Book Review: The Promised Neverland Volume 9

The Promised Neverland Volume 9 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good week, even if it is
just more of the daily grind.

Things have been going fairly well
over here, and I can still do what I like.

For the longest time, I have been waiting for the titles I
wanted to become available in a desirable format, to the point where I became
inactive, but I was able to place an order for them and the first of those
titles.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called The
Promised Neverland Volume 9
by Kaiu Shirai.

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

After surviving the first day of the nightmarish life of
those living in the settlement that Emma and the gang were directed to, Emma makes
contact with others who know what she knows, and are determined to fight to
survive, but some people are questioning William Minerva’s intentions, and a
new face asks for Emma’s help to discover the truth.

However, the mysteries surrounding Minerva’s intentions are
not the only thing Emma and her acquaintances must contend with, as the demons
responsible for the suffering of the residents of Goldy
Pond realize that high grade meat have entered their territory.

While the last
installment
ended up being pretty good, that does not mean that things will
continue to go up, so I have to keep going into things with very minimal
expectations.

And after reading this, I can say that I kind of liked it,
though not quite as much as the last volume.

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

As I have said numerous times before, one of the moment
important things in a work of fiction is how things begin, as that helps to
give readers the temporary escape they desire, and even help the audience
overlook the most minor of flaws to be found, by transporting them to another
world.

While this can be accomplished in a variety of ways,
depending on the kind of story and what medium is used to present it, The Promised Neverland is published in a
serialized format, before being compiled into the compilations that Viz Media
releases, and such works can only create the necessary pull on the audience by
picking things up that makes sense, in comparison to how things ended.

In the last volume, after meeting a new face, Emma is asked
to help them discover what was hidden behind a door hidden somewhere, thinking
that whatever Minerva was hiding was in there, which made me really curious in
wanting to find out what was hidden there, though I already knew because of the
chapters released online by Viz Media and Manga Stream,
both of whom are current with the Japanese releases, and in this volume, the
first chapter picks things up right where the previous volume ended, with Emma
and the new guy going to investigate the mysterious door, which reminded me of
what had happened and helped to ease me back into things.

If Kaiu Shirai had messed up the
chapter or Shueisha, or whoever they had put this
volume together, had decided to start somewhere else, I would have been very
disappointed, because I was really looking forward to finding out what was
behind that door the new character talked about and the way things had progressed
in the last volume made me think that that was going to be explored quite a
bit.

Fortunately, neither Kaiu Shirai
nor Shueisha, or whoever they had put this volume
together, forgot how the last volume ended and delivered things as I expected
them to play out, which makes me want to give them a good round of applause for
a job well done.

Hopefully, future installments in this series will be able
to start off just as well as this one did, because I would like to see this
series do well over here, just as much as the other fans of the series,
especially those that discovered it through the anime adaptation that recently
concluded, but I would not surprised if things get worse when the volume
releases get into the final arc.

I also liked was how this new character questioned Minerva’s
intentions, or at least made it clear that he was questioning them.

One of the things that I really hate about this series is how
nauseating it feels from abundance of blind trust and optimism that seems to
plague many series targeting the same demographic that this series does, both
trying to tell future generations that things will be alright if they think
positively and reminding me of why people in the church I used to attend come
off as brain dead to me, because they stopped asking questions and think their
leaders will ultimately bring them happiness.

Now, some of people will be screaming at me, saying that
this series is not trying to instill blind truth and optimism behind the
characters within do doubt people quite a bit, unlike Kanzaki
Nao in the early portions of Liar Game,
and the kids were suspicious of the man they met in the shelter, as well as the
demons who taught them things, but Emma and the other kids all believed with
every fiber of their being that William Minerva was an ally, thinking that he really
did have a safe haven somewhere for them.

Yes, children are not the brightest, as they are much more
irrational than teens and adults and put their complete trust in others too
easily, but Emma’s group, especially Ray and Norman, who everyone thinks is
dead, doubted Isabella and her superiors, when they discovered the truth, and
they were very cautious right up until the escaped from Grace Field, so I kind
of wanted them to question Minerva’s motives more often.

Here, in this volume, while Emma and her new acquaintance
make their way to the mysterious door in Goldy Pond,
the new guy tells her that he started questioning Minerva and his intentions
when he found the door, which made things a bit more believable than how things
seemed to be right up until this point, though Emma’s unquestioning belief that
Minerva was good makes sense with her character, which aligns with the typical
protagonist found in the shonen demographic.

If Kaiu Shirai had even this new
character believe that Minerva was an ally, even when he did not know what was
behind the mysterious door, I would have become annoyed with this so much that
I would have dropped this series, like I gave up on the Magical Index novels,
even though I was near the end of the original 22-volume series, and even
question why I gave this series a chance.

Thankfully, Kaiu Shirai and
everyone that helped them put this series together remembered that realistic
and believable characters question things when given reason to do so, and that
helped to increase my excitement in finding out what William Minerva was hiding
at Goldy Pond, and that gives me yet another reason
to give them a good round of applause for a job well done.

Hopefully, things like this will continue cropping up,
especially when the volume releases reach the final arc, because I would like
to see this series end on a high note, just like many of the other fans of the
series, but I am aware that things could definitely become
worst too.

I also liked how the children used the arrogance of the
demons against the demons themselves, and how the demons showed arrogance.

While it is kind of obvious to most people that arrogance is
a vice, which is why religious institutions rally against it a lot, though the
church I used to attend refers to it as pride, making it so that children do
not really see the difference between pride and arrogance, since they are only
familiar with the definition of pride that is synonymous with arrogance, and it
was something I expected to see here in this series, it was still quite the
treat, because these kids, unlike many of the adults the knew, learned the
truth and decided to fight against it, rather than fall in line or cower in
fear.

For longest time in the world of this series, demons have
been on top of the food chain and children grew up, not knowing that they would
never find a home and thinking of their caretakers as their mothers, which is
kind of true, seeing as Isabella’s own child was placed under her charge after
she knew the truth, so they thought they could take advantage of the inexperience
and naivety of the children, which is an action I would certainly take if I
wanted to go after a child or somebody that had charge over the child, leading
them towards feeling of superiority and turning them arrogant.

However, when it is shown through the thoughts of the
children that they were determined to take advantage of the arrogance of the
demons, and those demons fell into the trap because of their arrogance, I found
myself cheering for the children, rather than berating them for their own
arrogance.

Even though I am not completely happy with these events,
because it gives off the continuous just
as planned
vibes that Death Note
had prior to L’s death or Akiyama’s plans for much of Liar Game, or, worse yet, Aizen from Bleach, who seemed to see everything
coming, it still seemed to come across as enjoyable enough that I do not really
care, which I have no doubt many fans of the series would feel by reading through
these events.

If Kaiu Shirai had the demons
overcome the obstacles in spite of their arrogance and children still
prevailed, I would have been very disappointed because Kaiu
Shirai seems to understand the psychology behind characters and why they behave
and do things, which helps to make this series come off as more intriguing, and
by ignoring how arrogance can lead a person to their downfall, that would have really hurt the series as a whole to the point where I
would put it in the same trash bin that many throw DBZ and SAO.

Fortunately, that did not happen here, and it helped to make
the volume that much more interesting, which makes me want to give Kaiu Shirai and those help them to make this series the
best that it can be another good round of applause.

Hopefully, things like this will remain when the volumes
start to cover the current events of the manga, as that will help this series
stand out from the pack, and allow people to see why this series is so good, but
I would not be surprised if this series once again falls victim to the same
clichés found in other series targeting the same demographic.

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

Other than how things begin, the second most important thing
in a work of fiction is how things end, as that is what ultimately allows the
audience to walk away satisfied, if it is a standalone work or the final
installment of a series, or give people reason to continue following the
series, if it is an installment.

While the ending of the volume does not really do this, by
just skimming through and reading a few pages here and there, it still gets the
job done perfectly, as it helps to carry over the tension of the events and
makes me want to go out and read the next volume right now, so that I can see
what will happen next, though it does not come out until June, according to the
product page on Amazon, and Viz will
likely make me wait a long time again before they will let me order it in the
format I desire.

If Kaiu Shirai had written the
chapter any differently or Shueisha, or whoever they
had put this volume together, had chosen to end the volume in a different, I
probably would have been disappointed, as there does not really seem to be any
other good place to end the volume.

Thankfully, neither party made too big of a mistake to allow
this volume to end as horribly as volume
4
, so I can happily give them a passing grade.

Hopefully, future volumes will be able to end just well as,
if not better than, this volume did, as I would rather sing a work’s praises
than tear it limb from limb, but I would not be surprised if things do get
worse.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else
that I particularly liked, at least that either stood out as much as what I
talked about or could not be shoe horned in.

Because my attention was captured quickly and held all the
way up to the end, Minerva’s motives were doubted and investigated, the demon’s
downfall caused by arrogance was exciting, and the ending made me want to get
the next volume right now, as it did well to carry over the tension being
experienced in the volume, 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,
only one thing really bothered, which was the lack of mystery or the feeling of
being on the edge of my seat.

While this series is not technically considered a thriller,
unlike Boku Dake ga Inai Machi,
one of the things that I really liked about this series, especially early on,
before Emma and the gang escaped Grace Field, was how I was left wondering what
was going to happen or making me wonder how the kids would get out of things,
and that really helped to keep me invested in the series, in addition to
mysteries of the world that this series presents.

The things that did this was both the element of mystery and
the fact that I got the kinds of feelings that I mentioned were necessities of
a work of thriller in my review of The Whistler by John Grisham, which
I did not really expect to get from this series.

Sadly, in this volume, I did not really get any of that
because, after the little flashback shown when we find out what William
Minerva, whose name has been revealed to be James Ratri
in this volume, had intended, we find out that a character long thought dead,
though I have noticed that some anime viewers have noted that it was quite
obvious that the character did not die in episode 10, which can be viewed on Crunchyroll,
and the events surrounding his life in the new facility were more intriguing
than what was happening over at Goldy Pond and then
things switch over to the demons finding out a child from Grace Field entered
their territory, then deciding to hunt the children early.

What the heck, guys? Is this really something that you think
will have fans interested in the mystery of Goldy
Pond? If so, I am highly disappointed.

The events that occur in this volume are the kinds of events
that feel like they need to go on one long run, without interruption, by
letting the ramblings of another recently introduced character remain
mysterious and focus much of the time on the kids, especially since the demons
spell out during the hunt that they are looking for Emma, and I would have been
left wondering why the new character kept muttering Norman’s number and how
they knew Emma was from Grace Field, or even just omitting the revelation that
a certain charter is alive after all.

However, the editors over at Shueisha
seemed to think that it was a good idea to confirm that the character whom many
thought had died was actually alive, or did not force Kaiu Shirai to remove those moments entirely, as it added
nothing to the events at Goldy Pond, and, in fact
made me less interested in them.

If Kaiu Shirai and the editors and
proofreaders Shueisha had look over these chapters
had spent more time on them, they would have realized how much better this
could have been, and I would have gladly let this volume go with just a slap on
the wrist, even if they kept the scene with the demons finding out somebody
from Grace Field had arrived, which segues into the earlier than usual hunt and
has me excited to see what happens.

Unfortunately, the people working hard to bring us this
series decided that now was the best time to reveal that a supposedly deceased
character was alive and move the spotlight off of where it should have remain,
thus really hurting my ability to enjoy the volume, as I had no lingering
questions to help me stay interested.

Hopefully, things will improve in future volumes, because I
would like to say that I am glad to have read this series, once everything is
done and over with, but I am beginning to feel like I might just go on a
tirade, once this series is over.

Thankfully, that was the only thing that I really had a problem,
so Kaiu Shirai and the others that put in so much
work can walk away with some dignity intact, seeing as they did not completely
and utterly fail.

While there was only one that was bad enough to talk about,
the issue was not big enough to do too much damage overall.

Despite the fact that there was
something that kind of killed my enjoyment, the good outweighed things enough
to still make this worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of The Promised Neverland, as they will be able to enjoy this the
most, though those that came into this series for the thrills or mystery might
be disappointed.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but
it might be best to read the earlier volumes first, so that it can be fully
enjoyed.

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 a copy of the reviewed title, please buy
a copy of The Promised Neverland Volume 9

from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the
world, so that I can continue following this series and possibly find more
worth while reads for you guys to check out.

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