Bond and Book: The Devotion of “The Surgery Room,” written by Mizuki Nomura and artwork by Miho Takeoka, has a stellar premise and a protagonist, Musubu, with a singular energy: he can pay attention and speak to books. All through this primary ebook, he makes use of this potential to assist others in distinctive methods, and by all means, this must be an important setup for a vignette-style slice of life mild novel with some fantastical components.
This, accompanied with the potential to present every ebook a singular voice and character relying on their creator, story or style, ought to make for a lovely love letter to fiction that any avid reader may get pleasure from. Sadly, that’s removed from the case, with it being notably troublesome to get previous the primary chapter and the audience being unclear.
The sunshine novel is damaged into 5 chapters, which stand on their very own so readers can have favourite chapters with out counting on sections that won’t have been interesting. That is partially as a result of Bond and E-book is repetitive, continuously reminding the reader what Musubu can do. If these had been particular person books, the fixed reminders may very well be neglected, however when back-to-back chapters cowl the identical setup, it is tedious. Regardless of the repetition, Bond and E-book suffers from plenty of telling and never sufficient displaying.
As an illustration, if it weren’t for the accompanying artwork, what Musubu appears like would stay a thriller for probably the most half, as he’s designed to be a self-insert character, however he is one that’s exhausting to narrate to because of his bland character. Plus, with the first-person narration, what may be seen is restricted to Musubu’s perspective. Though, that is at occasions inconsistent, relying so much on Musubu clarifying how he is aware of issues he should not.
As for the story itself, this varies per chapter, with some totally leaning into the premise of a schoolboy speaking to books to assist individuals, and others — notably “A Summer Running Wild With Fifteen Boys” — pose the query: does this chapter profit from the fantastical premise? In the meantime, “An Urgent Request From Steam From Another World,” works higher as a result of it reveals how a highschool pupil can help others, on this case, a struggling creator, in a method that’s plausible with hints of magical realism.
Sadly, that is the second chapter, so one must make it previous the primary chapter to really see the positives of Bond and E-book. The primary chapter, “A Happy, Happy Day for Pippi Longstocking,” does have some deserves, as this part actually shows how a lot a very good ebook can imply to somebody; nevertheless, there’s a main situation on this chapter, and that has to do with the way it offers with sexual harassment.
The way it’s dealt with is uncomfortable and degrading more often than not, particularly when the books throw of their unwelcomed opinions on the victims. Together with this, the harassment is a catalyst that would’ve been simply changed with one thing else, which might’ve been most popular so readers may very well be spared from having to be reminded a few actually horrible incidence that’s dealt with poorly and serves little or no to the characters and story past establishing why two individuals meet.
This isn’t the one cringey second in Bond and E-book, as Musubu has a relationship along with his favourite ebook, thus bringing into query the dynamics and guidelines of their romance. Whereas the essential premise — Musubu listening to books — is clearly outlined, different fantastical components — like this relationship — are murky and complicated. Plus, it is an unhealthy relationship that’s awkward to examine and raises the query of who is that this for.
Whereas it is good to see that Bond and E-book covers quite a lot of matters, this lack of specificity makes it unclear who the viewers is. Initially, with the primary chapter, it looks like this may very well be a romance novel between a boy deeply invested in books and a woman who’s misplaced her love for fiction; nevertheless, that story is dropped in favor of the following chapters, which cope with quite a lot of dynamics. Whereas seeing how literature can influence individuals in so many alternative methods is a plus, there appears to be an absence of connection between these chapters apart from Musubu, some recurring characters and the premise about sentient books. Due to this fact, those that might like one chapter, will not be keen on one other, making the general studying expertise inconsistent.
There’s a lot to discover with this idea, and Bond and E-book has glimmers of true potential. Sadly, it is a exhausting learn to get into and lacks focus. Worst of all, for a light-weight novel about books, it fails one of many largest guidelines of storytelling: present, do not inform.
Bond and E-book: The Devotion of “The Surgery Room” is accessible now in English from Yen Press’ Yen On.