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Spice and Wolf, Vol. 1 Paperback – December 15, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Isuna Hasekura's debut novel, SPICE AND WOLF, earned the Silver Prize in the 2005 Dengeki Novel Prize with the series going on to total seventeen novels and both manga and anime adaptations.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Yen Press (December 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0759531048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0759531048
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'll keep this short and sweet. Fans of the anime will love reading the original story and will gain a greater understanding of Lawrence & Holo. Little gestures you may not have even noticed the first time you watched the series, become clear and meaningful after finishing the book.

If you haven't heard of Spice & Wolf before, then either this book or the anime series are good places to start. You'll get more life out of the series, but the book is a bit easier on the wallet. Despite the unusual premise this is a slower-paced and more dialogue heavy story, suited for an older audience. A healthy interest in economics isn't needed, but it'd be a plus.

EDIT: I just have to update this after completing Volume 5 of the Spice & Wolf...everything I originally said about the rocky translation was just wrong. Paul Starr is doing an AMAZING job, this is by far one of the best translated light novels I have read to date, it perfectly captures the tone of the series.

Five volumes down and I am even more in love with this series than before, here's hoping we get to see the rest brought over!
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Format: Paperback
While one might not be surprised to find a wolf-girl and a fantasy setting in a book aimed at young adults, plots based on the principles of free-market economics are unexpected. Yet Hasekura combines a very unusual romance with economics and comes up a winner. Who'da thunk it?
The teasing romantic interplay between Lawrence and Holo is a delight. Two world-wise adults, albeit in different ways, they tease and flirt in an amusing and yet sexually-tense manner. You know that if either of them pushed things even a bit, they'd be...well, you know. But both are aware of the inevitable outcome of love between an immortal and a human. Not to mention Lawrence is a little afraid of being with a god (quite reasonably) and Holo has her near-arrogant pride to hold her back.
Anyway, a fun read. Note that it is for young adults, so don't expect Lord of the Rings. But for what it is, it's satisfying.
I'd like to note the translation was a surprise. It's excellent. Very smooth, vivid, and accurate. I might even say it reads better than the original (although I only read two chapters of that some years ago). A pat on the back to Paul Starr who deserves much more credit than a tiny line almost lost on the indicia page. In Japan translators are properly respected and their names are even on the front cover. Shame on American publishers for treating their essential contribution so poorly.
The front cover art is odd. I suppose they're trying to attract "mainstream" readers of light novels and maybe this is a way to do it. I suppose we'll see if that does any good, and the fans will buy it anyway. But Holo should at least have had fangs....
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Format: Paperback
Because of the picture, I was worried that this volume was printed with the photograph cover-- Especially since I heard that for the original American release the Japanese cover was only available as a dust cover for a short period of time. Luckily, the dust cover was the American title and the Japanese cover was on the actual book.

Haven't read it myself, but this was a birthday gift for my husband and he was ecstatic!
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For those still wondering, I can confirm that the books now have the anime style art work as the cover. Mine did not come with any dust jacket. The picture you see displayed is the image on the book. As for the content, I enjoyed it very much and have also read the other books. Recommended.
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If you're a fan of the anime you will most likely be a fan of the light novel. You pick up on a few things you will have missed if you had only watched the anime.

Also, if you're not a fan of the American artwork on the cover - fear not! It's only a sleeve. The original artwork is underneath the removable sleeve if you don't like it.
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I've read 4 of the novels so far, and watched both seasons of the anime. Yes, in the end Spice & Wolf is a love story. But the setting, the protagonist, and the drama itself surrounding the "they fall in love" theme is all very different from what most other stories present these days. See, Spice & Wolf doesn't try to be an action, "knight saves damsel", or even "girl has superpowers and it's awesome" type of story. It's a down to earth, joyfully playful tale of a merchant (yes, a simple merchant) and how he met a transcendental wolf named Holo, who takes the form of a girl.

From that description, you would probably think the story revolves around her and her abnormal powers; but no, it's mostly about...wait for it...MONEY! Yes, Spice and Wolf is unique (at least to me) in that the main drama the protagonists face is monetary schemes; and so you get this very peculiar mixture of the problems faced in a developing love relationship and those of a Renaissance merchant living day by day from his hard work in the field of finances. The financial drama in which the protagonists plunge themselves is quite intricate, and often revolves around financial concepts that affect our very world today, yet they are presented in a way more akin to a mystery novel than a lecture from Harvard. Boring things like price speculation and return on investment are suddenly transformed into the very sword and shield of a knight fighting for his damsel's love, yet the roles are often exchanged and it is Lawrence who finds himself needing saving.

Laurence has many characteristics often seen in other "anime" stories, like his inexperience in love, which gives him the typical shyness of male protagonists often found in animes.
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