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Spice & Wolf, Vol. 4
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2010
In this third novel, the series really shines; we now have a general understanding of Holo and Lawrence, so no more text is necessary for character introduction. The story within this book describes an economic battle between Lawrence and a rival, intertwined with the continually developing relationship between the two main characters. This all comes together in a well-executed manner, and it offers a compelling, enjoyable conclusion. If only it wasn't another six months until the next release!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2011
Isuna Hasekura's skill as an author seems to age like fine wine, which is to say that each volume he releases his storytelling improves greatly. I believe after reading this volume it has shown me how skilled he is as an author to pull off previous volume.

By previous statement, what I mean is that volume three gave a sense of urgency and fast-pace, but this time around the story goes at a much slower pace. I believe this is more due to the fact that Holo and Lawrence are getting accustomed to their new understanding of each other's feelings.

The story begins with Lawrence and Holo out on the road travelling to their next destination. Diana from volume 3 has mentioned there was abbot who collected pagan legends from all over the world, and this would be the person they seek out here in volume 4 to find out more about the town of Yoitsu (Holo's home). They arrive in the small town of Tereo to find out more information as to the whereabouts of the abbey, but they are soon confronted with yet another issue that only serves to hold back any progress of Holo finding out what happened to Yoitsu. Will Lawrence and Holo once again outwit their opponent(s), or will fate finally catch up with them?

This volume also confronts an issue that has worried Lawrence since the ending of volume one. One that Lawrence fears the most about facing on his travels with Holo. You'll have to pick up this volume to find out what happens!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2011
Without spoiling too much, this is the best book yet. There are significant developments in the relationship between Holo and Lawrence, and realizations about what's important on the journey. The plot is compelling with wonderful dialogue. The ending is not a cliffhanger, but portends future stories, which makes it an even harder wait until the next entry in the series.

Note also that this is equivalent to the second half of Spice and Wolf II (anime series).
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2012
Finally the events post season 2 are being told. I have been waiting for this release for a long time and couldn't wait to read about what happens after the crazy events that took place previously. This also starts right after the last book ended and you feel a sense of urgency right at the start. Kraft and Holo talk about the events that happened in the fifth book and what that might mean for the future.

The boy they meet, Col, is quite an interesting character and we get to see a side to Kraft and Holo that is actually quite amusing. Speaking of which; it really seems throughout the series so far that the characters are slowly changing. The author does a good job in creating character development and makes me wonder how much more knowledge the characters will get by the end of the series.

While no action really happens in this novel, I still found it to be a really fast pace reading. It could be the fact I have wanted post season 2 story for a while now, but I was really sucked into the story and never got bored. Character interaction really shines in this issue and so many really cool people are added. Most of them are just secondary characters, but most are really unique and interesting.

The setting descriptions laid out by the author are really well written and easily imaginable. I never found myself confused or had a hard time in trying to visualize what is happening around them. I think this is the first time shipping is introduced into the series. Lots of details are given into the boating and goods process and the mercantile benefits to using it (with the Kraft Lawrence in-depth descriptions about it).

Just like the other novels random illustrations are added at key moments of the story. They still look great and it never really takes you out of the story by having too many of them. The novel also has two of the introduction full color illustrations, but for some reason they are upside down. The table of contents are also upside down, might be this way to avoid spoilers to people who don't like seeing them or just a printing error.

Verdict:

I recommend this book to anyone who has read the previous volumes, as it does progress the story quite well. This is also the book you want to start reading if you're just interested in the story past what happens in the anime (I also recommend the fourth novel as well if you're only interested in story the anime didn't cover). A ton of story gets covered this volume and it ends on a really cool note that I didn't expect.

~ Written: 06-12

Positive:
* Great addition to the series that's finally past the anime
* Kraft shows that he has learned from his experiences so far
* Tons of character interaction
* Insight into the boating and shipping process
* Illustrations still look great

Negative:
* The color art and table of contents are upside down for some reason
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2011
I quite enjoyed it. This is the book where the story catches up to the most recent episode of the anime. Now let's get into the new content! Hurry up and release the next one!

If you bought the first four books and wanted more, this one will doubtfully disappoint you. If you're looking to get into the series, go back to book one, seriously. This book has some nice moments that you won't be able to appreciate nearly as much if you haven't followed the characters through the series up to this point.

Without spoilers, I think this book was a nice opportunity for characterization for Lawrence--you get to follow along with his inner stuggles between the natural tendency for "avarice" as a merchant, and the changes that having a traveling partner introduce to his priorities. You also get a good contrast between him and Eve in the narrative.
I also thought it a nice bit irony, Holo calling God cruel for letting people suffer--compared to how the townsfolk began to dislike her for not always letting the crops grow at their best. I'm not sure if this irony was intended by the author or not, but it stood out to me nevertheless.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2011
I really did enjoy this book. The relationship between Lawrence and Holo definitely deepens. "What am I to you?" In this thrilling volume, their bond is put to the test as another merchant vies for the charming Holo. Since this is no ordinary series with romance, we get a taste of economics in a satisfying way. Lawrence needs to once again put his wits to the test, as well as putting his trust in friends he never knew he had, and getting help from other surprising places. Great plot, unforgettable characters, and as always I am a big fan of Juu Ayakura's art throughout the book. I really hope you read this book, it's DEFINITELY worth your time. I can't wait for the 4th book to be released in North America.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2011
In this adventure the stakes are less personal for lawrence and holo but they hit close to home all the same.

More is revealed of the disaster that befell Yoitsu, but uncovering this information may cause disaster to befall the town which keeps these secrets. Just as Lawrence and Holo are growing closer together the realiztion that someday thier journey will end forces them to think about parting. Lawrence and Holo must use thier cunning, and business sense to solve other peoples problems this time around... but can doing so help them conquer thier own?

Well I started reading this last night and stayed up late, late, late finishing it.
Lawrence and Holo trade jabs, plots, and banter with Lawrence evidently learning a thing or two and actually managing to get the upperhand on Holo once or twice. I'm so happy to have new Spice and Wolf material!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2012
Brilliant, just...brilliant. Paul Starr is doing an amazing job translating this series and really deserves a hefty does of recognition for it! As for the contents itself, well, if you've read this far you are a Spice & Wolf fan. Picking up this novel is a no-brainer, you will adore it like the others.

Don't hesitate! Get it now! As you know the market for localized Japanese novels is niche within a niche, let's make sure we support quality works like this to ensure they have a future here in the states!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2011
Isuna Hasekura is a brilliant author, no doubt about it. Spice and Wolf is a great series unlike anything I've ever read.

In this novel, Holo and Lawrence stop in the village of Tereo to inquire about Holo's hometown of Yoitsu. When a rivaling village encounters a crisis, Holo and Lawrence are thrust headfirst into the affair.

Hasekura's use of the language is very accurate, and I can imagine every scene, every word that is written. I can see the story playing out in my head. This time around though, the plot seemed rather lacking, and I felt a bit of anti-climax when I got to the conclusion. The events in this novel just seemed rather droll in comparison to the first three, as they placed the main characters in jeopardy. This time around, the stakes were lowered, but it was still a fine read. I look forward to reading future novels, and I pray that Hasekura will make the series as high-staked as before!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2012
If you're looking at this book most likely you already read the first 5 volumes and know this series is great. The 6th book does a good job continuing the series and I enjoyed reading it. If you haven't read the first 5 books I highly suggest you do. The cover looks like a girly or teen book but let me tell you I'm a guy in my mid 20s I love the Spice and Wolf series. The story is much highbrow reading then normal and I myself had needed to look up a couple of words now and then while reading.
Bottom line is great book, great series. It only stinks that i have to wait another 6 months before the next volume.
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