Series Review: Spice & Wolf

July 29, 2017

Well, this is kind of surprising, huh?

Normally, I focus my time on reviewing books and moving on,
while I review an anime as a whole once the simulcast has completed, with only
two exceptions, but I got a request one day to help a writer out with getting
ratings on Amazon and I kind of had a bit of troubles, since I could not
remember too much about that series at the time the request was made.

Because of that, I decided to try and get myself into the
habit of doing those kinds of reviews more often, so that I can be better
prepared, and I recently finished the main storyline of a series.

Today, I will be reviewing that series, which is called Spice & Wolf.

As have already given a series synopsis in an earlier
post
and I do not think that I can word things any better than that, I will
forego any summary.

As many should be able to tell from my reviews of the
individual volumes, which total about 18 volumes where I live, 19 if you can
get your hands on the 19th book, I was not exactly a fan of this
series when I first introduced to it via the anime, and, like A
Certain Magical Index
, I did not get why people thoroughly enjoyed the
series.

However, when I found out that Yen Press was finally
releasing the original series in a digital format, I decided to give it a try,
and found that I thoroughly enjoyed.

From the very beginning of the series all the way to end, I
found myself being pulled into a slow, but very satisfying, journey with
interesting characters and a very engaging writing style, which made it hard
for me to want to stop reading many, but not all, of the volumes, as I wanted
to find out what would happen next.

This was something that I had never seen from Isuna Hasekura
before, even though the Spice & Wolf series was his debut series,
unlike the other title from him that I was familiar with, which was neither a
manga or a light novel, and it really made me want to change my mind about how
he seemed to be nothing but an amateur, even if he really was when he first
penned this series, because he was able to pull things off really well,
especially because he was able to get me to feel what his characters were
feeling and that they seemed to be human.

I also liked how realistic things seemed in this seem.

While this series cannot be considered completely realistic,
like many other works of fiction, as myths ended up being true a lot of the times
in the universe of the series and there were characters, like Holo, who could
change between beast and human form, but many of the situations that Holo and
Lawrence encountered seemed like things that we could face in our own lives and
the ways that they were resolved were solutions that could very well be used to
resolve the same issues that we encounter in our lives.

Now, some of you guys might be thinking that I making this
series look like a bible, especially because I have found a few passages that
stood out to me while reading through many of the volumes of this series, but I
have to remind you guys that I do have a background in computers and some of
what I know from that field helped me to realize that nothing is 100% and the
understanding of the world and people that I have now, which itself is not
perfect, allows me to realize that you cannot delve into these books whenever
you have a problem and find the answer to your problem, as it can only show
people how flawed they can be.

This realistic feeling comes that the series has comes from
the fact that Isuna Hasekura tries to apply economic principles, some of which
we all know about, in a fantasy setting and tries to resolve most, but not all,
matters through the use of money, which is what causes the bulk of problems
that can be found in the world of adults, except for those instances that are
caused by greed, apathy, and/or irrationality.

By having this combination be present in a series, it comes
off as feeling rather unique when compared to other fictional series out there,
even if it might not be, and that unique feeling is what many readers would
like to feel.

After all, if nothing had that feeling of being unique,
there would not be any stories out there that could survive the sands of time like
the works that truly deserve to be called classics and all of the various
mythologies from ancient civilizations have done.

Because Isuna was able to deliver in this unique feeling, I
feel like he gets pretty every ounce of praise that he deserves.

The best thing about this series though was how I felt like
I had fun reading many of the volumes, regardless of whether they were short
story collections or part of the main storyline, which I consider finished as
of volume
16
, since I want to completely forget about the abomination that came
after, and helped to improve my initial bad impression from the anime
adaptations to the point where I can see why this series is so well liked.

There are many people out there that do a lot of reading for
various purposes, whether that be to make living or because they like to read,
and they want to be able to sit down and relax, not be experience more feelings
of monotony because the book feels tedious or like it is a chore.

Even though Isuna Hasekura failed to deliver in this area in
two of the three books that failed to impress me, which were volumes 10
and 17,
he was able to deliver quite well in the fifteen books that were actually
enjoyable, and helped to make some of the worst aspects of this series be less
visible than they were, some of which could be attributed to the staff Yen
Press had translate, proofread, and edit each installment, and it actually
makes me happy that I gave this a try.

If Isuna Hasekura can keep up with this level of quality,
and Yen Press does not test my mercy as much as they did in volume
14
, I might actually be willing to continue supporting him, as this is what
I wanted to see from him and the translators Yen Press hired did a fairly good
job of getting his voice through in this beloved series, and I am looking
forward to seeing this happen.

Because the series the series was able to get me interested
from the beginning and mostly gave me everything that I wanted to be able to
read through each installment, the realistic feel, in spite of it being set in
a fantasy world, and that the series itself felt like a fun read, this ended up
being one of the best series I have read.

Although I did like the series overall, there are some
issues.

However, aside from a few glaring issues that cropped up in
three of the 18 volumes, which I talked about in the reviews of the volumes
themselves, and other things that are too minor to talk about, nothing seemed
to bother me enough that it would have affected my overall enjoyment.

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

Considering that there was quite a bit to like, especially
considering that less than a quarter of the less irritated me quite a bit, this
series was worth every penny I spent to read it.

I recommend this series to fans of Isuna Hasekura and Spice
& Wolf
, especially those that are desperately hoping a third season of
the anime, those who want to read something that is pretty close to being
realistic, though I will warn you guys it is not 100% realistic, and those that
want to see how a story with a slow pacing.

As for everyone else, it might before trying out, especially
if you are one those people that did not enjoy the anime adaptations too much,
since I also did not like the series too much until I read these books, but if
you cannot stand stories with a slow pace, you might be better off looking
somewhere else.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on Patreon
or buying one or more of the volumes in the series from Amazon, which has all the volumes in print
and digital format, so that I can find worthwhile reads for you guys, and do
whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

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