Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE 13 by CLAMP: B+

From the back cover:
Five friends must journey through time and space to lift a curse from beautiful Princess Sakura. Their quest now leads them to a world of magic and mysterious learning. Syaoran, the princess’s young but fierce defender, is awestruck by this new world’s enormous library. But when he opens one of the books, he is suddenly whisked away to a different dimension—a rough, barbaric place that resembles medieval Japan.

There he witnesses the hardships faced by the family of a feudal lord who looks surprisingly like Syaoran’s gruff companion Kurogane. Now Syaoran must figure out how he was transported… if he ever hopes to see Sakura again!

This volume started kind of slowly, but finished strong. Turns out, a magic book with the power to reveal one person’s memories to another had been handled by Kurogane before it was passed to Syaoran, and so Syaoran took an accidental tour through some of Kurogane’s past. The first few chapters were okay, but Syaoran kept intruding on Kurogane’s memories as he took ages to figure out what was going on, causing the reader to go “Duh! Of course you’re in the world of the book! Didn’t you read Fushigi Yûgi?”

Once he figured it out, Kurogane’s tale continued and progressively got both more interesting and more sad. The significance of Ginryu (the sword that was Kurogane’s prized possession and his payment to Yuuko at the beginning of the story) was revealed as well as the circumstances of Kurogane and Tomoyo’s first meeting. In one of the chapters there was an image that made me go “Eww!” and “Cool!” simultaneously, which I appreciated.

I really liked the last chapter. In it, Syaoran woke from the book trance and immediately asked for Kurogane to talk about what he’d seen. A nice conversation ensued. Also, I was happy to see movement on the plot regarding the mysterious evil figure who’s been lurking in the background all this time. On the whole, this was a really good volume.

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