Story: Long Night Beside a Deep Pool takes place a year and a half after the last novel, Bound for Another Planet. Rather than summing up this volume, as it more heavily invested in it’s own plot rather than ghost-of-the-week as it used to be a bit like. Kieli is in Beatrix’s care after Harvey leaves at the end of Another Planet. Yukako Kabei has summed it up best that the entire of plot of Kieli so far has been “a story about a girl with a complicated personality and a man with a tiresome personality, getting together and being separated”. Eventually the two are reunited and we are set for more gruesome adventures. But near the end of the book there is a very significant yet subtle change that will, undoubtedly, change the course of the books here on forth. Without going into too much detail so that the scene isn’t completely ruined, it would just be safer to say that the church will become a bigger villain than their role of originally just hunting Harvey for being an Undying. We still have five more books to go, the final one being released in English in 2013, so hopefully these ‘monsters’ are not a considerably smaller threat than I am giving them credit for.
Characters: Since a year and a half has passed, Kieli grows slightly as a character. I do miss the first volume where she was a dopey kid who knew nothing but she isn’t quite a helpless this time around. Though even she remarks that she always has someone protecting her, she does take care of a threat later on by herself. Harvey doesn’t do much, what with being locked up and all, for most of the novel though I think labeling him as having a ‘tiresome personality’ should be switched to having an infuriating personality. Actually, I find it hard to stay mad at him, much like Kieli, until they are separated again (most likely by his doing). It really will be tiresome by then. We get a bit more Corporal this time around but it took me until now to realize how impractical it really would be having him in some scenes, so I can ignore any lack of him. I thought there would be more Beatrix seeing as she is the one taking care of Kieli at first but Kieli mostly bops around, doing her own thing and so Beatrix gets rare chances to show off her personality. (She is also a terrible tsundere) She disappears at the end of the novel but it would seem silly to assume we won’t be seeing her again. There was one character I was surprised at having shown up and it asserted to me that he will play an even bigger part in the future. Julius is a pretty important character, honestly. Though he’s a very weak rival character, he’s surprisingly gracious. I have avoided spoiling myself at all costs for this series and have not looked at the illustrations for the later books but one of the covers implied Kieli works with the church or something to that effect? I can imagine this will be in part by Julius’s doing but who knows.
Art: A year and a half passes and Kieli’s hair grew out! I actually cheered out loud when I saw that, I must admit. For some reason, the illustrations really came off as plain and ordinary this time around. Not bad, per say. Just plain.
Overall: I enjoyed this volume far more than the last. I feel like we can establish a new plot from this point that will not focus on Kieli’s mother (or perhaps even more so) but more importantly, Kieli and Harvey not splitting up. But it just wouldn’t be Kieli if they didn’t do that! I’m also a lot more anxious for the next volume if only for the questions this book left us with. Kieli’s questions about Jude, for one. The core creatures are the biggest mystery though, obviously. I was actually reminded of the first volume in a lot of ways, the end most noticeably similar. But it’s also the end that left me feeling Kieli’s nostalgia and joy. Something, after the long trip this volume seemed to take, was a nice thing to relate to.
Story: 8/10 (characters dealing with their own problems is a nice change from dealing with ghost problems)
Characters: 7/10 (Harvey is still a jerk, Kieli is still doing the ghost seeing thing, Corporal is still awesome. Nothing really changes)
Art: 6/10 (lacking in emotion or zeal)
Fang’s Rating: 9/10 (nine out of ten bias is biased)