Apparently this one is based on a visual novel but it is so far the story of Yue who has been raised at the local shrine. One night during a festival he descends the mountain for the first time and meets two high school students and wants to be friends with them. However, he is then informed by the master of the shrine that he needs to choose one of the boys as his ‘meal’.
I don’t really know what I was expecting going into this. It was another one of those random recommendations that came up while I was browsing the Book Depository and it was on sale so I picked it up. I don’t think I was expecting it to be as engrossing as it was.
There’s a very dark tone in this story and this first book seems to be about setting players into motion and getting the story set up rather than progressing anywhere. Yue has kind of made friends with Tsubaki and Akiyoshi, though Tsubaki is potentially being targeted by some little girl spirit that has clearly eaten the Principal at the kindergarten where his Tsubaki’s sister goes and Akiyoshi and his family clearly have some secret or knowledge about what is going on.
Neither of them really trust Yue but neither of them can really see him as being anything more than a bit weird and spacey.
Honestly though, that is kind of what works about this first book. We don’t yet know anyone’s true motives and back story but we’re getting some interesting glimpses which give a myriad of possible future directions. Whether this ends up being a good thing depends on how this story develops in future books.
One minor criticism is that some characters, like the master of the shrine, are just deliberately withholding information for the sake of mystery. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to keep Yue as in the dark as he is. Maybe there’s a reason, but it hasn’t been explained, so at the moment, it just seems like the master uses ambiguous langauge because they can, which is frustrating when that is used as a way to create suspense.
However, it logically follows, that for the most part we aren’t getting huge info dumps or masses of exposition. We’re slowly finding things out through the character conversations and piecing them together or leaving them until later when they might make a bit more sense. This is a really engaging way to reveal a story and I’m enjoying that aspect of it.
I also like the set up itself. The town is full of rumours of people going missing, but no one can even remember for sure if that is true. They half remember making plans to meet someone but then can’t remember who or even if they did make plans. When the Principal disappears, the teachers at the school insist there never was a Principal. Part of me wondered whether his existence also was erased from photos when he was eaten because otherwise that would lead to some questions real quick. Still, it is a mystery where for once it is understandable the police are not involved given no one can even prove the missing people ever existed, assuming they remember them long enough to recall that they are missing. The few people with memories of them are simply told they are mistaken and they have no evidence to the contrary.
Basically, this first book made me very curious about where this story will go. It isn’t something I would recommend on its own due to the fact that it isn’t telling a story in its own right, just setting one up, but I certainly enjoyed the read and am looking forward to picking up the second book in this series.
I’d love to know your thoughts on the series if you’ve tried it (please don’t spoil as I think it will be fun to find out where this is going as it happens and I’ve just received the second book).
Thanks for reading.
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