Flash Review – Spice & Wolf (Vol. 1)

Some people dream of becoming kings and others of saving up enough money that they can swim in it, but Kraft Lawrence has the simple life mission of opening up his own shop, and to achieve that, he’s spent the lot of his adult life as a traveling merchant. But great as making money is, it’s not too satisfying when your one and only is your hand. Then one fateful night he lives every straight man’s dream—finding a naked lady in the back of his wagon. His dream may not be so wet, however, since the naked woman in question is the wolf god Holo, and she’s got some mighty sharp fangs in her words.

The Not-Fantasy Setting:

Generally speaking, if I were to ask you to imagine a medieval land, you’d quite likely dream up wizards and orcs trekking across New Zealand, and if I were to ask you to imagine an isekai, you’d almost certainly dream up MMORPG classes and female characters who don’t know how to keep their clothes on. Spice & Wolf bucks this trend by first off being written before the isekai craze and second by foregoing pretty much anything you would see in your common fantasy story. Holo’s a goddess, yes, but it’s not like she casts down thunderbolts or turns everybody’s heads into tie-dye cabbages. I like the more realistic build of this world and seeing how people managed to survive winters before some good chap had the sense to invent electric heaters.

The Economics:

The main selling point of this series is its focus on economics, which taken on its own is either an exhilarating topic or gripping as a slug writing an SOS on a deserted isle, so I was a bit weary as to how this book would handle its approach. Overall, I would say it balances itself in the middle. Some of the aspects it discusses are rather esoteric and a bit hard to wrap your head around, but it’s good fun seeing Holo scam a man out of a couple extra coins so that she can buy herself some McIntoshes.

Where Do We Go From Here?

For as different as this series wants to be, it has something of your typical actiony climax. It’s not poorly written or clashes with what’s going on, but it does make me heedful on how succeeding volumes are going to ramp things up, if they’ll align more with the core draw or if Lawrence will work his way up to riding a dragon into battle.

The Verdict:

It’s not the most exciting thing I’ve ever read, and it didn’t suck me in to wanna hop on the second volume, but it’s still an adeptly written work, and I’m interested to see if it can make me hop gleefully at learning the fun of mortgage payments.

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