Friday, 6 November 2015

Spice and Wolf- novel 14

Fran Sits on the bed when Lawrence enters the room. She is very serious and waits for him to sit down before saying that he should visit a guy named Philon in Lenos. He poses as a goods dealer but is really a supplier of mercenaries.
Fran informs him that Hugues is currently in the process of producing a map to Yoitsu. This in itself explains that Hugues had the courage all along to be a traveller like Fran.

Fran says that the map should be finished when he arrives back in Lenos. She says she will send a messenger via fast horse so he will get it once their wagon arrives.
Fran then resigns back to lying in her bed. She's still heavily wounded and needs more time to rest. Lawrence takes his leave.

Holo joins Lawrence as soon as he steps out of the room. At first he thinks she's pouting probably because he spent time alone with Fran, however it is because of her desire to see Yoitsu.

It is 5 days since the the end of the 12th novel, and 2 months since the beginning of the whole story. Hugues is busy preparing his wagon for Lawrence, Holo and Col. Fran is still recovering in bed. Lawrence feels bad for borrowing the wagon but Hugues only laughs it off and stocks them up with new materials, food and wine. He informs Lawrence of the name of the inn where he will have to pick up the map in Lenos. Its the Beast and Fish Tail. The same tavern they visited a few weeks prior.

Following the river path back to Lenos, Holo and Lawrence are sitting at the drivers seat of the wagon, looking back at Col sitting in the wagon bed, acting resigned and distant. They realise Col has fallen in awe with Fran, someone of similar age who has had a lot of weight on her young shoulders. Lawrence draws Holo close for warmth and comfort. Continuing on from volume 12, neither are holding back from simple loving gestures towards each other.

They stop off along the way to witness fishermen haul in their catch, along with other onlookers. The soldiers declare that the remaining fish are for the people, so all the onlookers rush in to gather what they can, including Holo and Col. Lawrence thinks this system of giving to the people is their way of preventing poaching in the area.

They arrive back in Lenos. They decide to stay well clear of the people they got into trouble with last time, and decide to re-visit the Beast and Fish Tail. Holo says to him that he's got "some nerve" going back there. At first he's not sure what she's talking about, but he then reminds himself of the barmaid that worked there. Holo says slyly that she can always soak in the hot springs of Nyohhira to 'forget her angered heart'. Lol.

They enter the inn, which is empty apart from said barmaid who is working on preparing clams. Holo doesn't show it on her face, but Lawrence can tell she's jealous of her, and visa versa.
He asks the barmaid of anywhere good to stay in town, in which she slyly retorts whether he's asking if he can stay around her place. Lol it seems like the two girls are fighting over him. Holo gestures to tighten his collar in an attempt of claiming ownership of him. Lawrence feels uncomfortable of the tense atmosphere but continues talking to the girl.

After a while Holo laughs her head off. The barmaid does the same. Lawrence hasn't got a clue whats going on but it's revealed the two girls have been teasing him the whole time.

Regarding where to stay, she recommends a place owned by a nun named sister Eunice.
Lawrence informs her that they have another person in their company so will need 3 meals sent over. When the girl finds out it's a boy, she wonders with a smile whether she should tease him instead.
Just before they leave, Lawrence reminds himself of the main reason they are there. He informs the barmaid that they have a package on the way. She even seems to know Hugues as one of her previous customers.

Lawrence drinks heavily that evening. Probably spurred on from the awkward situation he found himself in earlier. For once he collapses before Holo does. She finds it very amusing.

The next day arrives and Holo gives Col company when attending morning church.
She arrives back to Lawrence shaving his beard at the courtyard well. He is suffering from a hangover. She informs him that she's looking forward to finally getting back to Yoitsu. This could imply that she's ready to leave him, however somehow neither are feeling sad, and are just about to hold hands when cock block Col arrives with their breakfast which ends that.

After breakfast they decide to meet Philon, the guy Fran told them to visit.
Lawrence is apprehensive about the meet but it turns out to be ok. Lawrence name drops Fran and things proceed smoothly. Lawrence wants to know whether there is fighting taking place in Yoitsu, so as to avoid it at all costs. At first Philon isn't sure where it is but after Lawrence mentions the moon hunting bear the guy is pretty confident that conflicts are not taking place in previous settlements.

A portly chap named Le Roi enters the shop. Its not explained very well why he is there but he is a book keeper and seller. His travelling companion walks in who turns out to be Elsa from novel 4. Le Roi pleads with Philon to let her stay somewhere nice, but he can't help. Lawrence steps in and says she can stay in his room, much to the distaste of Holo. When they leave, Holo is clearly upset and sticks her tongue out at Lawrence and grabs Cols hand and runs off with him. Lawrence thinks they may have gone on ahead to tidy their room.

It is established that Elsa is travelling to find a partner for her work at the abbey.
As for Le Roi, Elsa's mentor the late Father Franz knew him and trusted him.
Le Roi wishes to know where Father Franz's hidden library is, and so is trying his very best to help Elsa in order to gain her trust.

They all visit the Beast and Fish Tail. Elsa is apprehensive about the new foods she's about to discover on her plate. She copes well with the food despite the spiciness, but is somewhat shocked of Cols bad table manners. She decides to teach Col and Holo respectively about good manners as payment for the room and board. After the meal when walking back, Col buzzes around Elsa. Holo looks sad and Lawrence says to her that she looks like she's had her favourite toy taken away from her.

The next morning the two woman and Col head off to morning church. Lawrence meanwhile decides to visit the shopping district. He eyes up the cheese being sold at a stall but the owner tells him all the cheese has already been sold. The owner advices him that he may still be able to buy cheese directly from a tavern. Lawrence thanks the man and says he will do just that.
Unfortunately for Lawrence, all the other stalls are also sold out. He heads to the Beast and Fish Tail for answers.

The barmaid is busy taking stock that had just arrived. Lawrence makes a connection between the lack of stock in the market and the overstock in the inn. The girl says it's because of the local economy. He buys cheese off her for a hefty sum and heads back.

On the way back he bumps into Arolds old inn and the men he met before when he had trouble with the fur trade.

He heads back for lunch with the others.

Later on, as they walk to the docks, Holo takes out her frustrations on Lawrence. She hates that Elsa is getting between her and Col. He tells her she should stop having to act the wisewolf all the time. They have a slight spat but he calms her down.

They reach the stables and sort out Lawrence's horse and wagon which they left in the care of a stable owner since last time they were in Lenos.

After that they head back to their inn. Just as they are getting to their room, Lawrence is called downstairs by Le Roi.
The two of them chat in the inns tavern. He spied on Lawrence earlier when he was talking to the men from the Delink company outside Arolds old place.
He tells Lawrence that he needs to borrow money, no questions asked. And that the Delink company would be perfect lenders. However Le Roi needs an introduction from someone who knows the Delink company. Lawrence doesn't trust the man and refuses to accept helping him, however Le Roi states his knowledge that Lawrence is heading north, which should be kept a secret. Lawrence feels trapped in a corner so feels obliged to help. As a guy forced into introducing Le Roi to the Delink company, anything that goes wrong will fall on Lawrence's head.

Le Roi is after a hidden book with mining secrets which is classified as forbidden because of its shady techniques which ruins landscapes. And Lawrence is now involved. To find this book may take a few months, which gets in the way of following Holo to Yoitsu.
He addresses this predicament upon her when going up to their room. She says she will just have to go alone when necessary. Neither want to part ways from one another but are thinking with their heads not their hearts.

Le Roi and Lawrence visit the Delink company. Lawrence is apprehensive about visiting the same place he bargained Holos life with once before. Only one of the four members is present. He tells them the plan may proceed as long as one of their guys joins them in the expedition.

They leave and shake hands. Departing from one another, Lawrence is confronted by Holo who was outside the shop the whole time listening in, or at least trying too. She couldn't hear what was going on inside. She's cold so he takes her to a nearby tavern and gets some wine down her. Lawrence notices that she has two parcels tucked under her coat. With great apprehension they open the biggest which turns out to be the map. She kisses him on the cheek for helping her find her way home. However he is highly dissatisfied. Walking back, he tells her outright he wants to take her all the way to Yoitsu. But things aren't looking likely now.

Lawrence needs to help Le Roi find a book which should stop the Northlands from being desecrated by evil mining techniques.
Col is seeking the church as a power to protect his village, which means he's better off with Elsa and not Holo; a pagan god.

The next morning they decide to get prepared for their respective journeys. They decide that a few days of preparation would be necessary. They visit Philon's shop. Philon is eager to see Frans map, however they purposely don't have it on hand. They ask about the 'Tolkien' region where Yoitsu is marked on the map. Philon explains its a highly mountainous area. Holo asks if any wolves roam the region, of which Philon replies it does.
Elsa writes a letter to her boyfriend back in Tereo whilst the others explore the town. Lawrence stays and struggles with the terms of having to split ways with Holo.

Lawrence daydreams about opening a shop with Holo, but dismisses them when Philon walks back into the room from the courtyard. He tells Lawrence that the Tolkien region will be targeted for battle of control of the area.
He mentions the Myuri mercenary band. Lawrence remembers Myuri as one of Holos fellow Wolf friends. He jumps to conclusions and imagines him as one of Holos wolf god friends who is helping to keep the Tolkien area for himself. He then imagines the two of them together helping to protect Yoitsu.

Holo walks in all cheery, with Col in tow who plonks down a bucket of eels. Holo explains they helped collect them after someone stumbled over a barrel of them. Lawrence is worried that Holo stole the eels, but they were rewarded to her as a present as she proved the most skilful at retrieving them back. Her clothes are in a state so Philon suggests she and Col take a bath, pointing to the back of the shop. Lawrence and Elsa head back to their inn to collect spare clothes.

Walking back, Elsa comes out with a statement of wanting to help him. She says that the two of them are very much alike, saying that "our true feelings are obvious, yet we both insist on putting on such great facades of responsibility". She has been turned down by the church at Lenos and is now willing to repay her dept with Lawrence. She needs to find a replacement clergyman so that she can quit her role and marry Evan. As a clergy she is currently not entitled to marry.

In a direct manner, such as her personality is, Elsa tells Lawrence straight that he needs to comes to terms with being in love with Holo. She tells him everything we readers have been wanting to say to him all this time. He is lying to himself about his feelings. He should be selfish and follow her to Yoitsu. She says that the way they are around each other is unnatural and that they should not hold back from holding hands and being lovers. Lawrence flinches and reaches for her collar in an attempt to stop her talking. But his barriers come crashing down. He confesses that he wished all of Holos old wolf friends dead, and that he is jealous of Myuri for being alive.
This conversation continues right up to getting to the room of their inn. She tells him to think like a merchant to get his way. He thinks about it and comes up with a plan.

Back at the shop, Elsa eggs him on to do her plan. Lawrence waltz's into the wash room to find Col and Holo naked, her teasing him with hot water. They have long since finished washing themselves. Lawrence throws a towel at Col who catches it, and one at Holo which hits her head. Col dries himself off and dresses at double quick speed, allowing Lawrence and Holo to chat. He rinses her hair with his hands whilst confessing everything he knows about Myuri, and the fact he's jealous of him. He also tells her he needs her to find Le Roi right away. He is not flustered at Holos naked appearance and she is taken aback yet unsure and worried at his latest decision. He squares up to her and says he will not go against his promises, implying the promise to take her home to Yoitsu.

They find Le Roi trying to negotiate with a man at the docks.
Lawrence explains the new plan. The company in Kieschen they are targeting for the book is a rather large one which has a special agreement with the Delink company. He plans on issuing multiple money orders to the company from many other companies with their names changed, each at a large sum of money. The company at Kieschan would think none the wiser until they run low of money, but by that point it would be too late for them. They wouldn't be able to sort which money orders were real or fake. Le Roi would appear to them at this point and suggest he take the money orders off their hands, with the condition that they give him the book. Because Le Roi would be working on behalf of the Delink company, there would be no need for him to have money on his person (as the two companies have a special agreement and work off of money orders). What makes this a good plan is that the value of money is higher in Lenos than Kieschen so they could make a huge profit from it.

The three of them head to the Delink company. All 4 members are present and accept the changed plans, with the understanding and support that Lawrence does not want to leave Holos side. They claim they had thought of the same plan too.
This whole time Holo keeps back, at an utter loss of what Lawrence is doing.

They head to Philon's shop to be greeted by roasted eel. Le Roi asks Lawrence if he could get some fine wine from his wagon. Lawrence agrees and Le Roi sets out. Instead of waiting for him to get back, Lawrence and Holo take a walk around the streets, holding hands. They walk down a quiet narrow alleyway.

Holo stops and sheepishly asks him a forbidden question; "Why is it...that you’re so set on going to Yoitsu with me?"
Lawrence stands there. Holo is so overwhelmed she nervously talks some more about why he's doing this. She trails off mid sentence. Lawrence puts his hands to his face and asks "is it so strange?"
Lawrence feels emotionally sick.
She talks twice more. The third time she speaks she admits she has no plans of just saying good-bye once they part at Yoitsu. Lawrence is in disbelief. He asks her to repeat herself. she retorts back "must I explain everything?". This breaks the final barrier between them. Lawrence clasps his hand over his mouth and averts his gaze.

Lawrence reminds himself of how last time in Lenos, in a similar alleyway, he admitted that he loves her. she snuggles herself into his chest. He bends down to her eye level, she stands on tip toe to meet him half way.
she says directly at him "Honestly, to not accept the truth unless you have it spoken to your face". It becomes a shared notion that the thought of departing from each other after arriving at Yoitsu is tormenting both of them.

She banters about his selfishness and not thinking of her feelings after they depart Yoitsu. She grabs his ear and pulls him closer.
At this point Lawrence pulls out the second letter from Hugues, a two page letter. Only its not written by Hugues. She reads it and cries one single tear. She looks up at him and says "Aye, ‘tis what I hate about you, but you fool, you stupid fool, I...I do love you".

The letter is a contract to Holo, signed by Lawrence. They embrace. She says "I suppose we've to leave Col in the care of that bun head, then? And you've already prepared for our last travel as a pair, so I suppose the matter's settled. Come then."
she pats him on the back as a gesture that they should be on their way, only he holds her tighter and kisses her on the neck. Unrestrained, he pushes her to the wall and holds her tighter still
“Not...not here…!” she uses her strength to push him back, but goes overboard and lamps him a punch on the mouth saying ‘you fool!’

They return to the shop and go to the courtyard where they meet everyone eating eel. Everyone sees the state Lawrence is in and decide to make excuses to head on inside, giving them alone time. Holo hand feeds Lawrence the eel despite the pain in his face. she also eats happily, making girly chewing noises.



What unbelievable brilliance. I honestly didn't think much of this novel. It truly looked like for 3/4 of the book that volume 15 would start in a few months to a year later in time or sometime, after Lawrence's excursion with Le Roi.

Elsa was the most perfect character to bring back to kick Lawrence up the backside to get the ball rolling with Holo. However I understand Lawrence's feelings at holding back a relationship with a girl from another species. Especially when he was waiting for her to admit any feelings she may have had towards him, obvious or not.

The ending scene wasn't their first kiss. But it may as well have been. They still think everything will end at Yoitsu. But at long last for the series they classify themselves as a couple.

Departing from Col and Elsa purely because they want to travel alone again, albeit as a couple: Fantastic.

The three short stories from volume 13 make sense now. They happen after this novel. Whether volume 15 starts from where this novel ends, we will have to see. However I cannot wait to start it!

I rate this book 8-10. Not perfect, but still had the most anticipated scene for the whole series!
Lawrence held her tighter, then pushed her against the wall. Then-
"Not...not here...!" Holo tried to push Lawrence back, with earnest strength this time.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Spice and Wolf- novel 13- Side Colors 3


Part 1: The Wolf And The Honeyed Peach Preserves

I'm quite intrigued because this first short story is set a long time after Holo ate a whole piglet (which happened in Lenos) yet they are talking about this whilst sitting in the drivers seat of a wagon. This must mean that this is either novel 12's direct sequel or its set sometime in the future. Col isnt about, so I suspect the latter. Either way, COL IS GONE!!!! At some point it will just be Holo and Lawrence in the wagon again. This is great news!

Anyway, in this story they are in a busy town surrounded by mountains and forests. This means they must be in the north somewhere near Yoitsu. Im guessing here but it seems fitting. Holo is busy eyeing up the food stalls whilst Lawrence is busy trying to direct the wagon on such a bustling street.

They are tired and need somewhere to stay for the night. However they are turned away by all the taverns. The wagon crawls around town due to congestion. They overhear passers by talk of honeyed preserves they use on their bread from an apothecary shop. Holo becomes intensely interested so Lawrence makes sure they visit the shop. Holo instantly eyes up the honeyed peach preserves however it is far too expensive. He feels bad, and ends up with honeyed ginger instead.

Holo is deflated and Lawrence cant help but think it couldn't be helped. It doesn't help matters that at this rate they will have to make do with camping for the night.
Lawrence really wanted to treat Holo to those honeyed peach preserves. He thinks back to those passers by they overheard earlier. They seemed to have talked of some business in town. Lawrence turns the wagon the other way and heads back.

They find the business Lawrence was looking for. Its swarming with people rushing about. Lawrence directs the cart inside. Being the amateur pro that he is, he locates the head manager. He goes up to the man and informs him that he is here for transport of goods. Lawrence is directed to another man who deals with transport. Nobody seems to notice that Lawrence is not an official worker here but none the less they need the help. Lawrence slyly also asks if the company has a room for them to use for the night, and the guy points to the back and talks of a maid that is in charge of that. Lawrence's wagon is fully loaded with goods to be transported to a nearby village. Holo is not up for a trip out. she storms off to the back to find the maid. On Lawrence's way out, he spots her outside of her newly acquired room on the third floor, eating the ginger preserves and giving Lawrence the eye as in to say "fool".

Torches lit the way across a bad road to the village, where a mill is being built. Many other people travel across the same route which is attracting wolves and dogs. Lawrence makes several journeys before coming back wanting to rest. He works out that 3 or 4 more days of this would raise enough money to buy the honeyed preserves. When he meets up with Holo in their room he finds her pissed off at him for seemingly leaving her all alone for such a long time. She tells him she's been back to the shop and that there are only two jars left. Lawrence stifles Holos anger by working out how to correctly ask her to join him for the next journey he makes to the village.

Lawrence sleeps. At the crack of dawn they use an idea to earn more money. That idea being delivering food to the villagers. They use a two wheeled cart horse to deliver a huge pot of soup to the villagers. Nobody else would dare do such a task due to possible ambushes from the wild dogs and wolves along the way. However with Holo in tow, they enjoy a peaceful excursion to the village and ensure everyone gets a good meal, for a price.

At the end of things they both eat the final scraps of food from the bowl. There is no indication whether Holo got her honeyed peach preserves.

Part 2: The Wolf And The Twilight Colored Gift

Still travelling in the northlands, Holo gets so drunk that Lawrence has to carry her back to their inn. He undresses her outer clothes whilst contemplating stripping her naked just for the fun of it, (lol) although it says he's never undressed her completely.

She recovers and they go shopping. Holo dresses in her town lass garb. She's irritated at the prospect of two or more days on the road without a roof over her head. Peat is one of the items on sale but she cant stand the smell of it wafting through the shop so she drags him out, talking of being hungry and wanting dinner.

They go buy cheap rye bread, vegetables and beans. As Lawrence pays up he asks for the change to be given in the Schmie currency. The shopkeeper asks if they will be heading to the northern forests, in which Lawrence replies they will be visiting a village along the way. Holo gets so drunk at the tavern that he has to carry her. He ponders at how defenceless she is by being carried into their room.

They get to the next town early. Lawrence inspects the coins he received when Holo drapes herself over his back, asking what he's doing. He gives up his seat for her and gives her water to drink. He says that he plans to sell the coins in a village of woodcutters as wards. Each of these coins has a picture of a creature or situations that in some cultures ward away what is on them. The coin Holo becomes interested in has a wolf design. Lawrence wonders whether they could make money from warding away wolves using her help. They think that herbs may give off a bad smell for animals so they decide to venture off to a shop.

Holo grips Lawrence's hand tightly when they pass a good looking barmaid. Lawrence ponders of Holos jealously to be more like a joke on her part. They enter an apothecaries shop that sells herbs and spices. The shopkeeper recognises holos skills when she shows off her skill of heightened sense of smell. She entertains him with difficult wares that he brings out whilst Lawrence sees to another shop temporarily.

Lawrence returned to find them both drinking. Her sense of smell has saved the shopkeeper from fake wares and this is his way of repaying her. Lawrence produces a present for Holo; a wolf coin made into a necklace. They realise that pete would make for the perfect wolf ward and joke about it.

Part 3: The Wolf And The Silver Sigh

They are both out of town, having stopped the wagon for lunch. Holo notices a lead necklace in the ground with the image of a beasts head. She decides to take it and wear it around the middle of her tail. Lawrence asks her where she found it. He had bought some pelts from the town they had just visited. After realising that he can profit from a gap in the marketplace (by buying and selling), they turn the wagon back. Holo is more interested in Lawrence noticing her more but isn't put off too much.

They reenter the town where he asks her to stay in a tavern whilst he does business. She's not happy by being left alone and asks for more money to spend in town. This she treats more as a revenge tactic as it would have cost him nothing if only he would have brought her along with him.

This story is told from Holos perspective so she gets drunk at a tavern and occasionally Lawrence would come in to report on how well its going buying and selling pelts.

They leave the pub only to find stall owners going crazy wanting to find out who cheated them. One of them holds up a tail with a silver mark. Holo instantly realises that what she decided to wear on her tail as jewellery was in the real world a price tag for fox tails, and that Lawrence wasn't going to tell her because she seemed to like it so much. Holo decides not to scorn him and instead lets it slide. He made profit and in fact showed more tack than herself. For once Lawrence was the wiser one.

Part 4: The Shepherdess And The Black Knight

This story is told from the perspective of Norahs dog, Enek. A little weird but it kinda works. She (the dog) tells the reader in first person about her upbringing, the downfall of her first master and how she met her second master, Norah.

They are both now in a new country (implied to be more eastern like Russia), with Norah having given up the life of a shepherdess. After 2 weeks of travelling, they arrive in a town called Kuskov where there was recently an epidemic which killed a lot of the residents. Norahs plan is that there should be enough work for her there to get by.

One night when sleeping in the wilderness, Enek hears fighting. She wakes Norah and together they sneak off to investigate. On a road lies an inn which is on fire and being attacked by bandits.

Enek goes in to rescue a pilgrim being attacked. In all there are 3 bandits which Enek wounds. One of the guys she saves is a bearded bishop named Giuseppe Ozenstein who is also traveling to Kuskov to teach of gods word.

The inn burns down and they walk on. They don't have very far to travel at all before arriving at Kuskov. They are welcomed to the gate by a man named Tory. The gathering crowd cheer at the arrival of a bishop, but Giuseppe almost forgets about Norah which leaves her and Enek alone again. However Norah does get given a place to stay.

The next day she visits the Rowan Trade Guild and hands over a letter of introduction to follow her dreams as a seamstress. The guy in charge informs her that commerce isn't happening in town because of the plague. Its still too early for Norahs wish to find work here.

Norah next visits the needlecraft shop only to find it shut. Enek is hit over the head by a missile thrown intentionally at her. Norah has a go at the woman who threw it. local feral dogs are considered vermin due eating plague victims and this woman doesn't really take dogs lightly because of it. The woman turns out to be the master of the Clothiers' Guild named Ars. She invites Norah into the needlecraft shop. Things turn sour once inside. She is a broken young woman from the hardships enduring from living within the town. She is on the verge of lashing out at Norah when a knock on the door stops her. A man enters the shop and Norah and Enek run outside to find themselves alone again.

They go back to their inn where Norah cries for the town and her nerves. She decides their next step is to visit the bishop. Unlike Ars, the church welcomes her in with open arms. Giuseppe is asleep but the woman make Norah feel ok and wanted. The man who walked into the needlecraft shop from earlier turns up. He is some sort of lone shark of which the woman despise. He claims in front of all the people that Norah is here to look for work as a seamstress. Norah expects the woman to now dislike her but the news has the opposite affect. All in all visiting the church wasn't a bad move for her.

The next day the woman of Kuskov dump their children onto Norah for her to look after and tell stories too. After a few hours the kids leave. Norah contemplates how she wouldn't be able to make money out of looking after children full time. The inn keeper tells her that the bishop has called for her, seeing as she couldn't meet with him the evening before.

Norah makes her way to the church and bumps into the money lending man along the way. At the church Ars is there, addressing Norah on behalf of Giuseppe who is resting from wounds caused by the bandits two nights before (Norah may have saved him from the inn but he is still wounded). Ars has a heart to heart with Norah and apologises about her temper. She informs Norah that Giuseppe has made her a Deacon of the church. She explains that the town is in financial ruin, on the verge of being in a huge take over from a neighbouring town Rezul that is looking at exploiting Kuskov for everything its got.

Giuseppes's and Ars's plans are to make Norah, an outsider, a deacon of the church with a plea from god to save Kuskov. Norah recites the speech given to her if she is ever to convince the town of Rezul. Ars dresses her up ready. They talk about the seamstress apprenticeship being a skill that takes years. Far more years than Norah would have wanted. Ars is a young girl who wants to see the good times return back in her town that she hasn't given up on. She is a good person really and shows it. She will be a great friend to Norah if their plan succeeds.

Ars also mentions that the money leander bloke isn't that bad a person really. She is to marry him after all.
As Norah readies to leave, she looks at her old shepherdess staff leaning against the wall of her room. She walks out without it, ready to face this new direction in her young life.


I wasn't so keen on reading yet another side quest type book. Im only interested in reading the series to see the continuing adventures of Holo and Lawrence. However I was very pleased to see that the first 3 short stories were set after the previous volume, with no word of Col at all. It is very hard to tell exactly when they are set or how far into their relationship they are. I guess the next volume may give us the missing pieces of this puzzle.

I liked Norahs story though I did not much care for it.

Spice and Wolf is waning on me. I am ready for the end of the series and may have to force myself to read just to get to the end of it. As volumes 15 and 16 are one story I will read them together. I am looking forward to reading volume 14 very much as the series works better as a 1-story-per-book kinda series. As for volume 17 I've heard its just an epilogue kinda story much like the side colors novels. Oh well.

I rate this novel 7-10.

My Master gathered me up in an embrace, nuzzling her face into my neck
"We can't stop. Can we?"

Thursday, 9 April 2015

REVIEW: The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki chan

The thing about the world we saw in the movie without Haruhi being a force of nature and all the other crazy stuff going on is that it was soulless. Just like the real world. It wasn't a world full of anime styled high jinks and stuff i would like to see happen in reality. It was just like this one. Its normal-ness hit Kyon hard like a ton of bricks. Its one of the most special things to see from an anime; a world that is as monotone as the one you are in right now. Its powerful. Its special. It gave me goosebumps.

This new anime series tarnishes that absolutely and completely.

To say this anime is crap isnt really the point. It angers me.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Spice and Wolf- novel 12


Holo and Lawrence share a few intimate moments early on in this novel. Once whilst still on the island Kingdom of Winfiel where their banter leads to mutual hand holding, and again when on the return boat to Kerube where Lawrence lovingly brushes her hair back without her asking whilst they talk. Their actions are showing more instinctive intimacy. Both don't question it, nor blush nor feel weird about it.

Piasky's letter suggests that the real wolf bones may be in the possession of the Debau Company, whilst Huskins information talks of another sheep god named Hugues and his colleague Fran who can be found in Kerube.

At the trading house on the south side of Kerube, Kieman gives Lawrence a letter from Eve which states that she profited with the furs. Kieman also directs them to the location of Hugues, which turns out to be an art shop in town.

Hugues shop turns out to be full of paintings. Lawrence and Holo explain what they are there for and Hugues reveals that the paintings are primarily for other wandering gods that wish to purchase a visual record of their homes before they were destroyed by mining or from the Moon Hunting Bear.

Fran Vonely
Holo fails to find any visual records of Yoitsu. The painter named Fran turns up. She is only a girl who also specialises in silversmithing. Fran is a frequent traveller to old villages in the north and knows a lot about the old tales and stories attributed with them. When asked, it is revealed that she knows about Yoitsu. Lawrence puts his foot in it and asks to pay for a map. Fran seizes this opportunity to exploit them and forces them to embark on a quest to a northern village named Taussig where local tales tell of an angel and a witch. Fran needs co-operation from outsiders in order to investigate the story. Otherwise she would come across as visiting the village as an associate of the supposed witch.

They set out by using Hugues' wagon with Fran riding her own horse. They travel north to the planes and find the village at the foot of a few mountains. They are welcomed into a household where they are served dinner whilst the husband tells them the story of a local legend, a tale of the appearance of an angel many years ago. After that the gang are led to a wood by the same guy. He tells them another story of a witch which occupied the wood a few decades ago. Our gang plan on staying the night in this wood to investigate further.

They reside in a cottage next to a lake with a waterfall where the Angel was supposed to have appeared. Inside the cottage they find the so called witch. She's long since dead still sitting in her chair. Turns out she was a nun who came here years ago to see the Angel.
Fran and Col go off exploring together a few times, giving Lawrence and Holo some alone time. Again theres a bit of handholding going on between them and again its considered not that big a deal.
Once everyone is together in the cottage, Fran explains that the village has used the tale of the witch to deter the church from caring about the angel rumour. The village are scared of higher factions such as the church coming in and setting up a water mill at the river. Otherwise the villagers would be burdened by heavier taxation.
Our gang is being watched during their stay, presumably from the villagers.

It comes to light that the reason why Fran is so interested in the Angel rumour is because it was mentioned from her lost friend, or maybe lover.

Its agreed that the Angel rumour must derive from falling snow and ice from above the waterfall, with the falling ice looking like wings.

Fran asks Lawrence and Holo to ride into the village on horseback to acquire a map of the river path and its streams. They do so but out of the blue arrive men by horseback with spears, demanding the village representatives to come out. Apparently this is the landlord arriving demanding to lay waste of any lands where the legend of the angel remains.

Holo and Lawrence escape by foot back to the lake and cottage. they meet up with Fran and Col along the way. Fran says that soldiers were also here a moment ago.

Fran has the idea that the landlord has chosen a third option without being confrontational to both the church and the pagans. This third option is to erase all traces of the dead nun entirely, construct a water mill and therefore profit from travellers coming in from the Northern Campaign. She reveals that the dead nun was actually called Katrina Lucci, a woman currently being canonised as a saint. Her possessions, the cottage, the area and even her dead corpse will soon be considered holy relics. This should bring in enough profit in itself for the landlords (the Debau Company) so there should be no need for a water mill.

Before they set off on this journey, Fran was informed about Lawrence's skill as a ruthless profitable merchant from Lud Kieman of Kerube. Fran expects Lawrence to somehow help sell the so called witch off as a saint, the complete opposite of a witch. Lawrence thinks this is totally impossible. Fran is so annoyed at Lawrence's unwillingness to help that she storms off. Col, having spent a lot of alone time with Fran, thrusts a book of scriptures at Lawrence and storms off after her.

Lawrence and Holo open the book. It has blood stains and is very old. Inside it are letters from Frans friend who told her about the Angel. These letters confirm that he was a soldier that died, and she was born on the battlefield, using the church as a means of saving her life.

Lawrence consoles Holo. He draws her in close and they bump foreheads. He decides with a clear head that instead of running away he will instead choose to help Fran. Otherwise Fran could easily end up dead; 'erased' alongside the dead nun/saint.

The two head back to the cottage. Lawrence does not plan on selling Katrina off as a saint, but instead will refer to her as one as a representative of the church during the canonisation process.
Later on Fran and Col arrive back. Fran is surprised at Lawrence's willingness to help.

Soldiers arrive on horseback, followed by most of the villagers. Lawrence and Fran head out to confront them. Lawrence is addressed by the landlord appointed governor who points a spear at him. Lawrence introduces himself as a merchant that has been sent by a bishop in order to render the legend of the angel in silver work, the exact same story our gang had agreed on in the first place. However Lawrence then goes on to say he was also sent to check on Katrina whilst her application of canonisation was still ongoing. This surprising news stirs among the locals and troops alike.

An old knight steps through the soldiers and reveals to be the true leader, a man named Kirchner Linguid. He greets Lawrence and asks him for proof of his word. Lawrence has none. Instead Lawrence recites a list of relevant names attributed to the canonisation process he memorised from Katrinas book of scriptures, and tells the leader that he should ask them for proof.

The leader Kirchner is more timid than Lawrence would have suspected, and the man is just about to believe Lawrence when a solider in the ranks shouts out that he recognises Fran Vonely as the chaplain of the Kirjavainen mercenary troop from the battle in Ploania where the resulting battle led to the leader being hung on suspicion of being a pagan. Therefore Fran could not be attributed to the church, so the soldier says.

Tensions are high but Fran steps out admitting she was the person who the solider claims her to be. A spear is pointed at Fran as she tries to defend herself with a strong speech. she is injured by a spear in the shoulder. A villager then shoots an arrow in the leg of the soldier that did this. This starts a battle between those willing to believe the angel legend and those that do not. Lawrence takes Fran away from the fighting and she asks to go to the lake. She is bleeding quite badly.

Holos wolf form appears at the top of the waterfall. her howl is so powerful that everyone stops to look up. A rumbling occurs which some say sounds like a heavenly troop. An avalanche occurs from the top of the waterfall. The crash of ice and snow sends icy water into the air in such a way it appears to be wings taking to the sky- the angel legend in fruition.

Back at Hugues shop Lawrence recites the rest of the story. The village accepted the legend and came to believe in Lawrence and Fran, as well as Katrinas sainthood. Fran was fussed over by the villagers so much that Holo looked at her with delight at seeing a person loath so much attention, similar to when she was worshipped as a goddess in the past.

It took 3 days to return to Kerube. Everyone goes to bed that night on the second floor of the shop. Just before retiring for the night, Lawrence talks with Fran in her bedroom about the map she promised to draw. Its revealed that it was her intention to die at the lake once she solved the mystery of the angel and put her past behind her.

Lawrence leaves Frans room and finds Holo waiting just outside. He ignores her and they retire to their bedroom together.


I have not experienced a decent Spice and Wolf novel since volume 6. This book was fantastic. I read it in the blink of an eye I just couldn't put it down.

The author reveals in the afterword that he wrote the story when on a writing holiday in Okinawa. The quality shows. This is a beautiful story that equals the tone of those original novels.

Despite having two extra people around (Col and Fran) not once did they get in the way of Holo and Lawrence's important alone time. Talking of which this novel starts with the important statement of saying to the reader that Holo and Lawrence love each other, the two characters have known it for ages, but now they don't care about being free to express this to one another with simple gestures such as handholding, caressing and intimacy.

The angel legend involves a 'beast'. In the grand scheme of things with Holos life span its a relatively new legend. Could it be from a wolf god? Does this mean at least one other wolf god is out there somewhere?

I love this novel. Its been two years since I've read a decent Spice and Wolf novel. I might have slated volume 6 but honestly looking back it wasn't that bad. Things got worse which made vol 6 look good. That was the last good novel. I thought the series was on the slippery slope of mediocrity.

10-10. Yes thats right. Ten out of friggin ten. Spice and Wolf is BACK.

"If you fail, I won't forgive you."
"Of course." Lawrence said, lightly bumping Holo's forehead with his own.
"Of course." he said again.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Spice and Wolf- novel 11- Side Colors 2


Set before Holo and Lawrence arrive at Lenos, I think? They sidetrack to a new village being set up in the middle of nowhere for the sake of building an abbey. They help out around the village and settle skirmishes by translating poorly written church plans for them to follow.

The second short story was about them going through a forest on a detour to find a place to relax in the sun.

The last short story takes up about half of the book. Its about Eves life after falling from nobility and trying to cope being a much poorer person. Spoiler alert she murders her first victim in her first trading attempt. Cold blood. However she was stuck between a rock and a hard place so she didn't have much choice. However if you read this chapter not already knowing the character you would say it was out of character for her to kill him like she did. She fancied him for crying out loud.


Overall this book sucks. The two short chapters with Holo and Lawrence were actually good. However at this point I would say I'm bored to shit with the series.