Rat's Lair: Book Reviews

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite (Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá)

Rating: 3.5/10

The Umbrella Academy, to put it bluntly, is a mess. The pacing was all over the place: it was somehow too fast yet completely flat as well. I couldn't really keep up and it was honestly just boring because it lacked depth.

The ideas in Umbrella Academy on paper are cool and creative, but in the actual comic it's just flimsy. There are so many unanswered questions: why were all the kids born at the same time? Why do some possess a power whilst Vanya doesn't? Why is there a talking chimpanzee? Why is number five a kid from turning back time? Why does one of them have their head on a gorilla's body? Why does the villain want to destroy everything with music? SOMEBODY EXPLAIN THIS TO ME.

The characters weren't really characters, but wood planks. I can remember some of their names but only remember 5 and Seance's powers.

I like Gerard Way. His music's great and he seems like a nice guy, but he's not a good comic writer. I think the problem is that whilst he's incredibly creative he doesn't know how to get his ideas onto paper, resulting in a comic full of muddled not-fully developed ideas seemingly there just to be there.

Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell)

Rating: 0.1/10

DNF

This book was absolutely terrible. I've read many bad books, such as Peach by Emma Glass and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, but they aren't quite like Fangirl. There is nothing I like about this book. Nothing.

So what is Fangirl about? Well dear reader, it's about Cath, a young girl who's a big fan of Simon Snow: the Fangirl universe's version of Harry Potter, and she writes fanfiction for it. Cath is beginning her first year of university as an English major, and her twin sister, Wren, is growing up and moving away from fandom and Cath. Cath ends up having to learn to get out her comfort zone, and that's Fangirl.

So why did I hate this book? Let's go through my reasons.

1: The Characters

There really isn't any characters I like besides Cath's dad, Art. They were all terrible: especially Cath, I loathed that bitch. But let's go through the other characters before I get to her.

Wren:

Cath's twin sister. Honestly right off the bat I disliked her, she was just irritating. I owe her an apology though: she wasn't the worst character in the book. She just mildly annoys me.

Reagan:

At first I just disliked her, not the type of person I'd want to be around, but later on in the book Cath asks her why she broke up with Levi, and she says "I kept cheating on him." This is said so casually. WHY HAVE YOUR CHARACTERS SO UNLIKEABLE, ROWELL?

Levi:

Levi is a bit like a blank slate. His whole personality is smiling and struggling to read. That's it.

Cath:

I hate Cath. She may be one of the worst protagonists of all time. She's worse than Greg Heffley. Cath is mean to everyone, she ruins everything. All she cares about is her fanfiction (which is complete shit by the way). In fact, her love for fanfiction is so great she sent in one of her fanfics for one of her assignments in her fiction-writing class. Yes, you're hearing me write: for a SERIOUS part of her class in university, she sent in fanfiction. The assignment was to make an ORIGINAL short story with an unreliable narrator. She sent in Simon Snow fanfiction told from the point of view of Baz, the Draco Malfoy of Simon Snow.

Luckily, her teacher gave her an F. Don't get me wrong: writing good fanfiction takes a lot of skill, and is a different form of art, I actually write it myself. But, no matter how creative your fanfic is, it's not original. You're still using characters from another person's world. For example, if someone was to write their own sequel to a film they liked without the original creator/writers involved, it still wouldn't be original. No matter how you frame it, sending fanfiction into a class for original writing is wrong.

Okay, so Cath does some stupid things, but that doesn't make her a bad person. Don't worry: she says things which are very horrible! Here is an excerpt from the book. For context: Cath's father is struggling with his mental health a lot, and this is pretty apparent. Cath is also aware of this.

"Cath snorted. "He obviously needs us. If he had a cat, the man would be one bad day away from Grey Gardens. I think he eats all of his meals at QuikTrip, and he's sleeping on the couch.""

Wow. What a bitch.

Cath is also horrible to her sister. She falls out with Wren because Wren wanted to reconnect with their mother who left them at a young age. It's understandable that Cath wouldn't want to talk to her mum, I wouldn't as well: but Wren can do what she wants. She never forced Cath to: she never even brought it up with Cath. Cath only knew because her dad asked if she would want to as well. Then Cath felt like Wren was keeping a secret from her, and Cath is just mean to Wren for what she wants to do. This is really irritating, because Cath and Wren want to be separate people, because as twins they felt like the same person. Cath, if you want to be different, LET YOUR SISTER DO WHAT SHE WANTS.

I could go on forever about Cath, but in short: she is the most horrid, miserable bitch I've had the displeasure of reading about.

2: The fanfiction/Simon Snow excerpts

Remember how I said that Cath's fanfiction is shit? Well I know it is because there are so many excerpts of her fanfic (and also excerpts of the actual Simon Snow books and other miscellaneous things) which are usually at the end of a chapter, but are also scattered throughout the main book. My problem with these excerpts is that they're complete crap. For one, they're completely unnecessary. I don't need to read parts of Simon Snow, as I said, it's the Fangirl-verse version of HP, and pretty much everyone knows what HP is like. Why do I need to read Rowell's version of it? My other reason for hating the random excerpts is that it's so poorly written, especially Cath's fanfiction. Speaking of poorly written, that lead me to my next part.

3: The Writing

Fangirl's writing isn't good. Here are some examples of poor writing:

  • "It was just Levi - leaning against the lamppost like the archetypical "man leaning against the lamppost.""
  • "Baz hated to be in their room. He said it smelled like good intentions."
  • "Simon twisted his lip to one side."

And now my favourite example of Rowell's incompetent writing:

"It's hard to get my head around. It's like hearing that Harry Potter is gay."

This is horrifically bad because it makes zero sense in Fangirl. Throughout the book, it's show that Simon Snow is just this world's version of Harry Potter. When actually mentioning Harry Potter it ruins everything you've set up. So what is Simon Snow then? Temu Harry Potter?

I have to wonder what Rowell was thinking with this book. I've only ever read one other book by her, Pumpkinheads, and that was below mediocre, with the only merit being a nice artstyle and setting. People will eat up any YA book, regardless of quality and Rainbow Rowell's popularity is an example of that.

So, fuck Cath and fuck this book.

Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher)

Rating: 1/10

I fucking hated this book, but before going into why I disliked Thirteen Reasons Why, I'll go through what I did like:

  • With the copy I was reading, the text on the page was larger than what I was used to and the text didn't take up as much space, so it was fast to read.

That's it. That's all I liked. The main reason why I couldn't stand this book was Hannah. She's a bratty hypocrite. For the entire book she constantly went on about how others should think about how their actions and words affect others, but she doesn't do that herself. She doesn't think about how her tapes will affect others (I'll get into my problems with the tapes soon).

So what are Hannah's reasons? Some of the things which happen to her are horrible, such as what she witnessed at that party and felt guilt over. But others are more... questionable. For example, some of these more questionable ones are:

  • A boy in her class made a list of the hottest and least hottest girls in the class, done by different categories. Hannah was voted as having the "best ass."
  • Someone stole compliments out of her compliment bag.

Those are naming some. Throughout the book Hannah refers to things as being a snowball which collects together and gets bigger. I get this: the small things all add up. But this is where her hypocrisy comes in. She goes on and on about how people should think about how their actions will harm others, but not once did she think about how harmful hers are. Imagine this: you were the boy who wrote the list of hottest girls, it was a joke of course. Then you end up receiving tapes from a girl in your class who killed herself. On these tapes she blames you for why she committed suicide. You'd feel horrible! Imagine being the reason for why someone took their own life! But did Hannah ever think about how others would feel? NO!

Another thing I hate: how revenge-y her death felt! The whole thing seemed like she was just trying to get back at others. With how she opens up the first tape, it feels like that. She even has a second-box of tapes to be released and aired publicly if the first set wasn't passed to all of the people she blames for her passing. With the amount of things she does and how she talks at the start of the first tape, it's like she views herself as this mastermind.

Another thing Hannah does that I fucking hate: she goes on and on about how no one bothered to look for the signs of her being suicidal. Because god forbid no one pay constant attention to everything she does. She thinks everything is all about her.

There are other things I dislike as well. The amount of times the word sliver was used and the anti-climactic part where it reveals why Clay was on the tapes. This isn't even a case of "I disliked it, but it's fine if you liked it." No. How is it possible to like this book? Hannah is horrid, the writing is mediocre and even as a mystery book it fails, with how anticlimactic the part with Clay was.

Fuck this book and fuck Hannah Baker, the little bitch.

Fruits Basket volume 1 (Natsuki Takaya)

Rating: 5/10

Was Fruits Basket bad? No, if it was I'd give it a lower rating. It just wasn't for me. I only read it because my sibling loves it and let me read the first volume. I'm not a fan of romance in general and definitely not love triangles, but Fruits Basket is one of the better ones. The characters actually had personality and weren't wooden planks like a lot of romance and I liked the art: it was cute.

This manga just wasn't for me, but if you like the genre then you should check it out.

Choujin X volume 3 (Sui Ishida)

Rating: 2/10

I've tried reading the first three volumes of Choujin X, continuously telling myself "it's just a bit slow, it will get better" just because I liked Tokyo Ghoul and I wanted to support Sui Ishida. But three volumes is more than giving something a chance, Choujin X is boring and unimaginative. Superheroes have been done to death, and this brings nothing new to the genre.

If you asked me what the plot was in the three volumes I read I'd be unable to tell you: I had no clue what was going on. It was messy and confusing. The characters are wooden planks, I'm not expecting to know everything about all of them with only three volumes, but they have ZERO personality. Even if you love TG don't bother with Choujin X.

Dragon Ball: That Time I Got Reincarnated as Yamcha! (Dragonarow Lee)

Rating: 2/10

That Time I Got Reincarnated as Yamcha is a bad and boring Dragon Ball fanfic which somehow got published by Shonen Jump.

When a nerdy Dragon Ball fan which is definitely not a self-insert tries to see a girl who's wearing a mini-skirt, he ends up falling down some stairs, and wakes up to find himself as Yamcha, the Sakura Haruno of Dragon Ball. What a lame way to die.

The MC is quite obviously a self-insert, oh wow a Dragon Ball fan who ends up in the DB universe, this is definitely not the author's own fantasy! On top of this Yamcha is constantly trying to get into Bulma's pants. Most of the manga is just exactly the same as the original Dragon Ball, but with Yamcha inserted in more.

In short, this book is a lazy, boring and uninspired self-insert fanfic which was actually published. It's sad to think that this was published, if this was made then why don't I make "Mob Psycho 100: That Time I Got reincarnated as Tomie!", it'd probably be better than this.

I Am Not Starfire (Mariko Tamaki)

Rating: 1/10

Wow this was bad, horrifically bad! I Am Not Starfire is about Mandy, an unlikeable brat who is constantly whining about being the kid of a superhero.

I'm okay with unlikeable protagonists, but you need the characters around them to be good people and the MC has to get what they deserve or change themselves into a better person. An example of this is Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, Greg Heffley is an unlikeable asshole but everything backfires on him. You can also tell that Greg's narcissism is intentional because his best "friend" which he constantly manipulates, Rowley, is a good kid.

Mandy has none of this. She's a shitty person, but has everything work out perfectly fine for her. Her best friend Lincoln is kind of just there and her crush Claire is a boring plank of wood.

Nothing about this book is interesting it's 50% whining, 25% OH CLAIRE, MY CRUSH CLAIRE WHO IS SOOOO PERFECT, 20% I'm not going to college, and 5% superhero fight scene we had to add in to count this as a DC comic.

The art also sucked. I dislike criticising art, because I know how hard it is to draw and art is subjective, but the drawings in this book are just bad. It isn't nice to look at.

So is there any redeeming factors to I Am Not Starfire? No, there is almost nothing I liked about this. The only complement I have is that they didn't make a big deal out of Mandy being gay. Lincoln and Mandy were acting like they had seen two episodes of Daria and made it their whole personality. Don't bother with this comic, it's not even worth it for the laughs.

Zom 100 (vol 1) by Haro Aso

Rating: 7/10

Zom 100 is alright, it's pretty fun. I have seen the idea of someone seeing the zombie apocalypse as something fun and making a list of the things they want to do before (in a kids book oddly enough), so this book doesn't feel like anything new in that sense. In all honesty this manga (so far) doesn't seem like anything special, but it was fun and it passed the time.

Lord of the Flies (William Golding)

Rating: 2/10

God this was boring as heck. I had to drink a lot of coffee to get me through reading this without falling asleep.

Lord of the Flies is (supposedly) about a group of boarding school boys who find themselves on a deserted island without any adults around. Slowly they become savages and act like animals.

Sorry William Golding but I don't buy it. I think this could happen, BUT NOT WITHIN A FUCKING WEEK. To explain why I think this book isn't realistic, I'll have to got through the "characters".

The characters (using the word lightly as the characters in Lord of the Flies are more of planks of wood with personalities spray painted over them) are very 2 dimensional. Look, William Golding, if you want me to be invested in your story you need to have decent characters. This is especially true if you're writing something about how people can become barbarous in times of panic. If you want me to believe that this would happen to a person, give them more depth. Now I have said all that, let's go through some of the characters!

Ralph is the main character (I guess) and he starts off being very unlikeable, but halfway through the book the author decided to change his personality, so he's somewhat tolerable. Not much can be said about Ralph, because there isn't much to him, he just fills out the "Leader" role.

Then there's Piggy. Piggy (along with Simon) fill out the "Wise one with common sense" role. He was one of the only characters that was likeable, but that doesn't mean he's a good character. Like everyone else in this book he was boring.

Jack is more of the bad guy. Jack slowly goes insane, hahahaha I'm joking, he doesn't slowly go insane, he just does out of the blue because William Golding has no talent! Jack really likes meat, so he enjoys killing the pigs on the island, and gets upset when he can't go hunting because NO ONE IN THIS FUCKING BOOK CAN GO A DAY WITHOUT EATING MEAT I GUESS! That's what pushes this guy to insanity!

Then there's Simon. Him and Piggy were the only ones I kind of liked. Simon is the smart character and that's it to him. Not much to say besides that. The other planks of wood- no, characters, are even more boring and completely interchangeable with each other.

I believe that this book and Shakespeare's terrible works are the reason why a lot of teenagers and kids don't like reading. Being forced to read this trash and others like this and being told that they're "classics" and "amazing" must make someone hate reading as a whole. Anyway, in short, William Golding, along with being a sexual predator also has the writing skills of a ten year old.

Peach (Emma Glass)

Rating: 0.5/10

This is the worst book I've ever read, no exaggeration.

This book clearly had no editors: the grammar is non-existent. It's not "artsy" to have no speech marks, constant full stops or almost no commas, it's dumb and makes your book hard to read. Peach reads like something a six year old has made: they only know capital letters, full stops and spaces. They haven't learned about quotation marks or good grammar yet. Emma Glass has the same amount of writing skills as a young child.

Terrible doesn't describe this book: it goes beyond anyone word for bad.

Avoid Peach no matter what: it's a complete waste of time.

Earthlings (Sayaka Murata)

Rating: 10/10

This book is possibly the most fucked up story in existence, but I liked the book. It requires almost every trigger warning in existence. Incest, murder, child abuse, you name it and this book has it. It's definitely not for sensitive readers, but if you love disturbing and strange stories this is for you. I couldn't help but continue reading.