This is an odd volume that eventually comes good. Ninjette seems to be the focus of this book as we learn more about her backstory and that of Oyuki, plus we see her latest entanglement with the Ayakami clan. She also tries to help Emp with her confidence issues. This extra screen time for ‘Jette is a nice diversion and serves to enlarge and enrich the Empowered world. Plus she isn’t ready to carry off a book of her own just yet.
The other thing you notice is that all sorts of fancy tricks are being played with the timeline. We have premonitions, flashbacks, foreshadowing and blatant out-of-sequence narrative. Whilst this certainly keeps you awake and active, as you are forced to keep reshuffling what you have read into some sort of chronology, it is distracting. The key to the Empowered mythos is “heart.” It’s about letting us know it is ok to be vulnerable. We don’t need gimmicks to grab our attention. If we are still here after seven volumes then we are here to stay.
The art is still as good as ever but the paper has changed to gloss instead of matt and this makes a big difference. Initially it is jarring change, particularly if you have just read the last book, but you get used to it. There is much more contrast as the whites are much shinier and so the page becomes crisper and less grungy.
As always there is a whole mix of cute, sexy, thinky, funny, naughty, fighty stuff all mixed into one massive gumbo that seems to work against all odds. Another Thumbs Up for the fans.
Tomorrow: Wet Moon – book 1: Feeble Wanderings – Ross Campbell