Gosick: The Novel, Vol. 1

The year is 1924, the place, Sauville, a small European country neatly tucked beside the Alps. Kazuya Kujo has been studying abroad at the prestigious Saint Marguerite Academy, where urban legends and horror stories are all the rage. Most Kazuya ignores -- but the story of the Queen Berry, a mysterious ghost ship, really gets to him. Of course, his brainy friend Victorique is much more intrigued by true stories, and she uses her unrivaled logic to solve mysteries even the town's famous detective can't. Ironically, it's Victorique's inquisitive nature that leads the duo to board a ship that matches the Queen Berry's description to a tee, a ship that might just hold the key to solving a sinister mystery.

Kazuki Sakuraba puts a nice modern twist on Holmes and Watson--pairing two polar opposites together, Victorique and Kazuya. The novel starts out great. Readers get a feel for character personalities and how they interact with one another. But just as things get intriguing, that's when things start to lose some steam. In fact, the middle chunk of the novel, which is actually when the mystery behind the Queen Berry is examined, falls short, extremely short. After pages and pages of what felt like a ghost shipwreck story we've all already heard before, there was little motivation to continue reading. That alone is unfortunate because as strong as the novel started, it ends at an even stronger level. The last 25 percent of the novel does an excellent job at recaping, and paving the way for the next volume, and brings about a very interesting plot line. It makes you rethink that initial notion of chucking this title aside. For those interested, Volume 2 of "Gosick" is due out this October.

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