I hope that everyone is having a good week, and coping well with the return of the monotony of everyday life.
Things have still been going fairly well, as I can still do the things that I enjoy.
Recently, I had used some credit I got for Amazon to buy two books that had been released before the new year, and one of them have already been covered.
Today, I will be reviewing the last remaining title, which is called Love & Lies Volume 3 by Musawo.
As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
Yukari and the others have come back from the camping trip and things seem to be a bit different, as Misaki is now avoiding Yukari for reasons he does not realize, and Lilina seems to be having struggles of her own, as she is still determined to get Yukari and Misaki together.
However, when Yukari receives a government notice about a special course, things become worse for Yukari when an incident at the course causes Lilina to avoid him as well, and somebody reveals that he knows the situation that Yukari is currently in.
With how this series went from being generic to something that might have a unique vibe and then back to being generic, I was not too sure that I should really make myself suffer any more, but I did say that I would check out three volumes of this series, to see if it could impress me.
And after reading this, I can say that it was okay.
From the moment that I opened up this book and started reading it, I kind of felt like I wanted to keep on reading, though not to the point where I did not want to put it down for any reason.
While this series does have a big problem of it feeling like the most generic and clichéd series out there, especially considering that the first two installments alone made me feel like I was reading through something that I had read a countless number of times, Musawo has been able to write and illustrate things in a way that does not completely turn off her audience from only the first few pages, as she knows when things need to go slow and when things can go fast.
In a work of fiction, there are many things that can contribute to how well a reader can become absorbed into a work, such as the writing style, how it flows, and how well the audience can create images in their mind, and the way those things can be brought into a work can differ depending on the genre and medium, but what really helps is when the pacing needs to be changed from fast to slow or vice versa.
In the case of this volume, it starts off in a way that I could have become just as engrossed with it as I was back with the previous volumes, even with their imperfection, but it ends up only being an okay beginning because I was more of wondering what the aftermath of the events were of the previous volume than wanting to see a new day, though it ended in a way that it would have been best to start the next chapter on another day, like the first chapter of this volume did.
If it had started out the way I would have wanted it to, I might have been a little happy, but it would still be bothersome because Musawo and the editors helping her make the series as good and pleasing for her target audience would have been ignoring how the story was flowing, thus creating yet another issue nobody should have to deal with when reading a work of fiction, in addition to being a work that has no feeling of originality, regardless of whether or not it was truly an original work.
Thankfully, Musawo and everyone involved in bringing this series to world did not do that, so I can at least give them a passing grade.
Hopefully, things will improve more as the series goes on, but I most likely will ever know, since the problem that existed in the last two volumes did not make it so that I would want to explore this series any further.
I also kind of liked the humor.
While it was once again something that was not unique, when compared to anime and magna in general, things were still executed well enough that I was able to get some chuckles out of it.
One of the biggest problems with many works of fiction, especially those that are published where I live, a country that houses some of the most well-known writers in the world, though I would not say all of them deserve the recognition that they get, is that they do not really have a lively atmosphere or characters that seem to be interesting, and this prevents many readers from actually being able to enjoy the work, as the readers read in order to have a fun time.
However, in this series, a series that has been plagued with the feeling of being unoriginal, the one thing that I could really look forward is being able to get a good chuckle out of it, and those moments do help to give this series some sort of lively atmosphere, as well as make for interesting moments to see play out.
If these moments were not present in this volume, I would have been severely disappointed and truly regretted reading this volume, and much more so than I did when I noticed how this series once again had that feeling of being generic and cliché that it did when it first started.
Fortunately, Musawo did not forget that, which makes me feel like giving her a good round of applause for once.
Hopefully, the humor will continue making it possible for fans of the series to continue enjoying it, but seeing as how the series has a vibe of being something that has been done so many times before, I suspect that it will not be long before even the humor becomes lackluster.
The thing that I liked most though was how it showed how things can be so complicated.
One of the biggest problems I have with anime and manga, especially series that have a heavy focus upon romance, is how characters seem to have no problem helping their friends hook up with they one they like, and, in many cases, they get over it relatively quickly, if we even get a clue that the character does have feelings for the person they are helping.
Yes, this is not a problem all anime or all mange have, since we get to see a few times that characters are struggling not to give into their selfish desires, but they still are not great because that is where things end, and makes it seem like we are rational creatures who can easily accept that our strong feelings towards somebody are not reciprocated or be able to accept how we really feel about people, which makes it hard for the reader to be able to sympathize, unless they put themselves in the shoes of that character in the same way that parents try to make their child not be so selfish, which is flawed because one would be seeing themselves as they are now, instead of really understanding the character.
Here, however, with the exception of Nisaka, who remains mysterious, I felt like I could understand what each character was going through, at least some of the time.
Seeing as this a romance series where there is a kind of conflict between wanting to be with the person one likes and marrying somebody that one is expected to marry, there is some complications that come up, and if the reactions, thoughts, and/or dreams of the characters were not presented, things would not seem to be very believable or enjoyable, because the reader would not be getting the same experience as the characters and would have made this series terrible enough to not even bring out one of the biggest benefits fiction has over other kinds of written works of television shows or movies, which is a way to really be able to learn about how humans work psychologically, as well as to be able to see things from different perspectives.
Thankfully, Musawo remembered that arranged marriages were the biggest obstacle for the characters to truly become happy, and decided to cover how feelings and wanting to do the right thing could complicate things, which makes me want to give her another good round applause.
Hopefully, this aspect of the series does not disappear entirely, because it is one of the best ways to give a romance series what it needs, though it will not guarantee that it will have what every work of fiction needs to be considered good.
Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that stood out as much as what I talked about and could not be shoehorned into those very same things that were nice about the book.
Because my attention was capture really quickly, though not as well as past installment, the humor did not start to feel as generic as the series has been feeling ever since the first two volumes, as I was able to get some chuckles, and that the characters are having troubles sorting their feelings, which I felt like I could sympathize with, this was a fairly decent read.
Although I liked a few things about this book, there are some issues.
However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, and a problem that are reared its head in the first two volumes, there was only one thing that bothered me.
Things were rather predictable.
Even though it is possible for things to be predictable, yet still enjoyable, though most people associate being predictable as a negative rather than a positive, readers want to be surprised and say that they never saw something coming, whether it is because the series it took a turn nobody saw coming or that scenario was so obvious or likely that they did not think it would happen, which is something that is likely to occur in the detective, mystery, crime, and thriller genres of fiction, because that helps a work give a reader the impression that a work is different from everything else out.
Unfortunately, in the case of this volume, predictable is more on the negative side of things, because of the fact that this series has already been established as a series that is just more of the same, even with an arranged marriage situation that has a basis in science, in the first two volumes, which should be giving readers a reason to follow the creator's work.
From the way things were set up, I already had a good idea that Yukari would end up with Masaki and that there would be problems, with how well Yukari and Lilina got along from the moment they first talked, but those were at a level of predictability that I could somewhat live with, as this is considered a romance and I never really expected it to get any worse in this area, though I should have with lack of feeling that this was any different from other series.
However, it did manage to get worse, by having somebody suddenly coming onto the scene that knows Yukari has feelings for somebody other than Lilies, his assigned partner.
Seeing as there are arranged marriages decided by the government, it would make sense that there are people in the agency that would know who each child is infatuated with, but anybody could seeing this happening and how the guy seems to influence Yukari to do what he did during the special course could also be seen from a mile away, since it has been stated that these arranged marriages came about to stop the declining birth rates.
Really, Musawo? Is this how to do a great romance?
Fans of romance works might not be as bothered by predictability as fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction, as they tend to read to experience the thrill of romantic moments, which means who the how romance plays out it more important than what is obvious, but I think that even they would be annoyed if things went as predicted way too often, because that would make every relationship seem like it is the same for everyone, when each relationship is as different as each individual, with the main thing in common being how the two get to be so close.
Still, I wish that things did not happen as I expected, and now that things have become predictable, I am even less inclined to give this series any more attention than I already have.
Maybe, things will improve later on in the series and that light that fans of the series see, and I wanted to see from the very beginning, may finally make itself known, but I am done with this series, as none of us have enough time on this planet to give all works of fiction enough time to become good.
Thankfully, this was the only thing that really bothered me, so I do not have to rip into the series any further.
While there was only one issue, and it was not as bad as the one that presented itself in the previous two installments, it was still bad enough to make it so that I could not enjoy things as much as I wish I could have.
Despite the fact that there was more to like than hate, the fact that only a few positives earned some applause and things that mattered were either okay and the negative turned me off of the series made this only good enough to kill time.
I mainly recommend this to fans of Love & Lies, as they will like this the most.
As for everyone else, you are still free to check this out, but I doubt it will amaze you, due to how the series became a bit predictable, so I suggest avoiding this series like the plague instead.
If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or, if you want to see if you agree with me or not, buy a copy of the reviewed title from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can find more worthwhile reads for you guys.
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