Friday, April 10, 2015

Booknote: Deadman Wonderland, Volume 1

Jinsei Kataoka, Deadman Wonderland, Volume 1.  San Francisco, CA: Viz Media, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-4215-5548-5,

Genre: Manga
Subgenre: dystopian
Format: paperback
Source: My own library
This is part of a series (ongoing as of this post).

From the book's description:

"Framed for the brutal murders of his classmates by the mysterious Red Man, middle-school student Ganta Igarashii finds himself sentenced to death in the bizarre and fatal theme park/prison known as 'Deadman Wonderland.' The inmates of this insane penitentiary fight for survival every day to provide entertainment for the masses. Ganta is determined to survive Deadman Wonderland and clear his name, but the price may be his soul…" 

This is a series that I will keep on reading. I am not a huge fan of dystopias, but when they are well made and intriguing, I take a chance. Ganta's challenge will be not to lose his soul as he struggles to survive. I will admit that the premise that gets Ganta into prison is quite farfetched; the trial was barely such. In the end, that is just the device to get him in there. It is in the prison that the mystery really starts. Who is Shiro, the mystery girl with a touch of insanity that comes and goes? Who is the Red Man? Why did he frame Ganta? And what is his connection to the prison? The author sets up these and other questions, questions that will keep the readers curious and interested as the story deepens.

The pace of the story is quick. Once you pick up the volume, you are in right away. Once Ganta is imprisoned, he fails the basic rule of common sense: when you are given a book of rule, read the damn thing. Some of the issues he faces could have been ameliorated had he read the book. Still, there are many more challenges to Ganta's survival (and not all the answers are in the book), including the fact that death is a very real possibility in this prison/amusement park. He will have to work hard to stay alive, and he will clearly need to wise up. It remains to be seen at this point if does get his wits about him.

So, great pacing and good action with some mystery and deep intrigue are tossed into the mix. This is one series I will keep reading. There is some carnage, but it is not as brutal as other series in this genre. I am highly recommending it, and I hope the series continues to keep up the goodness.

5 out of 5 stars.

Some works I have read with similar appeal:

  • Battle Royale
  • The Running Man. (Read the book, not so much the film).
  • I will add this will likely appeal to fans of The Hunger Games (taking a guess here as I have no interest in the this series, but from what I know about it, the appeal elements are there).

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