Book Review: Spice & Wolf Volume 2

March 2, 2017

Spice & Wolf Volume 2 cover

What a week, huh?

If you thought that people like me had things easy, you would be dead wrong, because I planned to complete the three remaining titles from my Amazon order a bit quicker than this, but other people ended up being a bother.

Fortunately, things did not hold me back too much, and I finally got time to sit down and get cracking on the those last few titles, of which only two remain.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those books, which is Spice & Wolf Volume 2 by Isuna Hasekura.

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

After the Pazzio incident was resolved, Lawrence and Holo continue their journey to return Holo to Yoitsu, while making sure that they have the money supplies that they need.

However, after exchange their earnings for sets of armor and other merchandise, Lawrence finds out that he had been had because the armor was not worth as much as it used be and the trading company that took over his debt from the original creditor is demanding payment, but in order to pay back the debt in time, Lawrence is going to have to take a risking gamble in which betrayal may likely happen.

While the first book of the series really impressed, unlike the first book of A Certain Magical Index, even if it was more impressive than the anime adaptations, it does not mean that I would like the other books in the series, especially considering how often sequels let people down.

Fortunately, after reading this, I can say that I really liked this.

From the moment that I opened that I opened up and started reading this book, I did not want to put this book down for any reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs every human being has.

By now, many should be aware that I do not give this away so easily because there are a few recent titles that were not able to hold my attention for too long, such as The Whistler and A Certain Magical Index Volume 9, and Isuna Hasekura has definitely shown that he can write relatively well in his debut novel.

However, the standard of quality that he demonstrated in the previous volume had me worried that he would be able to maintain the greatest, because it is hard to be able to make the dullest moments interesting multiple books in a row.

After all, I have said time and again that anything created by man is not perfect and that we cannot continually deliver gold, which is why I openly admit that there may be some issues, even when there is nothing for me to really complain about.

Fortunately, the performance delivered by Isuna Hasekura in the last book was not a complete fluke because both the things that could be considered dull and the things that should have been interesting were fairly interesting in this volume as well, though I am not too sure if I can put it on the same level as the last book.

If Isuna had taken a huge nosedive, I would have been ashamed of myself for propping up this series, as readers do not necessarily enjoy flukes, even if it is better than a series that a small group people claim is superior to a spinoff that explains things that should have been explained in the parent series.

Readers want to see their favorite writers improve with each work, or at least provide roughly the same kind of quality as their last title, and Isuna was able to deliver, which makes me want to give him some applause.

Hopefully, the next book, which seems to be the beginning of the content from the second season of the anime, since this book concludes the events of the first season, according to info about the last few episodes from the Spice & Wolf wiki, will be able to fully impress me, otherwise there would be no point in getting the rest of the series.

I also liked how there were a few things to laugh about.

Back when I watched the anime, I was kind of bored of out my mind because the humor found in it was not only the same kind of humor that is generally found in anime and manga but it did not seem to be handled properly at all, whereas the same events in the first book actually came off as funny because the humor was handled correctly.

Yes, not everyone will find the same things funny that one claims is funny, especially considering how I did not laugh about the so-called humorous moment of Rewrite episode 10, but even those that do normally find certain things funny will generally only laugh when it is done right, at least when they have watched and read at least as many anime and manga as I have.

In this volume, Isuna once again does a great job with making his humor not feel out-of-place and actually makes it seem quite funny, such as when Lawrence has a meeting with his new creditor and a few other things that just more of the usual for this series.

Seriously, if more people the Japanese industry would take notes from Isuna and other creators who know how to make sure that their comedy does not overshadow the real story of a work, I think that I would be able to laugh along with more anime and manga.

Unfortunately, I do not see a day where Japanese entertainment will not take things too far, such as how Kuroko's antics are more annoying in the A Certain Scientific Railgun anime than they are in the original manga, so all I can do is just hope that the tastes of the people in Japan improve to the point where series that deserve acclaim get it, much like how I would prefer it if The New York Times and other big name reviewers did not put works like The Whistler and The Book Thief on pedestal.

Still, that does not mean that Isuna should not be praised for at least finding his stride so early on in his writing career, and that gives me more series to continue on with this series than Kazuma Kamachi gave me to continue reading A Certain Magical Index prior to the Sisters arc. Keep up the good work, Isuna.

Another nice thing about this book was how I did not know what to expect, or even could not predict what would happen.

Yes, one could guess that Holo and Lawrence would pull through somehow, since this series is comprised of more than 15 books, but I still had a few questions crop up while reading this that compelled me to continue reading the book.

If had to take a guess as to why, other than the fact that this is my first time reading through series, I would have to say that Isuna wrote this almost as well as Gosho Aoyama wrote the chapters found in volumes 58 and 59 of Detective Conan and how well Yoshitaka Oima wrote the scenes involving Shoko's suicide attempt in A Silent Volume 5 to the point where I was on the edge of my seat.

If there are problems visiting series one already completed once, there are also problem present when one knows exactly how long a series is, because everyone knows that the biggest hurdles happen towards the end of a series, and that might kill some suspense, though not as much as knowing how major events conclude.

Here, however, I get the feeling that if I reread this volume after getting as far into the series as I have gotten in Detective Conan, I would be having the same exact questions that I had reading this today, much like I could not tell how Kir and Akai's meeting would end, even though I already knew that everything was planned.

Honestly, if there were more book written where suspense was not killed just because one knew how it would end or the number of currently published titles does not suggest an outcome, people would have more reason to reread a book, and a writer is just as pleased that somebody would read a book multiple times as they would be if that person read all their work, unless that book were one that the writers regrets having ever written.

Then again, I doubt that would ever become the norm, because there have been things in my life that has utterly disappointed me when I had high hopes, so it is just best to accept the fact that the attitude taken when picking up a work will never be able to hide the imperfections, as much as my elders want me to believe that everything in life is what I make it out to be.

For now, Isuna gets my respect and a major amount of applause for doing something that hardly writers has been able to accomplish.

The thing that I liked the most though was how the problems that Holo and Lawrence faced were caused my Lawrence.

In many works of fiction, writers tend to have things just happen, such as a corpse appearing wherever a detective goes, so that there is something that character must deal with and then they have the characters seemingly always come out ahead, which makes them seem less like humans.

In the real world, many of the problems we face is because of ourselves, and that is what makes us human.

Seeing as Isuna has Lawrence do something that might jeopardize his, it makes want to see if Lawrence will be able to right his wrongs and shows that he is just as flawed as we are, which makes me want to give Isuna some applause.

After all, I doubt this series would be very enjoyable if Lawrence was always dragged into something because of some other character approaching him, like what happened in the last book, because that would make this series feel less like a journey than it is.

Fortunately, this seems to have become less problematic these days because writers understand that protagonists need to feel just human as us, even if the story is not completely realistic, and I am at least liking this kind of direction, as opposed to just having enemies crop out of nowhere like DBZ and Sword Art Online are plagued by, with the the former being the worst.

Nice job, Isuna, you have so far been meeting a lot of my expectations, and I hope that this series continues in the right direction.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything that I particularly liked, especially considering how the translation seems to be just as decent as the last volume.

Because my interest was held for much of the work, regardless of whether the events were of the dull variety or not, things still seemed to be funnier than in the anime, and that I could not see what was coming, even though I had a good idea of what kind of outcome it would, and that the troubles experienced were because of the main character, this book was fairly decent.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, only one thing seemed to bother me.

This book felt like it was a little tedious.

Before the Spice & Wolf fans come busting down my door, which is probably less likely to happen than the SAO fans who did not agree with me about the first book of their favorite series being absolute garbage, I will admit that I knew what I was getting myself into, as I did acknowledge in my review of the first book that hardly anything happens in this series.

However, the first book did not feel tedious at all, even when there were moments that could be relatively boring, whereas this one, a few things did bored me, which is why I said that I could not exactly put this book on the same level as the first one.

If I had to say why, it would be because Holo did not seem to play that big of a role until the big scheme that takes in this book.

Holo made the first worth reading because she made everything funnier, especially when she and Lawrence interacted.

Now, I am going to cut Isuna some slack, since he did say in the afterward that he forgot a few things when writing this book, and I am not going to let him off the hook completely.

What happened, Isuna? Was the quality that you presented a total fluke? You may have forgotten the personalities characters, but I thought that were way better than this.

Instead, I am treated to the very reason why I did not like episodes 2 and 3 of World End Economica too much.

Improving one's craft means taking every that one did right and making them better, as well as fixing mistakes, but this is a step backward from the slow-paced, yet enjoyable, first book, but his work has really suffered.

Hopefully, Isuna can make things better in the other volumes, otherwise I do not think that I would be willing to read through the events of the second season of the anime and find what happens to the two protagonists in the end.

Fortunately, Isuna has not disappointed me as much as John Grisham did, so I am at least willing to continue on this with this series and will just mark this down as a minor issue.

While there was only one issue that bothered me, it only hurt the book enough that it cannot be called masterpiece, instead of letting it become absolute garbage or just okay.

Despite the fact that the book was not as interesting as the first one, there was still enough things present to make this worth reading.

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

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but this book does tend to feel more tedious than the last one.

If you have read this book, what are Your thoughts on Spice & Wolf Volume 2? Please leave a comment and let everyone know why you liked or hated it, especially if your reasons are different from mine or you disagree with me.

Also, if you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon, so I can continue to follow this series and find other worthwhile reads.

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