Book Review: Spice & Wolf Volume 15

Spice & Wolf Volume 15 cover

I hope everyone is having a good weekend, or had a good weekend, and are getting ready to continue dealing with the daily monotony.

Though my break was not exactly as good or as long as I thought it would be, since I was not planning to post anything until the last of my July preorders arrived, things have still been going fairly well, and I can continue doing what I like without being stressed.

Recently, I received Amazon credit for helping somebody out, and I decided to get the last four titles in a series I decided to follow this year, which ultimately led to the shortening my break.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is called Spice & Wolf Volume 15 by Isuna Hasekura.

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

Having parted ways with friends and comrades, Lawrence and Holo head out to Lesko in search of a mercenary band named after a wolf Holo knew back in Yoitsu, so that they can get information.

However, when the duo arrives in the town, things seem to be too prosperous and lively from what they have been told, with an exchange rate of only a few silver trenni for one gold lumione and other strange mysteries, and Lawrence is now determined to find out what the Debau Company is really scheming, so that Holo's homeland will not be brought to ruin.

I must say, I really impressed with this book.

Like many of the other previous installments in this series, I did not want to put this down for any reason the moment that I opened up and started reading this book, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as every other human.

While Isuna Hasekura has not been able to get me engrossed in every installment of the series, seeing as the tenth book was complete let down and the sixth book should have just been merged with the previous installment, things have really picked up in the final third of the series to the point where I reminded of how Isuna had done such a great job of pulling me into the world of his story.

Readers read things for various reasons, whether that be for a temporary escape from reality or to learn something, and, regardless of what kind of work is being read, they want to be able to lose themselves enough that they practically forget about everything else around them, which is accomplished via many different methods, depending on genre and whether the work is fast or slow paced.

However, the most important thing for a work of fiction is that an audience is not dropped right into the middle of a plot, as readers want and need to know exactly who the characters are that they are following, as well as need to detail to start picturing what is going on, and Isuna Hasekura has been able to understand this quite well throughout the fifteen books that I have read from him so far, which shows that he still deserves the kind of recognition he got for writing the first book in this series.

If he was not able to do this, even now, I would have disavowed myself of this series, because it would not have deserved the praises that it gets to this day.

Thankfully, he did not disappoint me in aspect of creating a good story, and it makes me want to give him a good round of applause.

Hopefully, the final three books in this series can keep this part of the series alive, otherwise it will not be able to end on the high note that it deserves to end on.

I also liked how the text read quite smoothly in this volume.

Even though I do give a bit a leeway to writers a few areas, because I actually wrote my own stories once and am well aware that they are not perfect, with one of them receiving the low rating I expected it to receive, there are moments when those issues that I can normally overlook become real problems, such as when Weston Kincade and those that helped him proofread and edit his work seemingly forgot that none of the characters present at the time in Invisible Dawn were female.

Back in my review of the previous volume, I noted that he typos present were bordering a level of which that I almost could not overlook it, though I did let it slide because it was not that abundant, and it made me wonder if the staff that Yen Press had working on this series were truly competent enough to handle this series the way it should be, as their responsibility in translating the Spice & Wolf so that the voice of the writer could be heard by those that could not speak Japanese and deliver the same story, and some typos tend to be more problematic than others.

Here, however, I hardly noticed any major typos that gave me troubles in being able to read this book all the way through.

Some people may expect a book they by to have perfect grammar and spelling, but all readers really want is to be able to read a good story without having any major slip ups, and Yen Press was finally able to do that, especially considering how I have come across one individual that was less forgiving of these mistakes than I am.

If they were not able to deliver this much and things had only gotten worse, I probably would have ripped them a new one like I did in my review of Judge Volume 6, which omitted content that had been published elsewhere.

Fortunately, they seemed to have actually done a much better job in the proofreading and editing department, I feel like giving them as much applause as I did after reading their translation of the first book in the series.

Hopefully, things do not get any worse in the final three volumes because they have been able to provide fairly good translations, though I cannot guarantee that they are accurate as I cannot read the original Japanese releases for reasons other than money problems, but because they are only human, I would not be surprised if they let me down.

Another nice thing I liked was how there were things that made me chuckle a bit.

While the comedic moments found this volume were not really that different from what could be found in other installments in this series, or even anime and manga in general, Isuna was able to execute things well enough that I could still get a chuckle out of things and things still came off as lively as I expected them to be.

As many fans of the series know, Spice & Wolf is not is known as a series that is fast paced, which may turn off quite a few people, and because of its relatively slow pacing, especially considering that it took fifteen books, twelve if you do not want to count the side story collections, for Holo and Lawrence to find the exact location of Yoistu, the characters and world needs to feel alive and interesting and comedic moments help to give a story that intriguing factor that many books published where I live seem to lack.

If Isuna had forgotten this aspect, I would have been willing to just stop reading the series right here and now, because the final books in a series need to keep a reader engaged right up until the end, and things would have ended up being as bad as A Certain Magical Index.

Thankfully, he did not do as something as terrible as what he delivered back in the tenth book, and it makes me want to continue reading this series, which deserves quite a bit of applause.

The thing that I liked the most though was how this book ended.

Throughout my time reading this, I thought that I had finally reached the end of the series, even though I knew from looking through a few things that there was one more book in the main storyline, and that Lawrence and Holo finally got their happy ending at last, as Lawrence finally got a shop and they already knew how the other felt about them to the point where I did not really care what happened next.

However, since I knew beforehand that there were at least 18 volumes, especially since I do not know if Yen Press will release volume 19, I was not really seeing how there could be three more books to be seen, as most things had been wrapped up, but just when things have finally come to an end, a familiar face seemed to show up, and this development made me want to read the last volume of the main storyline right now, which would not be difficult, now that I do have the last four volumes that Yen Press released.

If Isuna had not ended things like this, I would have been disappointed as this did not seem like a two part story like the events in Kerube back in volumes 8 and 9, which would have made it look like that he and his publisher were milking this series as much as Toei Animation tried milking the Dragon Ball series once DBZ ended by making this series longer.

Thankfully, Isuna Hasekura did not make a possible part two as pointless as I thought it would be, though the events of the next volume may just turn out to be as unnecessary as the sixth book was, since there were not really that things of great significance that happened it this volume, which makes me want to give him some bit of applause.

Hopefully, the next volume is not as pointless as volume 6, because fans of the series do not want to have their time wasted, much like how fans of the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres do not want to have their time wasted by dull cases and heists, and that would only make the series look worse than I would have wanted it to be.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could stand out as much as what did stand out.

Because the book captured and held my attention quite well, especially in the humorous moments, Yen Press seemed to step things up enough where I would not have to start complaining about things I usually overlook, and that the book ended in a way that a part two would not feel as useless as an earlier installment in the Spice & Wolf series, this was a fairly decent read.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from issues too minor to talk about, such as typos, which I already stated were no longer bordering on a level to where I cannot overlook them, nothing really seemed to bother 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, especially because typos were not as problematic as the last book, this was definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of Spice & Wolf, as they will like this the most and it is the penultimate volume in the main storyline.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but I would suggest reading at least the other twelve books in the main storyline first, so that things would make a bit more sense.

If you liked the review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or buying the reviewed title from Amazon, so that I can find more worthwhile reads for you guys, and doing whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

Use an app on your phone (e.g. Scan for Android) to capture the image above. If successful, you should be taken to the web version of this article.

Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.