Review: Spice and Wolf – Light Novel vol. 1

Spice and Wolf: Light Novel vol. 1 by Isuna Hasekura

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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?

Read: Jan 11 – 14 2017

Rating:  5 / 5

I already knew this story from the anime that premiered in 2008. I was expecting some differences, of course, as books and tv/film adaptations are always different. After having read this first volume of the light novel (which covers the first six episodes of the first season of the anime) I can say that I prefer the light novel.

Holo has always been my favorite character of this series and she continues to be so. She’s strong, smart and very independent albeit a bit childish and playful. I found out through this book that Laurence is actually the ‘main’ of the two, by which I mean that we see everything from his point of view and it’s hard to see that in the anime. It’s was interesting to see things from his point of view; it’s like I’m looking at a new side of Laurence. 

One of the things that irritated me was the differences in the first chapter of the light novel and the anime’s first episodes. I was aware that there would be differences but I honestly they made a mistake making that first episode the way they did. The first chapter is Laurence and Holo’s first encounter, the first glimpse at Holo’s personality and again, I saw a different side of Holo than what I thought. I think this first chapter is crucial to fully understand Holo and why she is the way she is. 

The writing was surprisingly good, actually. I remember that at one point I was reading, I felt a strong urge to write. Although the descriptions and dialogue was great, I certainly felt something was lacking in terms of writing. Perhaps it was because it’s a translation, but I could definitely see a difference between this and a ‘normal novel…. 

Another thing I disliked was when they would discuss the coin values or economic system. It was confusing (though I eventually got it) and maybe it was unnecessary to delve into this matter in such detail. 

It was a short read but I definitely loved it and I’m pleased to say it met my expectations. I highly recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a story that’s a bit different. 


3 thoughts on “Review: Spice and Wolf – Light Novel vol. 1

  1. I was thinking about picking this up but your review convinced me. It’s been years (2009?) since I watched the anime series and I only remember the bigger picture so any differences will likely not be too jarring to me. I’m excited to read this. ^.^

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Mid-year update of 2017 ! | The Portuguese Bibliophile

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