Baccano!, Vol. 1: The Rolling Bootlegs - light novel

by Ryohgo Narita | Science Fiction & Fantasy |
ISBN: 0316270369 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 7/14/2017
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, July 14, 2017
I adored the anime series based on these light novels, and was delighted when the novels started to appear in English translation. Got this hardcover, the first in the series, at Barnes and Noble.

I do have one quibble with this edition: the full-color art pages up front, in which we get a glimpse of the key characters, are rendered such that the text often doesn't show up well against the colorful background. It's not a horrible omission story-wise, but it frustrates me that nobody paid attention to the tiny "can they read this?" detail. But most of the book is text, with a few black-and-white illustrations, so the problem's limited to the intro.

The story opens with a modern-day photographer having his camera stolen by street kids, and falling into conversation with a cheerful young man who offers to help him get it back. While waiting, the stranger tells him a story - and we're into the book proper. Seems these early-18th-century alchemists summoned a demon and gained immortality - but one of them wanted the secret for himself while the wisest wanted to quash it, and warfare ensued. Jump to the 1930s in mid-Prohibition New York, where rival gangs cross paths with the immortals - and with a quirky duo of thieves (though they're more like performance artists) whose bumbling interference tweaks events in a new direction.

Part of the story focuses on one gang, whose top accountant/counselor Maiza (my favorite character in the series: competent, quiet, usually cheerful, loyal to his friends, absolutely deadly in a fight) is telling his young apprentice Firo that Firo's due to be indoctrinated into the gang. Firo's delighted about this, especially when they go out to buy him his first hat (hats are important in the 1930s) - and then they run into these weird people, and Firo falls for an odd young woman in a man's suit who's the chauffeur of an even weirder old man, and then there's a mixup with bootleg liquor and secret potion, and...

Well, it's complicated, and fast-moving, sometimes violent, often very funny - a lot of fun. Though I admit that it helped to have seen the anime, which gave me faces and voices for the characters - and some insight into the convoluted plot and sometimes-asynchronous storytelling. Still, this was a fun read, and I look forward to more in the series.

[There's a TV Tropes page on the series and adaptations, with some entertaining tidbits.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, July 15, 2017

Released 1 yr ago (7/17/2017 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

I'm putting this into the Otherworldly bookbox, which will be on its way to its next stop soon. Enjoy!

*** Released for the 2017 TV Series release challenge. ***

Journal Entry 3 by emmejo at Trumansburg, New York USA on Thursday, October 05, 2017
This book rode to the end of the Otherworldly Book box. I've only seen a couple episodes of the anime show, but I'm curious to give this novel a go.

Journal Entry 4 by emmejo at Trumansburg, New York USA on Thursday, December 07, 2017
This book was enjoyable enough for a one-time read, but I didn't finish with any desire to read the rest of the series. The framing story is clever, featuring a photographer who has his camera stolen and ends up meeting Firo in the modern day, so the entire story is given a slightly nostalgic air. There are some interesting characters and the setting is a very creative for a fantasy tale, but despite its elaborate convolutions, most of the plot didn't really grab me. I also didn't really care for some of the translation choices. I think they were trying to stick close to the wording of the original Japanese, but it came at the cost of some of the intended effects. In intense, heat-of-the-moment scenes, sometimes an exacting word-for-word translation with phonetic versions of sound effects just gets in the way of the story.

Journal Entry 5 by emmejo at Trumansburg, New York USA on Thursday, December 28, 2017

Released 1 yr ago (12/28/2017 UTC) at Trumansburg, New York USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Added to the Magical Beasties box

Journal Entry 6 by imawinn2 at Neenah, Wisconsin USA on Thursday, April 12, 2018
This book was in my Box Full of Magical, Mystical Stories and Dangerous Beasties bookbox. Thanks for sending it my way.

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