Kieli: The Dead Sleep in the Wilderness Review

A lonely girl. An Undying soldier. An uncommon romance.

And this blogger was head over heels.

Story: I am a girl. Contrary to popular belief. Yes, some readers may forget that. I too get lost in my yuri delusions from time. But I am a girly girl who has a secret passion for novels like this. Uncommon romance? Yes please! As I said when I first looked over my Kieli prize, I thought the story sounded a little bland and done. While it is a common story, girl sees ghosts, boy sees ghosts, boy has terrible path, girl is optimistic and innocent and stuff, they travel, shit goes down. (okay, maybe not so common like that). Kieli is a 14 year old girl attending boarding school in a city heavily influenced (read: controlled) by the Church. Kieli is an outsider. She isn’t much of the faith and, oh yeah, she can see ghosts. Including her best friend Becca. Well during the Colonization Days holiday ghost Becca pretends she is going on a trip. When they arrive at the train station they meet Harvey who tells the ghost to stop messing around. This of course pisses Becca off and she runs away. Later, Kieli arrives back at the dorm room she ‘shares’ with Becca. Becca wants to lure Harvey to the school and try and kill him to see if he is an Undying. An Undying are immortal warriors created by the Church to fight the war that took place eighty years ago for the planet’s resources. Things go down and Kieli starts on her adventure to join Harvey and the Corporal (a ghost possessing an old radio) to bring the Corporal back to the place where he died in the war. Becca passes on just as the three start out and soon run into another ghost. A conductor who died when the train flipped. Harvey and Kieli eventually stop the same from happening once again and walk to the next town where there is a great festival taking place. Harvey runs into some old friends, while lamenting that everyone he knows gets old and dies, while Kieli is entertained by a ghost clown who was beheaded. They set forth once again to another town. This is where Harvey lived when he was younger. They see the ghost of his ‘little brother’ nd spend the night in his old home. Kieli and the Corporal run into a young man from the church when a evil spirit causes havoc in the city. The spirit then tries to beat up the Corporal and Kieli tries to defend him but gets beat up in the processes too. Eventually, Harvey comes and saves them. They continue on now almost reaching the place where the Corporal’s spirit can rest. I’ll leave it at that. The big climax shouldn’t be spoiled and I couldn’t do justice to the final arc.

(wow, my descriptions aren’t usually that bad. OTL)

Characters: As usual, the characters are what shine. From lonely Kieli getting absorbed into the ghosts lives, being happier among the dead, becoming worried about the Corporal and Harvey or to her breakdown in the mine believing she’d be better off dead and wondering if she herself is ghost, to cynical Harvey who becomes protective of Kieli almost immediately, begrudgingly follows her on her explorations (for lack of a better word) and with a good dose of the classic immortal angst. Hell, even the Corporal who is a staticy ghost inside a radio is incredibly interesting from adorably calling Harvey Herbie (never got old, I swear), to teaching Kieli about rock music or chiding Harvey for upsetting Kieli, I was genuinely upset (like Kieli) when I though the might pass on. I didn’t find Joachim all that interesting but since I’m rereading it I may find him more exciting the second time around.

Art: When I first saw the art I thought it looked extremely… classic. Very older shoujo. Harvey appears brooding in most of the images he’s in and he in the images never really appealed to me. Kieli, on the other hand, appears as a classic shoujo heroine. But that being said, it fits perfectly. At least I thought so. I haven’t read the manga yet but it’s by a different artist and looks to set a different mood entirely. Kieli looks a little less sugary-sweet but Harvey looks less frightening.

Overall: Definitely 100% going to buying more in the series. Coincidentally, the next volume comes out in March so hopefully I can get it for my birthday. I love the characters, love the plot and cannot wait to see who Harvey and Kieli’s relationship unfolds. I’m already rereading it because I ripped through the book in five hours. It was so good I could not put it down. Hell, even the gory bits are done nicely! I hadn’t even noticed how gory it sorta really was. Hell, one character gets half their face blown off which is gross enough. But then it mentions that their eye went out too. But after all that, what does he do? He just scowls! So I couldn’t tell what part of that was sickest. There are a lot of parts that are fairly cringe worthy in that regard (ripping the skin off from your palm to your fingertips, ouch) but still surprisingly not entirely squicky. Just thought that was worth mentioning. The only thing I’m not looking forward to? (and excuse me for sound shallow here but) Short hair. GAAH. When has cutting you long pretty hair off ever been a good thing? I’m sure it can be done correctly but from what I’ve seen she looks like a boy. But that’s okay, I still loved this book and am positively bouncing in anticipation for the next one. Just bouncing. I’m just glad that Yen Press is handling this one but my faith in english language light novels is still dubious. Wasn’t Gosick vol. 2 supposed to come out almost two years ago? October 2008 it was supposed to come out. Hmmmmm… well that’s okay! I know that Yen will flip TP off and show them what a real publisher is made of. So until then, I’m going to reread my new favourite light novel (sorry Victorique and Horo D;)

Story: 8/10
Characters: 10/10
Art: 9/10

Fang’s Rating: 10/10 (biased obsession love is biased)


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