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The Twelve Kingdoms Volume 4: Skies of Dawn

April 11, 2010

The Twelve Kingdoms volume 4: Skies of Dawn
by:
Fuyumi Ono
published by: Tokyopop [Pop Fiction imprint]
from the publisher: After a year of depending on her ministers to govern the kingdom of Kei, Yoko follows Keiki’s advice and descends the mountain to live among her people, eager to learn how to be a better leader from the village’s wise-man, Enho. However, when Enho is kidnapped, Yoko finds herself thrust into an all-out war between the kingdoms. Friendships and alliances are put to the test during the Battle of Wa Province. Can Yoko summon the strength to take up her responsibilities as king?
my ramblings: There is a serious overuse of the dash “–” in even just the prologue. Seriously, I’m not entirely sure the editor knew how to use it. I also didn’t find the summary on the inside flap (the one I’ve given here) of any use whatsoever. It’s really not the best, as it only covers a very small part of the story and only one of the three main character in the volume, and while yes, Yoko is important and the character we are familiar with, she’s definitely not the only main character in the novel.

The cover is interesting. I’m not sure how the original looks in comparison (though I’m sure it’s completely different), but it doesn’t look terrible; I mean, it has the three main heroines and that makes plenty of sense to me. I really, really love the Twelve Kingdoms emblem imprinted on the front cover of the actual book (not the slipcover); now that I look at it again, it’s not centered at all on the cover, but the detail is still nice and it’s reminiscent of a more old-time book cover (if that made any sense). The paper is so much better quality than the last volume (I could literally see the words from the other side of the page through the paper, it was bad), it’s still not the best quality, but it’s tolerable.

I’m only halfway through the book so far (not too shabby since I’ve only been reading it for a few hours total and it’s like 650 pages), and it’s just as enthralling as I remember the other Twelve Kingdoms novels to be! I just love the way Ono writes! The novel just pulls you in, so that you don’t want to stop reading! There was one part that was rather confusing, about all the different types of dress that Yoko has to deal with, but I think it was more that it’s difficult to translate than any actual translation error or issue with Ono’s writing (it would likely make much more sense to an Asian reader than it did to me and the translation didn’t seem wrong per-say, just a bit confusing). I think I’ve only found one or two typos so far, which in a book this long is definitely commendable.

If you haven’t gotten into The Twelve Kingdoms, do so now! It definitely has appeal for everyone! It was intended for females, but it definitely has action and adventure enough for most guys too. I highly recommend this series to anyone, and especially the hardback versions! (I don’t have the hardback of the first volume and seriously regret it.) At the very least, watch the anime (though I’ve heard it’s rather different at times).

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. warriorhope permalink
    April 11, 2010 2:21 pm

    I need to get caught up with this series.

  2. April 11, 2010 5:24 pm

    Actually, the dash ‘–’ is something that Asian writers love to use for convenience purposes, and since sentences with the –… or –…– structure are really hard to reformat into a different manner, editors usually just keep it. Most English novelists tend to avoid using dash too much since it’s in bad writing style but… not the case in Asia apparently.

    IIRC Asano-kun wasn’t in the novel like he was in the anime, which kinda hurt things a bit. But other than that, this was by far the best arc in the entire series.

    • April 11, 2010 5:48 pm

      Ah, I see. In this case though, they could simply have taken the dash out, or used a comma.

      I haven’t gotten to any Asano-kun yet and everything seems to be laid out, so I’m guessing he’s not included. I definitely think it’s the best of the novels so far.

  3. April 11, 2010 7:56 pm

    Asano-kun doesn’t appear at all in the novels. Him and Sugimoto-san are anime original characters. They were created to help the viewers to better understand what Yoko was going through in that whole new world.

    Also, I’m pretty tired of Tokyopop’s half-assed job in almost everything they publish. It’s no enough for me anymore the whole ‘at least they’re publishing it’ argument, not when they’ve increased the prices of all their books, including this novel. I won’t bother listing here all the editing error found throughout the novel, but I suggest you read the reviews at Amazon’s:

    http://www.amazon.com/Twelve-Kingdoms-Hardcover-Skies-Dawn/product-reviews/1598169491/ref=cm_cr_dp_all_summary?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

    I’ll wait for the paperback edition. I don’t feel like paying premium price for a half-assed job.

    Other than that, thank you for all your wonderful reviews. They’ve been really helpful :)

    • April 11, 2010 10:26 pm

      The only reason I didn’t complain about the price is because I did buy it on Amazon and therefore it was actually cheaper for me than the previous volumes (seeing as how I bought them all at retail in stores). But I agree, the giant jump from even the last volume is obnoxious. I was extremely pissy with the last price jump because of the horrendous quality of the paper; that was just disgraceful.

      Well, I definitely understand where you’re coming from. Like I said, I really have no way to gauge the translations because I don’t understand Japanese. I do wish they would step it up with the editing though, it really is disenheartening. On the other hand, I am glad that they are still publishing these (even if it is at the snail’s pace of one volume a year, seriously Yen is doing a better job and putting out 2 volumes of many novels a year).

      I’m glad you took the time to comment! Glad to be of some help. :]

  4. April 12, 2010 2:06 am

    Is this the same as the Twelve Kingdoms I watched? I should check this out.

  5. April 13, 2010 8:55 am

    I got #4 from rightstuf recently 8D
    And yeah, this volume is HUGE!
    It probably won’t be read for awhile though (still have 1 – 3 to read ^^;)

    I heard over on ANN’s forum that vol #4 might be missing a chapter 8,<

    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/bbs/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=129153&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

    Hopefully they fix this with the paperback edition but that means having to double dip.
    Sigh~

  6. April 13, 2010 11:46 am

    @Audrey: I still have yet to see the anime, but I’ve heard that for the most part, the novels are better (except for actually this one, which seems to have been expanded on in the anime).

    @sylphalchemist: ew. I did not realize it was missing an entire chapter! D: I’m guessing I’ll notice when it randomly jumps. :/ I do not approve at all.

  7. April 16, 2010 2:28 pm

    I haven’t read the novels, but 12 Kingdoms is my favorite anime (next to Haibane Renmei). The arc covered by volume 4 is my favorite from the anime at that, so I am really tempted to get the novel, even though I don’t do well with reading. The issues raised were so strong, it makes me curious to get a deeper understanding by seeing the novelist’s original explanation of it all.

    • April 17, 2010 12:47 pm

      Based on what I’ve heard from others, you might actually have gotten a better understanding with the anime. The novel has been really good so far, but if you’re flip-flopping, you might want to wait for the paperback version and see if they fix some of the errors with this version. :]

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