Book Review: Spice & Wolf Volume 3

March 3, 2017

Spice & Wolf Volume 3 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good weekend, now that many of you no longer need to deal with the daily grind for a few days or so.

Things seem to be going fairly well, since things were not as messed up as they could have been because of unreasonable expectations, and I can finally relax.

A while back, I got quite a few books from Amazon that I had wanted to check out, coming to a grand total of eight titles, and I have now the last title from that order.

Today, I will be reviewing the last of those eight books, which is called Spice & Wolf Volume 3 by Isuna Hasekura.

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

Holo and Lawrence continue on their journey to find Yoitsu, Holo's homeland, and Lawrence is able to find somebody that was not only able to help narrow down the search radius but knew of a story that possibly talks about Holo herself.

However, before the two can get things ready and leave for their next destination, a fellow merchant that they met earlier demands that Lawrence hand Holo over to him and the bond between the merchant and the wise wolf is put to the test.

After the slight disappointment of the previous volume, I was wondering if Isuna had already peaked, because I knew that it was next to impossible for humans to continually crank out gold.

However, after reading this volume, I can safely say that I really enjoyed this book.

Like the last two books, From the very first moment that I opened this book, I did not want to put it down for any reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as any other human being.

While the previous volume did have some tedious parts, this volume was more like the first book in that I did not feel bored at all when some moments that could be considered dull actually felt interesting all the walk through.

I, like many other avid readers, can enjoy a slow-paced story like the one presented here, but if my interest is not gained and held throughout the entire work, I would just plain stop reading, especially because I do not want to deal with any more books like The Book Thief, because that took too long to make me even remotely interested.

After all, would any of you guys want to continue reading a book or watching a show or movie if it failed to capture and/or hold your interest?

In the case of this book, Isuna seemed to be in top form and it really reminded me of why I think this series is far better than World End Economica, even though there a few similarities that could be found in the two series, because it felt like Holo was more involved in what was going on than she was in the last book.

Yes, Holo's future does kind of hang in the balance with what happens in this volume, but she did not sit by and watch things play out, as she was trying to ensure that the future that she wanted would happen.

If she did sit things out, I would have been mad because Isuna would have forgotten what made this series so enjoyable, in comparison to works that would later become associated with his, not to mention that Holo would have become just as annoying as Nao Kazuaki was around the beginning of Liar Game, before Shinichi Akiyama taught her the importance of doubt.

Of course, if Holo got more of the spotlight than she had so far, she would probably become a character that overshadowed the other protagonist, instead of just a protagonist.

This is wanted to see from the last book, because the series feels more balanced out when Holo does not appear to have been sidelined, and now that Isuna seems to have corrected it, and makes me want to give him quite a bit of applause for making me not regret trying out this series.

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

While, as per usual, the funny moments found in this book could be found in the anime, now that I am in the content covered in the second season, I actually found myself laughing in a few places.

Spice & Wolf was not really that funny for me when I watched the anime, but it seems like Isuna is still good at balancing out the comedic moment and the serious moment, and it helps make a lot of things that much funnier, especially when Holo and Lawrence patch things up.

If he had messed up, I would have been very disappointed, because he gave me the impression that he knew when he could incorporate humor and when he could not, especially being able to shift more smoothly between the two than 8bit's Rewrite.

However, because he pulled through on this one, I feel like giving him some praise for being consistent in this aspect, even if it was thanks to Holo having a bigger role here.

Hopefully, he can main this quality for the rest of this series, because the humor helps to negate the negative side effects of a story that moves rather slowly, and this is one of the series out there that I know that goes at a slow pace.

Another thing that I liked was how Lawrence's relationship with Holo came into question.

As Holo and Lawrence have been through quite a lot together over the course of three books, I could see how their bond would deep, but Lawrence had trouble realizing that Holo was more than just a traveling companion when he has done so much for her, and even tried to persuade her to stay with him after the events Pazzio.

Knowing this, I kept wondering if there would come a point where their bond was going to be challenged to the point where Lawrence him would need to realize how important Holo was to him, and it finally arrived in this volume, because Lawrence doubted Holo to the point where he thought that she was now his enemy.

A lot of times in fiction, there does not seem to be too many hiccups in relationships, aside from envy, love triangles, and some other minor things, and the relationship does not come off as genuine, and it makes it seem like the relationship is not actually real.

In real life, relationships of any kind can break apart for various reasons, and there does not need to be anybody else involved other than the two parties, but the only big issue that has cropped up in this series before now was whether or not they could accept each other, instead of their level of trust, which is one of the things that does get challenged in real life.

Here, however, the trust that Lawrence and Holo have for each is challenged because of Lawrence's doubt, and I begin to wonder whether they are going to go their separate ways or stay together, even though I can take a guess at which way things would go from the number of volumes published in this series, and it makes Lawrence and Holo's relationship now only feel more realistic, but also helps to deepen their bond, which makes me much more interested in series their relationship grow.

Seeing as this story focusing on a journey that a merchant and a wolf take, I do not want to see what happens to thems on their travels, but I also want to see what kind of relationship the two would forge, including all the setbacks, and Isuna seems to understand this fairly well, since even World End Economica does not have perfect relationship among its characters.

This is what I expect to see from stories like this like, and Isuna delivered, which makes me feel like giving him a bit more applause.

After all, I doubt that anyone would put up with a slow-paced if none of the characters form a bond like Holo and Lawrence have.

The thing that I liked the most though was how Isuna went over the very different kinds of lives that traveling and town merchants have.

Throughout most of this series, it has been established that Lawrence open up his own shop, but the way that merchants have been portrayed so far was practically the same, in which they can sell whatever they wanted and do what they wanted, as long as they could gain profit.

However, in this volume, when Lawrence tries to deal with a predicament that he found himself in, he asks somebody who he knew had his own shop for some help, and he refused because, unlike Lawrence, he had other people to listen to and not bring shame to the town.

People say that world building is an important aspect of a story, so that the reader can understand what the world of that story is like, and, in many stories, such as the one that the Spice & Wolf series present, it really is because there are many cultures involved and not of them are the same, nor do people always do the same thing as everyone else.

Part of that world building is how the many occupations are different from each other and what their various struggles are like, and Isuna did a good job of really explaining that.

From all of the works of Isuna Hasekura that I have come across, Isuna seems to be relatively good at building his worlds with pasts and how they are functioning now, and if he did not take the time to flesh out his world, in addition to his characters, which is something Kazuma Kamachi does not seem to do very well in A Certain Magical Index, I would have been mad because the settings of this series is not something that readers today can really imagine, which would make them feel lost.

Fortunately, he did not disappoint me, and, as result, I want to get the other volumes right now, in order to all the secrets of the world that Isuna created, which I cannot do because the digital versions of books 7-10 will not be out until towards the end of the month and release dates for 11 onwards have not been set yet for digital release, from what I could tell.

Keep up the good work, Isuna. If you are lucky, I might be able to say that this this series really is superior to World End Economica, like I think it is right now.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked.

Because things were more interesting than the last book, especially since Holo has a bigger role, there were things that made me laugh, and that Holo and Lawrence's relationship is tested, as well as the fact that Isuna fleshed out his world, this was a fairly decent read.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

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

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

Considering that there was more to like than hate about this book, especially how things were more interesting than the last installment, this was definitely worth read.

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 if neither of the previous volume were able to capture your attention, it might be better to avoid this like plague.

If you have read this book, what are your thoughts on Spice & Wolf Volume 3? Please leave a comment and let everyone know why you liked or hated it, especially if your reasons differ 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 that I can continue following this series and find more worthwhile reads.

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