So there are many stories of gods and humans becoming mates, eh?
~ Holo the wisewolf.
Where do I even begin with Volume 3? I suppose by apologizing for my tardiness. This review was to go out two weeks ago but I didn’t quite find the time and energy to read the book. I’d planned to read it over the week of writing this, but once I got past the start I got so enthralled I ended up reading it a lot quicker. If the first two novels are there to show us the dynamic between Lawrence and Holo, the third volume is testing out trust in that bond. And it does so wonderfully so without wasting any of your and my time, let’s jump into this review.
Traveling north from the religious stronghold that is Ruvinheigen, our protagonists now find themselves in the more pagan city of Kumersun. I had to read back since I remembered the name but not how it was spelled, damn these fantasy city names. On their way there they meet a young fish seller by the name of Amati. I wonder if this young man is going to be important throughout the story. Spoiler, he is, very much so. The story follows Lawrence and Holo into this town, where Amati decides to be Holo’s white knight after she tells him she’s traveling with Lawrence to pay off her debt. Amati tells Lawrence that he’ll pay her debt and get her to marry him. Lawrence is forced into a corner and has to accept, but after he gets his payment, Holo is free to do what she wants. Wouldn’t she just stay with him while he’s not a thousand trenni richer? It would be a good deal for him no matter what. At least that’s how it’s supposed to be. Nothing ever goes as well as you expect it though, does it?
While all of this is going on, Lawrence also visits the alchemists district to meet with Diana, a chronicler. He wants to find out more about Holo and Yoitsu and Diana all but confirms his suspicions that the place is no longer there. She does catch him by surprise by mentioning the wolf Holoh of Yoitsu. Slightly different pronunciation, definitely the same wise wolf. Lawrence, Batos (the member of the guild who led him to Diana) and Diana hit it off and get along great. Meanwhile Holo is out having fun with Amati. At this point everything is still going well, but Holo eventually finds out that Lawrence knew about Yoitsu not being there anymore. The two get into a fight and Holo eventually hints at Lawrence that she might join Amati. At least that’s what he thinks she’s doing. Truth is, after getting angry, Holo quickly realized she went overboard and was helping Lawrence out on the sideline. Wracked by trying to figure out how to take out Amati and win Holo back, Lawrence tries to play the market, this time not for profit, but for the heart of his new traveling companion. Through some strokes of luck and mainly through Holo never having abandoned Lawrence in the first place, they make it out on top. Not only does he get the girl, he also ends up making a profit on top of it. And some friends to boot. As low as Lawrence gets this volume, he definitely comes out of it well and him and Holo grow a lot closer.
Besides the return of Lawrence and Holo we have a good full cast of new characters that really make this story feel more complete than the previous two volumes. Let’s go over them and quickly give my thoughts.
Mark and his apprentice play a big role in this volume. Not only is Mark an example of what Lawrence years for. A wife, his own business in town and no more living on the road. They help out Lawrence throughout this volume and are really his base of operations. Mark also teaches Lawrence what it’s like to have friends and it seems to give him pause for thought.
Batos is another person Lawrence becomes friends with, as they both go to Diana. This volume kind of shows off the kind of relationships Lawrence can expect if he ever sets up his own store.
Diana is another character that’s prevalent in this volume. She’s a chronicler and, as we find out near the very end of the volume, not human. She lives in the alchemical district and collects stories. She is the one that confirms to Lawrence that, as far as she knows, Yoitsu is indeed no longer there, but it has existed and there was a wisewolf once. She’s also part of the final arc of this volume where she thinks of selling pyrite to Lawrence but ends up selling to Holo instead. This is unbeknownst to Lawrence and really throws him for a loop.
The last character in this volume that’s of importance is Amati, the young merchant that is Lawrence’ opponent for this volume. He is tricked by Holo who pretends to be more interested in him than she is, after he gets too friendly with her. He then quickly gets himself in a position where he wants to defend Holo’s honor. He’d be a tier 3 sub to a streamer for sure if he’d been born in our modern day earth. He thinks of trying to resell pyrite at a profit, which is a great idea but only goes wrong because Lawrence interferes and tries to bankrupt him instead. Not only that, he also doesn’t get the girl, since Lawrence had no plan to ever leave Lawrence.
I have a lot of thoughts about this volume. For starters, when talking about earlier volumes I completely seemed to have forgotten that the anime covered this part of the story as well. In my defense, it’s been almost a decade since I’ve seen it, and it’s about time for me to rewatch it. Needless to say, rereading this arc was a joy and a half. Amati as an antagonist was great because you can understand his desires but also recognize that he’s behaving in a way he shouldn’t. And the dynamic between Holo and Lawrence is solid, but at this point in the story we’re not convinced about their connection yet. We’re kind of in the same boat as Lawrence is in this volume. Of course we now know there’s at least a dozen more volumes coming so the chances of Holo leaving Lawrence to go on a journey with Amati instead are zero. It’s still fun to see how this comes to a conclusion. On top of that, as mentioned earlier on, we see Lawrence interact properly with a few more characters and create some bonds. And as a cherry on top we learn a little bit more about Holo’s past and the state of her homeland, Yoitsu.
And that summarizes my thoughts on this novel. It’s my favorite of the three so far and once I got into it I legitimately couldn’t stop reading. On that note, I’ve very quickly moved on to the next volume and I hope to have that reviewed by the end of the month. Thanks for your patience with me and I hope you enjoyed my review of Spice & Wolf Volume 3. And as always, leave a like or a comment if you want more of this and thank you for reading!