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Spice and Wolf [novel] Volume 1

April 2, 2010

Spice and Wolf [novel] volume 1
by: Isuna Hasekura
published by: Yen Press
summary: The life of a traveling merchant is a lonely one, a fact with which Kraft Lawrence is well acquainted. Wandering from town to town with just his horse, cart, and whatever wares have come his way, the peddler has pretty well settled into his routine—that is, until the night Lawrence finds a wolf goddess asleep in his cart. Taking the form of a fetching girl with wolf ears and a tail, Holo has wearied of tending to harvests in the countryside and strikes up a bargain with the merchant to lend him the cunning of “Holo the Wisewolf” to increase his profits in exchange for taking her along on his travels. What kind of businessman could turn down such an offer? Lawrence soon learns, though, that having an ancient goddess as a traveling companion can be a bit of a mixed blessing. Will this wolf girl turn out to be too wild to tame?
my ramblings: This literally took me less than 24 hours to read, because a) it’s a super easy read and b) it’s so much fun that I really had a hard time putting it down! The only problems I had with the story in this first volume were a few little details about the money trading. I’m not so great with exchange rates (seriously, I have problems sometimes…), so a story that basically based the whole plot on how you can make money by trading different currencies kind of made my head spin. I know that I said it was a super easy read and this makes it sound not easy, but other than the times when they’re seriously talking about the trading of money, I had no problems with the book and it really was a lot of fun. Plus it was likely just me having issues with the trading talk, like I said, I really have issues with economics, so anyone with a better understanding of economics than I have (which seriously isn’t hard) will have a much easier time understanding the story.

That all being said, the book really is a fun read. Holo (yes Holo, don’t even comment on the Holo/Horo debate, if the creator wants it to be Holo, then it’s Holo) is such a fun character, you really can’t help but like her. She is a little bipolar at the beginning, but by the end of the book she has warmed up to Lawrence and is a little easier to understand. Lawrence is admittedly rather forgettable, but is interesting enough as a main character.

And now on to my least favorite part of the book…the cover. I know this has been debated to death, but it really does need to be mentioned in a review. I will say that it is not NEAR as horrible in person as it looks online; to clarify, it’s still not good, but it’s not quite so obvious that she’s naked. The thing that I really don’t like is that I bought my copy in a store and now have no way to get a copy of the slipcover with the original Japanese cover art (I’ve even looked on ebay for it, believe me, there’s like no way to get it). And for some reason, there seem to be flecks of the image coming off the cover, which I’m not sure has ever happened to a book I’ve owned. I’m really not sure how it happened, but there are a few spots where the image has obviously worn off the paper, and it just looks bad.

While it may seem like I only bashed the book, I really did enjoy it a lot (I didn’t finish it in less than 24 hours for nothing), and other than the cover, Yen Press did a fantastic job. I can’t judge versus the Japanese version obviously, since I don’t speak Japanese, but the story seemed flawlessly translated and I only caught one typo that I can remember. Also the inclusion of the original color pages in the beginning of the book is a very nice touch. I very much look forward to the next volume of the series (out in June).

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2010 3:25 pm

    Yeah ~ Spice and Wolf!
    I love how quick and easy this novel was to read (a major reason why I adore light novels).
    Same here on the economy parts of Spice and Wolf. I took an economy class a LONG time ago and promptly dumped all the contents out of my head the minute class was finished and I got the grade I wanted 8D. So when Lawrence and his merchant chums were talking about deals and money exchange, I just scratched my head and nodded XD

    Yes, Holo did come off a bit bipolar in the beginning. She had me worried about how this book would turn out if she continued acting the way she was. Thankfully I either got used to her mood swings or she toned them down, because I didn’t notice them at all towards the end.
    Poor Lawrence though. He’s forgettable in your eyes haha (for me, he was ok as well; he just needs to work on his little man tantrums XD But he got lol points when he kept eying his horse in the beginning of the novel, because he was “lonely”)

    I’m really glad I got the dust jacket from rightstuf. Bless their hearts, they even put the jacket on my book! (I hope you’ll be able to find one too! Have you tried ordering the Yen Plus magazine that had the cover included with it?)

    I’m curious to how vol #2 is going to look.

    BTW that chipped off cover thing happened to my first vol of Shoulder-A-Coffin Kuro. I’m sure I wasn’t clawing at it or anything, but little flakes of the cover fell off regardless D8

    • April 5, 2010 10:38 am

      haha, I have to say I love that about them too~ :3

      That’s what I did with my econ at the end of last semester and since I’m taking another econ class this semester, it came back to bite me in the ass. :/

      Yeah, I was definitely kind of worried about how the book would turn out with the way Holo was acting…but I kept reading since I really couldn’t put it down (and I figured there was a reason so many people like Spice and Wolf).

      lol, yeah, he was pretty forgettable to me. xD The horse bit really did make me rofl though, now that you mention it!

      I keep forgetting to add the magazine it was in to my rightstuf orders! D: I think that really is the best (and only) way to get it now, so hopefully I’ll remember the next time I put an order in!!

      Me too…the image on amazon right now is like a filler and it’s the original cover image from Japan, so I’m thinking they are probably going back to the Japanese covers. (it kind of works too, since if you can get people in to the first book with an “English” cover and they like it, they’re probably not going to care what the cover looks like for the second volume, but it appeases all us light novel fans.)

      So it’s not just me? (well, sort of) And Shoulder-A-Coffin Kuro is a Yen title too, isn’t it? It’s weird that their titles would do that. :/

      • April 7, 2010 7:06 pm

        Ew. I’m glad I only had to take one semester of economics…good luck to you with that. Hopefully it all works out (plus if all else fails, engage your professor in a conversation relating to the topics in Spice and Wolf. Maybe he’ll be so impressed he’ll bump your grade up. Or became a rabid Spice and Wolf fanboy xD)

        Yeah, Kuro is a Yen Press release. I was freaking out when I saw the cover once I was done reading.
        It wasn’t like that before! Wha happened!? D8 was my response.
        The second vol of Kuro didn’t do this so I’m not sure what happened…

        • April 7, 2010 7:50 pm

          yeah…I successfully brought my grade up to a 70 as of this last quiz though, which is a C, which I need since it’s a class for my major, so whoot! :D (hahaha, I’m not so sure my Icelandic Econ professor would become a fanboy, though I would pay some serious cash to see it!!!)

          Yeah, I have no idea how it happened…it’s one of the weirdest things I’ve ever had happen to a book. :/

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