Book Review: Wolf & Parchment: New Theory Spice & Wolf Volume 5

Wolf & Parchment Volume 5 cover.

I hope everybody is still doing well, and managing to deal
with the stresses of how things are before they can finally return to normal.

Things are alright over here, especially seeing as I did not
need with any big annoyances today, and I can still do what I like.

Recently, I got a couple of titles from some series I
follow, and with one already dealt with, it is time to deal with the other.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called Wolf & Parchment: New Theory Spice
& Wolf Volume 5
by Isuna Hasekura.

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

After dealing
with recent trouble in Rausbourne, Col and Myuri get to work on collecting
supplies for the new monastery and explore the town, where Myuri decides she
wants a crest that only she and Col can use.

However, when
researching details regarding crests and gathering stories, the duo gets
wrapped up in another situation that could potentially cause trouble when they
encounter a knight in a training and then are asked by said kniht’s commander
to help save their company, and if things do not go well, things might just
take a turn for the worst.

With the previous
volume
feeling like a rehash of the events of volume 5
of Spice & Wolf, the prequel to this series, I kind of forgot about
this series, though the long wait did not help things either, but because there
was some incentive for me to continue on with this series in volume
3
, which were I usually decide to stick with a series or not, I decided to
extend its trial period a bit.

And after
reading this book, I have to say that I did not care too much for it.

Thankfully, there
were some things to like, so I do not need to jump into the things I hated or
found disappointing.

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

As I have noted
many times before already, one of the most important things in a work of
fiction is how things begin, as the beginning is supposed to transport the
reader to another world.

While this draw
can be achieved in many different ways, depending on the genre of the work and
the medium used to present it, this book, like most prose work, relies on words
to create images in the reader’s mind, though not completely, as light novels
do feature some illustrations, and such a feat can be a difficult feat to
accomplish, which is why I am disappointed with people who do not take writing
seriously just because many of us today learn to read and write when they are
young.

Even though I
would not say that this is Isuna Hasekura’s greatest start, especially considering
this book is supposed to pick up off of what felt like a rehash of the Lenos
events, he still did a great job of pulling me back into the world, by easing
me into the story, which is something common in many of Isuna Hasekura’s work,
such as World End Economica, a trilogy I still do not think that highly
about, and by seeing him continue this trend, it helped me lose myself rather
quickly.

If Isuna
Hasekura had not started things off as well as he did, I would have likely been
disappointed, though I would not be surprised, seeing as one of his more recent
works already gave me a bad impression of him, because he had finally done
something right after working on three books of this series, which is supposed
to be the sequel to the series that put him on the map.

Fortunately,
Isuna Hasekura was able to deliver a decent enough beginning, which makes me
feel like giving Isuna Hasekura a barely passing grade.

Hopefully,
future installments will be able to start off as well as this one did, though I
am actually wishing for better, as that will help keep readers and possibly
bring in newer readers, but seeing as I am not sure if I will continue on with
this series after the next volume, if I ever feel like giving the series
another chance, I likely will not know if things improve from here.

I also liked
how the Moon Hunting Bear was mentioned and discussed, more precisely the
questions surrounding it.

As I mentioned
in my review of volume 3, one of the things that kept me entranced with Spice
& Wolf
, aside from how well Isuna Hasekura wrote things, was the
mention of the Moon Hunting Bear and the question of whether it was real, like
many of the other creatures of myth in the world of Spice & Wolf or
just a legend.

In the third volume, the creature was mentioned again, with
some circumstantial evidence suggesting that the bear was real, making me think
that Col and Myuri would encounter it, which raised my interest in this series.

While the bear still does not show up in this volume, Myuri
starts to ask questions that actually make sense, such as why all the stories
featuring the bear were at night and why nobody could find it during the day
and why there were so few bear crests, even though the Moon Hunting Bear was
stronger than any other mythological creature.

Even though I feel like Isuna Hasekura is just mentioning
the Moon Hunting Bear at this point to try and keep readership in a series that
is not as good as its predecessor, it still kept the read interesting, by
making me think that they would eventually encounter the bear, who they now
suspect is disguised as a human and, like many other creatures in the world, is
trying to create a place for its own kind.

By having a conversation like this in the volume, I am
getting vibes that the mystery surrounding the Moon Hunting Bear might be
revealed later in his series, should it last as long as Spice & Wolf
did, seeing as many of the volumes seem to suggest that Isuna Hasekura may be
losing his edge.

If Isuna Hasekura did not include talk of the Moon Hunting Bear,
I likely would not have cared too much, due to feelings of Isuna using the Moon
Hunting Bear as the carrot dangling from the stick, and the story would not
really have changed too much without it.

However, Isuna Hasekura did include it, which makes me want
to give Isuna Hasekura some minor praise, while wishing that he not raise hope
for something that may not actually occur.

Hopefully, with this being the second time Col and Myuri
talk of the Moon Hunting Bear, the bear itself will how its head soon, but I
have my doubts that it will occur.

The thing that I like the most though was how I did not feel
bored out of my mind while reading it.

One of the things I really hate about reviews from outlets
and people with a bigger reputation than me is how they praise books that do
not really satisfy the reader where it counts the most, which is its
enjoyability factor, as many books with glowing reviews from such outlets have
something that makes the work feel like chore, as was the case withThe Book Thief,
or it suggested the writer no longer knew how to do things right, which was the
case with The
Whistler
.

Readers read books and stories because they want to be
entertained and if they cannot feel like they are having fun or enjoying
themselves, regardless of the presence of a message or any hidden symbolism,
which many casual readers do not care about.

With the exception of World End Economica, Isuna
Hasekura tends to do a pretty good job in the area, as I find myself deeply
enthralled with his work because he makes the most mundane things, which is
quite prevalent in this book, seem exciting and I do not feel like do something
else, nor do I get annoyed.

In this volumes, things are not really any different from my
past experiences with Isuna Hasekura’s previous work.

If Isuna Hasekura had not remained consistent in this area,
I would have just drop this series right here now, rather than be willing to
give this series one more chance to try and impress me, because it would have
shown that Isuna Hasekura no longer knew the importance of making both the main
plot and the mundane moments interesting.

Thankfully, Isuna Hasekura did not falter in an area that
matters the most, which makes me feel like giving him a good round of applause.

Hopefully, future volumes will be able to keep everything
within its pages interesting during the time of reading, as that will help make
sure the writing stays good, but I would not be surprised if Isuna Hasekura
fails in this category any time soon.

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

Because the beginning did its job well, questions started
cropping up regarding the Moon Hunting Bear, though it feels like Isuna
Hasekura might be stringing people along, and that I never once felt bored
while reading the text, this book was pretty decent.

Although there were things that I liked about the book,
there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
such as typos, only one thing really bothered me, which was that absolutely
nothing happened.

When reading through this book, I kept wondering what
exactly was going to happen to Col and Myuri on their adventures now, while
slogging through the expected slow moments that usually lead to the main
conflict to be dealt, but nothing really surfaced.

After Col decides to make a crest for Myuri and himself, they
head out to see Huskins, to know the real stories behind the various crests,
and they encounter a knight in training with a letter seeking aid.

When talking to this knight in training, they realize the
dire straits he is in and wish him luck, only to be asked to return to
Rausbourne when the knight’s company arrives, which puts everyone on high alert
up until Col meets the company commander, where the conflict become internal
for Col, trying to figure out the best course of action.

Later, when Col makes a decision, I am all in waiting to see
how the spectacle is going to play out, but then Col has a different idea that
ends up cancelling the spectacle, ending with pretty much everyone going their
own way, without repercussion and the design of Col’s and Myuri’s crest decided.

Even though I did say that I was not bored while reading
through the entirety of the book, this just felt like a disappointing
resolution that made it feel like nothing really happened, thereby making the
story feel like it would have been better as a short story.

I knew Isuna Hasekura was not as good as when he wrote Spice
& Wolf
, but this is seriously disappointing.

There was no real sense of adventure, beyond visiting an old
acquaintance, and not showing a staged debate that was supposed to wow the
people enough to save the knights that requested Col’s help only made things
worse, even if it was not quite as bad as the sixth book
of Spice & Wolf.

If Isuna Hasekura had worked on this longer, it may have
actually had something worth a whole book, but as it stands, I feel like this
would have worked better as a short, especially considering that the read was
otherwise good.

Sadly, it just had to be a full light novel, which really
hurt the enjoyment.

Hopefully, the next volume will be better, especially
because I feel like six books is enough to gauge whether or not this series is
worth following, as I really want to like this series, but I cannot be too
confident that this series will ever live up to its predecessor.

Thankfully, that was the only thing that really bothered me,
so Isuna Hasekura can at least walk away knowing that he was not a completely
failure.

While there was one issue, it was bad enough that it hurt
the enjoyment factor of the book quite a bit.

Despite the fact that there were things to like, especially
one thing that is more important than things like themes and symbolism, the
negative did enough damage to make this only good enough to kill time.

I mainly recommend this to fans of Wolf & Parchment,
as they will like this the most.

As for everyone else, I would suggest finding something else
to read, as the story felt like a story that would have work better as a short,
even if it was not the worst thing in the world.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on either Patreon or SubscribeStar, so that you can
either encourage me to continue on with this series or maybe find something
else you might you like.

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