Saturday, January 12, 2013

Book Review: Kieli: In the Sunlight Garden Where It All Began

Well this is quite a bit later than I expected, I had originally hoped to have this review done months ago but I got delayed purchasing the second book and then I just had so much to read that it got pushed to near the bottom of the stack. But we're getting close to the end folks, the last two books come out this year in English and hopefully I'll have a chance (ie, the money) to pick them up at some point from a TRSI sale.

Kieli volumes 5 and 6, The Sunlight Garden Where It All Began Written by Yukako Kabie  

Summary: Kieli and Harvey, still searching for Beatrice, end up in a town that has a lot of memories for Harvey and Kieli learns more about his past than even Harvey can remember.

The Good: Well the story has finally shed some light on Harvey's past and while it didn't do anything I didn't expect it was still solid and brought up one or two interesting ideas (like the fact that the Undying literally are different people than they were in life, so different that you can have a ghost of their past selves that's not just an impression left on a place). The colonel also got a bit more backstory, really by now the story has explain all the main players pasts so I'm curious what it's going to spend the last three volumes doing. 

The Bad: While I was really optomistic that a two book story would really work here it just felt like Kabie was puttering around a lot of the time, trying to fill space with a story that was a bit more than one novel but not big enough for two. There are a surprising number of side stories in here and, even though they all feature characters who become important later on, most of the time they felt like fluff and I was annoyed. I really do think there was a better way to structure this story, even if I'm not sure how to do it myself. Also, we seem to have hit a bit of a dead end for Kiele's story (which was to find out more about her mother and, to a smaller extent, the Undying she had been traveling with) and it's going to take an extremely contrived coincidence to get that subplot moving again which is already bugging me.

So, certainly not one of the series stronger entries but a very necessary one. I think I can see what's turning in the background that will become important in the later books, now to hope that those books meander a bit less than this one. But first, I think I need to catch up with Book Girl (which also ends soon-ish, next January I think) and Spice & Wolf, curse you Yen Press for putting out so many series when I don't have the time or money for all of them!