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.