The latest series from PopFiction launches today. The next series, Trinity Blood, will have its first volume reviewed on April 3.

General Information

Title: Twelve Kingdoms Volume 1: Sea of Shadows
Author: Fuyumi Ono
Original Publication Date: The English language version of this is officially released today, March 13, 2007.
ISBN: 1598169467
Cover Price:
Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Premise

A young girl is drawn from our world into a world of magic and mystery.

High Point

Interactions with the blue monkey.

Low Point

The incredibly fast wrap-up.

The Scores

The originality isn’t bad. I’ve seen broadly similar stories before, even by the same publisher. The world itself, however, is a new idea in my experience. I give it 4 out of 6.

The imagery uses clear descriptions of people and places, without distraction. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is clearly just par one of a larger story, but it’s still well told. There was a lot of character growth, and many clues to the mystery. I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization of Yoko, the lead character, is very well done. Unlike some popular seven part fantasy franchises, this acknowledges how difficult it would be to have your definition of yourself completely rewritten, and takes the time necessary to bring the lead character to a point where she can accept the truth. Secondary characters are similarly well defined, but don’t stick around long enough to demonstrate growth. The story is more about Yoko’s personal journey than anything else, so that’s not a problem. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is driven by an interesting mystery centred around an interesting character. The character journey is filled with interesting choices, which often have incidental side effects that reveal more about the mystery than Yoko initially realizes. I give it 5 out of 6.

The editing through the bulk is well done, but the ending feels very rushed. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a strong opener to a series, as with the rest of the PopFiction line. (The nice part about translating existing work is that you can pick and choose theh good stuff.) I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, The Twelve Kingdoms Volume One: Sea of Shadow receives 35 out of 42.