Book Review: The Promised Neverland Volume 14

The Promised Neverland Volume 14 cover

I hope everyone is doing well, even if the monotony of the
daily grind is a problem.

Things have been going pretty well here, especially now that
I found a way to deal with a big problem with this site’s backend, which eases
things for me a bit.

For some time this year, I have been checking Amazon’s
catalog, to be able to place preorders for the series I follow, and I was able
to place one, and that title has now arrived.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called The Promised Neverland Volume 14
by Kaiu Shirai.

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

After meeting two strange kids who have met William Minerva,
a the condition of member of Emma’s party grows worse and Emma decides to take
up her new acquaintances’ offer to guide her somewhere to get medicine, before
meeting with Minerva.

However, Minerva himself has agenda of his own, and when Emma
and the others meet him, Ray starts to question Emma if the future promised by
Minerva is what she really wants and if he knew what they did.

While The Promised Neverland has been pretty decent, there
have been bumps here and there that kind of took it down a bit, so I have to
make sure that I do not let myself be blinded.

After reading this volume, I can only say that I found it to
be okay.

From the moment that I opened up this book and started
reading, I found myself engrossed enough that I did not want to stop reading
for any reason.

As I have said countless times, one of the most important
things in a work of fiction is how things begin, as that is what brings the audience
into a new world, thereby giving people the temporary escape that they desire.

While creating this necessary hook can be accomplished in
many different ways, depending on the kind of work it is and the medium used to
present it, The Promised Neverland, like many other manga series, are
published in serial publications, which means that the only way to really be
able to draw people in is by picking things up in a way that makes sense, based
upon how the last installment ended.

In the previous volume, Emma and the gang started to make
their way to their next destination, which they estimated to be a ten-day
journey, and during that journey, Chris, who already was not doing the
greatest, gets sicker, to which her her new acquaintances offer to guide her to
a farm, with the last panel showing them offering to take Emma there and sneak
inside.

In the first chapter of this volume, things pick up
immediately, with Emma and the others shocked by the proposal, before deciding
to go through with it.

Even though I am not particularly pleased with this kind of
start, seeing as Emma is the typical protagonist found in series aimed at the
shounen demographic, which means there is no doubt that she would take up the
proposal of people she just met, it was still the best way to start things off,
as it reminded me of the suggestion made, as well as what had happened
previously, making it easy for me, and likely anyone else, to be able to get
right back into the world of the series.

If this volume had started off differently, I probably would
have been more disappointed, due to things becoming even more unbelievable than
they already are, because I do not really see any other way this could have
started out well, seeing as making Emma agreeing to the proposition in a
flashback would have come off as just a convenient excuse to have Emma at the
farm they infiltrate in this volume.

Fortunately, Kaiu Shirai made a good decision to start
things off where they did, which makes me feel like giving him some applause,
even if it was more along the lines of the bad kind of predictable.

Hopefully, future volumes will start off just as well as
this one did, though I really wish for better, as that will keep readers coming
back for more, and not leaving them with the feeling that something is missing,
but considering not every volume in this series ended well, I would not be
surprised to see an even worse beginning.

I also liked how Emma was conflicted by Norman’s plan, when she
was confronted by it.

When the group meets Norman, who Emma did not know was using
the alias William Minerva, he explains what the demons are and how they came to
be, as well as how he escaped Lambda 7214, he reveals his plans for a war of
extermination against the demons, Emma is shown to be shocked and in disbelief,
while her comrades all jump at the promise of being able to create the world
they desire, reluctantly agreeing to it.

Later on in the volume, when Emma and Ray get a chance to
converse alone, Ray makes the observation that whatever Norman has in store is
not really what she wants, though she claims that there is nothing to worry
about, since Norman’s plan means that she will not need lose anybody important.

A few moments later, Emma breaks down, revealing that he is
right, saying that something must be wrong with her because she knows that he
is right, and understands his feelings, yet she does not want to kill the demons,
wanting them to find happiness too.

Even though this did not really play off very well while
reading through this volume, it reminded me of the fairly recent time I was
dragged back to the very church I had all but left behind on Easter, and how
conflicted I felt when I told my mother that the service was good, in spite of
the fact that I had just sat through some talks by people that told me I was
broken and needed fixing, though I knew they did not intend to come off like
that.

Yes, my plight is not anything in the same league as Emma’s,
as hers was much closer to the harshness of the reality that people these days
do not want to acknowledge, as they, like everyone else, do not want to see
others suffer, but it still similar in that I wanted to truthfully answer that I
hated that service, just like how Emma wished somebody would speak up, before
she herself gave in to peer pressure, and Posuka Demizu and Kaiu Shirai did a
great job in showing the turmoil caused by conflicted feelings.

If Emma had continued to deny Ray’s observations that the
promise of Norman’s plans or either Kaiu Shirai or Posuka Demizu failed to make
Emma’s conflictedness believable, I would have been really disappointed, as I
would no longer be able to acknowledge Emma as an actual person, and I would be
given reason to completely abandon the series.

Thankfully, Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu realized that the
audience needed to be made to believe that Emma was conflicted, to be able to bring
the series to the next stage, which makes me feel like giving the duo some
applause.

Hopefully, things like this will continue to be present in
the series right up until the end, as having humans themselves making things
complicated will help maintain some feeling of being realistic and believable,
but considering there have been moments that bored me in this series before, I
would not be surprised if I get the feeling that something is only happening
because the creator wanted it to.

The thing that I liked the most though was how this volume
ended.

Aside from how things begin, another very important aspect
in a work of fiction is how things end, as the ending is either supposed to
leave the reader satisfied, in the case that it is a standalone work or final
installment in a series, or wanting more, if it is an installment in a series.

While there have been volumes here and there in this series
that have not ended in the best way possible, if not ending horribly, this was
one of the best endings that I have seen that impresses more than just when I
read through it, as even glancing through the panels right now makes me want to
go out and get the next volume as soon as possible, though the next volume does
not get released until June, according to the product listing on Amazon, which, as
usual, is only available for preorder in print at the time of this review.

If things did not end the way they did, I likely would have
been disappointed, as bad endings are not too common in this series, though I
am afraid that there may be an ending somewhere in the near future, and by
having things end in bad way, I doubt too many people would want to keep on
reading.

Fortunately, things ended on a pretty good note, which means
that Kaiu Shirai and Shueisha, or whoever they had put this volume together for
them, deserve some praise.

Hopefully, future volumes will be able to end just as well
as this one did, as it will keep interest in the series high, but because of
how a chapter yet to be release in volume format here ends, I expect there to
be a disappointing ending soon enough.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else
that I particularly liked, at least that could be shoehorned into what I
already mentioned.

Because my interested was captured quickly, by picking
things up right where the last volume left off, and was held right up to the
end, Emma’s conflicted state was believable, and the ending was a sheer joy, even
by just glancing at the panels, this was a pretty decent read.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
such as typos, and things that could be ascertained from what I already said
and one thing that did bother me, but had more to do with the handling of the
series than something to do with the volume itself, nothing seemed to bother me
too much.

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

Despite the fact that the only big issue I had was not
something caused by anything something in the book itself, there was only
enough good in here to make it good enough to kill time.

I recommend this mainly to fans of The Promised Neverland,
as they will be able to enjoy this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but
considering this is part of the final arc of the series, it would be better to
check out the previous volumes.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on either Patreon or SubscribeStar, or if you would
like to check out the reviewed title for yourself, buy
The Promised Neverland Volume 14
from Book Depository, who offers
free shipping to many countries around the world.

Copyright © 2020 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.