Sahara is a normal high-school girl whose life is turned upside down when she meets "Gertrude," a 100-year-old demon who looks like a teenaged boy. Gertrude is a manmade demon, constructed from the parts of various other demons and brought to life through a "recipe" from an ancient spellbook.
Gertrude searches for the recipe in order to learn more about his origin, and wants to destroy the formula so that it can never be repeated. Sahara becomes a resourceful ally in Gertrude's quest, and they are aided by some very comical and not-very-threatening demons.
I can’t believe I didn’t write a review on The Recipe for Gertrude once I finished! I really loved this read, and I’m not exactly sure why myself… its plot consists of a teenage girl named Sahara who meets Gertrude, appearing to be her age and a normal human, but actually is a 100-year old demon. He’s not just any demon either, he’s manmade, assembled of parts of other demons. Gertrude was risen with a spell (or “recipe”) that he is trying to search for to learn about and then demolish. Sahara soon befriends Gertrude, along with other two demons, and sets on an expedition
for the recipe.
The story, to me, is pretty original. It’s not like any manga I’ve read before, anyway, and I’ve read a lot. It never got boring, and to tell the truth, I believe it took me less than a week to read, or maybe at least a week and a half, because they all happened to be in the library at one or two times and I checked them out.
What I really loved, I suppose, as I trudged my way through the story, was how it focuses mainly on the relationship between the two characters. The emotions were there between them, and it was obvious they cared for one another, but it was somehow subtle as well. I guess because it was never too mushy, or really super-dramatic about them. All the characters were nicely-portrayed. Sahara is kind of refreshing for a lead, she’s not one of those perky let’s-help-people-and-save-the-world kind of girls. In fact sometimes she came across as sort of apathetic. The comic-relief characters Puppen and Marionette are very likeable, though my personal favorite was Gertrude. Incidentally, for some reason I always was wanting to learn more about the OCD book-keeper, a very minor character who appears later in the series…
The art is something you either like or you don’t. I liked it, but I can see how people would be put off by it. It’s flawed in the sense that it doesn’t flow well, and it’s sort of blocky, and certainly off the track of what most manga artists try to pursue to win the hearts of fans looking for the generic type of lovely-looking art. The lines are very sharp and clean. It’s kind of appealing and unappealing at the same time. It gets better as the series progresses, but it was of no problem for me, since I like the author’s style of art anyway.
I rate enjoyment as high, for I loved this series, and now, after writing this not very lengthy review, am eager to go read it again… actually, I may buy her newer series The Palate of 12 Secret Colors, or at least look into it. But that’s beside the point. The Recipe for Gertrude is likeable. It’s not loveable to all, but at least give it a shot and see what your opinion is.