2013 Manga/Graphic Novel/Video Game Novel Challenge


Diayll Sales, one of my friends on Goodreads, has issued a chal­lenge that I could not refuse.  I’m fair­ly new to read­ing man­ga and have nev­er ever con­sid­ered, until very recent­ly, read­ing a nov­el based on a video game, so this chal­lenge is incred­i­bly time­ly.

I’ve recent­ly become quite enthralled with the video game Mass Effect.  I com­plet­ed ME1 in about nine days and am now about 3/4 through with ME2.  The char­ac­ter cus­tomiza­tion, the sto­ry line, the pol­i­tics, the friend­ships and intrigue are awe­some and I’m lov­ing it.  As a result, I recent­ly down­loaded Mass Effect Rev­e­la­tions to my Kin­dle read­er.  My first nov­el based on a video game.

Click CHALLENGE to find out more and to join if you’re inter­est­ed.  Or you can click the pret­ty badge below.

There are five chal­lenge lev­els:
  1. Lev­el 1 Arcade Gamer — Casu­al Play­er (12 books)
  2. Lev­el 2 Tomb Raider — Nor­mal Play­er (15–25 books)
  3. Lev­el 3 War­craft — Hard­core Play­er (25–35 books)
  4. Lev­el 4 Call of Duty — Vet­er­an Play­er (35–45 book)
  5. Lev­el 5 HALO Style — Leg­endary Play­er (45–55 books)

I’ve decid­ed to go mid-line this time and go for Lev­el 3.  I can always lev­el up should I wish to.

To keep track of the books I read, I’ve cre­at­ed a page on this site.  Hope you’ll check back in from time to time to read the reviews and see what I’ve read.  I also hope some of you will join me and the rest in this chal­lenge.

  • Ok, I’ve suc­cess­ful­ly real­ized even non-video-game-based man­ga count for the chal­lenge ^^;;, so a few man­ga recs…

    * With the Light by Keiko Tobe — real­is­tic fic­tion about a moth­er rais­ing an autis­tic child. Was very skep­ti­cal about the premise ini­tial­ly, but, but, it’s an amaz­ing series.
    * Nau­si­caä by Hayao Miyaza­ki — postapoc­a­lyp­tic bio-SF, it lit­er­al­ly changed my life when I read it, prob­a­bly for the bet­ter ;] (I was 16? I think)
    * Plan­etes by Mako­to Yukimu­ra — great space-themed hard SF, has a Mus­lim char­ac­ter (IIRC not a large part, but he was in a scene that lit­er­al­ly made me cry)
    * Full­met­al Alchemist by Hiro­mu Arakawa is super long and very bat­tle-y steam­punk fan­ta­sy, but has awe­some art and a plot that’s inter­est­ing to fol­low
    * Blame! by Tsu­to­mu Nihei — far-future cyber­punk archi­tec­ture­porn. Seri­ous­ly, ALL THAT ARCHITECTURE. Not much of a plot, but, the archi­tec­ture!!! 😀
    * Bare­foot Gen by Kei­ji Nakaza­wa — make sure you get an uncen­sored edi­tion. His­tor­i­cal fic­tion about Hiroshi­ma, VERY upset­ting, but real­ly worth the read
    * Any­thing by Jirou Taniguchi if you can get ahold of Eng­lish trans­la­tions (Kamiga­mi no itada­ki is BREATHTAKING)
    * Mushishi by Yuki Urushibara — his­tor­i­cal fan­ta­sy, very one-of-a-kind (don’t miss the ani­me either)

    • khaal­i­dah

      Thanks for the sug­ges­tions.
      I start­ed Blame! a long time ago but will have to get back to it.  Loved the art style.  Archi­tec­ture is right.  I recall very few words but still man­aged a dis­cernible sto­ry line.  Watched some Mushishi.  Also liked the art but the sto­ries seemed a tad slow.  My daugh­ter loves the series.  Full Met­al is awe­some.  Loved the ani­me and am more than will­ing to read the man­ga.  Nau­si­caa? Life chang­ing?  Well that is an enor­mous endorse­ment.  How could I not read it now?
      Thanks a ton for the sug­ges­tions.  I’ll let you know what I think.

  • Hi,

    I’m a huge Mass Effect fan, hap­py to hear you like the series too :] If you’re on Xbox and need help increas­ing your war readi­ness in ME3, let me know! (Or if you’re on Xbox, peri­od. 😀 ) I’m not sure how much war readi­ness is nec­es­sary, I think they’ve recent­ly reduced it because peo­ple were both­ered they had to play mul­ti­play­er in a pre­dom­i­nant­ly sin­gle-play­er game. (I real­ly enjoy the mul­ti­play­er, BTW, I hope they even­tu­al­ly expand it into a stand­alone game. I play almost no online mul­ti­play­er, but this one was/is a huge hit with me.)

    I didn’t par­tic­u­lar­ly like the nov­els though. The autism stuff was cringe­wor­thy. (Read almost all of them except the last one by a dif­fer­ent writer — ME: Decep­tion -, every­one agreed that was an utter fail­fest in all respects.) The comics were for the most part meh to bad, here are my reviews of the lat­est col­lec­tion:
    (Haven’t reviewed the pre­vi­ous ones, but I’ve read them.)

    As for video-game-based nov­els in gen­er­al… Gears of War: Aspho Fields and Jacinto’s Rem­nant by Karen Traviss were great, much bet­ter than the games in fact (I’ve only played 1–2, 3 is in my back­list). I’ve been mean­ing to read all of the Gears nov­els since for­ev­er. Can’t think of any oth­er game-relat­ed books/comics I real­ly enjoyed, though, even though I’ve read a lot :[ .…oh, I enjoyed the Japan­ese Der­by Stal­lion Breed­ers Bat­tle comics, even though I’ve nev­er played any of the Der­by Stal­lion games. But I don’t think they’re avail­able in Eng­lish, I read them in Ger­man.

    • khaal­i­dah

      Hey there Prez.  Long time!
      Thanks for weigh­ing in.
      I total­ly love Mass Effect, thanks to my kids, who by now are very annoyed with me because i hog the PS3.  As a mat­ter of fact, I com­plet­ed ME2 not more than two hours ago and start­ed on ME3.  I’ll def­i­nite­ly check out your reviews.  So good to meet anoth­er woman who also likes the game. 
      My absolute favorite aspect is the char­ac­ter cus­tomiza­tion.  I’m actu­al­ly look­ing at me, or a rep­re­sen­ta­tion, as opposed to the default white guy.  Refresh­ing.  I also love the sci-fi aspect, the aliens, the polit­i­cal intrigue.
      Just start­ed in the first of the ME nov­els and read one of the comics today.  It was okay.
      We’ll see.

      •  Check out the Mass Effect com­mu­ni­ty on Live­jour­nal, a huge amount of active par­tic­i­pants are women: http://masseffect.livejournal.com/

        I LOVED the char­ac­ter cus­tomiza­tion. Final­ly a game where I could have curly hair. Even in the oth­er Bioware games I couldn’t pro­duce a char­ac­ter who looked like me. (BTW I rec­om­mend against try­ing the Drag­on Age series, it’s rife with Islam­o­pho­bia and eth­nic stereo­typ­ing. I have a long rant about it brew­ing for quite a while now X[ )

        My fam­i­ly was sort of freaked out. “OMG Shep­ard looks total­ly like you! Even the facial expres­sions!” Me: “Um you mean kin­da stiff and wood­en?” LOL. I sort of felt Shep­ard was mak­ing strange I-am-com­put­er-ren­dered-ish facial expres­sions, but appar­ent­ly those look Just Like Me too. *snort*

        Also, I real­ly enjoyed that final­ly there was some­thing that reward­ed me for psy­choki­net­i­cal­ly explod­ing the heck out of every­thing. For great jus­tice! 😛 (Weapons? Who needs weapons? ;D) Cue lots of biot­ic adept-ing. Do you have a favorite class? (Ever since I’ve been play­ing the mul­ti­play­er I’ve devel­oped a huge fond­ness for van­guards too. Biot­ic chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarge *whee* *thud*)

        • khaal­i­dah

          My class (favorite) is Sen­tinel.  It is the per­fect blend/balance for me with heavy armor, which suits my right up front head on approach to fight­ing.
          My char­ac­ter is a pret­ty good rep­re­sen­ta­tion of me too: brown skin, high cheek bones, squar­ish jaw, and (accord­ing to my daugh­ter) flat “you’re get­ting on my nerves” eyes.  Heh.  If she had a scarf on, that would be awe­some, but I know that is ask­ing much.
          Thanks for warn­ingme off Drag­on Age.  I may be cyn­i­cal, but I come to the table expect­ing to be under­stood and labeled.  It’s awe­some when I find some­thing, whether it be a game or lit­er­a­ture that gets it right.  Meh. 
          Thanks for telling me about the Live­jour­nal ME com­mu­ni­ty.  I will def­i­nite­ly check that out.  What could be bet­ter?  Women who like to play a lit­tle space opera shoot ‘em up?  Can’t tell you how alone I feel on that account.
          How fun!
          When do you­plan to start ME2?  I fin­ished yes­ter­day and it was an awe­some end­ing.  The sto­ry is pro­gress­ing very well.  I got up ear­ly to play ME3 before work this morn­ing.