Tuesday, March 6 2012

Rune Soldier book 2, finished

I finished the main story Sunday, leaving only the epilogue, which was a quick read last night. I didn’t blog about it right away, however, since I started reading Shamus Young’s The Witch Watch and didn’t put it down until I finished.

As expected, this was the “magical weather control device” story that was adapted into episodes 9 and 10 of the anime version. Also as expected, a great deal of characterization and nuance was lost along the way. And, as Steven hoped way back when in the comments to my first attempt to read book 1, Celecia doesn’t secure Louie’s aid with a love spell; she charms him, but only by being pretty, sweet, sympathetic, and Elven. And her personality and motives are more complex.

True for everyone, actually. Louie is far less of a goofball; yes, he didn’t pay attention in some of his classes and missed things like needing silver or magical weapons to hurt spirits, but he’s much more self-aware and mature. Melissa is less over-the-top melodramatic, both in her fantasies of a True Hero and her disappointment in the reality of Louie; biting sarcasm and a cool head are more common than hysterics of either type. Merrill shows no signs of turning into the comic relief, and is given plenty of opportunities to demonstrate competence and wit. Genie is the most like her anime self, but her current relationship to Louie can be summed up as “hasn’t killed him yet”; everything he does pushes her buttons, and she calls him “amateur” with naked contempt. Ila, whose feelings for Louie are just beginning to transition from “little brother” to “I don’t really go for muscles, but…”, has several moments that make her much more interesting than the somewhat air-headed, clingy wannabe-girlfriend from the anime.

Celecia is much more of an active player in the novel. She comes to town to secure the gang’s aid in fixing the weather, but first sneaks into the Mage College to spy on Louie and Ila as they figure out what’s going on, then tracks the girls down in a bar and basically bullies them into re-introducing her to him as their choice for a new adventuring companion, pointing out his near Elf-worship and Melissa’s divine order to serve him. And Celecia is quite certain that Louie was somehow responsible for the (lethal) goblin attack on her village that he then helped rescue them from, but despite the girls’ fears, she’s not after revenge. Indeed, one of her main interests is finding out why he retains such a high opinion of elves, even after narrowly escaping execution in her village.

Good stuff, and now on to book 3, which seems to have been skipped for the anime. Louie’s accidental engagement! Merrill waking Louie at knifepoint! Genie’s little sister! All this and more!