Saturday, May 7, 2011

Book Review: Book Girl and the Famished Spirit

The second installment in the book girl series (which I believe has six or eight main books, three collections of short stories and then another set of three or four side stories) which came out back in January and I've had it since then, I've just had so much to read between then and now. But with this I've managed to catch up with all of the books I currently own so hurray for that, to the library for the next batch!

Book Girl and the Famished Spirit by Mizuki Nomura illustrated by Miho Takeoka
As with the previous cover, Yen Press has taken the original image (of Touku) and then made it part of a collage for the cover with the backwards letter blocks (literally, real letter blocks would go the opposite way) spelling out the title. It works fairly nicely and it's nice to see at least some of the original cover art retained, but I do wonder if Yen Press really needs to remake the cover each time, is it really selling them that many more copies?

Summary: Konoha Inoue is still writing stories for Touku Amano, president of the Book Club and literature eating goblin, and Touku still has the Book Club's mailbox set up for receiving juicy love letters, a favorite treat of hers. But this time around they instead find letters full of strange numbers which were apparently put there by a ghost, a ghost that looks an awful lot like one of the other students, Hotaru Amemiya, who has a very strange and twisted tale to tell.

The Good: Once again Book Girl delivers a surprisingly dark and grim story about how unhinged people can become, not exactly what you expect out of teen literature. The plot is interesting, even if it's a bit too twisty and hard to follow for it's own good at times, and all the characters get ample page time. Like the previous book* there are certain sections which are told from an unknown point of view so the book has reread value which is always a good thing. So, while there still doesn't seem to be an overarching story yet (which I've heard there is) it's still a very solid installment. 

The Bad: The book draws a lot of themes from Wuthering Heights, specifically the romance, and I really hated the romance in Wuthering Heights. It just completely rubbed me the wrong way so the way the romance was resolved here completely rubbed me the wrong way as well and left a nasty taste in my mouth. That left me rather unhappy with the later part of the book and I think I was supposed to sympathize with some of the characters in the end and just couldn't because of how twisted the romance was (in my opinion) and that's just not a good thing.

The Art: Book Girl uses the color pages at the beginning of the book to introduce the cast which is a nice touch. While several of them are returning characters (Konoha, Touku, Maki) others are new (Hotaru and Ryuto, although Ryuto seems to be set up as a future reoccurring character) and each one is accompanied with a quote that sums them up. Other than that, the pictures are interesting and a bit memorable but not necessary to the story as a whole.

I didn't like this book quite as much as the first one but I really didn't like Wuthering Heights when I had to read it for school (the joys of AP English Literature) so I'm not surprised. The next book isn't due out until August so clearly no reviews until then but I definitely plan on getting the third one!

*at least, I recall the first book doing something similar but I don't have my copy with me right now to double check.


  1. Some parts of the 1st book is similar to No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai.

  2. If I remember correctly, since it's been a year and a half since I read it, No Longer Human was the inspiration/theme for the first book (just like how Wuthering Heights was the theme for the second one).