Tag Archives: dullahan

House of the Dead

Author: Elizabeth Wilson

My rating: 5 of 5

She knew she shouldn’t approach the derelict old house. Everyone knew it was abandoned–probably haunted too. But Blake Callaghan’s curiosity is just too much, so she scales the wall and wanders through the overgrown, unkempt garden towards the house. You can imagine her surprise when she encounters an old man in the garden; so very old he is. He introduces himself as Mr. Donn and begins to tell Blake stories, wondrous stories of the Sidhe, of changelings, and of the Dullahan. Stories of the brevity of life and the certainty of death that change Blake somehow in the hearing of them.

House of the Dead is an incredible novella/short story collection that I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys fantasy or mythology. It pulls from old Celtic legends, but presents the tales in a fresh, insightful way, uniting the individual stories within Blake’s story and making them part of a greater whole. I first discovered the author through her Merlin fanfics, writing under the pseudonym Emachinescat; they are wonderful, and I fell in love with the author’s writing then. This novella displays the same brilliance, but perhaps even more finely crafted. There is both a richness of imagery and a sparseness of dialogue in this book that is unusual, I think, and I found it oddly moving. There were several times when the stories moved me to the point of chills, and by the end of the novella, I was crying. The perspective on life and death offered here is truly powerful, echoing the Doctor’s idea that “we’re all stories, in the end” and the desire to really live life to the fullest, to write a good story with your life. As I said, highly recommended.


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Durarara!!: Saika Arc

Story: Ryohgo Narita/Character Design: Suzuhito Yasuda/Art: Akiyo Satorigi

A slasher is terrorizing the streets of Ikebukuro, appearing in the night with blood-red eyes yet with no other distinguishing features. Around the same time, a troll going by the tag “Saika” begins haunting the online chatrooms, maniacally raving about love and slashing . . . and Shizuo Hiwejima. All these odd and troubling occurrences catch the attention of the black rider–particularly as they involve her friend–and Celty’s investigations turn up even more interesting stories of a demon blade–also going by the name of Saika–that appeared in Shinjuku about a decade before. Now she has to figure out the connections . . . before someone actually gets killed!

What a super-cool, fun manga! The Saika Arc of this manga follows immediately after the first four volumes, titled simply Durarara!!. This arc consists of three volumes and covers the same story as Narita’s second light novel. The manga adaptation is extremely well done. The art is vivid and active, and the characterizations are brilliant. I love this story’s characters: Durarara!! is full of unusual people with unique perspectives on life, and it doesn’t devote itself to just one character. It’s really neat to see the development of the connections between all the individuals who initially appear completely unrelated. Actually, the Saika Arc tends to focus primarily on Anri, Celty, and Shizuo, and it’s great to see the development in these characters. And pretty much everyone else is mixed in at some point anyhow. One last note: I love the humor that’s randomly mixed in, particularly in the parts where Shizuo goes nuts (then is distracted by ramen) and where Celty and Shinra are alone together (their relationship is weird/cute). Durarara!!: Saika Arc is a great manga for anyone who likes a solid, varied story with plenty of action and mystery with some fantasy elements thrown into the mix for fun.

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Durarara!! (Manga)

DRRRStory: Ryohgo Narita/Character Design: Suzuhito Yasuda/Art: Akiyo Satorigi

My rating: 4.5 of 5

Welcome to Ikebukuro, home of crazy otakus, sketchy doctors, sketchier business dealings, information brokers, urban legends . . . and now home to Mikado Ryuugamine. Mikado–just moved in from the suburbs that the urging of his friend Kida–is rapidly immersed in the excitement of the city. And underlying that excitement is the ubiquitous whisper of the rumored color gang “Dollars.”

This manga adaptation of Ryoho Narita’s light novel, Durarara!!, is incredible! The story is dynamic and multi-faceted, the characters are credible and interesting, and the art captures the dynamism of the story with style. I would definitely recommend this manga.

Note: There are currently four volumes of the manga available in English, which covers the story through the end of Narita’s first light novel. (By the way, Narita has favorable words to say of the manga.) It sounds like there won’t be any more manga volumes for now, but I’m holding out hope that they will continue the manga sometime in the future.

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