Spice and Wolf volume 6; I was eager to start this one because it is the first volume to go beyond the anime. The anime was so interesting that I wanted to continue Lawrence and Holo's story. With their voice actors continuing to speak in my head, it was a lot a fun.
There's a radical change in status quo here. First of all, there is the introduction of Cole, a little boy who joins the main cast. He kinda-sorta becomes Lawrence's merchant apprentice but wants to study church law instead in order to gain the ability to protect his pagan village. He's an interesting addition to the duo's dynamics (I had to come up with my own mental voice for him).
Because of Cole's age, the main cast is basically a family unit now. Lawrence and Holo are more or less an official couple at this point. Lawrence's feelings are out in the open but Holo's got this Mayfly December Romance fear. The economics typical of the series take a backseat as the volume delves more into the leading couple's relationship. Prime among them is the fact that their journey will be ending soon. It's intriguing to see continuous development that is also a in-universe delaying tactic.
This is not to say that there are no economics. On the contrary, it continues. For instance, Cole's backstory leads into a discussion about the education system in this time period. There's no publicly funded school system so education is significantly different. Those who can afford to hire private tutors. Those who can't pool their money together and hire a wandering scholar.
As far plot, this book picks up directly from the fallout of the last book's climax. I.E. they are pursuing someone from the previous book. Holo sounds like she really wants to sink her teeth into "the vixen". This is the second change to status quo.
The third change is how the book starts. Usually, there is a prologue about the pair traveling in their cart to the next town. Not n this case. Leaving Lenos is the prologue. There's no more cart at all. They're sailing down a river now.
Isuna Hasekura has written another solid entry for this series.
Trickster Eric Novels gives "Spice and Wolf volume 6" an A+
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Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).