Before reading this book I was initially worried that I would be imagining the story with real life visuals, you know, like every other novel you've ever read in your life. Somehow it was very easy to imagine everything in anime. the use of images inside the book really help to put the visuals in for all major characters, which is a big help, but then their actions, and Horo's mannerisms here seemed to read as an anime too. it was very easy acclimatising to it.
The story was much the same as the 1st episodes of the anime, but with a few things changed round. Its important to realise that this novel series is the absolute original story. So its the anime's fault for twisting the minor points of the storyline.
Because it was a novel, which is usually a slower pace and more descriptive than a TV series arc, somehow the storyline (regarding the collection of depreciating silver coins) seemed to make more sense. Either that or I wasn't concentrating too well on the anime at the time.
The pictures in the book helped, but they are far from 100% canon. one picture towards the end of the book shows Horo in her full wolf form. In the picture, Lawrence is shown to be standing up, and Horos wheat pouch is shown to be around her wolf forms neck. this is wrong. Before changing form, Horo gave the wheat pouch to a stricken Lawrence who was lying on the ground in pain and pretty much on deaths door. Besides, there is no way the pouch cord would stretch around her wolf forms neck. Thats just being ridiculous.
One thing that did kinda weird me out slightly was Horos skirt. Her entire outfit- including the skirt, was originally bought by Lawrence as his formal best outfit. Im not being funny but even without the skirt (trousers are worn under the skirt) it looks feminine. Including it would make him appear to be in drag? (ish?). Maybe we readers are suppose to consider the skirt as something akin to a Scottish kilt? Yeah maybe, but im not buying it somehow. Anyhow it looks very nice on Horo so there :p
The budding romance in this series is slow to start out, but very very real somehow. Lawrence and Horo could most probably be my favourite anime couple.
Oh, one last thing, its totally fine to call her Horo or Holo. BUT, every time I read 'Holo' here in the book i'm actually reading 'hollow', which is wrong. By calling her 'Horo' it phonetically sounds closer to her Japanese name, which I guess is pronounced 'hogh-rogh'. Meh I guess to the non Japanese language enthusiast her name pronounced as 'hollow' would kinda sound more feminine. Whatever.
I rate this book (and the series so far) a whopping 10-10. RECOMMENDED!
GO BUY IT NOW.
P.S. Chronologically, the next story to read before diving into volume 2 is 'The Red of the Apple, the Blue of the Sky' from volume 7 (click here for the link).
Lawrence (the spice) and Horo (the wolf)