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Amy Kim Ganter

REVIEW:  Sorcerers and Secretaries by Amy Kim Ganter

REVIEW: Sorcerers and Secretaries by Amy Kim Ganter

Dear Ms. Ganter,

ss2-cover.jpgMy blogging partner Jan reviewed this series earlier and I was so impressed by the review and by the artwork she included that I posted to her review. She graciously offered to loan me the volumes of “Sorcerers and Secretaries.” I’ll be honest and say that I’d never tried any manga and in fact hadn’t read any type of comic or graphic arts book since childhood. Yep, manga has swept the world but hadn’t swept me. That is until I read this book. Now I begin to understand the appeal. I might not be a convert but this is one novel I might just have to search out.

I’ve included ‘manga’ tags on this review so it will show up on our website along with Jan’s original review but I’m not reviewing it as manga. Since I don’t know the genre enough to speak with any authority on it, I’m talking about it as a romance. And a delightful romance it is. Nicole and Josh have to work through their problems as any romance couple I normally read about do. Nicole is one smart cookie. Though she initially likes Josh, she quickly becomes discouraged from continuing their growing relationship by his pursuit of any woman with enough breath to write out her phone number. She might not have the most self confidence in the world but she knows she deserves better than this.

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Josh is a young man still infatuated with the idea of being wanted by everyone. When Nicole repudiates his efforts to add her phone number to his growing collection, he decides he wants her just for the challenge. His roommate, also a ‘love ‘em and leave ‘em’ lothario, urges him on and Josh has to learn some hard lessons before he gains the confidence to be honest about his desires for a relationship with Nicole. I like that his growing feelings for Nicole are mirrored by his dawning admiration for her writing gifts.

ss-panel3.jpgAnd then there’s Nicole’s fantasy story which is wonderful on its own. It’s a story and world so real to her that it intrudes into her everyday life demanding to be told. The girl’s got real talent but feels that she has to put it aside in order to get a degree in business to help her family. She’s miserable in her studies but determined to stick it out. Realizing that she might be able to study and do what she really wants is a major growth step for her. I love that her family rallies to her side and supports her decision. Remembering back to when I was in college, I recall a meeting with my freshman advisor who said he saw so many students, struggling through business and accounting studies, who were miserable, all because the parents wanted their children to have a marketable degree. Yes, the world needs English, history, philosophy and classics majors too.

I will say something about the illustrations in “Sorcerers and Secretaries.” They’re fabulous. Though I’m not sure about the high-heel boots that Ellon wears. I am in awe of anyone who can tell a story not only in writing but visually as well. It’s a talent and you have it. This gets a solid A from me and I want a cute little familiar who sits on my shoulder too!

~Jayne

REVIEW:  [Manga] Writers and Romance: Sorcerers and Secretaries by Amy Kim Ganter

REVIEW: [Manga] Writers and Romance: Sorcerers and Secretaries by Amy...

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Sorcerers and Secretaries by Amy Kim Ganter. Tokyopop. $9.99. Ages 13 and up (kisses). Reads left to right. 2 volumes, complete.

 

Dear Ms. Ganter,

I don’t try much Original English Language (OEL) manga or American graphic novels, because the stories don’t normally appeal to me, and one big reason is that they’re often written for men. Now, I like stories written for men, but after a constant diet of them in comics ever since I stopped reading stuff like Archie in third grade, I prefer stories written for women. So I was quite delighted to find your romance, Sorcerers and Secretaries.

Many readers are sure to identify with your imaginative but lonely and bored heroine Nicole, who carries a notebook and likes to spends all her spare time writing stories of another land and a sorcerer Ellon, who is more real to her than most of the people in her life. Her neighbor Josh is the perfect foil for her, a playboy of sorts who collects girls’ phone numbers that he keeps in a jar under his bed. He is determined to collect Nicole’s. But Nicole isn’t so lost to imagination that she doesn’t have his number right away, and the dialog between the two of them is wonderful as they fall for each other and learn each isn’t quite what they’d seemed.

This is also a story that perfectly blends art and words, using both to show things in a way that words or pictures alone could not. These pages have become some of my favorite because they show this so well. This section takes place early in the story when Nicole meets Josh for coffee, and she’s writing while waiting for him. Her world won’t leave her alone, and demands to be written even in the face of real life interruptions (reads left to right) (sorry for the poor scan quality):

 

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I think it is no coincidence that your book reminded me of Eva Ibbotson. You both have a gentle sweetness to your stories, and a way of bringing magic into the mundane. And as most of her books are appropriate for young adults, so are these. I think anyone who loves reading and especially those driven to write will love this sweet little story (complete in two volumes!) about making two kinds of love fit into your life, and how both change you.

I’m trying to think of something bad to say about this to balance this review but I really can’t. I was utterly charmed, and I look forward to your next work. My grade: A.

 

Sincerely,

ジェーン
(Jān)