I hope that everyone is doing well, especially now that we are in a month where seasons officially change, not just in weather or temperature.
I was not too sure how active this month would be, in comparison to last month, because looking at old titles can be kind of tiring and I do not always get the noise levels I desire, but I was able to get some titles from Amazon for the month, a few of which were preorders.
Today I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is called Spice & Wolf Volume 7 by Isuna Hasekura.
As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
Holo and Lawrence have seen many things on their journey together, but they do need to rest from time to time from their struggles, and it is also time to see a jounery that Holo made on her own, in three separate stories.
While Spice & Wolf has not completely and utterly disappointed me to the point of dropping it, there have been titles in the series that felt rather pointless, such as the previous book, and made me wonder if I could truly enjoy the side stories.
And, after reading this book, I can say that my doubts were dispelled.
Just like many of the other titles in this series, I did not want to point the book down for any reason from the very moment that I started reading the book, though I do have to fulfill the same needs that every other human must satisfy.
This was Isuna Hasekura first series and he has been able to keep my interest from beginning to end in most of the installments to the point where I thought I was reading something from a fairly capable writer, unlike what he presents in World End Economica, which means that this is to be expected from the writer.
Now, I have given this kind of praise to many different writers, but if one were to look at the many titles that I have reviewed in the six or so years that this blog has been alive, many of the books that got this kind of praise contained only one story from beginning to end, which is fairly easy to accomplish, though not quite something that everybody can do.
Here, however, Isuna Hasekura delivered multiple stories in one book, just Maurice Leblanc and G.k. Chesterton delivered in the books I covered last month, and making each story in anthology interesting is much harder to deliver than one single story, and he delivered that quite well.
Not only did Isuna Hasekura deliver three stories that were relatively interesting, even though hardly anything happens, as per usual in this series, but like Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar, I actually felt excited and interested enough to read all the stories in one sitting.
Now, it may be nice to be able to pick up or put down a book with multiple stories whenever one feels like it, regardless of whether they are a casual or avid reader, but that does not technically make the book a must read, as the writer would appear to have written each story to be read and done, which means that the reader could forget about the book in because of how much time they spent away from the work.
On the other hand, if each story in an anthology did not end like it was the end of the book, like The Innocence of Father Brown did, the reader is more likely to come back because they would believe that there were more read, and possibly lead to a more satisfying experience.
Isuna Hasekura really seemed to understand the importance of this element well enough, while keeping what made the rest of the series great, that I feel like giving him quite a bit of applause, as well as possibly forgive him for writing the pointless sixth installment.
If he had failed to deliver in this area, the true intermission for this series would have felt like more of a waste of time than the sixth book in the series, and I probably would have dropped this series, even if it is better than A Certain Magical Index.
However, because he really succeeded, I feel like going and getting volumes 9-18 right now, even though I cannot really afford to do that right now and the series listing on Amazon says that volume 18 will not arrive until later this month, regardless of whether one wanted a physical or digital copy, so I am going to have to wait a bit longer.
Nice job, Isuna Hasekura. If you can keep this up, this series may actually deserve to be called one of the best written.
I also liked how I was able to get a laugh out of each of the three stories presented in this volume.
While the humor to be found was not that different from what many fans have seen in the series so far, or even in anime and/or manga in general, it is pretty much always a good thing that laughs can be had.
Now, some of you guys might be saying that these kinds of things cannot necessarily be funny if the same things can be found in other series, which is also probably why slapstick comedy in general is viewed to the lowest class of comedy, but, as I believe I have noted more than once, things can still be quite funny if they are executed properly, and Isuna Hasekura has been able to do that quite well in each of the seven books in the series so far.
The thing that stood out the most though, and why the note of the comedic elements is even present, is Holo's interaction with children.
In the first story, and the only one that does not feature Lawrence, Holo meets two children that have been chased from the place that they called home and she starts joking around with one of them, even inviting the child to sleep between her and the girl he was traveling with, which causes the child to become embarrassed and uncomfortable.
This was absolutely hilarious because we, in our society, view children to be innocent and pure of thought, unlike adolescents and adults who have sick, and possibly disgusting, fantasies, and Holo is implanting perverted thoughts in a child's brain, much like how Tomoya Okazaki gives Sunohara perverted ideas in the Clannad VN, if you choose to tell Sunohara that Ryou uses her chest to tell fortunes.
Yes, this is so like Holo to tease others, but it was still absolutely hilarious, because the boy never really had any perverted thoughts before Holo came on the scene. I guess mothers should keep their elementary-age sons and younger away from the woman, because she seems to be just as bad as Ayaka Yukihiro from Negima!.
For now, I am going to give Isuna Hasekura a major round of applause for keeping things consistent, as readers want the positives to remain consistent in a series they like.
The thing that I liked the most though was how there was a story presented from Holo's perspective.
Throughout much of the series, the reader has been following what Lawrence saw and what he was going through via a third person limited point of view and things really worked out great that way.
However, this series focuses mainly on the journey that Lawrence and Holo are on, not the adventures of Lawrence, and Lawrence tends to feel kind of boring to be following, though not as flat and mundane as Touma Kamijou from J.C. Staff's anime adaptations of A Certain Magical Index.
The character that really makes this series shine is Holo and how she seems to make Lawrence life harder through coincidence or misunderstanding, which really helps me be able to deal with a series where things take a really long time to happen, and I keep wanting to see what her day is like when Lawrence is not around.
After all, if characters are boring and is nothing significant is happening, I highly doubt that anybody would, especially because I lambasted John Grisham for not making anything but the main plot of The Whistler interesting to read.
In the case of this book, Isuna finally gives us a day in Holo's life, albeit at a time that she is sick, and I really found myself much more interested in what was going on than when I was following Lawrence, as I expected it to be, and I feel like giving him a major round of applause.
I hope that there are more stories that are told from Holo's perspective in the future, as she was the saving grace of the first volume, and I had as much fun reading things from her perspective as Isuna said he had in the afterword.
Then again, I have to remind myself that I need to be saving money this month, so that I can afford more titles in the future, and Isuna might lose his edge before long, as he has been too lucky to putting out a good story.
Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could not be combined with what I already mentioned.
Because each of the stories presented were interesting enough to make me want to read them all in a single sitting, especially because of how many things there were to laugh about, and that one of the stories was told from Holo's perspective, this was a fairly decent read.
Although I did like the book, there are some issues.
However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, nothing really seemed to bother me too much.
As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.
Considering how there was quite a bit to like, especially considering the stories found here were side stories, this was definitely worth reading.
I recommend this to fans of Spice & Wolf, as they will like this the most.
As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but because the stories here are side stories, it might not be able to show how great this series could be.
If you liked this review and would like to see more please considering supporting on Patreon or buying title in the Spice & Wolf series from one of the two Amazon links in this review, so that I can get more titles quicker and continue find worthwhile reads for you guys, and doing whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.
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