Kiichi and the Magic Books 3Posted: July 2, 2009
Oh! I forgot how much I liked this! The slow release schedule made me forget how much I liked it. I’ve got 3 and 4 here to read, and apparently the story wraps up in volume 5, which should be out… oh, now? I… need to go do something about that.
This story is one of very few that makes me happy just reading it, which is surprising given the fact the subject matter isn’t all that light in this volume. In fact, things get pretty dark. Kiichi is hunted down by librarians and researchers, and is even threatened from within his own traveling party by the birdman Saame. Most of the chapters are Kiichi stumbling into traps and people trying to take advantage of him, with Mototaro and company helping him out of his jam. That’s fine, given the variety of people that show up wishing Kiichi harm. The librarians are always a vague background threat, but the main points of contention directly related to the plot of the story (ie linked to the huge fire that happened last volume) include a lone female researcher that Kiichi helped last volume, a wily old man trader that tries to swindle the group, and a village of what appears to be blind old men that pull a pretty creepy kidnapping act.
The thing all these stories have in common is their ability to pull off a really convincing feeling of safety. Because of the relatively light nature of the story, when Kiichi runs across someone who is treating him nice, you are inclined to breathe a sigh of relief since that means he’s found a safe haven. But that’s almost never the case in this volume.
In addition to the people connected to the Book Depositories/out for personal gain, there’s also a chapter featuring monsters that escaped from books. I forgot what an incredible plot device this is, and the chapter that has gigantic cycloptic troll-like creatures melting and chasing Kiichi and Saame through the fog is pretty incredible. It always feels like a fairytale-within-a-fairytale when things like that happen, and it’s one of the best things the series has going for it.
There’s some foreshadowing for next volume, mostly about the continued trip to the next depository and how Kiichi seems to be magnifying everyone’s power. I’m definitely looking forward to it.