Hey all, Dani here.
Well it’s been a pretty nice day so far. I woke up and relaxed at home watching some TV for a couple hours and then came in to work. My hope is to do a couple posts for blog prep, and then to get some reading done. I have two physical books with me, and if I read both of them at work (unlikely, but would be really cool), that would mean almost 800 pages of reading for the day. I think a more realistic goal is to finish one of them, but we’ll see what happens.
Anyway, I’m back with my second review for Manga Monday. I hope you all are enjoying these posts as much as I’m enjoying writing them. All right, enough chatter from me. Let’s go ahead and jump into the review.
Story and Art by: Mitsu Izumi
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
ISBN: 1632368234 (ISBN13: 9781632368232)
The Magic of the Written Word
In the small village of Amun lives a poor boy named Theo. Theo adores books, but because of his pointed ears and impoverished life, he isn’t allowed to use the village library. As he endures the prejudice and hatred of the village, he dreams of going where such things don’t exist: Aftzaak, City of Books. But one day, Theo chances to meet a Kafna–a librarian who works for the great library of Aftzaak–and his life changes forever…
Rating: 5 stars
Okay, so first thing’s first: on the cover of this manga it says that it is based on “Kahuna of the Wind” by Sophie Schwimm, but that story does not exist…as many of the other readers on Goodreads have been asking about it. This seems to be somewhat like The Princess Bride, where the author is writing as if they are doing an abridged version, or in this case that they are reformatting it as a manga instead of a story. In a way doing the story this way makes it much like the journey our main character Theo is on…inspired by the books he has grown up on, he sets out to prove his worth and work in the great library.
So, I think that’s a fun way to set up a story.
What I’ll also say is that it takes a while for volumes to come out. Volume 3 is apparently coming out at the end of the month, so Volume 1 was out in July 2019, Volume 2 was September 2019, Volume 3 is February 2020, and apparently Volume 4 will be out in July 2020. I guess at least there is some semblance of consistency.
The reason why I bring the release schedule up is because I absolutely love this manga. The artwork is absolutely outstanding and stunning and just simply gorgeous. I read this volume slower than most manga because I just wanted to stare at the artwork. I could recommend this series for that aspect alone.
However, the story is also superb. For anyone who loves stories about stories, books about books, this is definitely one that you want to pick up. Theo’s love of books just draws you in, and you see all the adversity and struggles he faces, but you also see just how determined he is.
In this first volume we spend all of our time with a young boy Theo, who I want to say is something like 7 years old, or near to that. We see him struggle with his position in life, but we also see his fascination with books, and how much he cares for them. Then he meets some librarians from the great library, and it truly sets him on a course for his future. He is able to help them out with a mission they are on, and forms a bond with one of the librarians in particular. In exchange for his help, and having seen his love for books, this librarian lets him borrow one of her personal books, one that happens to be a favorite of hers.
At the very end of the volume we experience a time jump, to a more grown boy Theo, and we see him as he prepares to set off for the great library to take on the tests to become a librarian himself. This is definitely a series that I will be continuing and obsessing over.
Where to Get a Copy
You can also check with your local library.