Wow. I loved this book. It is full of hope and compassion and love for the human condition. Just what I needed. Go read it.
Kobato meets with Okiura without telling anyone, but Fujimoto finds her anyway and overhears her telling Okiura that she believes Fujimoto hates her. That isn't true, of course, but that doesn't stop Kobato from
fulfilling Sayaka's wish, to be free of Okiura's father, in the belief that Fujimoto would be happiest if Sayaka were happy. Fulfilling the wish leads to Kobato's death, but that's okay, because she gets reincarnated. Her new incarnation remembers Fujimoto and all the people in her past life, so she heads to them, even knowing that they probably won't remember her. What she doesn't realize is that Ginsei made a wish for Fujimoto to remember her, and so the two love birds are reunited (never mind that Kobato is 16 or so and Fujimoto is maybe in his late 30s). Suishou, the angel who helped Kobato live a little longer, is still within her until at least her next life, but after that the angel will be reunited with Iorogi.
While requesting manga volumes prior to my vacation, I remembered that I was only one volume away from finishing this series. I figured I should take care of that, but I made a mistake – I should have requested volume 5, and maybe volume 4 too, to remind me of what had happened and who everyone was. I last read those volumes way back in 2014, so I had gotten out of the flow of the series' emotional content, although my volume summaries at least helped me remember some of what was going on.
So, this was more than a bit confusing to get back to. I had forgotten how many crossover characters it had, for one thing. Only 20 pages in, and I'd spotted Chitose, Chi, and her sister (not as the actual characters from Chobits, of course, but rather alternate universe versions of themselves), as well as Kohaku from Wish. It should be noted that Kohaku really is the angel from Wish, and that Kobato is apparently set in the same universe as that series, just a few decades or so later. If I had taken the time to think about the implications of that, the ending might have been less of a surprise.
I still don't know that I'd have seen the ending coming, though, because it was just so much. Like, every happy ending CLAMP could possibly cram in there, whether or not it really fit. If I remember correctly, the original setup for this series indicated that someone would have to make a sacrifice – either Suishou would need to fade away in order for Kobato to live out her life with Fujimoto, or Kobato would need to die for Suishou to be free to go back to Iorogi and for Iorogi to get his original form back. Instead, literally everybody got to be with the person they loved. I like happy endings, I do, but I also want them to feel like they were earned, and this just seemed to fall into everyone's laps. Even though
reincarnation is part of this world's rules
, it still felt kind of like CLAMP had cheated.
I wonder how I'd feel about this series if I hadn't already read Wish? To my mind, this seemed like a cardboard cutout version of that series, with some of the same issues and themes but less tightly focused and with a little less charm. Then again, it's been a while since I've read Wish, and maybe my memories of it are rosier than it deserves. I'll have to add it to my “reread sometime soon-ish” list.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
I know that there's a popular saying that you "shouldn't judge a book by its cover" but we all know that's a load of hooey because if we didn't care about covers then a large portion of the publishing industry would be out of a job. That being said, I totally picked up today's book because of its cover. In fact, it was the UK edition specifically that I coveted and so I ordered a used copy from overseas. It took me a few months to get to it but I truly wasn't expecting what it delivered. The book in question is The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. (It's his debut novel.) If you can make it through the first quarter of the book without your jaw dropping or gasping out loud then you're doing well. Warning: If you're squeamish in any way then I must caution you that this book discusses injuries of a severe nature in explicit (and excruciating) detail. It starts with a bang (actually a crash) and the action crests and dips from there. It's the story of a man who finds love in a most unusual way. The story flips between present day and various other times in history (medieval for instance). Honestly, I haven't made up my mind whether or not I really liked this book. I certainly found myself gripped when I was reading it but I always hesitated before picking it back up again. I think a large part of that is the dearth of details which I mentioned before. It felt a bit like overkill much of the time. Also, I didn't feel much of a connection to the characters (except perhaps the psychiatrist at the hospital whose last name I couldn't even begin to pronounce). It's an intricately woven tale and extremely ambitious for a debut novel. Davidson clearly knows his history and I tend to think he must be a hopeless romantic. I'd say this was a 6.5/10 for me.
It's slightly hard to tell from this photo but the edges of the pages are black and the cover gives the appearance of being singed. Foreshadowing, anyone?