by Keiko Suenobu
published by Vertical; $10.95 US
Limit Book 4
After being disappointed in the slow pacing of the previous volume, I was surprised to see how much happened in this new installment.
Limit Book 4 opens with a death, which brings the suffering and precarious position of the survivors into sharp relief. From that point, it’s a fast read. Everyone’s screaming at each other, confused over what they don’t know about the people they have to depend on. Several characters even reach the point of doubting themselves (which is a bit melodramatic — you’d think that someone would recall everything they did in such an intense environment, but perhaps that’s an indicator of just how extreme all this is). Even the smallest offense becomes a life-and-death debate, and everyone is constantly over-reacting. There’s a missing weapon, plenty of dramatic, expressive reaction shots, and too many secrets, making for a gripping page-turner.
Unfortunately, my copy has a tight spine and non-existent gutters, meaning that some of the art and dialogue are lost in the binding. I’m afraid I would damage the book if I opened it to see every detail. Still, the story is clear enough that I can fill in the small blanks.
With the group decreasing and a suspicious cliffhanger, events are set up to bring readers back to the next book (see below). I had hoped that this volume would show more about their parents and the search for the lost children, but no — maybe next time.
Limit Book 5
Limit Book 5 opens with a flashback. Konno and the only boy, Hinata, used to be in swim club together, and there, he was an inspiring source of optimism. Now, he’s a suspect, since he knows something he shouldn’t. Konno seeks to reconcile the mismatch while searching for the truth. Oh, and trying not to die.
As I hoped, we see a small scene with the parents, agonizing over their missing children. However, it’s just a way to shed more light into Hinata’s personality. As indicated by the cover, this volume focuses on his actions and state of mind, which surprises me, since he was the last to appear. He’s always positive, but we’re led to question what lies underneath. Particularly since he may be more responsible for one of the deaths than previously suspected.
This volume is a fast read, but there are plenty of gripping moments to focus on. Whether a quiet moment by the river to gather water, full of poignant memory and fearful anticipation, or rain-soaked forest nights, trapped together full of suspicion, there are some memorable images. We also see the difference between accidental death and intentional murder, but I was surprised that a different discrepancy was more obvious to me: that between someone who dealt with the world as it was and someone who was convinced that they could make a fantasy real if only they believed in it hard enough. That was the scariest part of the book to me.
The next book concludes the series. (The publisher provided review copies.)