It’s time for Agott to take the second test, the Test of the Serpentback Road, but unbeknownst to all of them, Qifrey has also signed up Richeh to take the test! The two are accompanied by an apprentice from another Atelier, Euini, who has no faith in himself at all. His master also believes Euini will fail, as he has taken the test twice already and not passed. Along with their proctor, Master Alaira, the three apprentices proceed into the cave of the Serpentback Road. Master Qifrey regails Coco and Tetia with the history of the Cave, that it used to be the entrance to a beautiful kingdom of Romonon, and that it was meant as a test to keep out the unworthy. But Agott, Richeh, and Euini are soon faced with more dangers than what the Romonons had in mind, and they must work together and have faith in their spells to save everyone.
A lot of the focus of this volume is on Richeh and her propensity for creating her own spells. She doesn’t want to cast the “right” spells, she wants to be creative and a free spirit. Euini has no faith in himself and just wants to impress his master, so the pressure from this is overwhelming. The three make an interesting team as they try to solve the mysteries in their own creative ways. Shirahama gives us a few more little hints as to why the Brimmed Caps are after Coco, and I also appreciate the story of Romonon and the world building that comes with it. The cover is so beautiful that this is one of the few times I really wished a manga was in full color.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 5-12
Reviews of previous volumes in this series: vol 1, vol 2, vol 3
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: Elementary School, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Fantasy, Magical Girl
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