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Spice and Wolf Volume 3

Original Japanese Cover

Spice and Wolf Volume 3 was released all the way back in mid-December, but due to a combination of snow and Christmas holidays i've not actually be able to read it until now. As a fan of the series and having recently seen the 1st season of the anime I was really eager to get back to reading it again. Yen Press, it would be great if you could speed up the translation a bit - 6 months is an awfully long gap between releases!

As with the previous volumes, there are 3 beautiful double-page colour illustrations showing scenes from the novel. One shows a boy declaring his undying love for "Holo the nun". Based purely off that, I could tell that this would be an interesting read and offer a diversion from the themes of the previous two volumes.

Volume 3 picks up where Volume 2 left off, Laurence and Holo have left Ruvinheigen and are continuing northwards in order to find Holo's home town of Yoitsu. Along the way though, they encounter a wealthy fishmonger called Amati. He takes quite a fancy to Holo and offers to repay Holo's (falsified) debt to Lawrence in order to secure her hand in marriage (the debt being a way to explain why they're travelling together rather than an actual debt). Thus, Lawrence must find some way of managing to prevent Amati from gaining enough money to pay the debt. However, due to questions over Yoitsu's existence the relationship between Holo and Lawrence reaches an all time low. Lawrence soon realises how much Holo meant to him and hence the pressure is really on to stop Amati, but will he manage it alone?

Unlike the previous volumes, this volume was initially was quite light on economics and focused more upon the characters and plot, which was nice change. However, economics did eventually come to play a significant part in this volume and as always it fitted perfectly with the storyline. Unusually, Holo [spoiler]did not have to transform to her wolf-form[/spoiler], presumably because it's Lawrence who has to do the legwork in order to win Holo back.

Overall, Volume 3 was an enjoyable read however I felt that it wasn't as good as the previous two, albeit only slightly. I suspect this is due to the limited direct involvement of Holo compared to the previous volumes - I enjoy like the dialogue that gets going between them. Additionally, some of Holo's actions seemed abnormal to me, such as [spoiler]wanting a baby[/spoiler]. However, I agree that it can be justified given her feelings at the time.

Volume 4 is currently scheduled for release on the 21st of June 2011. Yet again, i'm eagerly anticipating it but frustrated by the long wait!

Spice and Wolf Volume 3 is available from Amazon.

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