Book Review: Spice & Wolf Volume 11

July 2, 2017

Spice & Wolf Volume 11 cover

I hope that everyone is doing well, and that the US visitors
are getting their plans ironed out.

Things are going fairly well, though my schedule did get
messed up a bit, and I am glad that I can still do what I like to do.

Recently, I had gotten three books from Amazon, thanks to
some credit that I recently received, and each one has been covered until only
one remains.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called Spice & Wolf Volume 11 by Isuna Hasekura.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier
post
, I will not go over it again.

Holo and Lawrence are still on a journey to find Yoitsu, and
the two continue to enjoy themselves they at few stops.

However, the duo are not the only ones who have experienced
hardships, as an acquaintance they have yet to encounter has been push to the
extreme limits, and it is time to explore these times of peaceful and strife in
three different stories.

While Spice & Wolf has been a fairly enjoyable
throughout my time reading it, there have been times where I have been rather
disappoint, and it almost made me want to give up on the series.

However, after reading this book, I can say that I kind of
liked it.

From the moment that I opened up and started reading this
book, I did not feel like putting it down for any reason, though I do have to
satisfy the same needs as every other human being.

In the previous
volume
, which was part of the main storyline, Isuna Hasekura really let me
down best the way he wrote the did not really grab my attention as quickly and
held it for as long as he had done in many of the earlier installments,
especially the sixth
book
, and it made me wonder if he had really lost his ability to pen a
decent story, which in turn made me consider dropping this series.

Here, however, he was able to weave together three separate tales
that had me engrossed from beginning to end, though not quite to the extent
that he was able to capture my interest in the series when I decided to check
it back towards the end of February, and it showed me that Isuna was really
capable of creating something decent.

Spice & Wolf is pretty slow paced series, as many
of its fans would acknowledge, and the key to being able to write a good, slow
paced story is to make both the events important to the plot and the mundane
stuff to be able to suck the reader in and keep there, and even though most, if
not all, of the stories were not really important to the plot overall, Isuna
Hasekura was able to make all of the mundane stuff so enjoyable to the point
where I actually got to relax from my thoughts of disappointment that occurred
because the last volume.

This is how side stories should be written, and it makes me
glad that I did not decide to make this the book that would determine whether
or not I would continue on with the series, since side stories are not really
supposed to add to the plot, or even mess it up.

If Isuna can deliver this well on the future installments of
this series, I have no doubt that it would deserve to be one of those series
that people look back at as fondly as the days our elders remember, because it
would not have truly wasted my time, even if there were a few volumes mixed in
that were not so great.

Unfortunately, because we are human, it is not really
possible to continue churning out gold, so I should just be glad that Isuna has
not gotten to the point where even his side stories are as mediocre as the
previous volume was for me.

I also liked how Eve had gotten a backstory that made me
feel a bit more compassion for her.

Back when she was introduced in volume
5
, I did not really like her too much because she seemed to have that
swindler kind of vibe that made me wish that Holo and Lawrence would stop
whatever she was scheming, and her appearances in volumes 8
and 9
did not change that much, though I did come out of it hating her a bit less.

If I had to say why, she did not come off so well, it was
because she was not fleshed out well and she just came off as yet another enemy
for Lawrence and Holo to defeat, with what little that was revealed about her
not really impressing me.

Now, a good story does not necessarily need likable
characters to be good, seeing as how Tanya Degurechaff from Saga
of Tanya the Evil
has not that likable, yet still helped to make things
that much more enjoyable, but the characters themselves must still be more
interesting than an expert schemer, and that was how Eve seemed to be in my
eyes, so I was not initially too interested in seeing what her backstory was.

Here, however, Eve actually came off as a person that had her
own struggles, and because Isuna showed how she went from a bit of an amateur
merchant, unaware of the importance of doubting people, to the cold woman is
willing to betray others made me sympathize a bit with her because everyone usually
starts out as mostly good and innocent when they come into world and then
eventually become the unlikable individual that they came to be.

If Isuna had not written this story, Eve would have remained
as a character that I wish were just another character that only showed up for
one book and disappeared, just like so many others, thus making the whole
search for wolf bones being nonexistent.

But because Isuna did end up writing a story about her, I
now kind of wish to see more of her, instead of a story featuring Col, which I
am hoping that Isuna Hasekura does not turn into a Lawrence knockoff in the series
Wolf and Parchment, which Yen Press will
release in November, and I actually feel like giving him a bit of applause for
making Eve a bit more likable.

Another thing that was nice about this volume was how I was
able to get a laugh.

While the previous volume did disappoint me in the fact that
I could not become engrossed in the story as much as I would have like, its
worst problem was there was hardly anything to laugh about.

Now, some of you guys would probably say that this is normal
because can the things that used to be funny can grow stale, much like how the
humor in Detective Conan has become stale, but one of the charms of this
series was how the comedic moments found in this series actually seemed to be
funny, even though it was not exactly unique, and it helped to make the series
that much more interesting when nothing was really happening.

Isuna completely forgot about the comedy aspect in the last
volume, and led to me being much bored with it than I have ever been with the
novels in this series.

However, in this volume, there were quite a few comedic
moments that were executed so well that I actually felt like laughing, and it
helped to make me forget how dull the last book in this series was, which makes
me want to give Isuna a good round of applause.

This is what I wanted to see from this series, and Isuna was
able finally to deliver.

If the humor stays this good, I might actually be willing to
continue on with this series beyond a few more installments in the main
storyline, as it would make the series worth following.

Then again, Isuna Hasekura is human, and not everything that
he writes would as hilarious as he was able to write before, otherwise World
End Economica
would have been much more impressive than it was, so all I
can do is just hope that the next few volumes can turn things around.

The thing that I liked the most though was how this book
just seemed like it was a fun read.

Even though many people do reading for an income, either to
do reviews or editing and proofreading, everyone wants to be able to sit down
and just be able to enjoy the ride that the work is promising to take them on,
and it makes the read feel less like work or a chore than many works of fiction
come out today.

Here, everything comes together so well that I actually felt
like I was reading the stories in this book because I wanted to see how things
would play out, instead of reading just to get things over and done with, like
I expected to feel from Isuna Hasekura's previous installment in the series,
and it made the whole experience that much more enjoyable.

After all, I doubt that anybody would want to read anything
as boring as a book they were made to read back when they were in school,
because it reinforces the thinking that reading a book is boring, and there are
already people complaining about how the younger generations do not read
enough.

If enough readers do not feel like they are having fun by
reading a certain work, the fault lies more with the writer's inability to put
any effort into their work or that they were not particularly enjoying their
time writing the book, and it will lead them to lose readership, which is
something writers and publishers do want to see happening.

However, if a reader feels like they are having fun while
reading a work, they would probably be much more willing to overlook a few of
the problems that may exist, and it seems like Isuna really seems to understand
this.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else
that I particularly liked, at least that could be talked about on its own.

Because my interest was captured and held quite well, as
things felt like they were better written, I was able to feel a bit more
sympathy for Eve because she seemed more like a human in the backstory that was
told, and I was able to get a laugh, as well as the fact that I actually felt
like I was having fun reading this, this was a fairly decent book.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
nothing really bothered me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth
mentioning.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like, even those
this book only had side stories, this was definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of Spice & Wolf,
as they will be able to enjoy this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but
the fact that these are side stories probably will not give a good impression
of the series.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on Patreon or buy the reviewed title from Amazon, so that I can continue following this
series a bit longer and possibly find more worthwhile reads for you guys, and
do whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

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