Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Half World by Hiromi Goto (Review)

Genre:Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Horror, Speculative Fiction
Publication.Date  January 27th 2009
Published By:  Puffin Canada
WebsiteHiromi Goto

Half World - Goodreads
My review copy:Finished copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:

Melanie Tamaki is human - but her parents aren't. They are from Half World, a Limbo between our world and the afterlife, and her father is still there. When her mother disappears, Melanie must follow her to Half World - and neither of them may return alive. Imagine Coraline as filmed by the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (Howl's Moving Castle), or Neil Gaiman collaborating with Charles de Lint. Half World is vivid, visceral, unforgettable, a combination of prose and images that will haunt you.


She was responsible for the things she chose. That's all. She almost managed a tiny smile. It was simultaneously an incredible responsibility and almost nothing at all, she thought wonderingly.
To be able to bring change into a fixed world, [she] thought. There is power in that.
You are alive in a Realm that is not alive, that is why you create change. That is why you are capable of breaking the patterns.

    Half World was absolutely enthralling! I loved every single page of this book and ended up kicking myself for not picking it up earlier! Seriously, how did I miss it? It's such a sparkly wonder of a book! An excellent, entirely original and thoroughly enjoyable story that not only compels and entertains, but also touches your heart and makes you realize the importance of life, family, and hope. Packed with action, mythology, symbolism and fantastic creatures, Half World delivers just the right mixture of adventure, excitement and magic.

Long, long, long ago, before mortals began to inscribe mortal religions onto stone tablets and parchment, there was a time of the Three Realms: the Realms of Flesh, the Realm of Spirit, and Half World.

      The Three Realms used to be connected, allowing people to move from one to another, in due time, as each person lives, dies, half-lives, and eventually becomes a Spirit. The sacred cycle of life and death was very important, it ensured balance and harmony. But then someone of something divided the cycle. The link between the Realms was severed, bringing about chaos and despair. Before that happened, Half World was an intermediary place where the troubled could work through their mortal suffering before they were allowed to move on to the Realm of Spirit. Now, those stuck in the Half World are caught in a loop, doomed to relive the pain and suffering of their lives. Melanie Tamaki, a chubby, unpopular 14-year-old girl, is the only person in the whole world capable of breaking the binding and reuniting the Realms. Determined to save her mother (who was kidnapped by the evil Mr. Glueskin), she's about to embark on a very dangerous journey, and one that will change her life forever.

      And what a breath taking journey that was! I won't lie, I really enjoyed myself. Half World is extraordinarily imagined, vibrant, and engaging. It's the kind of book that will appeal not only to middle grade or young adult readers, but also to older teens and adults who will definitely find pleasure in re-discovering how fun and entertaining YA fantasy adventures can be. I really loved Hiromi's smoothly flowing, descriptive and efficient prose. This book reads more like a middle grade novel than a young adult one, but at the same time there's an air of sophistication and profoundness to it, elevating it to a whole new level. It's an intelligent and meaningful read. Above all, it's a great, fast-paced adventure book that is just so unbelievably fun to read.

      Melanie was a great protagonist. She was perfect in all her imperfections. Not your usual long-legged, beautiful, charismatic heroine, but rather a quiet little mouse who went through a lot in her short life. To Melanie every day presents a new challenge. She's not the brightest kid at school. She struggles a lot to keep up. Bullied by other kids and neglected by her mother, she only finds joy in exploring the dusty shelves of a local second-hand bookstore. And don't expect any ground-shaking character transformation here. Even the quest to bring her mother back from the Half World will not turn Melanie into a tough, brave and gorgeous heroine. She'll still be the same awkward kid. Slow and easily tired. Scared, lost, desperate. And yet persistent and determined to save her mom. Always pushing through, never giving up, despite fear and pain, and not really knowing what to do next. She was wonderful. Real and convincing. And all her flaws only made me like her more. I found myself really engaged in Melanie's story, cheering for her, laughing and crying with her. I couldn't wait to find out what will happen next.

      What I loved the most about this book, though, was its rich and flavorful mythological tapestry. I loved all the Asian influences and the symbolism that Hiromi so brilliantly weaved into the plot. It was fresh, unique, atmospheric and simply delightful. From nightmarish, creeptastic creatures to unsettling gore scenes, this book is nothing like I've ever read before. I highly recommend picking it up! It's a dazzling and beautifully drawn tale that will both thrill and amaze you with its eerie scenes and totally unexpected plot developments.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Tiffany Mahaffy said...

I am so glad you enjoyed this!! I have it on my shelf to review and now I'm kind of really looking forward to it!!

Amy said...

I haven't heard of this book before, but it definitely sounds interesting. Awesome review!!

Angel (Mermaid Vision Books) said...

I really really loved this book and I'm glad you did too! YA definitely needs more unique plots like this one, and I'm looking forward to what Hiromi Goto writes next.

Angel (Mermaid Vision Books) said...

I really really loved this book and I'm glad you did too! YA definitely needs more unique plots like this one, and I'm looking forward to what Hiromi Goto writes next.

marybelle said...

"A sparkly wonder of a book" - I think my son would agree.

Christina said...

Wow! That sounds amazing! I love that the MC is not the regular cookie cutter girl!

SweetShenanigans said...

The plot for this book sounds unlike anything I've yet to see. I'm very intrigued by this!

ElleChanter said...

Great review, but now I have to wait to get my hands on this book!

FireStarBooks said...

I love how the Asian influence in this book! Great review! I love how the protagonist is not perfect! AH can't wait to read this book!

roro said...

Great review,r they falling?

Anonymous said...

I simply love that cover. And the story sounds truly amazing. I need to get this!
Nice review!

Jaime Lester said...

This is another one that I normally wouldn't think to pick up. I have really got to stop with the judging. It looks like it would be more of an anime-ish type of book, and I just don't like anime all that much. Half World is another book that I have sorely misjudged, and I will be heading over to GR to add it to my TBR. Thanks again!

Fenny Wong said...

When you said it's kind of like a slash between Gaiman and Miyazaki, that's exactly how I thought when I saw the cover! I was reminded of that one scene in Spirited Away. Great review!

Karina A. said...

When I saw the cover, it screams of manga and I thought it was. Love it!Great review!

Biondy said...

The cover is not really my fave, but the story sounds good.

Biondy said...

The cover is not really my fave, but the story sounds good.

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