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The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya (2012)
Author: Nagaru Tanigawa
Translator: Chris Pai
Illustrator: Noizi Ito
Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
Genre: Science Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 212 (trade paperback)
Series: Haruhi Suzumiya #8

Summary (from goodreads.com)Collapse )

Why I Read It: This series really is so mediocre. But I love the anime and there's been no word of a new season and/or movie, so these keep me satiated in the meantime.

REVIEW: no spoilersCollapse )

Final Verdict: This volume in the series only has two short stories, but they both are extremely mediocre. They don't anything to any of the over-arching plots in the story, nor they do add any character development. The stories are uneventful and largely forgettable. If you're not a hardcore fan of the series, I'd consider skipping this volume altogether.
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The Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya (2012)
Author: Nagaru Tanigawa
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 288 (trade paperback)
Series: Haruhi Suzumiya #7

Summary (from Goodreads.com)Collapse )

Why I Read It: I'm oddly addicted to this series, even though I much prefer the anime adaptation. These past couple of novels have chronicled events that haven't been covered in the anime though, which has been kind of fun. I don't actually have a lot to say so I'm just going to jump to the Final Verdict.

Final Verdict: The main plot of this volume of the series felt largely pointless. More time-traveling shenanigans? Performing small actions that will have larger ramifications in the far future? I just didn't find myself caring.

Some characters get a little more characterization though: Tsuruya gets more page-time in this volume than in previous ones, and she's given a little more dimension; Haruhi continues on her path of mellowing out and becoming kind-of-normal; Koizumi appears to be getting more and more jealous of Kyon and his centrality in the big events that seem to follow the SOS Brigade everywhere; Yuki is also becoming more and more normal, or as normal as she'll ever be.

So all in all, it was still kind of fun, despite not having the best plot. These characters continue to change and grow and that's definitely a plus.

Cover Commentary: So liiiime greeeeen. I love how this whole series looks on my shelf -- it's so colorful! The little clock with wings at the top is also apt, considering the whole plot is about time-travel.
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The Wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya (JP 2005 / NA 2011)
Author: Nagaru Tanigawa
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Science Fiction, Humour, Young Adult
Pages: 208 (trade paperback)
Series: Haruhi Suzumiya #6

Summary (from Goodreads.com)Collapse )

Why I Read It: I fell in love with the anime series these books inspired, so I decided last year in April that I wanted to read the source material. I've read the previous five books, and while this hasn't been my favourite series ever, I'm interested enough to keep reading.

For this review I'll be going over each short story and giving general thoughts and impressions with no spoilers.

REVIEW: no spoilersCollapse )

Final Judgment: While the first story in this collection was decent, everything else was pretty "meh". The second story was also all right, but I still think it was done better in the anime (which I just think was a better medium for it anyway), and all the other stories felt like useless appendages. This is easily my least favourite book in the series so far, but it hasn't dissuaded me to keep reading: the next book in the series, The Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya is supposed to be about some of the time traveling shenanigans that went down Disappearance, so I'm looking forward to getting to THAT. This collection though was very sub-par, and I honestly think one could skip over this completely and not really be missing out on much.

Cover Commentary: I still love these covers for their simplicity and bright colours. My only complaint is that I wish The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya had been this colour, and that this volume had ended up being purple instead -- then the progression of the series and their covers would match the progression of a rainbow (red to orange to yellow to green etc.)
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I'm going to do something a little different today. See, I'm *really* behind on reviews right now, so to help things along, I'm going to do a series of mini-reviews for this post. I've read three books from the Haruhi Suzymiya series in a row, and seeing how the books are so short I didn't see the point in making three separate reviews. Also, putting them all in one post will really help me catch up on my reviews. :) I want to get as many done in the next week as I can because on Boxing Day I'm leaving town to go on a family trip and I doubt I'll be bringing my laptop with me (but Jacob might be bringing his netbook [yes, he's coming along with my fam for the trip -- yayy!!], so I may be able to borrow it to write reviews while I'm away, but this isn't a given.)

Anyway, reviews for the three books will be under the cut and Final Judgment will assess the three books together and my feelings towards the series as a whole. :) I won't bother putting summaries under the cuts, but you can always clink on the title if you want to brought to the Goodreads page and you can read one there.

REVIEWS: possible spoilersCollapse )

Final Judgment: I'm definitely enjoying reading these novels; they're the source material for one of my favorite anime series, so it's definitely interesting reading the original material that the anime pulls from. Overall, I liked (though rarely loved) these novels, with Disappearance definitely being my favorite. While each novel had its strengths and weaknesses, they all presented something that helped develop the characters and add new elements to the plot. I think my biggest hindrance with this series is the writing... I usually chalk it up to something being lost in translation, but I also wonder if the Japanese consider these novels (in their original language of course) to be well written. I know that in English the way Kyon speaks most of the time is really jarring for me, and makes me frown and tilt my head to the side and think "uhhh??" But even if the writing is a little shaky in English, I'm usually able to lose myself in the stories fairly easily. I do plan on continuing to read the series, as everything from here on out will be new for me (as nothing past this point has been adapted into the anime.) I only recommend this series if you're a serious fan of the anime, or plan on watching it.

Cover Commentary: I really like these covers. I like that they're one bold solid color and then usually have some kind of little design at the top (though I'm sometimes confused as those relate to the story at times). They all look really cute on my shelf together.
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The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya (2003/2009)
Author: Nagaru Tanigawa
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 208 (trade paperback)
Series: Haruhi Suzumiya #2

Summary (from Chapters.ca)Collapse )

Back in April, I read and reviewed the first book in this light novel series, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and it was there that I described my tumultuous relationship with the Haruhi franchise. After many attempts at watching the anime and reading the manga, I finally came around to this Japanese cultural phenomenon and while I wouldn't describe myself as a rabid fan, I still like it all quite a bit. So, because of this, the source material for the anime and manga adaptations intrigue me. While at the library a few weeks ago, I spotted the second volume in the novel series on the shelf, and since these books are so tiny and it had been awhile since I read the first volume, I decided to fit into my TBR somehow.

It's been over a year since I watched the anime and about 9 months since I watched the feature-length film, but there's one thing I surprisingly forget about this series: Haruhi Suzumiya, the titular character, is a BAD person, no matter which way you look at it. She gets better as she the series progresses, but it's almost unbearable at the beginning of the series, and this only being the second volume, Haruhi's less than flattering traits are still very prominent. Also, I can't imagine that translating Japanese is an easy feat (Japanese prose has some kind of... cadence/rhythm/*something* that I can't quite describe), making the reading experience kind of strange. Overall though, this book is fine, even if I already knew what was going to happen.

REVIEW: spoilersCollapse )

Final Verdict: This installment in the Haruhi series is rather unexciting, especially after the fairly explosive first volume, but I really shouldn't be complaining because I knew what I was getting into with this book before I even started. While the plot was a lot less exciting, characters get a little more developed, even if they're revealed to be simply more ambiguous than Kyon originally realized. The relationship between Haruhi and Kyon is also further developed which is of course good, seeing as how the connection between the two characters is one of the most intriguing aspects of the whole series. My only complaint is with the writing, but I can't really blame the author or the translator for that (who I'm sure did a fine job), it's probably just something that got lost in translation. Also, this book is a LIGHT novel (which you can read the definition for here) and as such, the writing isn't supposed to be amazing to begin with.

Cover Commentary: I really love this simple covers that North America is coming out with. I find they look really cute all together on my book shelf (though I'm still missing the first two volumes) because of the bright vibrant colors, and there's usually a little something else near the top that denotes what's going on in the novel, such as the film reel at the top of this one.
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Title: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2003 [JP]/2009 [NA])
Author: Naguru Tanigawa
Genre: Comedy, Science Fiction, Slice-of-Life
Pages: 224 (trade paperback) 
Series: Book One of the Haruhi Suzumiya series (on-going)

Summary (from Chapters.ca)Collapse )

All right, I know I've mentioned this before, but I'll say it again for people who don't know: I'm actually an avid anime watching/manga reader. I've been fascinated with anime since I began watching Sailor Moon back when I was a wee lass of six years. My fervor for anime has died considerably since high school, but it's still something I enjoy.

Anyway, I was introduced to the anime adaptation of TMoHS back in my first year of uni (so almost three years now), heard it was amazing and was the "next big thing" in anime. So, I watched the first two episodes... and absolutely hated it. I couldn't stand the lead titular character and it seriously turned me off completely from the show. Jump ahead about a year or so, and I try watching the show again... with the same results. Then, for some reason I still don't understand to this day, I decided to read the manga and strangly, maybe because I didn't have to actually listen to Haruhi *speak*, I was able to get through the first three volumes and actually found myself enjoying it. So, for the third time, I tried watching the anime. Well, third time's the charm I guess, because I watched all 28 episodes and actually really, REALLY enjoyed it. I've since also watched the movie (which is an important and latest installment in the series) and I've loved that as well.

I am a converted Haruhi fan.

Anyway, the point to all this is that I read this novel having watched the entire anime and a chunk of the manga (which is pretty exactly the same anyway.) I knew I was probably going to like this book, unless it was a horrible translation and/or it differed substantially from the anime. It did neither of these things, so needless to say, I enjoyed this quite a bit. 

REVIEW: no spoilersCollapse )

Final Verdict: All in all, I was pleased with the english translation of this novel, and it's a series I plan to continue reading. I recommend it, but with HUGE reservations: if you're not a fan of anime, or you're new to anime, this series might not be a good place to start. It's a very genre-savvy title, and if you don't have a grasp on anime tropes and cliches, a lot of this might go over your head. But if you have a taste for the weird, and want to read something completely different? Give this one a shot. And if you like it, watch the anime. Haruhi's character was really tough for me to swallow at first, but if you can stick with it, she becomes significantly less annoying. You might not see these changes in this first novel though, so a bit of patience (and teeth gritting) might be in order. She gets better though, I promise! 

Cover Commentary: I really like the covers they're coming out with for the english translations. They're very simple, but very cute and colorful. 

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