I finished the Contraband arc of Liar Game. It ended pretty strongly with a equal mixture of success and failure for our main characters. I really liked that it was neither a total victory nor a total loss. Nao and Shinichi are definitely in a tight spot going into the next round but they did much of what they needed to do. Liar Game stays a smart series that challengers the reader but does not pull its plot twists out of thin air. How the game works and how the characters pull off their schemes are set up before the reveals are given. A clever person could probably figure out the answers in advance. Norihiko Yokoya has obviously been set up as a reoccurring villain which is the first in the series. Nao is still oscillating between being girl-who-needs-to-be-saved and Shinichi’s partner but at least her character is growing. I am hoping by the end she will have her own unique perception and tactics. I am a little surprised that Fukunaga is staying on as an important side character.
Picked up Key to the Kingdom a while back but just started reading it. So far books one and two have impressed me, it is a wonderfully put together shojo fantasy. We start with Asta, the youngest prince, who has no desire to rule nor to hold a sword. So when the country’s rule lies in the hands of whoever can find the “key to the kingdom” it seems he will be free of such troubles. However, fate has other things in store as Badd, a retainer, drags him into looking for clues to its whereabouts. When a Dragon Man appears on their path it becomes clear that everything is not as it seems. A diverse cast emerges along the road as Asta resists but gets caught up in the complexity of the country’s history. There are many things going in this story including action, politics, mystery, and love. I was surprised that the series is only six years old because the art certainly has a late-80’s or mid-90’s feel to it. A great start to the series, highly recommended!