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Familiar Diversions

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

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Nightschool: The Weirn Books (vol. 4) by Svetlana Chmakova

Nightschool: The Weirn Books, Vol. 4 - Svetlana Chmakova

On the one hand, there were a lot of things I liked about this volume. On the other hand, I was right when I predicted that I would probably be disappointed by the series' ending.

I'll start off with the stuff I liked. By this point in the series, the artwork had really grown on me. I first finished this volume prior to my vacation and reread it for my review, and I enjoyed the artwork just as much the second time through.

There were some great action scenes, particularly where the teachers were concerned. I LOVED seeing the teachers in action. I knew Daemon and Mr. Roi were tough, but I hadn't expected Principal Chen to be equally capable at kicking butt.

I also liked finally getting to find out more about Alex's curse (which had absolutely nothing to do with the Sohrem) – it made some of her earlier behavior make more sense. Ronee's curse came as a complete surprise to me, but, again, it helped explain odd earlier scenes between her and her sister. Had this series been longer, I'd have loved a more in-depth look at Alex and Ronee's curses and the effect they had on their lives.

Okay, so I've established that there were many things I liked about this volume. However, the ending was...not great. There wasn't really much Chmakova could do, I suppose. She could either have ended it on a cliffhanger with no continuation date in sight, thereby angering a lot of fans, or she could end it quickly but likely not satisfactorily. She chose the latter option.

There's no way I can talk about this without spoiling things – consider this your warning and skip the rest of this paragraph if you don't like spoilers.

As a reader, I am not fond of endings that rewrite the story to conform to the way the author would like things to end up. “It was all a dream” endings are lazy and make me mad. Chmakova wrapped this series up with a “let's reshape reality so that everything is all better” ending, which is similarly annoying. Supposedly, reshaping reality was super-dangerous and had at least one effect beyond the changes that were made on purpose, but that effect was extremely mild and just made the ending seem even lazier. Writing something in which the teachers have this kind of power is also problematic as far as an future installments in the Nightschool universe go, because there will likely be opportunities to wonder why, when bad things happen, the teachers didn't just undo them like they did the last time.

(show spoiler)


All in all, I enjoyed this series but thought it would have been much better spread out over more volumes. If Chmakova ever writes/draws something else set in this world, I'll gladly give it a shot.

Extras:

A one-page "author's note" that's partially in comic form; a couple pages of Chmakova interviewing JuYoun Lee, her editor; a page of Chmakova interviewing Dee DuPuy, the toning artist for Nightschool; Noh (one of the Hunters) fan art drawn by Dee DuPuy; and a couple pages of additional information about the Nightschool world - Hunters, weirns, vampires, shifters, the Nereshai, and the world in general.

 

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