Book Review: The Promised Neverland Volume 1

December 6, 2017

The Promised Neverland Volume 1 cover

I hope that everyone is still having a good week, and are
starting to make plans for the weekend, even though the daily grind continues.

Things are going well here, as I am looking forward to a
nice, long break, outside of the simulcast I decided to cover, and I can still
do what I like to do.

Recently, two of the last three books from my 8-book Amazon
arrived, and one has been covered, which only leaves one title left.

Today, I will be reviewing that remaining title, which is The Promised
Neverland Volume 1
by Kaiu Shirai.

Life seems to be full of bliss at Grace Field House, where
orphans have a place to sleep, food to eat, a caring caretaker, and the freedom
to play with each other, and all the children eventually find homes, which they
all yearn for more than anything.

However, this kind of life is nothing more than lie and when
two of the three most intelligent kids in the orphanage go to give something to
a kid that was being adopted, they find out that their orphanage is nothing
more than a farm for demons to harvest and eat humans and that their so-called
mother is helping to raise them for that specific reason.

Now that they know the truth, Emma, Norman, and Ray, the
three smartest kids there, are determined to escape and take everyone with them,
to find a place where they can all continue living together.

When I first found out about this series, I was still mostly
following series through the online scans, as the preferred alternatives by publishers
were not quite as convenient, and are still not as convenient, as Crunchyroll's
service, nor did Crunchyroll have a huge selection, and decided to try this out
on whim, but now that Viz started publishing the volumes, I thought I would
check it out to see if it was still good.

And after reading this, I must say that I really liked it.

From the that I started reading the first few pages, I was
found myself engrossed enough that I did not want to put it down for any
reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as everyone else.

The thing that is most important for a series is how it
starts, because that determines how well the writer or creator can pull a
person in without the need of any cliffhangers, and the audience is just
beginning to explore the world of the series and wants to be given a reason to
follow the characters, such as the motives and what makes them interesting.

While there are many ways to do that in different works,
depending on the point of view being used and the storyline, sometimes, there
is only one right way to start things off, and, in the case of this series, the
way this started off was one of those times.

In the first chapter, I am drawn into the world by a happy
feeling of the protagonist being content with what they have and enjoying life
as usual, which led me to believe that this was just a peaceful world and
ignore a few strange things, though certainly not enough that I would be bored by
thinking that nothing was going on, since the first chapter's job is to draw a
person into the story itself.

By starting things off like this, though it is a bit similar
to an already completed series called Godspeed, which might not ever released
where I live, I ended up being just as shocked as two of the main characters
about what was actually happening, and I wanted to see how they would deal with
the situation, considering how these kids are supposed to be super smart.

Now, the beginning may not be the most original, since every
story seems to begin with a moment of peace before the lives of the characters
are ruined by circumstance or learning that things are not really as great as
they appeared to be, and I could definitely see that something was going to
happen because of the way Emma's narration captured by attention and my
experience from having read so many works of fiction, but it was still one that
works out quite well for a world that we know nothing about and is a good way
to set the stage for the things that will occur later on in the volume.

If this series started out in any other way than from the
perspective of one of the children, especially one of the more intelligent
children, I do not know that I would be able to enjoy this too much because the
adults know pretty much everything about the way things are, considering that
Isabella said something that suggested that she would die if she let anyone
escape and got caught, and we, in our current society, do not want to a protagonists
having fun targeting children for consumption, seeing as violence against
children is never really glorified in fiction, so readers probably would not even
bother reading it if it did, unless they are one of those people that enjoy
seeing children suffer.

Yes, just like in real life, there are things that kids can
figure out that adults never realized before or forgot, because they have too
much experience with a certain way of life, but I do not see how the world or
even the story could be intriguing, especially without dramatic irony, which is
not utilized even a little bit in this volume, not mention that the adults in
this series never really challenge things in the way that children, teens, and
young adults do in our world.

Thankfully, Kaiu did have this series mainly focused of the
children and start off with showing why they were so shocked by finding out
that their happy lives were nothing but a lie, and that makes me want to give
him a nice round of applause.

Hopefully, the future volumes will start off as well as this
one did, because this is one of the more impressive series that I have
encountered in recent memory.

Then again, it is not unheard of for series to quickly go
downhill after such a great start, so I will not be calling this the best series
ever created just yet.

I also liked how mysterious things seemed.

One of the reasons that I absolutely enjoyed Jun Mochizuki's
Pandora Hearts was that it showed me
that a series is not exactly the same thing as a detective novel because series
revolved around learning the truth of its world and who its characters were,
since it began with Oz being told that his very existence was a sin and faces
from the world's past recognized him, in spite of him being young, while trying
to help Alice restore her memories.

After reading that series, I decided to acknowledge that
detective, mystery, and crime fiction were distinct genres, rather than synonymous,
which people believe them to be because there are not too many works that come
to mind where goal of the protagonist is to commit a crime for some reason,
other than the stories featuring Arsène Lupin, and those feats and how they get
away with it are supposed to wow us, as opposed to trying to break their alibi
or hunt them down and beat the detective.

Like Pandora Hearts, this series gives me some great
inkling that there is some kind of mystery beyond the simple questions that
make me want to continue at this point, and even though I am up to date on this
series, just like I am fairly up to date with Detective Conan, I do not
really have any answers to any of them.

A little element of mystery may be needed to make any work
of fiction truly enjoyable, such as works that are or can be classified as
thrillers, but for a mystery series to be truly enjoyable, the audience needs
to be given a good mystery, just like fans of detective fiction want to be
presented with interesting cases, and that means that nothing should be obvious,
or if there is something obvious, it should be presented in a way that the reader
would not believe it was the answer because it would be too obvious.

If the mystery were handled just as badly as the case found
in episode
6
of Detective Conan, or even the true identity of Okiya in volume
60
of the manga version of that same series, I would have been angry and
would have consider this to be even less of a mystery series than Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, which neither
hid the culprit too well nor had any focus on how the alibi would be broken, and
is how cases utilizing dramatic irony do things, because there would be nothing
to keep me invested after these children escape from the orphanage, or, more precisely,
farm.

Fortunately, even with my knowledge of future events, things
were not too obvious, and that makes me want to give Kaiu another good round of
applause because I want to find out the answers right now, though I have to
wait for the next volume like everyone else, which will not be released until
Feburary, according to the product page
on Amazon.

Hopefully, these mysteries will be explored and new
questions will pop up as the series progresses, because I would sure like to
see something along the lines of Cage of Eden or Pandora Hearts in
the realm of mystery, but because much of the questions that have popped up may
be rather basic at this point in time, I do see a possibility that this may
devolve to the point where I would not want to consider it a mystery.

Thing that I really liked though was how this felt like it
was the beginning of a chess game, or some other game require high strategic
and analytical abilities.

One of the big problems with series involving characters
that could be considered geniuses is that they always seem to succeed because
the put things into place and everyone else around them are complete idiots,
making those genius characters seem to be nothing special, with many of the
famous detectives and criminals of fiction being a good example.

For this reason, when a series liked Death Note comes along, where things turn
into a battle of wits between two highly intelligent people, things become
interesting because there is a challenge presented that they must overcome, and
when I first learned that this series involved a group of highly intelligent
children, I thought they would make the adults look like idiots, so that their brilliance
could shine through.

However, when Norman and Emma decided to try to escape and
brought Ray in on things, Isabella noticed that something was going on and made
moves of her own, which threw Norman and Emma offguard and Ray had to remind
them that even these moves were good for them.

Seeing this and knowing that the children are determined to
escape and live another day, while Isabella is determined to prevent their
escape and live another day herself, I really want to see how things would play
out and see if they could thwart the person who raised them from ages 1 up
until now, which made me even more anxious to read the next volume as soon as
possible.

Escaping alone is a rather interesting premise, but
considering that no actual escape happens in this volume and the only things
being done are preparation measures, such as information gathering, procuring
supplies, and planning, I would have been rather bored if things had gone so
smoothly, not to mention things would not seem to be very believable because
all of the children in Grace Field seem to be highly intelligent and are
considered to be high quality product, according to what the demons say in this
volume, so the caretaker of the facility should be just as intelligent and be
able to read the children well.

Fortunately, Kaiu seemed to take this problem into
consideration and created the start of a rather interesting game between the
three most intelligent children and the one who raised them, and it led to make
the start of this series look even.

Hopefully, things will be able to stay like this for a
while, because I remember enjoying this series the most during these moments.

Then again, seeing as the chapter count for each volume is
not quite establish yet, beyond what can be found on a page
on a wiki
for The Promised Neverland, which claims that all volumes after this one
contain nine chapters each, I have a feeling that it will not be long before
the people who are only following this series by the volume will find out
whether or not the kids will escape, so this might very well go downhill after
that takes place.

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

Because my attention was captured quickly and held right up
to the end, by starting the series off in a good that allows for questions and
mysteries to crop up, there seem to be some mysteries present, though most
questions that crop up in this volume may be rather basic, and that this volume
started out this series as a battle of wits, this was one of the best books I
have read so far.

Although I liked this book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
such as typos, or are understandable because this is only the start of a
series, nothing really seemed to bother metoo much.

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

Considering that there was quite a bit to like and not too
much to hate, unless one wants to be nitpicky, this was definitely worth
reading.

I recommend this to fans of Kaiu Shirai, The Promised
Neverland
, and those that enjoy seeing a good battle of wits, as they will
like this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, as
it starts off the series well and it can make for an enjoyable read for those
who want something new, unless you really dislike manga.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on Patreon
or, if you either want to check out this series yourself or are anxious to find
out what happens next, either buy
the reviewed title
or preorder
the next installment
from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many
countries around the world, so that I can possibly cover more volumes of this
series and find more worthwhile reads for you guys.

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