These days, it seems like the only time we can get reviews written is when we're being prevented from doing our main job for some reason. In this case, we're waiting for materials. But on the bright side, that means we get to review Land of the Lustrous! ...If only we could remember what happened in it.
Of course. First there was the head transplant. Of course, we, too, shared Rutile and Kongo's concerns that Phos would cease to be Phos, and now that I think about it, I'm glad there was a reason for it more than just that it was the head that was getting transplanted. I mean, in a human being, since the head is where you find the brain and most other organs that tells us what someone's personality is like (the face gives us expressions, the mouth has talking, etc.), then I would definitely worry if it was just the head, but since the gems' inclusions are throughout the body (hence the memory loss regardless of what part is missing), there would need to be a reason more than just "it's the head." But it's also true that, as a human being, I tend to view the world through that filter, and probably so do most of the readers, so it's probably easier to understand from a story-telling point of view, that transplanting the head is the thing where we really run the risk of changing who the gem is. So very well done on all counts.
So they make the transplant, and Phos is asleep for a whole century! What! I mean, we weren't super surprised, because we read the table of contents first, but when Cairngorm said it had been a hundred years since he started doing winter duty alone, it was kind of a bummer, mostly to think of Cairngorm all alone all winter. But I guess if anyone can handle it, it would be Cairngorm, since the gem spent most of her life inside Ghost Quartz and therefore could only really communicate with one other gem for all that time. But then Phos came back to life. Tadah! That scene was pretty fun, and so very Phos. And of course, we were all probably expecting to see some sort of personality issues going on between Phos and Lapis Lazuli, but frankly, I'm glad we skipped all that, because it was hard enough dealing with Phos getting over the loss of Antarcticite. Now Phos will always be 100% Phos, but she's continuing to learn and grow, which is another thing I like about this series.
Not that Lapis Lazuli's inclusions are completely ignored, of course. Lapis appeared to Phos in a dream and helped Phos to remember things, which is super awesome, because seriously that thing with the Admirabilis was soooooooo long ago, and there had been no development of that information since volume two! And this is what, volume seven? I guess that's not so bad. And of course, the journey has been entertaining, so it doesn't feel like the author is just dragging it out to fill time. But it is something I've been wondering about. Nevertheless, we still don't get much more on it just yet. First, Phos has to deal with the extra smarts that Lapis has now given her. And the description of what it's like to suddenly have Lapis's smarts is kind of interesting, with all the little details screaming at Phos to notice them. Maybe it's something like getting your first pair of glasses.
Another nice thing about this volume is that it has more Cinnabar! It's actually kind of interesting, because Phos has been a bit forgetful about Cinnabar, and it's so horrific every time, but now that I think about it, Cinnabar shows up so little that it's kind of hard to remember him, even as a reader. So whenever he gets brought up, my reaction is a little like Phos's. "Cinnabar... Oh yeah, Cinnabar! I like that character!" And Phos goes to question him about her trip to the ocean, and the encounter turns out to be so different from their usual conversations, and it results in Phos deciding to confront Sensei, who of course refuses to give any clues on the whole "human" thing.
But that reminds me! The Doctor! We did not deliberately make the title sound like Doctor Who. We actually would have preferred "the Professor," but the vibe we got is that this person is some kind of a scientist, and considering the whole division of humans into three parts, it makes more sense that the Doctor was working with Sensei in a lab, on some kind of experiment, rather than just teaching in a school. And in that case, "doctor" seemed like a more appropriate title. Fortunately, it works for both (also it really is the more accurate translation of "hakase," as indicated by the fact that the Japanese Wikipedia article for the word specifically states that the English translation is "doctor," even though I don't see why a Japanese person would need to know that). My current guess is that the Doctor created Sensei. But anyway, the encounter with the Doctor is part of why I like Bort so much. "Does it look like Rutile to you?" "Yes."
The encounter with the Doctor also give Phos maybe a bit of leverage in getting more information out of Kongo...but he remains adamant, ha, ha, ha. (See? Because "kongo" means "adamant"...never mind.) So Phos is completely baffled as to how to proceed when fortunately! a visitor comes from the Admirabilis, and she is very cute. We get to learn that Ventricosus did feel bad about what she did to Phos, so that was nice, and then there was some bonding when Variegatus said everyone said she was weak and useless. That also reminds me that I haven't mentioned the new Goshenite and Morganite, but I'm not sure if I have much to say about them. I like them.
But the important thing is that Variegatus is able to remind Phos about the legend about humans, and how they divided into spirit, flesh, and bone. Aha! Now Phos finally has a clue! And she takes it and shoves it in Kongo's face! I thought this was interesting, too. The reason Phos wanted to talk to Sensei instead of just running off is that she still loves him. Awwwwww. And Sensei mentioned earlier that even though he can't tell them the whole truth, he loves them. I feel like that's significant somehow, but I couldn't say exactly how. Anyway, Phos tells him what she learned, and correctly guesses that Kongo has been around since before the humans were divided. Her next guess is that that would make him human...but he interrupts her and says he's not! What!!! Well, we sort of knew that, since he's been breaking pieces of himself off to throw at the lunarians, a fact Phos may have forgotten when she lost her head. Either he's some kind of an android, or he's the first example of gemstones with the kind of inclusions the Lustrous have...and the inclusions may be nanobots or something. There are actually a fair amount of possibilities here.
Well, of course Sensei refuses to give Phos anymore information, so now it's time to enact the Plan. But first, Phos goes to tell Cinnabar bye, see you later, and Cinnabar continues to be Cinnabar by pretending not to care, but then caring just when the wind is too loud, and then going back to pretending not to care. Some people.
But back to the Plan. Finally, the thing I've been waiting for all this time, Phos is going to the moon. I'm really excited about this. So she and Cairngorm act out a scenario to make it seem like Phos wasn't deliberately trying to go to the moon, and Phos lets herself get captured. Incidentally, Phos has also figured out that the lunarians communicate via the air that passes through holes in their necks. This is something we haven't come across in any of our research, but I'm fairly confident that it has some basis in Buddhist lore. But anyway, now Phos is captured, and the lunarians are poking and prodding her, and her guess is that they're making sure she's not going to up and start moving on them. That might be part of it, but my guess is that they're testing to see if she's somebody's skeleton.
But! we won't find out until the next volume! Dun dun DUN! The plot thickens. And oh my goodness, this volume was sooooooooooo wordy! So much exposition, so much observation, so much analysis, so much ranting and raving! We were sure it would have about twice as many words as the second most texty volume, but it only seemed to go up by maybe about 25% at the most when we did a word count. It was about twice as wordy as the least texty volume, though. So while we're pretty sure we would get along fairly well with Lapis Lazuli as a person, we're kiiiiind of annoyed at her as a character.
But anyway, I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens next, and I hope you are, too!
Aww, this series. It just gets deeper and deeper! Whatever that means! We have volume nine on our schedule somewhere, so now I'm looking forward to it!
We're going to keep going with the two-reviews-a-week thing, at least through next week, maybe longer (we'll see what happens when our publishers start posting their January releases), so tune in on Tuesday for our review of the last volume of Nekogahara!
Today I'm thankful for having a backup when Page's favorite wand toy finally died (she doesn't seem to like it as much, though; we will have to search for another), reminders about how neat Land of the Lustrous is, having a theory on how to enhance productivity maybe (we stopped watching TV regularly, and we're wondering if that's why we've been having more trouble with words in English--less exposure to them), Athena finally getting that jar open, and nice warm pajamas.