A young travelling merchant, Kraft Lawrence has become accustomed to days of roaming and trading, with few companions. Or so it was until one peculiar day where the trader finds a young, naked, wolf-like girl asleep in his wagon.
The beautiful girl, calling herself Holo, claims to be a local wolf deity worshipped by locals as the God of Good Harvest. Year after year, she ensured they would reap a good harvest, but she has since grown tired of fulfilling the wishes of the ungrateful locals.
Holo ends up striking a deal with Kraft: if he helps her escape the villagers, she will gladly help him in his merchant endeavours. Together, they roam from town to town in search of business, and Kraft realizes both the ups and downs of travelling with a haughty and shrewd wolf goddess.
Ookami to Koushinryou placed 1st on the Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! ranking under Best Light Novel category in 2007.
Ookami to Koushinryou: Spring Log, a short stories sequel to the main series written on the 10th anniversary since Hasekura Isuna's debut is the first part of the "Ookami to Koushinryou & Hasekura Isuna 10th Anniversary" project.
The series was published in English as Spice & Wolf by Yen Press from December 15, 2009 to April 19, 2016. A complete "Anniversary Collector's Edition" omnibus compiling the first 17 volumes was released on October 4, 2016. It has also been published in Russian as Волчица и пряности by Istari Comics since June 2017.
Since a 3rd season is as likely as me seeing a human walk on Mars I decided to read the novel. I do not regret this choice but it was a hard series to get through at points.
Now I'll make this clear, I DID NOT read the yen press version. If I did, maybe my enjoyment would have been higher but I sailed the seas for it instead.
The story is what you'd expect having watched the anime. Holo and Kraft travel, make deals, get screwed, get unscrewed and move along. All in the hopes of Kraft starting his own shop and Holo going
home. Pretty simple story.
A problem I ran into was a lot of the story or things taking place seemed to be implied. I'm not sure if that was a translation problem or just the way the story was written. But I spent a lot of time confused as to why the characters were doing certain things or what had even happened.
The book took place in Krafts head except for a few chapters (which those other chapters were by far my favorite) and you'd think that'd mean you'd get all of his thoughts yeah? No. You don't. It's more like the narrator tells you most of them. Then you get the result and go "OH! so that's what that meant." Not the way I like my story to be told.
There's a lot of "sigh" as well. All the characters sigh. A lot. All the time. If you've ever read Wheel of Time and thought "Man, they sniff a lot" this series beats it with sighs.
The characters are what you saw in the anime. They don't really develop but the story itself takes place within a year I think and Holo is a few hundred years old anyway so growth wouldn't happen.
Some of the side characters are interesting and I wouldn't have minded side stories about them. The Shepherd girl was expanded on a bit but even that was lacking a bit.
Overall I'd say it's worth reading once if you loved the anime. Find out what happened to them and how. If you just thought the anime was okay, go read a wiki.
Simplicity can sometimes produce the best results, and that is especially true for this light novel.
People who have heard of Spice and Wolf have probably seen the anime and may not even know it was based off a light novel or have not given thought to read the light novel from which the story originated. However, this novel is a very enjoyable read and can easily get people engrossed in the story.
When I first bought this novel I did it because I really wanted to know what happened next after the end of the anime series. I really enjoyed the series and the way
Spice and Wolf II ended, it just made me want more. As soon as I began reading this novel, I was caught in the web that was spun by this book and I simply did not want to put it down.
I don't need to introduce the story but from just reading the synopsis it might appear to be rather boring. Not only from the synopsis but this book deals with many forms of economics as well as politics and of course the relationship between Holo and Lawrence. You might think that if it deals with Economics and politics of the 14th century Europe ( or whatever time frame) this would be rather uninteresting, I say this because I thought that. However, upon reading it when the economics parts came up I found them to be very entertaining.
The only way I could think of it is what if someone took a good story and put in some historical facts and details amongst the story and made you feel like you were learning something. I was surprised at myself because I would be reading of Lawrence trading and cutting deals with businesses and I would be totally invested into the story. I believe how it manages to still be interesting is how the author writes the book, the way things flow together and correlate makes for a good read.
Although, the most interesting aspect of this series is the relationship between Holo and Lawrence. It was funny, heartwarming, and even sad to see what happens between these two. To see Lawrence change little by little and see the same for Holo is great. Seriously this is the reason to read this series, the way they interact is very unique. Holo may be able to be categorized, but she makes this category of her own, if nothing else.
Holo teases but is never mean, she cries but is never weak. She is what I would imagine a 400+ year old Human/Wolf would act like (I don't remember hold old she is supposed to be so don't fault me for a random age guess). More over, sometimes I feel that in anime female characters tend to be cut and paste, and the ones that are different are unrealistic. However, with Holo it was different. She is rather human to me, which may seem odd to say, but I could easily see someone acting like she does and because of that this book was much more enjoyable.
However, Lawrence is like a man caught between a rock and a hard place. He makes a promise to a woman but he doesn't know if he can keep it. He wants to keep the promise but he realizes he might have to give up his dream. If he forgoes his dream he might be disappointed in the end. But, its how he changes that makes him such a good character. He starts out like a man only out for himself and money and over time changes and his priorities begin to change. I always felt bad for Lawrence for all the teasing he gets from Holo but, it was a very good humor addition to the story.
To see these two interact with each other is a treat indeed. Because, like I said, their relationship is the main reason to read this.
This series is two people from completely different worlds finding that common ground and making a special bond out of it. I have many more volumes to read in the series but I feel that so far this series is definitely worth your time!
FEEDBACK: I would definitely appreciate feedback, it would help me to become a better writer.
If you have watched the anime adaptation and are yearning for more of Holo's simple yet intricate and extremely charming character then i recommend reading this novel.
Although there are slight discrepancies throughout the novel and anime, not too much stands out. The novel exhibits the themes of the loneliness in a much more apparent and clear representation through the emotions that are being disclosed to the readers.
Overall a very good read for either those who are new to the series or have read or watched either manga or anime adaptations and are looking for a wonderfully written work of art which in my
opinion is masterfully crafted.
I could go on and on about what makes this novel so amazing but I'll try to keep it short and sweet, if that's even possible!
This novel is among my favorite pieces of literature and I'm really glad I found it.
Ookami to Koushinryou is basically a novel that is mostly directed at adults, however I'm not saying that younger people can't enjoy it. It's just that the themes it deals with, such as loneliness, trustworthiness, realizing how your life is shaping itself, will appeal a lot more to people approaching or nearing Lawrence's age (~25ish), at least in my opinion. Throughout the novel, we watch
how gradually Lawrence and Holo develop their own distinct personalities based on their experiences together.
Economics plays a major role in the series, but from my point of view they are not the most crucial part. As a person that likes economics, I thoroughly enjoyed them and found most of the happenings pretty accurate as well. The author obviously did a fair amount of research on medieval economics and it shows. However, the driving force behind the story is the interaction between Holo and Lawrence. An interaction that you probably can't find elsewhere, because it's just that good. The two main characters have dialogues full of quizzical declarations, deep thought analysis, teasing, and mutual understanding and support. The dialogues are incredibly well written and there's a high chance you'll need to read some of them more than once to fully comprehend the hidden meanings behind them. I won't say more on this part because you'll have to discover it yourself.
The story is basically nicely summed up in the synopsis so I have nothing to add, but I'll say this to any potential reader: Sometimes it's the journey that matters the most, not the destination. Meaning, I suggest you enjoy and make the most out of every single page, rather than rushing to find out how this turns out. Trust me, it'll feel much more natural and better this way.
Moving on to the characters, the series has a nice roster of side characters with almost all getting a respectable degree of development. It helps that the author has also written a few short side stories that cover crucial parts of their lives. Those stories are almost as enjoyable as the main story, and after reading them you'll understand why they ended up interacting with Holo and Lawrence the way they did. As for the main characters, the depth they reach is obvious considering what I wrote a couple paragraphs above regarding their interactions.
The art is gorgeous, to say the least. The illustrations are nicely drawn and, making the inevitable comparison to the anime adaptation, they are way, WAY better. I watched the anime first and after beginning to read the novels I realised how much of Holo's and Lawrence's character was killed off in the anime, simply because of their badly adapted portraits. Every major(or major-side) character gets their own illustration in the novel, which is a nice plus.
Overall, I'd recommend this novel to any person who likes deep character development and interactions, and a long and marvelous story, while also being completely original. Granted, if dialogues lasting half a dozen or more pages are not your cup of tea, you'll probably find this boring. However, there's a whole bunch of action too, in case you were wondering. Repeating what I said in the start of this review, this is among my favorite pieces of literature, and I actually have ended up comparing every single adventure I come across to this one. Biased or not, that's my opinion!
EDIT:Ended up cutting down some of the more "personal" stuff in the review since they're not really helpful to the potential reader.
Whether noble or savage, wise or feral, wolves have always had a place in our hearts. In this list, we'll showcase 15 of the most famous anime wolf characters. Read on to see if your favorite made the list!