Friday, August 28, 2009

Bizenghast 6 by M. Alice LeGrow

Bizenghast 6 by M. Alice LeGrow

Rating: PG-13; 4 1/2 stars

Summary: I don't read a lot of manga. I figured I'd make that clear from the start. I'm not a Naruto fan (sorry to those who are); I wasn't into Sailor Moon back in the 90s. There have only been a few manga series I've really gotten into; Bizenghast is one of them.

Bizenghast 6 is, quite obviously, the 6th book in a 7 book series. The series follows the protagonist, Dinah, as she helps traps spirits move onto the Afterlife. Along the way she encounters many helpers, including the outrageously funny Edaniel. By the time book six rolls around, Dinah has developed from a troubled and frightened girl to a confident young woman who will no longer let the ghosts of her past keep her in a life of fear. As this is the penultimate book in the series, I won't say much more, lest I give anything away. And perhaps this review is a bit biased; I've been following the series since it first came out. Still, I don't think too many non-manga readers even know of its existence. Score one for the shameless plug department.

Opinions: For starters, this book was definitely a page-turner. This is unsurprising, considering (in my mind anyway) the vast majority of this book was the climax of the whole series. There was plenty of action to satisfy me, without the sacrifice of witty dialogue that is part of what makes Bizenghast so memorable.

One of the things that drew me to Bizenghast in the first place was the elegant costuming LeGrow has always incorporated into her work. This volume was no exception. The front cover features Dinah in a rather steam-punkish dress. Her clothing in the book is no less fabulous. I will note that this is the first book in which I noticed Dinah had only one hairstyle (this may have been present in other books; I just noticed it in this book).

Bizenghast isn't for everyone. While I wouldn't classify it as a horror series per se, the style the series is drawn in can include some frightening and/or grotesque images. There is also mild language (PG rating where language is concerned). I based my PG-13 rating on the whole series, not just this one book. Book 6 was actually a bit milder for the series.

I gave this book a 4 1/2 star rating as opposed to a five star rating mostly because of the hanging ending. I realize it's a marketing technique to keep people reading and blah blah blah. I don't care. It always bugs the crap out of me, especially when there's no word on when the next book is coming out. Still, aside from that one flaw, I would recommend this book (really, the whole series) to anyone who likes dark fantasy books, manga fan or not. I'm really looking forward to the final book in this series.