Kamen Volume 1 by Gunya Mihara

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Kamen means Mask and in this story, its about an unknown man who woke up in a field with a mask stuck to his face. The mask herself (because somewhere in the chapters, he think its a woman’s voice) told him about how only he could unmask himself and by doing so, it will kill both of them. He let himself being captured along with the prisoner of wars by a travelling group of samurai. At the same time, the samurai army were lead by a noblewoman named Lord Simba who was at the brink of a war between clans.

For an indie manga, the artwork and editing does look professional and less doujinshi-like but one thing for certain, I really like the artwork. Although the mask reminded me of Bleach’s Ichigo Hollow mask and the entirety of the novel somewhat a derivative of other samurai/ronin stories but the manga was enjoyable. Unknown masked stranger coming to save the day with superior fighting skills and all mysterious and tense. I’ll look forward to the next volume to the series.

The ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

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The Millionaire Affair by Jessica Lemmon

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The Millionaire Affair is a contemporary romance novel about a millionaire (figures) Landon who asked a family friend, Kimber, to take care of his toddler nephew who would be staying with him for a while and they fall in love. While I’m sure there were many more romance novels that had that same basic story structure but this book was a joy to read.

In fact, the book kinda like those self-help guide in romance and relationships. The characters themselves are written in a way that they have enough depth and intelligence with conflicts that was relatable in real life. Can you love someone and trust them enough to be together. Will you set aside your differences and have to courage to pursue to one you love for a distance. While the smutty part was steamy but generally, the non-sex part, like the conversations, main character and side character interactions, was just as engaging and interesting. For a while, I really thought the book made me think about my attitude on pursuing real meaningful relationship. A romance novel that made you think about your own personal choice and relationship in life, that was rare.

The ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Star Trek: Khan by Mike Johnson

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Don’t be cheated by the cover. Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t come up until much later through several volumes of this compilation of the new-ish non-TOS Star Trek canon detailing the past life of Khan Noonien Singh.

I don’t know about you, the Khan we all love was Mexican Khan. He is not Sikh and TOS just gloss it out way more offensive than JJ Abrams did. I don’t know about you, TOS series did use that evil foreigner villain trope and nope that isn’t a good attempt to diversify anything. What this graphic novels did was atleast trying to correct the gross appropriation of the character origins… and eventually explain why he look like Benedict Cumberbatch in the end.

I think the graphic novels did more justice to the movies than Enterprise post-“Into Darkness” graphic sequels. For all I know, “Into Darkness” should be renamed as “Star Trek Khan”. I don’t think there’s a direct impact from Spock’s meddling into the timeline as this origin story was several hundred years before the current canon, you could consider it as well the origin story of the original TOS Khan without the actual TOS Khan episodes.

Moreover, it did explain why Khan was genuinely and deeply angry at Marcus for doing whatever he was doing to him prior to “Into Darkness” events and connect the relationship between him and the rest of his original crew. Also it did explain the canon before the utopian civilization happen and how Khan was directly involved with the future.

If you are a Trekkie or just someone who want to learn more about the character or Cumberbitches, Star Trek : Khan was a good modern novelization of your favourite character if you don’t mind Cumberbatch being Khan since I do think he does a good job with it. I’m Asian, its an antagonist character historically played by non-Asian although the character was 100% Asian. Although now that the graphic novel solve the issue of how MexicanKhan become SikhKhan becoming KhanBatch, if JJ Abrams want to fix what Marcus did to Khan with a real older Sikh actor, I don’t mind Ajay Devgan being him.

This ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.