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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

Jane Jensen: Gabriel Knight, Adventure Games, Hidden Objects (Influential Video Game Designers)
Jennifer deWinter, Carly A. Kocurek, Anastasia Salter
Invader: Foreigner Sequence 1, Book 2
Daniel Thomas May, Audible Studios, C.J. Cherryh
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Progress: 3/6 minutes
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Kazuto Tatsuta
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The Good Witch of the West, Vol. 1: The Girl of Sera Field by Noriko Ogiwara, illustrations by Haruhiko Momokawa

Good Witch of the West: The Girl of Sera Field - Noriko Ogiwara

I might have liked this book better if the beginning hadn't been such a slog to get through. The pacing was kind of bad, and Firiel was so very beloved by everyone. It seemed like the only blemish in her life was her relationship with her father, but, since she barely lived with him, it didn't seem to matter much. Thankfully, the story picked up a bit after Firiel met Eusis and found out her mother's true identity.

The story also became surprisingly dark. Firiel's perfect little life came crashing down around her ears. She, a naive, cheerful, fairly protected young girl, suddenly found herself dealing with death, abandonment, and the uncovering of all kinds of family lies. After how light and fluffy much of the previous book had been, I was surprised at the scene in which Rune was beaten. It wasn't “on page,” but it was still more violence than I had expected. To be clear, I didn't consider this a drawback, it just didn't seem to fit with the way the book began.

I can't say I disliked Firiel, but I was frustrated with her. It's unfair of me, because she did live such a quiet and sheltered life. Even so, I considered Rune's cynicism to be a breath of fresh air. His hard life prior to becoming Firiel's father's apprentice had taught him how untrustworthy some people could be, and there were times I wish Firiel had listened to Rune more. Of course, if she had, there probably wouldn't have been much of a story.

As dazzled as Firiel was by Eusis and Eusis by Firiel, there are already hints of a potential love triangle: I have a feeling Rune has a crush on Firiel. I couldn't help but wince when Firiel told him he was like her brother. Anyway, so far the danger and politics are more interesting than the romance. Unfortunately, I kept expecting things to become more complicated than they did. For example, Adale was so incredibly good, charming, beautiful, and wonderful that I absolutely knew she had to secretly be evil. Her invitation to Firiel to stay the night was really a way to keep an eye on someone who might become her rival (I somehow doubt that Firiel won't eventually become a potential heir to the throne). Except that didn't turn out to be the case. Not once did Adale act like anything other than a loving new friend and cousin. When Adale admitted to writing fanfic (by the way, she already ships Rune and Eusis), I found it even harder to take my “she must be a secret enemy” idea seriously. I felt twitchy, constantly expecting enemies where there were none. I can only hope that, if I read on, enemies pop out from every corner and the politics becomes darker and twistier.

All in all, this book was okay, but I wish it hadn't taken so long to get to the part where Firiel found out about the true origins of her necklace. The potential for political intrigue made me want to read on, as did the bits and pieces of the mystery of Firiel's parents' past (Firiel's father's astrological research is considered heretical. Fairy tales are also considered to be heretical, and Firiel is one of the few who knows them.). However, the amount of slogging I had to do to get through the first part of this book makes me hesitate to hunt down the next one.

Other Comments:

There were some editing issues: occasional missing words and forgotten closing quotation marks.

Extras:

This isn't exactly an extra but, as with most light novels I've read, there were black-and-white illustrations. I had trouble reconciling my mental image of Eusis with the illustrations of him (unless those were actually of Lot?).

One extra I would have loved to have seen was the family trees of the royal family and the Rolands. I had some trouble keeping the names and relationships straight. I suppose that's sad, since only a few people have been mentioned so far.

 

(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)