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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Good Reads - Death Note

Title: Death Note
Author: Tsugumi Ohba

While graphic novels in general and manga in particular get a bad rap for being kiddie books, Death Note is anything but. This 12-book series follows Light, a high school student in Japan who is preparing for college. He discovers a notebook called a Death Note, which enables to finder to kill anyone that has their name written in it. Light decides to use the Death Note to purge the world of evil criminals and make the world better, so he begins to use the book to make his plan a reality. Soon, the police begin investigating the deaths and bring in their top detective, a man known only as L. As the story moves along, the tension increases as Light and L try to outwit each other – L trying to catch Light; Light trying to kill L.

Death Note is a complex story, full of twists and turns that keep you turning the page to find out what happens next. Things move quickly and call on Japanese mythology to tell the story, relying on shinigami (gods of death) as key figures who set things in motion and get directly involved in the action. Obviously, with a premise based on a book that kills people, there is no shortage of character deaths and quite a bit of moral ambiguity towards killing, so this in not a kiddie book by any means. Despite being in a graphic format, Death Note best suited for more mature teens.

Death Note vol. 1-12 are located in YA non-fiction: 741.5973 Ohba

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