Book Review – Alice in the Country of Hearts: White Rabbit and Some Afternoon Tea Part 1 by QuinRose

Title: Alice in the Country of Hearts:  White Rabbit and Some Afternoon Tea Part 1

Author: QuinRose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2015

 

After pushing through the monstrosity that was last weeks book that shall not be named, I opted to read something light and fun this week.  Yes, another Alice manga.  For those who have been reading this blog for a while you know that this is my obsession.  I don’t know why but I love the story, the idea of an independent Alice who is not looking for love and yet surrounded by it (and gun fights) just intrigues me.  This story had by attention from the start and I love the infinite possibilities that branch from the story.  What if Alice chooses not to love?  What if she falls in love with the March Hare?  What about the Cheshire Cat?  What if instead of falling in love in the Country of Hearts she doesn’t fall in love till the Country of Joker?  There are an infinite number of ways things could go and I love it.  I also love how the love when it is chosen develops.  It also doesn’t hurt that the characters are attractively drawn and are very vibrant.  I am after all a sucker for a good story and great characters make for a good story.

 

Anyway, with my obsession with Alice in the Country of Heart series I always wondered what it would be like to have a story where Alice might actually fall in love with Peter White the White Rabbit.  It is a difficult story of course, because he was the one who kidnapped her away to Wonderland and he can be a ‘little’ over the top with his affection.  Honestly in almost every story there is a hate that resides with Alice towards Peter.  Honestly one can’t really blame her for that.   Still the idea has always intrigued me and as I’ve learned more about the character Peter White the more curious I got.  Such as Peter being her “Sunday Afternoon”, always there, always loving, and only wanting what is best for her.  It is clear in most manga and in this one in particular that Alice’s safety and happiness is all Peter wants.  While he would love to be with her romantically speaking he will settle for her being there in Wonderland and happy.

 

This story honestly has done a masterful job of exhibiting the relationship between Alice and Peter and helped push things beyond physical attraction or a sudden change of character personality.  In the story there are many occasions where Alice over hears conversations that show her more of Peter’s character and his love for her beyond the apparent crazy obsession he has for her.  Honestly with out any kissing and hardly any hand holding the romance in this story was impeccable.  The soft quiet moments between Alice and Peter though rare and few were swoon worthy and the suspense in the story didn’t feel like a trope (classic Alice getting dragged into mafia wars or kidnapped.)  Okay so you could call what happened as a kidnapping but it wasn’t a classic kidnapping and that made the story all the more real.

 

Honestly, I loved everything about this manga.  There is not a single thing I would change, it had me laughing, sitting on the edge of my seat and swooning.  It was impeccable despite the fact that my two favorite characters Mad Hatter (aka Blood Dupree) and March Hare (aka Eliot) did not exactly feature in this book.  I think over all I am actually going to give this book a rare 5 out of 5 because I enjoyed the read that much and had no complaints about anything including the art as that was done my the original artist of the series.    With my high rating I will notate that this isn’t ‘the’ book to start with if you are looking to jump in on this Alice series but at the same time it isn’t the worst either as it will give you a clear picture of everything that is going on and you do not need to have past experiences with the story to derive enjoyment out of the story.

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Book Review – Alice in the Country of Clover The March Hare Revolution by Quin Rose

Title: Alice in the Country of Clover: The March Hare Revolution

Author: Quin Rose

Illustrator:  Ryo Kazuki

Published: 2012

Translated: 2015

 

It has been a while but I bring you yet another Alice story.  Since my last binge I think I have covered all Alice books but the latest releases which I am at the mercy of my library to eventually get in at this point.  Of course, knowing that I am a massive March Hare/Eliot fan, I have been chomping at the bit and salivating for this manga.  Then when you toss in the title and the content of past Eliot centric books I was certain that this book was going to be about Eliot’s past and how he broke the rules and shouldn’t be around but Blood rescued him.  (A lot of this is covered in country of Joker and in other Eliot centric stories.) Yet, this story was not what I expected it to be, not to say that it is bad thing.

 

The first thing that jumped out at me in this story was the fact that there is a lizard and a spider on Eliot’s scarf when it comes to the art work something that has been very subtle in the past if it has always been there.  It threw me off a bit but at the same time not enough to break the story for me to say the least.  What did throw me though was the art work, it was different than what I am used do.  Of course the characters are recognizable as always and of course I expect the art work to be different considering that it wasn’t Mamenosuke Fujimaru’s work as most of the books are.  However, there are artists who manage to come close to drawing similar to Mamenosuke while other’s fall short, such as Job who draws thinks long and lean.  Ryo Kazuki is another artists who does things differently but instead of long and lean Ryo goes more for a soft bubble look.  The hair instead of sharp angles as most manga I’m used to is, has a softer more curved look to it.  It threw me off for the first few pages.  Eventually however I got lost in the story and the art became second nature.  I do know that I did appreciate how clear emotions were on the faces of the characters giving the story added life instead of constantly having sound effects notate emotion, or ambiguous drawings that left me guessing at times (the latter of which Job is occasionally guilty of).

 

Anyway the story is of the developing romance between Alice and Eliot. There isn’t a lot of action, such as an epic plot to pull Alice away from her love or massively put her life in danger.  The focus of the story as on Alice and Eliot, as they spend time together and Alice realizes that there is more to her and Eliot than just friendship.  The twist and pull of the story that helps give things momentum is the fact that Alice is having dreams of her sister and is wavering on whether to stay or to go back home.  She is also frightened by the kind of dangerous life she would have if she stays with Eliot as he is the second in command of a mafia and they were attacked during one of their outings.  (Honestly I loved that bit as Eliot was so amazingly protective that it made me a little bit giddy.)

 

In the end the story was sufficiently cute though not overly heavy or dramatic in regards to romance, very light and airy.  Yet it was still rather good and sweet and I found myself giving out a sigh as I closed the book and content that only a very small portion was devoted to a preview of another story rather than a 1/3 of the story being devoted to a preview.  Over all I think I would give this book a 3 out of 5 pages.  While there are several Eliot centric books that are on my ‘wish to  own’ list (read as most – if not all)  this one will not be making the list.

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz Vol. 7

Title: Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz Vol. 7

Author: QuinRose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2013

 

If you have been following my posts you have seen that I have reviewed several books in this particular series. The last volume I reviewed was volume 4. I stopped reviewing the later book in the series because I felt that the series was getting dry and it was only giving a small snapshot of what was happening in the over arching story. With volume 6 it was an exceedingly small snap shot as about half or more of the book was taken up with a second story of Alice and Boris set in the country of Hearts, where Alice choose to work and live at the Amusement Park. There wasn’t much to tell about either story as we didn’t get much in save for Alice debating to move in with Boris in the main story and Alice and Boris trying to determine if they really had feelings for each other in the side story.

 

Either way volume 7 concluded both stories and I felt were worth reviewing as it is the conclusion of the series and some things happened, at least they happened in the main story. The books for a while have been setting up for a plot against Hatter and using Alice as a form of bait in this plan as she lived in Hatter Mansion before Alice started to consider living with Boris. (If you don’t want spoilers don’t read further and skip to the last paragraph which will be spoiler free.) In this installment the rival mafia decided to finally act and kidnapped Alice. There were a few surprise twists and turn and it was really neat to see pretty much every role holder work together to save and protect Alice. It was something that one does not usually see in any of the books. There were some surprises with some characters that I don’t wish to reveal here that I liked and it was good story particularly showing the great heart of Alice in it, as she was torn up by the death of a faceless.

 

The second story was decent as well but there wasn’t much to it really it was more a matter that things ended where Alice did decide to stay in the Country of Hearts because she has learned to care for those there in Wonderland, particularly Boris and that there is a closeness between Alice and Boris that they both know exists, but at the same time things leave off with nothing super serious between the two of them either.

 

Over all I would give the book a 3 out of 5 pages, and argue that with the way things were so terribly broken up that it would have made more sense to condense the Cheshire Cat Waltz by a book or two and in return create a new book or two for the Country of Hearts story instead of doing half and half in two books it would have made the read more interesting for both stories and a lot better and wouldn’t have cut into the sales of the books either as it would be an equal number of books to sell.

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Hearts – My Fantastic Rabbit vol 2

Title: Alice in the Country of Hearts – My Fantastic Rabbit vol. 2

Author: QuinRose

Illustrator: Delico Psyche

Format: Paperback

Published: 2013

 

So the Alice obsession continues and it is official between this book and the other books I have read some of them already reviewed others I have not reviewed yet, my favorite pairing from the series has changed.  Boris was my favorite with Alice but that has dwindled as I read through the Cheshire Cat Waltz.  As I’ve stated with other books with Eliot he has grown to become a very strong favorite.  This book as sealed things for me and Alice and Eliot is my favorite couple from the series.  While Eliot is rough on the edges and a hit man and number two in the mafia he has a sweet side that is adorable.

 

This book had me from the start as we learn more about Eliot that I had never known such as how he had purposefully broken a clock of his best friend so they couldn’t be replaced. The story goes on and Alice determines to go home so as not to hurt Eliot as she thought she had and she felt bad for leaving her sister.  What happens as she follows this path is both shocking and had me on the edge of my seat and almost ready to cry.  I will not state what happened because that is way too big of a reveal to spoil in any way, but it made the book a must read for me.  It was very well done and had the perfect ending.

 

I really feel that this book is a 5 out of 5 pages that was how much I enjoyed the story, and I encourage you that once you have a feel for the world which you might have from reading a number of my reviews you can delve into My Fantastic Rabbit volume 1 and follow it up with this volume which was absolutely superb.

Book Review – Alice in the country of Diamonds Wonderful Wonder World Official Visual Fan Book

Title: Alice in the country of Diamonds Wonderful Wonder World Official Visual Fan Book

Author: QuinRose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2014

 

After reading through Bet on My Heart I was absolutely in love with Alice in the country of Diamonds I had to know, if there were other novels.  My obsession with this manga had increased because of that book.  I saw that the library was getting this book in and I jumped on it without question.  I got the book just before a slow day at work and every spare minute was devoted to this book as it was amazing.

 

This was more of an art book rather than a story or a novel but it was amazing full color art work when most of my manga is in black and white.  The art work was gorgeous.  I loved every second of it looking at all the pictures.  In addition to the amazing pictures that made me want to book just for that there were detailed  character bios where I learned more about the characters in detail and saw more about their outfits than I had ever known or noticed.

 

Of course that wasn’t all when it came to the book,  it also went through every possible outcome of this particular game.  What paths and ends you could achieve.  It was amazing because this was the closest I could get to playing the game as it has not jumped the language barrier yet.  It was so interesting to see the different turns the story could take for the Country of Diamonds it made me adore the new characters such as Jerhico Bermuda (the Dodo bird) and Sydney Black, characters I only got to know in small ways in the first book. Not only that but with this book, I learned that there are deeper levels to the game and world as well.

In addition to all of that the book also came with two bonus manga chapters.  I got half way through the book and had to flip to the end to start reading the manga.  It was a real treat and a joy to be honest.  I was glad that they kept with classic manga with the bonus chapters.  The first chapter was a story about Sydney Black and it was overly sweet and cute – I find that Sydney is a charming and endearing character who works well with Alice, though I wouldn’t say that he is my favorite to be with Alice.

 

The other chapter plays off of a spoiler for one of the end games with the Blood Twins as her chosen romance.  This was the most powerful and very well done.  To explain how amazing it was I would have to spoil one of the possible ends.  So if you don’t wish to be spoiled skip to the next paragraph and you’ll be safe. In one of the possible ends Alice is killed and she is left dying by heartless twins who remark how they are bored and ready to go play at the park and Alice’s life ebbs away as she wishes for the twins to return not the present ones who are walking away but the ones that she loves and misses.  It continues from that point where the twins realize they miss her and then Alice wakes up and is meeting the twins for the first time and they are all crying and they don’t know why as this is their first meeting.  The best part is when there is a possible fight the twins look to Alice and say we won’t let you down this time, and wonder why they said that.  The way it is written and drawn just pulls at the heart strings and makes me love the book all the more.

 

Over all, I would give this book a 5 pages out of 5  particularly if you are an Alice Fan like I am.  I would try to rank it for those who are not fans but I don’t think I can.  It is hard to say where this would rank for a person who doesn’t enjoy the series like I do.

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz vol. 1

Title: Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz vol 1

Author: Quin Rose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2009

Translated: 2012

After reading and enjoying Alice in the Country of Clover: Bloody Twins, I was excited to start this new Country of Clover story line where Alice chooses Boris, the Cheshire Cat.  It is easy to say that I’ve had a thing for the pink cat since the Country of Hearts books, but this book didn’t quite meet my hopes and expectations.  I found myself falling in love with the Bloody Twins of the first book more than I did Boris, which surprised me.  I think part of the problem was that the feelings of those beyond Boris were expressed more than in Bloody twins.  In Bloody Twins the focus was on Alice and her feelings for the twins while in this there was more a pull from other characters and I wanted to see Alice with them over Boris.  Of course, Bloody Twins was a quick one off, while this is  the first part of a series of books focused on Boris.  The romance between the title characters was only beginning to heat up when the story ended with a flash back.  In the end, I liked the story well enough.  I also still rather like Boris and think it is cute how he can act like a cat at times, such as giving Alice a small lick, but on the whole the pace was a lot slower, and thus less romance.  I am hoping that the second volume will be a bit better.

With that said, I will commend the book for being a whole lot easier to follow than Bloody Twins was.  I know the better flow of the book was not because I knew what to expect, though that did help a little.  Over all, I think I would give the book a three page rating and recommend the read if you are already a fan of the manga or just looking for something light and fun to read.

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Clover: Bloody Twins by Quin Rose

Title: Alice in the Country of Clover: Bloody Twins

Author: Quin Rose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2009

Translated: 2012

 

Alice in the Country of Hearts is a manga based on a video game that was released in Japan.  Alice in the Country of Clover is the sequel to the game and additionally the sequel to the series thought the first series is far from over, the sequel still came out and doesn’t blow too much of the plot.  When you open the book there is a lot of fantastic background information that states how Alice chose to stay in wonderland despite not falling in love.  Though the background information was good it was confusing a bit as there was a teaser page which is common for manga, then there was a synopsis given in the form of a story followed by a character fact sheet then another synopsis followed by another character fact sheet, which was confusing but once the story started it was quite good.

 

This book focuses on Alice and the Blood twins Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.  These characters never really stood out as possible romantic interests for Alice because they were children and this is brought up in the book but all of sudden the boys have the ability to grow up and the romance ensues as both boys are smitten with Alice.  It is an interesting story as Alice adjusts to the changes in the Country of Clover which is similar yet very different to the Country of Hearts.

 

As the story progresses Alice has realized that she does love the twins but frets over those feelings much like a young girl would and how she can’t really pick between the two that problem is solved within the story and as much as I hate to blow the plot, it turns out that Alice doesn’t have to choose and can have both boys.  I share this because I know some people have issues with this concept and I fell that you should have a fair warning in that aspect.

 

Thought I enjoyed reading the book, another confusing aspect was a matter that the book also has a couple of one shots incorporated into the book as well and these one shots are a matter of giving you a different situation of Alice picking people other than the Blood Twins.  We don’t get to see every character that she can choose to be with but each one shot was interesting to read though a bit rushed and not as good as the story with the twins in my opinion.

 

Over all, I enjoyed reading the book and would give it a three and a half page rating and that is mainly for the story rather than the format of the book.  Aside from the format of the book I wasn’t as fond of the drawing of a few of the characters but still the drawing was done quite well and I couldn’t complain too much as it was easy to recognize characters from the previous series at a glance.

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