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Chronin, Vol. 1: The Knife at Your Back

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Samurai Jack meets Back to the Future in Alison Wilgus’s full-length debut Chronin Vol. 1, first in a duology that begins an action-packed time travel adventure. 2042, New York City: A day in the life of college student Mirai Yoshida means studying Japanese history, learning swordmanship, flirting with her TA, and preparing to go back in time to Japan in 1864. But everything Samurai Jack meets Back to the Future in Alison Wilgus’s full-length debut Chronin Vol. 1, first in a duology that begins an action-packed time travel adventure. 2042, New York City: A day in the life of college student Mirai Yoshida means studying Japanese history, learning swordmanship, flirting with her TA, and preparing to go back in time to Japan in 1864. But everything changes once she goes back to the past. Immediately, Mirai and her classmates are ambushed by rebel samurai. Her friends are killed, her time-travel machine is lost, and Mirai ends up marooned. In order to survive, she disguises herself as a wandering samurai, and is hired by Hatsu, a tea waitress, as bodyguard for her travels. The two set out, but neither are prepared for the rebellion simmering among the peasants. Mirai has to find her way back to the future soon, or else she may be the first casualty on the bloody front lines of a conflict that is destined to shape a nation. Chronin, Volume 2: The Sword in Your Hand, coming in September 2019!


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Samurai Jack meets Back to the Future in Alison Wilgus’s full-length debut Chronin Vol. 1, first in a duology that begins an action-packed time travel adventure. 2042, New York City: A day in the life of college student Mirai Yoshida means studying Japanese history, learning swordmanship, flirting with her TA, and preparing to go back in time to Japan in 1864. But everything Samurai Jack meets Back to the Future in Alison Wilgus’s full-length debut Chronin Vol. 1, first in a duology that begins an action-packed time travel adventure. 2042, New York City: A day in the life of college student Mirai Yoshida means studying Japanese history, learning swordmanship, flirting with her TA, and preparing to go back in time to Japan in 1864. But everything changes once she goes back to the past. Immediately, Mirai and her classmates are ambushed by rebel samurai. Her friends are killed, her time-travel machine is lost, and Mirai ends up marooned. In order to survive, she disguises herself as a wandering samurai, and is hired by Hatsu, a tea waitress, as bodyguard for her travels. The two set out, but neither are prepared for the rebellion simmering among the peasants. Mirai has to find her way back to the future soon, or else she may be the first casualty on the bloody front lines of a conflict that is destined to shape a nation. Chronin, Volume 2: The Sword in Your Hand, coming in September 2019!

30 review for Chronin, Vol. 1: The Knife at Your Back

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    This started out as a historical Japanese graphic novel that I was completely uninterested in. Then three-quarters of the way through the book, I heard a record scratch in my head as the story went in a direction completely out of left field. I think you're better off not knowing where the story is ultimately headed to fully enjoy it so I suggest not reading the blurb as it spoils everything. The black and white art seems a bit amateurish. To do black and white comics well, they need to be well This started out as a historical Japanese graphic novel that I was completely uninterested in. Then three-quarters of the way through the book, I heard a record scratch in my head as the story went in a direction completely out of left field. I think you're better off not knowing where the story is ultimately headed to fully enjoy it so I suggest not reading the blurb as it spoils everything. The black and white art seems a bit amateurish. To do black and white comics well, they need to be well shaded and this is not. It's just basic line drawings. The last issue intrigued me enough to read volume 2. Received a review copy from Tor and NetGalley. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Devann

    I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley actual rating: 2.5 I think this might just be a case of a series having a really slow start, because it definitely got more interesting towards the end of the volume, but overall I just don't feel like there's enough information presented here to really make me want to read more. The layout is kind of manga style, with only a few panels on each page and everything in black and white. There are also several pages with absolutely no dialogue so it d I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley actual rating: 2.5 I think this might just be a case of a series having a really slow start, because it definitely got more interesting towards the end of the volume, but overall I just don't feel like there's enough information presented here to really make me want to read more. The layout is kind of manga style, with only a few panels on each page and everything in black and white. There are also several pages with absolutely no dialogue so it definitely makes for a very slow pace story-wise. The art is not necessarily bad, but the proportions do seem a bit weird to me and also it's very cartoony. I'm not wild about black and white art, but if you are going to go that route I feel like you really need to nail it with the shading and also make very distinct character designs because you aren't going to be able to tell people apart by things like hair / clothing color. The premise is interesting and honestly should be right up my alley - I also was absolutely obsessed with manga like Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai Deeper Kyo as a teenager - but this first volume leaves a lot to be desired. At this point I don't plan to continue the series, but I wouldn't say it was out of the question if I was in the right mood at some point in the future.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Valéria.

    I said to myself that premise is kind of interesting, I like time-travel stories, but as I started reading, I already knew this is not going to be okay. Art is just not nice at all, no, the proportions are weird and faces are.. I just, can't. I had no idea who is who, characters were plain, not funny, boring, not interesting, even Kristen Stewart has more facial expressions than all of the characters had in this together. This seemed to be like any other story a child in pre-school could write a I said to myself that premise is kind of interesting, I like time-travel stories, but as I started reading, I already knew this is not going to be okay. Art is just not nice at all, no, the proportions are weird and faces are.. I just, can't. I had no idea who is who, characters were plain, not funny, boring, not interesting, even Kristen Stewart has more facial expressions than all of the characters had in this together. This seemed to be like any other story a child in pre-school could write and draw.. I'm so, sooo disappointed, that cover and description looked so promising.. #KNcelendz2019 (27)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lea | That_Bookdragon

    1.5/5 stars Arc received through Netgalley by the publisher. All opinions are my own I think this one sadly just wasn't for me. I didn't really like the plot nor the drawing style. The pace of this graphic novel is slow, maybe too slow for me and the characters felt a little bit blank. 1.5/5 stars Arc received through Netgalley by the publisher. All opinions are my own I think this one sadly just wasn't for me. I didn't really like the plot nor the drawing style. The pace of this graphic novel is slow, maybe too slow for me and the characters felt a little bit blank.

  5. 5 out of 5

    — nova

    dnf i tried, i really tried. but the art is just... not good. and the story is hard to follow and not interesting enough to keep my attention.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Etienne

    Disappointment of the year? Might be! What I thought would be an amazing fantasy/science-fiction story about samurai finally end up being a contemporary book about sexually diversity with a slight touch of science-fiction. Not what I was going in for. Maybe I was badly inform. I mostly goes in book that pick my curiosity not knowing too much to not get spoiled in any way but I should have background check this one a bit deeper. I won't continue and regret buying it... I should't forget to mentio Disappointment of the year? Might be! What I thought would be an amazing fantasy/science-fiction story about samurai finally end up being a contemporary book about sexually diversity with a slight touch of science-fiction. Not what I was going in for. Maybe I was badly inform. I mostly goes in book that pick my curiosity not knowing too much to not get spoiled in any way but I should have background check this one a bit deeper. I won't continue and regret buying it... I should't forget to mention that I really like the art style, kind of minimalist blank and white, but truly pretty, that was the best element of the book for me!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    The art and writing are a bit awkward, but I found myself drawn into this time travel saga as the book progressed. It helped that it was set in a place and time with which I do not have a lot of familiarity -- Japan in the 1860s -- instead of some overused time and place. Interesting characters dealing with an interesting scenario make for a good book. But the art was distracting. All the backgrounds were toned with a gray wash containing white speckles, making it look like the all-white figures The art and writing are a bit awkward, but I found myself drawn into this time travel saga as the book progressed. It helped that it was set in a place and time with which I do not have a lot of familiarity -- Japan in the 1860s -- instead of some overused time and place. Interesting characters dealing with an interesting scenario make for a good book. But the art was distracting. All the backgrounds were toned with a gray wash containing white speckles, making it look like the all-white figures in the foreground were fogbound in a never-ending snowstorm. Weird choice.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bandit

    This book had fairly underwhelming reviews, so it took me a while to check it out, but actually it turned out to be quite good. A time travelling adventure with samurais…that sounds good, doesn’t it. The story follows a young Japanese woman from 2045 who finds herself stuck in the feudal Japan of 1864 and ends up having to navigate the turbulent politics of the time. It’s interesting, exciting…and book one of the duology, which now makes this a waiting game…wait and see if the ever inconsistent This book had fairly underwhelming reviews, so it took me a while to check it out, but actually it turned out to be quite good. A time travelling adventure with samurais…that sounds good, doesn’t it. The story follows a young Japanese woman from 2045 who finds herself stuck in the feudal Japan of 1864 and ends up having to navigate the turbulent politics of the time. It’s interesting, exciting…and book one of the duology, which now makes this a waiting game…wait and see if the ever inconsistent library will deem it necessary to get book two. I’m surprised they got this book at all, it has no movie tie ins. Maybe it’s because it’s manga adjacent. The book took the author something like a decade to properly realize, which seems like a lot, but muses be fickle. And while the novel aspect of it is perfectly good, the art does leave something to be desired. It essentially looks like line drawings. Maybe I’ve been reading too many properly colored comics, but this just had a sort of unfinished look to me, the before look. Before the colorist comes in. the sort of drawings usually featured in the supplemental materials of the book done in color. It’s fine the way it is, in black and white, but it leaves you longing for color, something the bright, positively neon cover promises, deceptively. But all in all, this was fun. I’d definitely read book two if it ever becomes available. Love the title too, such a clever mash up of chronos and ronin. This and more at https://advancetheplot.weebly.com/

  9. 4 out of 5

    Selena

    So we have a time travel story about a college student posing as a samurai and all things are going to heck in a hand basket because people are messing with the space-time continuum. It's an interesting premise, but for some reason, it comes across as a little... flat for me, and I'm not sure why. The art is so-so, the characters are okay, the pacing is decent enough, but it just doesn't speak to me at all. So we have a time travel story about a college student posing as a samurai and all things are going to heck in a hand basket because people are messing with the space-time continuum. It's an interesting premise, but for some reason, it comes across as a little... flat for me, and I'm not sure why. The art is so-so, the characters are okay, the pacing is decent enough, but it just doesn't speak to me at all.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Blue Milker

    Chronin's story plays in a familiar sandbox: the time travel misadventure. The bulk of the story takes place during a dramatic turning point in Japanese history, and we follow a handful of characters, both contemporary and from the "future", as they navigate and (inevitably) affect that history. Adding to that, the main viewpoint character for the book is a woman who goes disguised as a male samurai. Within the larger context of the story, this is presented as a mostly practical matter: it is eas Chronin's story plays in a familiar sandbox: the time travel misadventure. The bulk of the story takes place during a dramatic turning point in Japanese history, and we follow a handful of characters, both contemporary and from the "future", as they navigate and (inevitably) affect that history. Adding to that, the main viewpoint character for the book is a woman who goes disguised as a male samurai. Within the larger context of the story, this is presented as a mostly practical matter: it is easier, as a man, to get around without attracting unwanted attention. But it also connects to a strong subtext of the book: an exploration of gender, sexuality, and presented identity. None of the main characters are entirely as they seem, or living experiences as simple as might be assumed. The art style is minimalist and graceful; characters designs are simple, but can be easily recognized and distinguished from each other. Backgrounds are intricately detailed, and the book takes the time to lovingly walk us through 19th-century Japanese landscapes and cities. As a reader, you can feel the affection and attention to detail that Wilgus has for her subject matter. The book is a beautiful piece of work, and invites the reader to take their time soaking in the atmosphere, enjoying the artwork, perhaps even delving into further research of topics that are only lightly touched on. I look forward eagerly to part 2!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lois Young

    The volume of this new series about the cautions surrounding time travel should not be missed by readers and fans of both graphic novels and manga. Alison Wilgus presents an excellent story in "Chronin: Volume 1: The Knife at Your Back." Anyone who enjoys reading about anything Japanese should read this book. After the introduction, the story goes on to follow a samurai who doesn't behave like a samurai. Given the era and the circumstances, Minoru Yoshida manages to blend into Edo, Japan in 1864. The volume of this new series about the cautions surrounding time travel should not be missed by readers and fans of both graphic novels and manga. Alison Wilgus presents an excellent story in "Chronin: Volume 1: The Knife at Your Back." Anyone who enjoys reading about anything Japanese should read this book. After the introduction, the story goes on to follow a samurai who doesn't behave like a samurai. Given the era and the circumstances, Minoru Yoshida manages to blend into Edo, Japan in 1864. When he is approached by a local woman to be a bodyguard during a brief journey, he accepts not realizing that all of his secrets will be revealed. Readers will enjoy the blend of the two art styles, Eastern and Western, the author uses throughout this series. While this type of story has been told before, the gender bending and the culture of the time eras are what drive the narrative more than the cliched "stuck in the past with no way to get home" storyline readers have gotten used to. Yet, readers will enjoy this book because it's the first in a series, and they will crave the next volume. Alison Wilgus provides a different narrative in this historical fiction comic, but there will be just as much emphasis on the culture and the events of the past as there will be on the characters we meet throughout the narrative. If the story doesn't capture your attention, then the artwork will. I hope the author sticks with the way she tells the story because I'm already looking forward to the next one, and I don't want to be disappointed. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Time traveling to Edo Japan...that’s all I needed to hear to want to pick this up and I wasn’t disappointed. The sci fi is light, but sets the stage for an otherwise historically set story where two women travel through turbulent times in 1864 Japan, both with secrets and a need to get somewhere which brings them together and forms a tenuous friendship. But when does time travel ever go according to plan? Their journey isn’t action packed, but the story is well written and the characters realist Time traveling to Edo Japan...that’s all I needed to hear to want to pick this up and I wasn’t disappointed. The sci fi is light, but sets the stage for an otherwise historically set story where two women travel through turbulent times in 1864 Japan, both with secrets and a need to get somewhere which brings them together and forms a tenuous friendship. But when does time travel ever go according to plan? Their journey isn’t action packed, but the story is well written and the characters realistic and likeable enough to make it worthwhile. Attention to historical detail seemed spot on and the art, though simple, was able to convey a definite sense of the time and place in a way that brings you into the story visually as well. Definitely worth checking out!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3495734.html It's an interesting story of Japan just before the Meiji Restoration, with a woman from 2042 masquerading as a samurai and a time-travel screw-up potentially erasing our version of history. The plot is intriguing enough, and has some good gender-bending twists, but I'm afraid I found the art (also by the author) rather deficient; it was difficult to tell several of the key characters apart, and they sometimes seemed rather awkwardly posed, which rather https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3495734.html It's an interesting story of Japan just before the Meiji Restoration, with a woman from 2042 masquerading as a samurai and a time-travel screw-up potentially erasing our version of history. The plot is intriguing enough, and has some good gender-bending twists, but I'm afraid I found the art (also by the author) rather deficient; it was difficult to tell several of the key characters apart, and they sometimes seemed rather awkwardly posed, which rather distracted me from what was going on.

  14. 5 out of 5

    David H.

    I'm a sucker for time travel and for puns, so the title "Chronin" was perfect in that sense. The premise and setting of this book is really fun, and I'm enjoying the characters so far. I'm looking forward to the second volume. Unfortunately, I didn't like the art as much. I don't know if I'd like it better if it was either in color or with less emphasis on gray-shading, but it put me off a bit (most people would probably be fine, especially with the great story so far). I'm a sucker for time travel and for puns, so the title "Chronin" was perfect in that sense. The premise and setting of this book is really fun, and I'm enjoying the characters so far. I'm looking forward to the second volume. Unfortunately, I didn't like the art as much. I don't know if I'd like it better if it was either in color or with less emphasis on gray-shading, but it put me off a bit (most people would probably be fine, especially with the great story so far).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Wow, so good! I loved the drawing style. I had a bit of difficulty keeping the Japanese history straight, and there were a lot of names (besides the main characters’ names) to keep track of, but the story was good and worth the effort. The characters are great, especially Hatsu, and I really liked the friendship that developed between Mirai and her. I can’t wait for September when the sequel comes out!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Steenz

    I have no idea where I heard about this book but I'm glad it showed up at the library with my name on it. A fun and interesting time travel gone wrong story. Beautifully drawn. The backgrounds and scenery 😍 I have no idea where I heard about this book but I'm glad it showed up at the library with my name on it. A fun and interesting time travel gone wrong story. Beautifully drawn. The backgrounds and scenery 😍

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tamara Evans

    A super quick graphic novel telling the story of two college grad students from 2045 who find themselves stuck on 1846 Japan. Mirai and Kuji were classmates as well as a couple who were chosen to participate in a pilot program which allow them to travel back on history. Initially, their experience was going well until a differing of opinions between Mirai and Kuji to break up. After their break up, Kuji returns to 1864 Japan and begins a relationship with tea mistress Hatsu while Mirai disguises A super quick graphic novel telling the story of two college grad students from 2045 who find themselves stuck on 1846 Japan. Mirai and Kuji were classmates as well as a couple who were chosen to participate in a pilot program which allow them to travel back on history. Initially, their experience was going well until a differing of opinions between Mirai and Kuji to break up. After their break up, Kuji returns to 1864 Japan and begins a relationship with tea mistress Hatsu while Mirai disguises herself as a man and works in Japan doing delivery work. Hatsu likes Mirai and asks her to act as her bodyguard during a trip to Kyoto. While Mirai says no at first, she soon relents and accompanys Hatsu. During their first night of travel, Hatsu discovers that Mirai is actually a woman and is furious with her and this act of betrayal. As the two women retreat to their room to argue, they are ambushed by a group of men. It is during this attack that Mirai and Kuji reunite. Hatsu, Mirai and Kuji are all confused regarding how they all connect and therefore, Mirai and Kuji explain to Hatsu that they are from the future and how they ended up in the past. Although Hatsu is apprehensive, she decides to believe them due to how ridiculous the story they tell is. While Mirai longs to return to her present time, she is unable to do so since she and her classmates were ambushed then killed and her time travel beacon was lost in the river during the attack. Mirai and Kuji make a pact to meet in Kyoto is twenty four days and then part ways. As Mirai and Hatsu continue their journey to Kyoto, Mirai saves a Englishman from being killed and he then joins their traveling party to Kyoto. Once Mirai and Kuji meet in Kyoto, it becomes apparent the Kuji is there to change history while Mirai wants to go home. Only time will tell which person will get what they want and regardless, whatever decision that’s made will not only effect 1846 but the future as well. This was an enjoyable read although I would have appreciated a note a the beginning of the book to let the reader know that conversations on brackets (e.g <>) means that the characters are speaking in English.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Stivers

    Note: This review is only for an excerpt of the novel which I received via NetGalley in exchange for the honest review below. I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher Tor Books, and the author Alison Wilgus for the opportunity to do so. Between my adoration of Japanese anime, non-Western historical fiction, and all things sci-fi, the premise of an action-packed time travel story with samurai (Yay!) had me from the get-go. Unfortunately things fizzled out fast and never recovered for me. The Note: This review is only for an excerpt of the novel which I received via NetGalley in exchange for the honest review below. I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher Tor Books, and the author Alison Wilgus for the opportunity to do so. Between my adoration of Japanese anime, non-Western historical fiction, and all things sci-fi, the premise of an action-packed time travel story with samurai (Yay!) had me from the get-go. Unfortunately things fizzled out fast and never recovered for me. The art fell short for me as other mangas I've read have been much more fleshed out whereas this almost seemed more like a flat storyboard draft. At times it was even difficult to tell which character I was looking at, which is an issue in manga considering the absence of dialogue tags. This difficulty led to me never really connecting with the two main characters and their plights, much less the secondary characters. I've never read a manga where I've had so much difficulty with the artwork itself, even a small bit of shading would have lended some much needed clarity and depth. There would be a moment here and there of, 'oh that's kinda neat' but it was never enough for me to become interested in full. Maybe the excerpt wasn't long enough for me to become more invested because the beginning was much slower than the end but even the end of the preview wasn't enough for me to consider reading the novel in full when it's released.

  19. 5 out of 5

    lauraღ

    Science fiction and historical Japan? Say! No! More! This was a really well-paced, super engaging read; I devoured most of it during what could have been one of the dullest car rides of my life, and instead turned out to be a great day, because long after I got to where I was going I was thinking about Mirai. Time travelling babe of my HEART. She's pragmatic but brave but realistic but kind, and has got a GREAT jawline, so I'm pretty much in love. I adore time-travelling stories where the protags Science fiction and historical Japan? Say! No! More! This was a really well-paced, super engaging read; I devoured most of it during what could have been one of the dullest car rides of my life, and instead turned out to be a great day, because long after I got to where I was going I was thinking about Mirai. Time travelling babe of my HEART. She's pragmatic but brave but realistic but kind, and has got a GREAT jawline, so I'm pretty much in love. I adore time-travelling stories where the protags find themselves thrown into, and influencing momentous events. This novel is like a love letter to teenage me; this era was one of my hyper-fixations, after a history class, a couple books and my nth time rewatching the RK anime. But I love that I don't know exactly what's going to happen next, or what should be happening next (admittedly, I don't think if that's just showing the paucity of my knowledge, or if the author is deliberately drawing on lesser known events in history) and that's genuinely exciting. I'm really looking forward to the next book/conclusion! P.S. Mirai/Hatsu 4ever but Gilbert can stay too.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    Another case of immediately judging the book by it's cover (which could you blame me, fellow visualists), Alison Wilgus's "Chronin, Vol. 1: The Knife at You Back" was nothing to detest, but it did not blow me away either. Instead, I felt myself feeling rather approving of the first in the series, but not enough to immediately tell everyone about it. If it was the illustrator's goal to make everyone monotone when it comes to appearance (and even gender) I appreciate it for the equality and cohesi Another case of immediately judging the book by it's cover (which could you blame me, fellow visualists), Alison Wilgus's "Chronin, Vol. 1: The Knife at You Back" was nothing to detest, but it did not blow me away either. Instead, I felt myself feeling rather approving of the first in the series, but not enough to immediately tell everyone about it. If it was the illustrator's goal to make everyone monotone when it comes to appearance (and even gender) I appreciate it for the equality and cohesiveness needed to right the wrongs of their time traveling adventure, but it did take some time truly identify a character as soon as they entered a page. Maybe it is on my personal part of being a budding reader of the genre, and if it is it can only get quicker in time! I am curious about the rest of the series, but I am not going to track it down immediately. I am sure that Wilgus has something enticing in store for her readers, and for that I am continuously fascinated.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Golias

    In the year 2045 time travel has already been around for some time, only accessible to an elite group of scholars. Now, they have begun opening that up to students, allowing them to travel back in time to assist in their research. Mirai and Kuji were selected to join a group that travel back to Japan in the 1800s, and their research goes smoothly until the locals begin to take notice. Now they are both stuck in a time that is not their own, and they have to try and make it back to their own time In the year 2045 time travel has already been around for some time, only accessible to an elite group of scholars. Now, they have begun opening that up to students, allowing them to travel back in time to assist in their research. Mirai and Kuji were selected to join a group that travel back to Japan in the 1800s, and their research goes smoothly until the locals begin to take notice. Now they are both stuck in a time that is not their own, and they have to try and make it back to their own time without making too much of a mess of the past. This was a very very good book. The illustrations fit the style of the story, though I do wish that color had been added. The story is great, full of mystery and suspense. Violence is very present throughout as this was a time of turmoil in Japanese history, but not so much that it ruins the story.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    What just happened? You know I hate cliffhangers - and since this is a duology, I should have realized there was a major to be continued . I’ll just have to wait until the next issue to find out what happens. The Madison Mega Marathon Goodreads Group January 2019 was to choose a book by it’s cover…so I thought I might pick up this comic from Netgalley, because the cover looked really cool - old and new; ancient samurai in the digital age? This was interesting, if a bit hard to follow. The art What just happened? You know I hate cliffhangers - and since this is a duology, I should have realized there was a major to be continued . I’ll just have to wait until the next issue to find out what happens. The Madison Mega Marathon Goodreads Group January 2019 was to choose a book by it’s cover…so I thought I might pick up this comic from Netgalley, because the cover looked really cool - old and new; ancient samurai in the digital age? This was interesting, if a bit hard to follow. The art wasn’t bad - but it wasn’t my favorite either. But it was good enough and interesting enough to want to find out how it ends. Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Books for a copy in return for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    With graphic novels/comics, it seems like either I can't get into it and then question the point of the entire medium, or I'm drawn in and enticed to devour it all at once. This one was the latter. I'm intrigued by the plot and setting (the best way to bother with historical fiction is through time travel imo) and eager for my hold on the second one to come through. With the art, I really liked how the panels allowed time to breathe, simple and spaced out. Character expressions, however, seemed With graphic novels/comics, it seems like either I can't get into it and then question the point of the entire medium, or I'm drawn in and enticed to devour it all at once. This one was the latter. I'm intrigued by the plot and setting (the best way to bother with historical fiction is through time travel imo) and eager for my hold on the second one to come through. With the art, I really liked how the panels allowed time to breathe, simple and spaced out. Character expressions, however, seemed flat or awkward. I also don't understand why either of the women liked Kuji to begin with since he only ever seems like a butt, or what Kuji's whole deal was with his history obsessions, why he cares so much about the antiquated factions of the conflict.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelly C.

    There's potential, I'll give it that. However, I almost did not finish. Why? (view spoiler)[There's a lot to pick at with specifics regarding sword handling, hair styles, clothes, etc. If you're expecting culture or historical footnotes (Eta is part of the caste system and needs to be explained since a couple characters are from that class), you won't find them here. These are timetravelers sent on assignments to the past (to fill gaps in history?) and despite the students doing research beforehan There's potential, I'll give it that. However, I almost did not finish. Why? (view spoiler)[There's a lot to pick at with specifics regarding sword handling, hair styles, clothes, etc. If you're expecting culture or historical footnotes (Eta is part of the caste system and needs to be explained since a couple characters are from that class), you won't find them here. These are timetravelers sent on assignments to the past (to fill gaps in history?) and despite the students doing research beforehand, they fumble and forget etiquette and how to blend in. Does affecting the past change their future? It's difficult to determine. Art style feels unique yet gives the sense it was rushed (sketch style perhaps?), this is obvious in the beginning with multiple panels and latter half of the book is bogged down to 2-4 panels at most. Characters look similar to each others (jaw lines are everywhere). It is difficult to write time travel stories but with lack of color and depth, it makes it harder to flow. I'm wondering if this was meant to be a short story and was expanded into a 2 volume series. (hide spoiler)]

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sistermagpie

    I really liked how this time travel story--like the art--is essentially simple and straightforward. The implications of the events (messing with the space/time continuum!) are huge, but the story itself is nicely contained among the characters in the story, all of whom I really liked. I don't know a lot about Japanese history, so I appreciated how information was given to me in a way that felt organically sparse while still telling me what I needed to know. Definitely on the edge of my seat for I really liked how this time travel story--like the art--is essentially simple and straightforward. The implications of the events (messing with the space/time continuum!) are huge, but the story itself is nicely contained among the characters in the story, all of whom I really liked. I don't know a lot about Japanese history, so I appreciated how information was given to me in a way that felt organically sparse while still telling me what I needed to know. Definitely on the edge of my seat for volume II!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kiri

    Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read a digital copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. This graphic novel didn't connect well with me. The art wasn't my style, the story was interesting in some parts but not others, I didn't connect with the characters at all, and the ending left off on a cliff hanger so abrupt that I am too put off to read the sequel. Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read a digital copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. This graphic novel didn't connect well with me. The art wasn't my style, the story was interesting in some parts but not others, I didn't connect with the characters at all, and the ending left off on a cliff hanger so abrupt that I am too put off to read the sequel.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Nelson

    Maybe there's an extra layer that I might've gotten if I were knowledgeable about either manga or Japanese history, but a thoroughly enjoyable tale nonetheless. It unfolds in a really satisfying way, gradually revealing the connections between the characters, the way that time travel (yes, I enjoyed a time travel story!) plays out through the plot. Lots of emotional and plot tension, and of course lovely art, with expressive faces and delicate landscapes. Will definitely be getting book 2! Maybe there's an extra layer that I might've gotten if I were knowledgeable about either manga or Japanese history, but a thoroughly enjoyable tale nonetheless. It unfolds in a really satisfying way, gradually revealing the connections between the characters, the way that time travel (yes, I enjoyed a time travel story!) plays out through the plot. Lots of emotional and plot tension, and of course lovely art, with expressive faces and delicate landscapes. Will definitely be getting book 2!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    I had somewhat higher hopes for this book, it was just ok. The plot is a fairly stock time travel mystery. I'm a big fan of Japanese woodblock prints so I know that's where the artist is drawing inspiration but the black and white made everything blend together in a not altogether pleasing way. I'm somewhat curious about the plot resolution so I'll probably read the next volume, but only because it's a super quick read. I had somewhat higher hopes for this book, it was just ok. The plot is a fairly stock time travel mystery. I'm a big fan of Japanese woodblock prints so I know that's where the artist is drawing inspiration but the black and white made everything blend together in a not altogether pleasing way. I'm somewhat curious about the plot resolution so I'll probably read the next volume, but only because it's a super quick read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sonya

    Interesting story about ancient Japan. Makes me want to read up on Japanese history. Drawings were nice, but the buildings were a little too straight and perfect. Still a beautiful looking book, despite being in B&W. Characters were intriguing. Will have to get the second book to find out what happens.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Freya Marske

    If you like Connie Willis's Oxford Time Travel series and want to see what happens when a similar conceit is applied to late nineteenth century Japan, in graphic novel form, with bonus crossdressing...THIS IS FOR YOU. I particularly adored the historical detail in the backgrounds, Wilgus's gift for conveying Face Journeys, and the thoroughly relatable protagonist. If you like Connie Willis's Oxford Time Travel series and want to see what happens when a similar conceit is applied to late nineteenth century Japan, in graphic novel form, with bonus crossdressing...THIS IS FOR YOU. I particularly adored the historical detail in the backgrounds, Wilgus's gift for conveying Face Journeys, and the thoroughly relatable protagonist.

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