Book Review: Spice & Wolf Volume 17

Spice & Wolf Volume 17 cover

I hope that everyone is doing well, whether it is back to the monotony of the daily grind or going back to.

Things are going pretty well, especially because I am going to get a chance to see a movie that I was interested in, but was not too sure I could see because of everything that piled up, and it is even better that I can still do the things that I like.

A little while ago, I had gotten four books from Amazon and I have been able to cover each of those titles one at a time until only two remain.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is called Spice & Wolf Volume 17 by Isuna Hasekura.

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

A little over half a decade has past since Holo and Lawrence's journey concluded and they are finally nearing the grand opening of their new establishment, but there are still a few more stories to tell in this collection in five stories.

While I have enjoyed the journey that Spice & Wolf had taken me on, that does not mean that I would be able to enjoy everything in the series.

And, after reading this, I can safely say that this was one of those times where I was rather unimpressed.

Unfortunately, while I would like to give some praises, as I would prefer talking about what was done right and what was done wrong, I have no choice but to what I did in my review of the Yu Yu Hakusho movie and skip right into what I hated.

Unlike many of the volumes in this series, I found myself rather bored to the point where I would have easily put this book, but I did not, because I was hoping that Isuna would turn things around eventually, because I knew that Spice & Wolf was slower paced than the fiction typically published here today.

Reading is supposed to be one of the things that can us to relax after a stressful day, as well as help us escape into another world for only a short while, but when neither a casual nor avid reader cannot be sucked into the world of the story, or, in this case, stories, there is absolutely no way that they can enjoy themselves.

Isuna Hasekura was able to provide this pull so well in previous installments of this series, with only a few exceptions, that he seemed to be a competent writer, as he wrote things in a way that everything was interesting, whether it had to do with the plot or not, and even provided interesting characters.

Here, however, there did not seem to be anything that was able to give me reason to just continue on with reading through the book right then and there.

The worst offender in this whole mess was the actual epilogue story that took up the bulk of the pages in this book.

Now, I am not expecting that there be any development of the characters or anything major to happen, since the main journey concluded back in the previous volume, but I still expected to be engrossed in what was happening, as many of the side story collection released before this were actually fairly enjoyable.

Unfortunately, Isuna Hasekura wrote things in a way that it seemed like he was just done with the series, much like I feel like I am practically done with it, even though I have all the way up to volume 18 right now, and will probably read it to finally finish things off, as opposed to reading it because I want to.

This is not something a writer should ever do because readers do not like it and they can tell how much a writer invested themselves in a work, beyond any research material that they could provide, and Isuna should be ashamed of himself.

Right now, this installment just seems like it is milking a series that some many people, including myself enjoyed, much like how Toei Animation tried to milk the Dragon Ball series by making Dragon Ball GT.

If things are just going to be like this, I hope that Yen Press will never translate volume 19, because this is an excellent illustration of why things should not be stretched out beyond where a series ended perfectly.

Hopefully, the next volume drastically improves things from here, because it just feel like I wasted my time.

I also hated how there did not seem to be anything all that funny.

While the humor found in the Spice & Wolf series is present enough that it would grow reasonably stale, seeing as it is not that unique compared to anime and manga in general, aside from the fact that there is not that much fan service, Isuna Hasekura executed things well enough that it helped make the world feel much more lively and likable, as well as generate a few chuckles.

Here, however, nothing felt remotely funny to me, whether it was the usual teasing or bantering or something else. In fact, it felt more like it was, as Mark Twain in chapter 16 of Roughing It called the well known religious text that my church believes came from God, “chloroform in print.”

The anime adaptations of this series may not have been that funny, in spite of including some of the same scenes the books had, but the humor is supposed to be one of the biggest draws for this series, and seeing that the epilogue for the series itself lacks this makes me really disappointed to the point where I feel like doing what Kuwabara did during Yusuke's wake in Yu Yu Hakusho.

What is going on, Isuna? Not only have you failed to deliver in one aspect that made this series so great, but you even failed deliver the other thing that made this series so good to begin with?

Seriously, it is no wonder that I did not like the World End Economica series if this is how Spice & Wolf will officially end, because it makes Isuna look like a joke, when I actually thought he was good.

Please, Isuna, do not deliver something as terrible this in Wolf & Parchment, because I do not want to believe you have already reached your peak in the course of only one series, even if I do have to remind myself that Nobuhiro Watsuki did not seem to make anything decent after completing Rurouni Kenshin.

The thing that I hated the most though was how reading this felt more like a chore.

When a person reads a story, they expect to have fun more than anything else, which is probably why fiction today is so awful in the story department, and when they have fun, that encourages them to read more and helps to lower the amount of stress they have.

This fun factor is created when everything that Spice & Wolf had in the beginning, or, in the case of fast paced series, an interesting plot and having more focus on the plot, in addition to some humorous moments, which makes the reader feel like they the time they spent was worth it.

However, when readers do not feel like they are having fun, it feels like the book is just more work, and it helps make the problem of people not reading enough much worse, seeing as we are trying to get our youth to read more books, which ultimately leads to publishers and writers losing money.

After all, would anybody buy a book from a writer whose work did not entertain them? I sure would not.

If this is really going to be what Isuna delivers in future works, then Isuna should not be earning a dime, because he is not delivering what readers want, and he should feel more ashamed for what he delivered here.

Thankfully, these were the only things that bothered me, aside from things too minor to talk about, such as typos, and one thing that was only an issue in a few stories, so I do not have to continue my tirade on a series that I grew to like because of the books.

Because the book failed to capture my attention and hold it all the way through, the humor was absent, and it just was not a fun read, this was one of the worse installments of the Spice & Wolf series I have read, if not one of the worse books I have ever read.

Considering that there was so much wrong with this book, even though I wanted to like it, this was a complete waste of time.

I recommend everyone, regardless of whether they are Spice & Wolf fans or not, avoid this book like the plague, as the heart of the series just does not seem to be there and Isuna Hasekura did not appear to put in any effort, but you are certainly free to try it and make a decision for yourself.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or, if you want to check out it for yourself, to see whether I was right about it or not, buying the reviewed title from Amazon, so that I can find more worthwhile reads for you guys.

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.