Dec 31, 2021
There are multiple Attack on Titan novels. Before the Fall offers an origin information for some of the technology and setting of the world. Kuklo Unbound offers unique situation of the protagonist that draws you in from the start. Lost Girls is of interest simply because it works with already established and favourite characters. So, what does The Harsh Mistress of the City have to offer? Not much really… is what I would say if I stopped at the first volume.
Let me start with what I thought about the first volume then. The title sounds intriguing, but I was soon disappointed that the titular
mistress wasn’t a main character but rather just a side one with just a bunch of appearances, and that she isn’t some sort of high-ranking personnel that would give is new point of view of the society of AoT, but just another foot soldier basically. I felt like the story didn’t introduce the protagonist or the girl properly enough for me to care about them, nor they seemed to be developing in any interesting way. Then the best part of the volume came – the ending. By which I don’t mean that the best part was finally being done with it, but that the cliff-hanger at the end was very nicely done and hooked me into continuing.
The second part of this novel is where this story really stars. The titular girl is in a position that fits her title from the title more, and gets much more screentime. The story delves deeper into human conflict, leaving titans as a looming threat in background rather than the main antagonists. It nicely depicts the misguided well-meant efforts deformed by surroundings, and how the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The much needed character development is finally delivered. Concerning the writing style, this novel has quite nicely written action scenes that manage to deliver the punch as good as if this were a visual medium (this is true for the first volume too).
About the art, Range Murata’s illustrations are nice to look at as expected, especially drawings of the girls. Admittedly the covers played some role in me picking up this novel.
Overall, while this has a slow start, as a whole it is a worthy read.
Reviewer’s Rating: 7
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