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The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil A, Run Vol. 8 (The Girl from the Other Side, #8) by NAGABE

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🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 1 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 2 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 3 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 4 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 5 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 6 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 7 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Content/Trigger Warnings: Graphic injuries, impalement, talk of democide, grief, starvation, attempted sacrifice, terminal illness

“This time I will surely save you.”

Friends, I love this series with every fiber of my being! These characters, this world, just everything about it makes me melt into a puddle. I have been following these characters since I got my hands on the first volume and to say this isn’t a new favorite would be doing it a disservice. Also, if you haven’t read my full series review yet, please go check it out so you have a better idea about this world and these characters!

Factions

🌻 Humans/Mortals β€“ Like you and me, live on the Inside
🌻 Cursed Ones β€“ Beast like creatures, plagued with The Curse, feared by mortals, roam the Outside
🌻 Humans/Mortals β€“ Like you and me, live on the Inside
🌻 The God of Light β€“ Creator of happiness and peace
🌻 The God of Darkness β€“ Trickster, plays pranks on the God of Light, steals away happiness, cause of The Curse

Characters

🌻 Teacher β€“ Main character, horned Cursed Child, guardian of Shiva, either a scholar or doctor when mortal
🌻 Shiva β€“ Main character, child of Light, protected by the most holy, innocent, companion to Teacher
🌻 Teacher β€“ Main character, horned Cursed Child, guardian of Shiva, either a scholar or doctor when mortal
🌻 Father or Head Priest of the Church β€“ Orders for constant capture of Shiva, believer of the β€œprophecy”, orders soldiers to cause democide, aid of his royal majesty
🌻 Mother β€“ Intentions unknown, creator of the Black Children
🌻 The Black Children β€“ Created by β€œMother”, similar to Teacher, wish to obtain Shiva’s soul

This is the volume where it finally happens, the church final captures Shiva. So the majority of this book we follow her perspective and the things that befall her after Teacher saves her life. In previous volumes, we learn that the church has been trying to capture Shiva because of a prophecy that claims if you sacrifice the child of white from the Outside then the curse will be lifted. However, things don’t go according to plan when things take a turn for the worse during the ceremony.

I have said this so many times, this series is so good at building a story-line and anticipation! Not to mention that this author has a tendency to end their volumes on a cliffhanger. I have never come across a manga series that ends on so many intense cliffhangers. Now, I may be over selling it. However, in all my time reading manga, I have never wanted to acquire a series so fast because of the way the story-line is built and how each volume ends. Each volume is it’s own master piece at painting the bigger picture of the story that’s unfolding and it makes the reader become fully invested.

I really loved that we see a lot of character development in this volume. In past volumes there was character development, but in this volume we really get that sense of what the main characters mean to one another. Teacher makes the ultimate sacrifice to save Shiva, while Shiva realizes how much she wants to stay with Teacher after being captured by the church. We already had a sense of how important each main character was to the other, but this volume has both main characters acknowledge their love for one another, the importance of each other, and how they don’t want to lose one another. This is a very similar character development that you see in the manga series, The Ancient Magus Bride between Elias and Chise. I love these type of character developments and I really enjoy when characters realize the importance of their love interest or their companion/friends.

“You were like the light of a flickering candle flame. Too faint to illuminate the path ahead. You were so small, so slight and fragile. A breath could have extinguished you. And yet… You were all that I needed and more.”

Of course, we also see more of the church and His Majesty in this volume. We’ve seen bits and pieces of them in past volumes. Along with scenes of soldiers sent by the church venturing through the Outside, but we never had a volume that fully involves the church. In this volume, we learn that His Majesty is terminally ill with a type of heart condition that keeps becoming worse. We also have this sense that the church is pulling a lot more strings then it lets on. The last scene we have of the priest leaves a dark, ominous feeling that would lead to speculation that something far worse is coming or the possible potential of the church taking matters into their own hands. Either way, this volume has more darker themes than one would expect.

And I have to mention how the author includes these important moments with specific items. Near the end of this book, Shiva interacts with a stranger within the prison she’s being held in. This stranger ends up bringing her the pocket watch that Teacher gave to her. Turns out, Teacher had the pocket watch inscribed to Shiva to show how much he valued her, how important she was, and ultimately gave this pocket watch to her. Now going back to the stranger, we have no idea who this person is or what their true motives are. However, my guess is this person will be revealed in a later volume that shows them helping Shiva escape captivity or secretly be a Cursed One. Either way, I have no doubt that this person is going to be of great importance in volumes to come.

Overall, I absolutely loved this volume. I can find nothing wrong with this series and I truly love it with my very being. I can’t believe we have to wait until August for volume nine to be published in English! However, we have a cover for the volume and it is absolutely stunning! I can’t wait to see what the next volume will hold in this dark fantasy. Seriously, if you haven’t picked this series up yet, let me be the voice that tells you to give this manga series a chance! It’s so good and I recommend it with every ounce of my soul!

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The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Death, loss of a loved one, grief, death of an animal

β€œThe living had a tendency to make promises they could not keep.”

Nothing stays buried forever.

Ryn only cares about two things: her family and her family’s graveyard. And both seem to be hanging by thin strings. The existence of a gravedigger is slowly being pushed aside and Ryn’s family is barely scraping by in their small village. There’s just one catch…the dead don’t always stay buried. Some say an ancient curse is the cause of the bone houses rising, but when a mapmaker by the name of Ellis arrives in town, things will never be the same again. The bone houses are becoming more aggressive and only Ryn can put a stop to their terror. Teaming up with Ellis, Ryn sets out on a journey to put an end to this curse and stop the bone houses, once and for all.

Readers, I loved this book immensely. I devoured this book and I never wanted to put this book down. Anything that has any for of necromancy, I am always here for it and this book is no exception. There’s necromancy, a subtle romance, and a hilarious goat that can’t stop, won’t stop! I’m hear for all of it and now I’m convinced I need to read more work by this author. I never anticipated this to become one of my favorites of 2019, but here we are and so excited to tell you about it.

Our story is split between two perspectives. We have the perspective of seventeen-year-old Ryn who’s a gravedigger and loves her family with her whole heart. She’s a strong-headed lady who would do anything to protect her family and their graveyard from falling into the wrong hands even if that means bargaining and taking jobs to guide weary travelers through all kinds of danger. There’s also the perspective of Ellis, a simple mapmaker who has found his way into Colbren. Unfortunately for him, his first night arriving to the village ends up with him being attacked by a bone house. Fortunately for Ellis, he meets our daring heroine Ryn. Ellis has a mysterious past and there’s more to him that meets the eye. With Ryn being backed into a corner from the bone houses venturing out of the forest to trying to prevent her family from losing their home, Ryn quickly accepts the offer of being Ellis’s guide for his map making the minute he mentions it. Thus our unlikely pair being their journey.

“Pain doesn’t make a person weak or strong, pain just – is. It’s not a purifier, it’s a part of living.”

This book was everything my heart needed for the month of October. There is a main theme of family means everything in this book. Ryn is very family focused from protecting her siblings to waiting for her father to return one day, Ryn would do anything for them. I also really loved how open Ryn was about her fear of losing the ones she loved and cared about. I definitely saw myself a lot in Ryn’s character. Ellis has no idea who his parents are. On this journey he’s trying to track down his parents and where he came from. We also have a goat who rose from the dead as a bone goat to follow Ryn and protect her from any harm that may find them on their journey. There’s just a strong sense of family throughout this book and it made me so soft, sappy, and a little weepy. I’m a very family oriented type of person and I would do anything for my own family. So reading this book was like a piece of my soul imprinted on the pages.

We also get amazing chronic pain representation in this book. Our main character, Ellis, has an old injury that he has to cope with. When the pain from this old wound flares up, he has to use willow bark to help. Ellis also talks about all the various treatments he had to undergo while under the care of his prince. My heart ached so much for Ellis. As someone who suffers from chronic pain and has family members who also suffer from chronic pain, Ellis was so relatable and a lot of the details that are talked about are very accurate. Chronic pain is one of the more lesser medical conditions that get talked about especially in books. The fact that we get so many moments of Ellis battling the pain, taking into account his medical supply, and the scene of him trying to tell Ryn about his injury and his pain, it’s like a breath of fresh air.

I also have to take a moment to talk about the goat in this book. I swear, this goat was a hilarious highlight of this whole book. This goat follows Ryn and Ellis on their journey to protect them from anything that may want to cause them harm. This goat pops up at the most ridiculous times, but at some of the most important moments as well. This goat scales a wall in the mine sideways, but acts like a guard dog while Ellis was in immense pain. I loved this goat and is was a great little bit to keep the mood light at times. I’ll admit, I was really rooting for that goat to be magic!

I am going to add a little breakdown right here, spoiler free. This book is broken up into three parts and this breakdown will help you get an idea of what each section holds.

πŸ’€ The LivingThis sets the scene. We’re introduced to Ryn and her siblings, their financial situation, and details of the town. We also learn about the bone houses. We also met Ellis in this section. Ryn offers him guidance throughout the this section and eventually offers to be his guide into the mountains.

πŸ’€ The DeadThis is where the journey begins. Everything that happens to Ryn and Ellis on their journey happens in this section. Ryn and Ellis also begin to reveal more about themselves to each other. We learn about Ryn’s Uncle and Ellis reveals his chronic pain and injury. Also, a lot of battle along the way and some subtle romance brewing!

πŸ’€ The AfterThis is Ryn and Ellis after the bone houses have been stopped and the curse has been lifted. Both of our main characters are figuring out what the future holds and what it means to keep on living.

β€œI grew up thinking monsters could be slain.”
β€œAnd I grew up thinking people were the monsters.”

There are only two things to this book that I think many readers will have issues with. The first issue is the dialect. There’s a very “olden time” dialect that gets spoken throughout this book and if you’re not used to seeing or hearing dialect like that then I think it will be challenging for any reader. The other issue is the ending of this book. Without going into spoilers, I’ve talked about this with my buddy reader and a few other readers who have also finished the book, who felt that the ending was very predictable or hinted to far too soon in the book. Now, this wasn’t the case for my reading experience. I was so fully caught up in the moment, the action, and how everything was unfolding that it didn’t really register with my reading experience. However, that is something to be aware of if that’s something that might impact your reading experience.

Overall, I loved this book with my whole heart and soul! It was the perfect book for me to read right now and I’m so glad I didn’t put this book off or set it aside. It truly is a wonderful book to read for the spooky season and even in the fall in general. There’s so many wonderful, hidden messages in this book and it will truly warm the heart. Plus necromancy! Who can refuse a book with necromancy happenings taking place?! What a read for this spooky season!

Buddy read with Donna from Moms Book Collection

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Every Heart A Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Death/murder, graphic content, trauma, talk of gender dysphoria, minor transphobia

β€œIt gets better. It never gets easy, but it does start to hurt a little less.”

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have been disappearing under all the right conditions with all the love and care they could hope for. Slipping through cracks, fading into the shadows under their bed, falling deep into the pits of a well, or stumbling through the back of the wardrobe… only this time they find themselves some place new, some place magical. But these lands come with a price and besides, what magical realm has use for a miracle child who’s used up all their luck…

Every Heart A Doorway follows the journey of Nancy, a pale girl who wants nothing more than to tumble back down her door. A door that leads to ghosts and for her, a life of being the perfect statue. She’d not the only child who lands at the home for Wayward Children. Oh no, plenty of children under Eleanor’s care understands the longing and desire to go back through their door, just like Nancy does. But Nancy’s arrival isn’t the only thing that shakes things up. Something evil begins to lurk in the shadows and when tragedy strikes, Nancy will find herself teaming up with outcasts yet some new friends to solve the reason behind the dark deeds brewing at the Home for Wayward Children.

β€œDeath was precious. That didn’t change the fact that life was limited.”

If you would have told me I’d be thrown down a rabbit hole and become obsessed with this series, I probably would have awkwardly chuckled and ate some popcorn. Now, I’m in so deep. So deep that I already ordered the next two books in the series because I know I’m going to binge read the daylights out of this series! And I already have the fourth book lined up in my cart! It was so good and I still can’t believe I’ve waited so long to read Every Heart A Doorway!

Seanan McGuire is a legend from packing this book with so much representation! I can’t begin to list how many books I’ve read that barely had any representation, if any at all! Not only does McGuire give us a main character who’s asexual, but we get a second main character who’s transgender. Take my soul now! Not to mention, this book abolishes gender roles, but we also get a scene where transphobia is shut down with assertiveness and then there reinforcement of love. It was so wonderful read and simply wonderful.

If you were expecting a book of romance and fairy tales then this probably won’t be a book up you’ll be into. Basically, this book is a murder mystery that takes place inside the Wayward Children boarding school. This boarding school is home to many (seventy some children) children who have traveled through doors that are portals to magical worlds or realms. These children have spent so much time there that they come back changed and they no longer fit into society. You wouldn’t either if all you wanted to do was go back to the place that made you finally feel like you found your place in the world. Home is where the heart is.

β€œYou’re nobody’s rainbow.
You’re nobody’s princess.
You’re nobody’s doorway but your own, and the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.”

I’ll admit, this book did a few blows to me. As I already mentioned, this book is pretty diverse with it’s characters. But the thing that gut punched me every time was the content of trauma in this book. It’s such an important topic and often times, not many books like to address trauma or acknowledge how important addressing trauma is. In this book, you have all these kids who feel completely displaced and they no longer feel like kids. These kids travel to these mystical realms and it changes them, and unfortunately, it leads to them suffering from PTSD. The worst part is they don’t even have the support they need from their loved ones. Most of these kids’ loved ones don’t believe their children and instead have their children shipped off to this boarding school to get “fixed.” My soul breaks for these children because I have been there and I’m still right there. And Seanan McGuire just hit the nail on the head with trauma because in reality, most kids don’t get the support of their loved ones when they go through traumatic events and they get shipped off to get “fixed” when all they need is someone to say they understand and they’re here for them. Thankfully, we have a character like Eleanor because she may have the ability to open any door at any given time, but she stays in the real world to care for these children who may never go back to their magical worlds.

β€œWe cared about the fact that for the first time, we didn’t have to pretend to be something we weren’t. We just got to be. That made all the difference in the world.”

Not every child was from the same realm though. Many children at the boarding school were from different doors that led to different magical realms and those realms didn’t always get along well with other realms. Our main character Nancy actually comes from the realm of the Underworld (and yes, we get a name drop of Persephone, my Queen!). The Lord of the Dead makes a promise to Nancy that Nancy will return, but only if she’s “sure” or when she’s truly ready, but being back in the real world throws her some curve balls and suddenly she’s starting to have doubts. As I mentioned, other children at the boarding school had very different realms compared to Nancy. Some children come from places similar to Candyland while others may come from realms that sound more like a world ruled by Dracula to lands that are battle grounds for fairies and goblins. One can never truly know what they’ll find on the end of a mysterious door.

β€œThis world is unforgiving and cruel to those it judges as even the slightest bit outside the norm.”

Overall, I don’t think I have anything negative to say about this book. Other than the fact that I wish this book didn’t end so soon. For a book so short, it really packed a punch to my gut and as I had already mentioned, I already ordered the next two books in this series. I think anyone who loves a good mystery and loves fantasy should read this book. If you get the opportunity to read this series and you still haven’t read this series (like me) then let me be the person you need, to tell you to go pick this series up and then come gush about this book with me!

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The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil, A Run Vol. 7 by NAGABE

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🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 1 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 2 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 3 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 4 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 5 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 6 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Content/Trigger Warnings: Violence, guilt, disembodiment, death/murder

“The plain truth is that one girl’s life can save everyone. Isn’t it hubris to imagine salvation will come without sacrifice?”

Okay friends, if you’ve been here for a hot minute then you know how obsessed I am with this series. And it just keeps getting better and darker! I can honestly say that this might be my favorite volume in this whole series. It was so good and I can’t get over the fact that we’re going to have to wait till 2020 for the next volume. I need it now, in my hands, so I can scream into the void how much I love these characters.

If you’re not familiar with this series yet then here’s the breakdown. Keep in mind, this isn’t a spoiler especially if you’ve made it all the way up to this volume. However, I will do my best to keep this volume as spoiler free as possible.

Divided Land

🌻 The Inside – Where all the humans, like you and me, ruled by the King and the Church, patrolled by armed forces
🌻 The Outside – Where the Cursed Ones exist, abandoned villages, also where Teacher and Shiva exist
🌻 The Inside – Where all the humans, like you and me, ruled by the King and the Church, patrolled by armed forces

Factions

🌻 Humans/Mortals – Like you and me, live on the Inside
🌻 Cursed Ones – Beast like creatures, plagued with The Curse, feared by mortals, roam the Outside
🌻 Humans/Mortals – Like you and me, live on the Inside
🌻 The God of Light – Creator of happiness and peace
🌻 The God of Darkness – Trickster, plays pranks on the God of Light, steals away happiness, cause of The Curse

Characters

🌻 Teacher – Main character, horned Cursed Child, guardian of Shiva, either a scholar or doctor when mortal
🌻 Shiva – Main character, child of Light, protected by the most holy, innocent, companion to Teacher
🌻 Teacher – Main character, horned Cursed Child, guardian of Shiva, either a scholar or doctor when mortal
🌻 Father or Head Priest of the Church – Orders for constant capture of Shiva, believer of the β€œprophecy”, orders soldiers to cause democide, aid of his royal majesty
🌻 Mother – Intentions unknown, creator of the Black Children
🌻 The Black Children – Created by β€œMother”, similar to Teacher, wish to obtain Shiva’s soul

Now that you understand a little more about the book, volume seven picks up where volume six left us. Clutching our pearls and hoping Teacher kicks some series butt. Oh yes, I think we all want Teacher to throw down and pull a moment of “YOU. SHALL. NOT. PASS.” on these corrupted soldiers. It was probably one of the most tense ways to start this graphic novel off and I’m not going to lie, I was choking a little bit. The first chapter of this graphic novel is gut wrenching and may cause the water works to flow. I know I shed one or two tears especially the whole scene we get with Shiva. That first chapter just packs a hard hitting punch to the gut.

What I wasn’t expecting from this book was Teacher going into a “two personality” situation or I guess it would be a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde situation. All of the volumes in this series so far have been building up to this point. We know how much Teacher cares about Shiva, but his love is so thick and deep that he is emotionally tearing himself apart. And in this one scene, we get a double conversation he’s having with himself or his inner self and you know he’s at that ledge of debating how far is he willing to go to protect Shiva. I think it’s brilliant that we’re seeing him show so much emotion and really pushing that line of staying within one’s own values and principles vs. doing whatever it takes. It was beautifully done and I loved how the only thing that brought him out of his own conversation was scooting a cooking pot across the floor. It was so well done and I loved watching him fight himself.

“I will become as monstrous as I must.”

Through this entire series, I have always loved and stood by the relationship Teacher and Shiva have and I still stand by it. That entire ending, I don’t think I’ve loved an ending more with a book, with a series, in general. Nagabe does an incredible job of showing the blurred lines of right and wrong, doing enough and going too far. Even more so when you’re at a crossroad in life and you have to make an insanely hard choice. This ending was such a mix of emotions by Teacher and honestly, a book has never made me reevaluate my own morals and how far I would go for the ones I love and care about. Not to mention, I loved how Nagabe painted Teacher in a light of being the most human he has ever been in this whole series. It’s just wave of emotions and I just loved it. It flowed beautifully and ended in the most cliffhanger way possible.

Overall, I refuse to go into any more detail about this book because the best way to go into this series is to not know a lot about it. I will say this, when you start volume one and get to volume seven, it’s a slow build of this series becoming darker and darker. Not to mention the stakes become higher and higher. It’s so well done and I have never been this addicted to a graphic novel series the way I am with this series. I can’t recommend this series enough and if you have been debating this series, just buy the first two volumes. You won’t regret it, trust me. Plus, it’s never too early to start building a dark, spooky TBR!

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The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil, A Run Vol. 6 by NAGABE

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Other creators involved in the making of this manga include: Translating by Adrienne Beck and Lettering by Lys Blakeslee

Content/Trigger Warnings: Death/loss of a loved one, grief, talk of mass murder/democide,talk of abandonment, impalement, possible torture

“We are all capable of searching for and finding souls…but we are not quite sure how to go about getting them back.”

We dive back into the dark and divided world of The Inside and The Outside. We last saw our two main characters going through a lot of emotional and internal struggles. Near the end, Shiva and Teacher have finally stopped their argument to final start discussing about leaving the cottage. We last saw Teacher encounter some strange soldiers that caused great worry and now it seems our two heroes must now find safety in another location. Will the soldiers end up tracking them down? Will we receive more details that surround the history of Shiva or Teacher? And will Teacher finally say “to hell with this” and finally make physical contact with Shiva? Step inside, for some tea is about to get poured in this Volume Six review!

Divided Land
🌻The Inside β€“ Where all the humans, like you and me, ruled by the King and the Church, patrolled by armed forces 
🌻The Outside β€“ Where the Cursed Ones exist, abandoned villages, also where Teacher and Shiva exist

Factions
🌻Humans/Mortals β€“ Like you and me, live on the Inside
🌻Cursed Ones β€“ Beast like creatures, plagued with The Curse, feared by mortals, roam the Outside
🌻The God of Light β€“ Creator of happiness and peace
🌻The God of Darkness β€“ Trickster, plays pranks on the God of Light, steals away happiness, cause of The Curse

Characters
🌻Teacher – Main character, horned Cursed Child, guardian of Shiva, either a scholar or doctor when mortal
🌻Shiva – Main character, child of Light, protected by the most holy, innocent, companion to Teacher
🌻Father or Head Priest of the Church – Orders for constant capture of Shiva, believer of the “prophecy”, orders soldiers to cause democide, aid of his royal majesty
🌻Mother – Intentions unknown, creator of the Black Children
🌻The Black Children – Created by “Mother”, similar to Teacher, wish to obtain Shiva’s soul

“Souls are the very essence of our hearts. It can also be said that they are our emotions.”

Volume six takes place directly after Teacher and Shiva leave the cottage to find their new home. Things have returned to normal, Teacher and Shiva set out to find this new and mysterious home Shiva’s Aunt has told her about. However, we still have these strange soldiers lurking around and danger seems to be lurking around every corner for our two heroes. And of course, it only takes for one thing to go wrong before a snowball effect soon starts taking place.

I say this all the time since starting this series, I love it to pieces. I really do love this with all my heart. This series has definitely made it into my top five manga. And if you haven’t picked this series up yet, then what are you waiting for?! NAGABE brings to life such a unique world that laces history and dark fantasy together to beautifully. Plus, the play of light and dark for the illustrations in this book will set an unforgettable mood. And you better believe I have a playlist in the works!

My Thoughts

What’s interesting about volume six, we no longer get just one panel of the Church from the Inside. We end up with a nine page panel showing us His Majesty and The Holy Father of the Church. These are both the wild cards in this series and I’m loving the dark, ominous vibes that keep coming from them every time we get these glimpses. We don’t know anything about them, what their plans are, all we’re given are these little bread crumbs of; His Majesty seems to be falling ill or being consumed by exhaustion, The Holy Father is basically running the whole army of soldiers, there’s some really dark, shady things happening that no one outside of the Church knows about, and they want to capture Shiva and sacrifice her to obtain her soul. Other than this, we have no idea what the full intentions of the Church truly are. All we know for certain is the Church isn’t as innocent as they’re pretending to be.

On another note, I’m loving the escalation of the relationship between Shiva and Teacher. Their dynamic mirrors a similar dynamic between the characters of The Ancient Magus Bride, but there are some differences. I love it though! Teacher and Shiva haven’t had it easy and they’ve both been fighting a lot of eternal struggles as well. But they’ve reached a point where they’re slowly starting to truly communicate and express their feelings with one another. It’s very obvious that they care about on another deeply, but it’s nice to see them trying to navigate expressing their emotions and thoughts better. Not to mention, the extreme amount of tension Teacher has for wanting to physically comfort Shiva by wanting to hug her nearly broke my heart. I can understand why he doesn’t want to do, but also why he wants to do it so badly. And it just breaks your soul because it’s the purest thing (aside from him loving her enough to protect Shiva from literally everything) Teacher has shown us and it’s horribly painful to watch him struggle. Bouncing off of that, vice versa! Shiva desperately wants to hold Teacher’s hand and give him hugs, but Teacher constantly turns her away or rejects that. It causes her pain just as much as it causes him pain and it’s the most purest thing in this entire series, you will feel like your heart is being crushed!

Also, I haven’t talked about it in my volume five review, but I do want to mention it here as well. Those “special” soldiers are also another wild card. We don’t know how many of them there are, all we truly know is they still work for the Church from the Inside and two of them fought Teacher. That’s about all we know, other than the obvious (them wanting to capture Shiva to take her soul). These guys are insanely persistent and they’re on a whole other level that I wasn’t anticipating seeing in this series. So, we also see a little more of them in this book and just how far they’re willing to go to track down our main characters. I’ll admit, their tactics put me on edge and even made me cringe a little bit.

I also really enjoyed how we received little more bread crumbs about Teacher’s past in this book. I feel like the last two volumes, all we got was background information about Shiva and a little background on her Auntie, but I’m so glad that we finally got a book that gave us some more detail about Teacher. I have been waiting for more details and I’m so glad that the journal and pocket watch are coming into play especially since it’s giving us little bread crumbs about his past. I knew those two pieces held significance, but I was completely blown out of the water the details each item was holding. I wasn’t ready and I definitely don’t think anyone else is going to be ready for these major details either.

“There must be a clue of some sort here. We’re going to find that clue…and then…We’re going to capture the creature.”

And as always, I have to applaud NAGABE for delivering a frightening, chilling, and highly climactic ending. This author has cliff hangers for days because all I want right now is to have the next volume in my hands to know exactly what will happen next. As I said before, all it takes is for one thing to go astray before a whole snowball effect takes place and oh my, did NAGABE deliver on that snowball! I’m not ready, I don’t think other readers are ready, this ending was a brain ninja assaulting the mind with grenades of despair and anticipation. So if you just picked up this volume, get ready for it because it’ll leave you shell shocked.

Overall, this series is fantastic and so addictive. I truly say this all the time, but I love it so much. If you’re a fan of The Ancient Magus Bride or even Wicked Saints, this is definitely a manga series you want to pick up. I’m highly anticipating volume seven to deliver more details, action, and just everything I’ve been loving in this series to appear once again. And as I said before, this has made it’s way into my top five manga series that I have come to love, but this one has completely taken me by storm. It’s just a really amazing series and if you have been thinking about picking this series up, just do it! You won’t regret it and I have no doubts that you’ll become addicted to this dark fantasy!

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Side Note

The cover for the seventh volume in this incredible series has finally been revealed! It’s absolutely stunning and I’m obsessed with the cover! The seventh volume releases August 27th, 2019 and if you’re a fan of this series or if you just became addicted to it, please make sure you pre-order your copy of volume seven and support this very talented author!

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The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil, A Run Vol. 5 by NAGABE

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Other creators involved in the making of this manga include: Translating by Adrienne Beck and Lettering by Lys Blakeslee

Content/Trigger Warnings: Death/loss of a loved one, grief, talk of mass murder/democide, talk of abandonment, impalement

“We lose our voices. We lose our bodies. We lose our duty. Then…when all we once had is gone…our existence ends.”

Divided Land
🌻 The Inside β€“ Where all the humans, like you and me, ruled by the King and the Church, patrolled by armed forces
🌻 The Outside β€“ Where the Cursed Ones exist, abandoned villages, also where Teacher and Shiva exist

Factions
🌻 Humans/Mortals β€“ Like you and me, live on the Inside
🌻 Cursed Ones β€“ Beast like creatures, plagued with The Curse, feared by mortals, roam the Outside
🌻 The God of Light β€“ Creator of happiness and peace
🌻 The God of Darkness β€“ Trickster, plays pranks on the God of Light, steals away happiness, cause of The Curse

This fairy tale begins like a fog does, shrouded in secrets and mysteries. In a land divided of beasts and mortals, The Inside and The Outside, an unlikely paring between a girl of “light” and a creature of “darkness”, they must rely on each other for solstice and survival. Our tale begins with them and their story…

Volume Five picks up right where Volume Four left us, shocked, horrified, and wondering what the hell had happened. In this volume, things have slowed to a different pace. Instead of the author hitting us with large quantities of shock, we’re sent on an emotional roller coaster. Soon we see Teacher and Shiva’s relationship put to the test. Grief, anger, and mystery devour your mind and soul as you dive deeper into this bewildering world once more!

“I will keep her safe, even if I must sacrifice myself to do so.”

I was completely blown out of the water by this volume! True, past volumes have delivered more action or suspense, but the emotional blows delivered in this volume were fantastic! I don’t know about a lot of readers, but I love when a book can hit me right in my feelings and emotions. When a book can do that, I truly believe it makes that book more memorable and stand out more. One of our main characters, Shiva, has definitely been put through the toughest times ever and even more so with this volume. She has suffered from abandonment, heartache, separation, and all of this has come together to effect her in the most startling way! We never truly know just how aware children are when things seem to be falling a part and to watch the author take that concept to not only write about it, but to show the full length of a child’s understanding was mind shattering. The fact that we also see Teacher devolve to child-like reaction was absolutely priceless! Seeing the roles a little reversed for once was a nice breath of fresh air. From all the emotional aspects to how Shiva was handling everything, I loved every minute and appreciate the author tapping into everything that has built up against Shiva to make her respond the way she has.

I say this every time I review a volume of this series, but I’m going to keep saying it. The artwork is eerily beautiful! The way the artwork is done just makes it stand out more compared to other manga that I’ve read. In all honesty, I find this art style more appealing than some of the other art styles I’ve seen in manga. The artwork just seems to really set the mood for each book. One of those key moments is when the soldier attacks Teacher in the woods. You truly can feel the ominous intentions radiating off the pages during this whole section. Another example is near the end of the book and the way the hope is radiated. The way NAGABE plays with the light and darkness in each panel and it’s such perfection. I also love the way the light and dark are used to emphasize flashbacks, dreams, or important details stated. I can’t get enough of these illustrations!

As the story-line keeps progressing, I love that the author keeps throwing us bread crumbs about Shiva’s past. We learn so much from just a small handful of panels in this volume. And not just Shiva, but we also learn about The Black Children or The Cursed Ones. They’re just bread crumbs, but they’re slowly painting a bigger picture for the reader and it adds to the mystery that already surrounds this manga. Not to mention, the author brought back items of importance. Back in my review for Volume One, I mentioned how the author seemed to be shining a light on the importance of a book or journal Teacher had. Now in this volume, it seems the author is up to the same thing by shining light on a pocket watch. As the reader, you have no idea what the significance is of the watch or why it’s important, but there’s a chance that watch will come into play sometime later on in the story. The need to know is so great that it’s almost crushing!

And let me just take a moment to tell you about the plot of this series! It’s so simple, but brilliantly powerful! This book really dives deep into the relationship between Shiva and Teacher and I’m here for every second of it. I couldn’t help getting so deeply invested in every moment they fought, when they made up, and even with everyone right on their heels. The suspense is so thick, but it’s so sweet! Not only that, up until this point, Teacher has always been doing what he thinks is right for Shiva and not even bothering with how she feels. That is about to change and yet it happens in a very natural way. He’s not giving a child the power to rule the roost. He’s giving her a chance to take that first step to growing up. It doesn’t mean she’s going to loose her innocence all at once. No, it means she can strengthen him too, when all he feels is despair and worry.

“If you think about sad, gloomy stuff too much…then sad gloomy stuff is gonna happen! So you have to smile and laugh and make all that stuff fly away!”

Overall, I love this manga series and I can’t stop talking about it. Each volume keeps getting better and better. I’m ready for the next volume and all the suspense that is bound to be coming along with it. NAGABE has an incredible way of weaving a story that the reader will get hooked on right off the bat and uses light and darkness to keep them captivated. If you haven’t already checked out The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil, A Run then I highly recommend it and I hope you fall in love with this series like I have! ❀️

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This book was read during my May 2019 Wrap Up!

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The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil, A Run Vol. 4 by NAGABE

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Other creators involved in the making of this manga include: Translating by Adrienne Beck and Lettering by Lys Blakeslee

Content/Trigger Warnings: Talk of abandonment, trauma/possible PTSD

“Even if your head is chopped off…Or if you’re pierced with countless arrows…Nothing works. That is why…Before the curse has run its course…While our loved ones yet hold their pure, human shape…We must, with our own hands…Give them the mercy of death.”

After being kidnapped to the Inside, Shiva ends up being surrounded in flames and chaos. Her Aunt has transformed into a Cured One and the village is going up in smoke. During the madness, Shiva nearly ends up in a sticky situation where she could have lost her life to the soldiers destroying everything. A flock of Cursed Ones come out of nowhere, buying Shiva time to run and escape . Thankfully she ends up coming to where Teacher is waiting and apologizes for his tardiness. Soon the pair end up heading back to the cottage, being tailed by Shiva’s Aunt. After all the madness and destruction, our dynamic duo is finally headed home and long over due for some much recovery time. But…nothing is ever that simple, is it?

Divided Land
🌻 The InsideWhere all the humans, like you and me, ruled by the King and the Church, patrolled by armed forces
🌻 The OutsideWhere the Cursed Ones exist, abandoned villages, also where Teacher and Shiva exist

Factions
🌻 Humans/MortalsLike you and me, live on the Inside
🌻 Cursed OnesBeast like creatures, plagued with The Curse, feared by mortals, roam the Outside
🌻 The God of LightCreator of happiness and peace
🌻 The God of DarknessTrickster, plays pranks on the God of Light, steals away happiness, cause of The Curse

Volume Four begins the landslide to much needed down time for our main characters, but things aren’t going to be that simple for Teacher. While Shiva slowly begins to readjust to normalcy and forget the events that have recently taken place, Teacher is battling some inner worries, thoughts and feelings all while he tries not to cross a line with Shiva’s Aunt. We begin to see Teacher develop feelings of jealousy, sadness, and somewhere along those feelings lies an undiscovered feeling of deep love and appreciation for Shiva. He also begins questioning if he’s the right person to look after Shiva and if things would have been better if he had never came into the picture.

I think one of my favorite moments was when Shiva’s Aunt wanted to run away with Shiva and Shiva ended up stepping up to defend Teacher. I really loved that the author included Shiva coming off as being this girl who has such strong emotions and is willing to defend the people she loves and cares most about. She was so quick to correct the way her Aunt was talking about Teacher and tell her Aunt that she had everything backwards. I really enjoyed that and it made me realize how much I love Shiva as a character. Even though she comes off as naive sometimes, she’s is very innocent and pure, but she has such a good heart and she always puts it in the right place.

One of the key points I want to point out with this book is the Cursed Ones. In Volume One we’re kind of led to believe that the Cursed Ones are these creatures that have turned mad, plaguing and destroying anything they touch. We were also led to believe that Teacher was the only one who was truly different compared to other Cursed Ones. In the beginning, Teacher may look like a Cursed One, but he was definitely as humanoid as Shiva or the soldiers in the first book of this series. Now that we’re so far in the series and we’ve been encountering more Cursed Ones, they’re almost as human as Teacher, but they still hold some of those traits that were described in the first volume. I find this completely interesting as how from book one all the way to book four the Cursed Ones are almost mirrored with humanity. But I would argue that out of all of the Cursed Ones we encounter in this series, Teacher is the only Cursed One who seems to be holding onto or gaining back his humanity. I find this absolutely fascinating and I’m eager to see how things will develop in the upcoming books!

“Oh. I feel that strange unease again. It wells up within me when I see them together. What could it be…?”

This volume definitely offers the cool down that is most certainly needed especially after Volume Three (which is a very intense book if you have yet to read it yet). We also see a lot of feelings and emotions, secrets, concerns, and so much more addressed in the down time between our main characters and side characters. Everything, from the feelings to the secrets to the comedic relief all flow so beautifully together and so easily too. NEGABE has an incredible writing style and connects everything with their writing. I say this a lot since starting this series, but the writing and world building is so easy to fall into and even more so to fall in love with.

I think one of the best things the author did with this volume was add touches of humor. After everything that has happened in previous volumes and then as well a the implied inner fighting between Teacher and the Aunt as well as Teacher versus himself, those tiny touches of humor are definitely a breath of fresh air. I’ll admit, I didn’t think I was holding my breath all this time until I let out a sigh, followed by a huge laughing session. Even though this is a dark fantasy, I’m glad the author found a way to deliver some comedic relief before things bloom into the rockiness that ends up happening. It’s also a great reminder to make sure you’re breathing when you’re reading this series!

And I say this all the time, when a book ends on a cliffhanger just throw the series book at me! I swear, the addiction of needing to know what happens next is so strong! However, this ending I wasn’t expecting at all. It completely threw me off and blew me out of the water. If you haven’t read this series yet, please check it out!

Overall, (I probably say this every time I post a review for a book of this series) I love this series! Even with this series being a dark fantasies and knowing this author is just getting started, I’m eager to read the next volume. I love the writing style, the artwork, the incredible character development, and just everything this series has to offer. I definitely think this is an underrated sequential art series that isn’t talked about, but I highly recommend looking into this series. And even if you’re not someone who typically reads manga or sequential art styled books, you should definitely consider looking into this series. I’ve already recommended this series to so many fellow readers. If I could talk about this series all day, I would. I’m just absolutely head over heels and I want everyone to know about this amazing story!

“I could never forget. We were together for so long. I still remember it all. We spent so much time together. Wonderful times. You gave me so much joy.”

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