Thursday, September 9, 2010

Library Wars Love & War

This manga is actually based by a light novel series, but sadly they are not bought for American release at this time. It is about a future where the central government has created a military force to confiscate books that they deem unacceptable, which brings ones minds to Fahrenheit 451 and it’s more extreme destruction of all books. In Library Wars, the local governments and library's band together to save books, creating their own soldiers who make sure that the library's able to keep their books safe, and get a small amount of all the books that the federal government tries to destroy. The main character decides to join the library defense force after the military tries to destroy a fairy tale she wanted to read and a member of the library defense force saves it. This is a shojo manga, so of course it also focuses on her relationship with her commander and a fellow recruit.

I picked up this book largely because of the title and premise of the library having soldiers to protect books. This part of the story is more a setting for our main character's growth and relationships than the focal point of the story, but that doesn't mean it’s not important. I liked the connection I was able to make with the banning of books that happens today and the main character's frustration when she read a fairy tale that had been banned and realized that there was no real reason it should have been banned in the first place.

The main character, Iku Kasahara, is a very likable character. She is athletic and not the best student, but thankfully they don't overplay either. It’s more important that she wants desperately to live up to the "prince" who saved her book when she was younger, by saving all the books, even when she shouldn't. Also, she gets very upset with herself when she pulls others down when she can't perform as well as they can. Her interactions with her commander are cute, as this is where the main love focus of the story is, though, at this point its more subtle "like." Then their is the conflict with her team mate, because he can't figure out why she is there when she's not as good as him.

This book was adorable and is a good set up for the start of a series. This is this author's first manga after spending 10 years as an assistant, so while some may not think the art is the greatest (I liked it but I saw some reviews that complained) it is not as bad as some new artists. If you like shojo manga (stories written for girls) and books, then I highly recommend this story.

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