Sunday, November 3, 2013

Wolfsmund vol. 2

The first volume of 'Wolfsmund' really got my attention with its well done action scenes, formidable antagonist, and brutal retelling of the "William Tell" legend. Volume two, however, was almost completely devoid of the things I enjoyed about the first, or made me tired of those aspects.

At the end of the previous volume, we were introduced to William Tell's son, who I thought was going to be our main protagonist, and I was anticipating seeing more of him. Instead, we go back to the mildly repetitive formula of a duo and their experience crossing the Wolfsmund barrier station. A little different though, but in this case not a good thing, our duo are not two people we hope to see successfully make their crossing, but an extremely unlikeable husband and wife. The husband is a gutless traitor to the rebels who has been ratting out his fellow townsfolk for money, and his wife his money grubbing and selfish. Their story takes up two thirds of the entire book, and I can't say I enjoyed reading about them. And it wasn't even as if it was satisfying seeing them get their comeuppance. All I really felt was indifference, which isn't a good way to end a story arc that takes up more than half of the book.

Interestingly enough, they didn't meet their end at the hands of the evil bailiff, Wolfram. Their fate was sealed by none other than the mysterious female innkeeper, who had a small, but recurring role in the last volume. What I also found interesting about our innkeeper, who we now know as "Grete", is that parallel was drawn between her and Wolfram that I didn't notice last volume. Twice she mentioned how her inn was her "station and battlefield", taking her job just as seriously as Wolfram, and even handing down judgement like him. She was portrayed as a sort of "anti-Wolfram". I was really beginning to be compelled by this character when, SPOILER ALERT, Wolfram catches her and kills her...Yeah, I was kind of annoyed by this. Not only because the only real recurring character was killed off, but because now I grow tired of Wolfram's near omnipotent ability to sniff out rebels. I guess I should have known she was done for when I saw her all chained up on the cover though...

At the very end of the volume, our possible protagonist, Walter Tell, shows up making a dramatic and cliche proclamation to nobody listening that "he's back", making me sort of interested to see what happens in the next volume, but after this volume's poor showing, I'm just not sure. We barely know Walter Tell at all, and now that Grete is dead, there is not a single other member of the rebellion to identify with or care about. Then we have a boringly challenging, one note villain, and all we are really left with is what are basically episodic little stories of the despair Wolfram sows. I can't imagine enjoying the next volume if it continues with the same formula and level of plot progression. The next volume doesn't come out until January, so I have plenty of time to think on it, but as things stand, I'm not very excited for volume three.

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