REVIEW: Sorcerers and Secretaries by Amy Kim Ganter
Dear Ms. Ganter,
My 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.
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.
And 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!
I’d have to agree, I’ve been slow to adopt to magma-style books. But when there is a good story and good illustrations, it makes the tale even better. This looks like another great series, thanks!
It’s a 2 book series and looks to be available at amazon now. I remember earlier that some posters were commenting that at the time it looked like their shipments were going to be delayed until past Christmas and into January.
Haven’t read it, but thanks to the earlier review, Santa gave it to my fourteen year old yesterday. Thanks so much, because she really enjoyed it – had read it by the time they woke me up to show me what Santa had brought. She can’t wait to get hold of the second book.
Amazon cautioned that the books might not arrive until January but the parcel came in plenty of time for Christmas. The artwork is gorgeous and the story is sweet – the perfect books for Christmas night after days of wrapping, unwrapping, talking, hugging, eating, cooking, clearing up and immediately cooking again. Daughter is enjoying the books but she purely loved one of Jan’s earlier recommendations (the Viz version of TrainMan).
Fantastic LinM. I’m so glad they arrived on time.
Marianne do you plan on trying them?
I’m glad both your daughters enjoyed this rec and Jan’s other ones.
Probably not. What interested me, as a non-manga reader, was the detail my daughter went into when explaining parts of the story. As there isn’t that much text, clearly one reads the pictures – as must be completely obvious to everyone else, they’re not just illustrations. Somehow, I hadn’t really thought about how reading manga differs from reading text-only literature.
So, I sort of feel it would be a bit like having to learn a new language to read in, and I’m not sure that I’m a visual enough person to pick it up with any fluency. And, as I went on a book buying binge over Christmas, I’m pretty much booked up. I’ve a TBR pile of must be eight, nine books – which is huge by my standards.
Oh, I’m very behind here. But Marianne, you’ve hit the nail on the head. When psychologists have tested eye movement and concentration of Japanese children vs American in reading manga, they read completely differently. Most Americans, especially as they get older, move their eyes from text bubble to text bubble, virtually treating the images like a wasteland. Japanese move their eyes in a continuous flow across the page, giving image and word equal weight. They learn at an early age to interpret images as major parts of the story. We have to train ourselves to do it.
I see it time and again in manga discussion. English speakers tend to found their arguments in translated words and ignore pictorial evidence. Once mangaka (manga creator) was concerned upon visiting the US that we didn’t understand her most popular story. That was because people read the hero’s harsh words, but failed to noticed his gestures that seem at times to oppose these, showing that what you heard wasn’t all it seemed. Now it has become clear in the story what she did and all of those people are mad saying it’s out of character, because they still just don’t get that they’re only reading half of what’s there.
It’s not a difficult thing to learn to do. But it can be difficult remembering to do it.
I’m so glad you enjoyed this Jayne. Thanks for reviewing it and letting people know I’m not crazy. ^___^