27. Death Note: Black Edition Vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba

Death Note: Black Edition, Vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba, Art by Takeshi Obata (Canada) - (US)
Death Note,Vol. 1 & 2

Pages: 390
Ages: 16+
Finished: Feb. 6, 2011
First Published: 2003 Japan (2005 English) (Dec. 28, 2010 Black edition)
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: YA, paranormal, thriller
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

Realm of the Shinigami.
"Same old thing, day after day ... What a bore."

Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: The plot line had me sold on this one right away.

Wow! Wow! Wow! I was expecting a good story but I got a heck of lot more than I was prepared for. First of all, I was expecting a horror story and I guess, because of the supernatural angle, one could loosely term it horror. But when you get down to it, this is a wicked serial killer thriller with a supernatural element on the side. The serial killer's character and the detecting are much more the driving force of the story than the paranormal setting in which the story is based.

A bored Shinigami, God of Death, leaves a Death Note on the ground for someone to pick up. Light Yagami, brilliant ace student, is the one who does so and the notebook contains information upon its use. When a person's name is written in the book they will die. The human owner of the notebook is also able to see the Shinigami owner and Light and Ryuk become constant companions, as Ryuk is here to watch what happens to brighten his otherwise boring existence.

Ryuk, a creepy looking guy to say the least, has no powers that he is willing to use. He is not on Light's side, nor anyone's for that matter. He's simply a bystander, though he does give Light information now and then, at his own convenience. As Ryuk watches Light become both a serial killer and a mass murderer, killing first only criminals "who deserve to die anyway" and then killing more methodically to keep those who seek to track him down from finding him out, we become attached to his character. Light on the other hand, we watch descend into a pit of psychosis as the power he wields proves too strong for his character to bear. And then there is "L". The mysterious detective who is called upon occasionally to solve the unsolvable cases the police just can't solve. No one knows his real name, nor have they ever seen him, until now. "L" always gets his man and this time he takes on a small police task force and together the police do the legwork while "L" matches wits with Light to try and find the one mistake he has made that will let "L" capture him.

An absolutely awesome thriller. I'm even more excited to have found this series now knowing it is a detective/serial killer/thriller more than a horror story. I am very interested in the three main characters. There is a lot of room for them to grow and expand and whether they stay on their current good/evil/neutral paths is something I am pondering. My favourite character at the moment is Ryuk. Yes! The god of death, can you believe it? He is actually quite funny and his ugliness grows on you by the end of the book. This is a must read for manga fans. A classic!

I've also discovered that there are two original novels based on the series, one a prequel based on something mentioned in vol. 2, the other happens after the series. There is a 37 episode anime series (I've never watched anime! Unless Pokemon, etc counts. But I am really interested) PLUS, there are 3 live action movies. If the second Black Edition is as good as the first, which will include Volumes 3 & 4 of the series, I think I may have just become a major fan. My 21 yo son will never believe it if he comes down home and catches me watching anime called "Death Note" LOL!


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