Monday, March 03, 2008

Book Review: Death Note Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases by Nisioisin

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free book reviews.

Reading translated Japanese books is a novelty for me. On one hand, you can end up with something like Banana Yoshimoto or Haruki Murakami. On the other, you might end up with minimal functional writing that leaves much to be desired which is my experience when it comes to material that is tied to an anime/manga franchise (even if the novel is the precursor to such a popular franchise). I'm a big fan of the Death Note manga series and Death Note Another Note was another opportunity to revisit that particular setting. Here's the low-down: the book is under 200 pages (although that isn't apparent at first glance: hello thick paper stock!) and is quite pricey at $17.99. However, it has great production values including a stylistic book jacket, illustrations, a bookmark, and interesting book design overall. As a fan of the series, it's a mediocre book--not disappointed but neither am I proclaiming this is the best stuff on earth. As a general reader, leaves much more to be desired. I honestly think that in order for one to truly appreciate the book, one needs to be a fan of the series as it refers to the actual events in the manga numerous times and some of the beats rely on familiarity with Death Note. That's not to say that the book doesn't stand well on its own--it can but the novel loses much of its effectiveness and might leave the reader wondering what kind of bullshit was just played on them. As a fan, Death Note Last Note is well executed and I was swindled by the narrative. If you're familiar with the Japanese conventions of mystery, this doesn't really stray from that formula. There are only two people I imagine who can justify the cost of this book: either you're a die-hard Death Note fan, or you really want a book that looks very pretty (and this one is a contender for best book design).

Rating: 2/5.

Rating System:

1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.

2 comments:

Marc Aplin said...

Nice review, I'm a HUGE fan of the anime and manga, just trying to find somewhere I can buy this book in the UK as it isn't on UK Amazon until June =(

Check out my blog if you like Charles-Tan:

www.marcaplin.com/manga

I did a Death Note Manga review, maybe we can exchange links and give me an email if you like!!!

Marc.Aplin@gmail.com =)

Sirhin said...

Hey!

I like your book review and I'll keep it in mind and make sure I won't have my hopes up too high when I get to read it.

I just encountered the book (and no, I have no idea why it took me so long - maybe because I've been in college and I haven't had the time to have a leisurely outing to a bookstore, no matter how much I wish it)in person today and it was love at first sight, in a sense. You're right - it has a great design. On top of that, though, I am a Death Note fan. The only reason I refrained from purchasing it today was the unreasonable price for a relatively short book.

Therefore, I shall commence to searching every online book store in hopes of finding one that has a discount. If not, I can always wait for a coupon to use on it.