Kino no Tabi Volume 1: Book one of THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD (v. 1)

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9781598164558: Kino no Tabi Volume 1: Book one of THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD (v. 1)
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Kino, a girl with an anthropomorphic motorcycle named Hermes, travels from country to country, staying only three days in each, absorbing the great good and horrible ugliness of each part of the world.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 8 Up–This strange but interesting novel began as a serial in a Japanese magazine, became a popular book series, and spawned an animated TV series and a video game as well. The story begins with a traveling stranger and the girl whom he befriends. Her community requires that all 12-year-olds undergo surgery to make them into adults who will work at their assigned jobs without complaint. When the stranger questions this tradition, the girl's parents kill him. She takes his name, Kino, and his talking motorcycle, Hermes, and escapes–becoming a traveler herself and visiting several dystopian communities. In one, people have taken medicine that allows them to read the thoughts of others, with predictably bad results. In another, political revolutionaries kill anyone who dissents, leaving few inhabitants still alive. Often, the setup seems artificial–Kino's travels are simply a device to move from one disastrous society to another–and wherever she arrives, she finds an eager guide ready to narrate the history of the community. There are also occasional references to events that are not described in the novel, making the story disjointed. Fans of anime and manga might not find these omissions troubling, but if they are hoping for action, they will be disappointed. Black-and-white illustrations between chapters add to the manga feel. Teens with an interest in politics and philosophy will probably enjoy this story. Others may find it puzzling, but also intriguing and unpredictable.–Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library
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