn't stay at home.

Movie is quite funny to watch. There are lots of comedy scenes, most of them based on characters quirks and that's why you can enjoy it better is you have previous knowledge of characters. Movie includes much fan service (to use a term from anime), including extravagant and provocative clothes and other displays of wealth, intended for women. Four of them are in hotel in Abu Dhabi where night cost 22.000 dollars, and you can bet that it looks good.

Although film is very "girly", I didn't have trouble with watching it. There are only two scenes that felt cheesy: karaoke at the hotel and scene where Muslim women undress close the end of the film. For reason unexplained, I laughed mostly at Liza Minnelli's performance of "Single Ladies" by Beyonce.

I don't see the point of recommending this movie to anybody. Those who like "Sex and the City" will watch the second movie and like it, and those who hate it will not watch it. For those with no opinion, it's is quite a good movie, if you watch it without any prejudices.

I found it interesting how my girlfriend and I had different opinions about actions of Carrie and her husband from the beginning of the movie, which actually represent the whole point of the movie. She thought Carrie was clearly right, while I found his reasons quite reasonable. I was surprised how we easily fit in concept of difference between women and men ways of thinking, which I thought was just an exaggeration.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bounen no Xamdou - anime review

I decided to watch this anime because I think it's good to make a change sometimes. I usually watch seinen action series, romance comedies, slice-of-life anime, josei... This one is a shounen action series, with good rating on AniDB and it features some boy transforming to giant monster and fighting for justice (judging from quick look of its profile on AniDB).

After watching first two episodes I started fearing that I made a mistake. It started with the world mixing alchemy and magic with SF technology. First scenes show some old woman with some green liquids and strange seeds and then next few introduce flying ships and army with armor-suits. Characters had an uninspired design and colors were bland, so I thought I will be watching some bad combination of "Last Exile" (flying ships), "Casshern Sins" (almighty monsters/robots) and "Bleach" (powering up whenever there is a stronger opponent).

To my great surprise, I was very wrong and this is one of the best action anime I watched. Even though world has some strange mixes (I one scene a guy has handcuffs made of wooden board with holes while he is surrounded by soldiers armored with laser guns), it is very interesting. It is nothing especially unique: North and South hemispheres are in long lasting war, North has magic monsters inherited from some lost civilization, while South has flying ships and lasers, but wants monsters too... But what is good that this is all we get about it. It doesn't have some know-all character that explains it to main characters so that viewers can understand it too, nor there is a narrator. Characters know history of their world, while viewers have to be watchful and pick things every few episodes to make a whole picture. Even last episode doesn't bring a full explanation. I know it sounds irritating or stupid, but it actually works very well.

Main characters are also well knows: a boy Akiyuki gets the special ability of monster-transforming and has to leave his home-island with Northern girl Nakiami who will help him to master it. And his friend/girlfriend Haru and friend/rival Furuichi join the Southern army to do their share of growing/powering up. Others include a young and ambitious army officer, Akiyuki's father doctor with murky background, possibly-mad scientist.... And crew of the ship Akiyuki leaves his island on has its share of quirky characters: female-general in hiding, old woman/prophet, ect. But best thing is that they don't act stereotypically. Akiyuki doesn't transform whenever they meet a strong opponent (I think that he transforms only three or four times in whole anime) nor he spends fifteen episodes feeling sorry for himself and being irritating.

So, characters are good and world is great, what's left? Plot is interesting and there are no boring episodes. It follows few different sets of characters until the expected great confrontation at the end. And it features one really sad happy ending.

Except of unexpected mixes of magic and technology, there is two more things I noticed. First, two main female characters and some less important had a notably big breasts. While this is not unexpected in anime (quite the contrary), there is usually either "boing" effect or there are some jokes about it. But here there they are just unnecessary large. Secondly, what happens with clothes of characters that can transform when they do it? I'm pretty sure that one there was a ripping of clothes when one started to change, but later the clothes was whole. These little details do matter!

As I said, design of characters is somewhat bland and so were the colors, but not enough to make an obstacle for watching. Opening song was very good and I thing that voice-acting and rest of SFX are nice, too.

Anyway, "Bounen no Xamdou" is a really good anime that I can recommend to everybody. And that coming from a guy who doesn't like classic shounen action series with giant monsters and transformation.

Next I will be reading a new book series. It starts with "The Briar King" and judging from first 50 pages I will like it very much!