All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Fence Vol 1-12 by C.S. Pacat

on March 30, 2020

Fence Vol 1-12 
C.S. Pacat, illustrations by Johanna the Mad
2018-19, 336p
Read via Scribd

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself facing not only his golden-boy half-brother, but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama…

Through clashes, rivalries, and romance between teammates, Nicholas and the boys of Kings Row will discover there’s much more to fencing than just foils and lunges.

You know, when it became likely that the coronavirus was going to be a really big deal and that there was going to be extreme measures needed to combat it, I wasn’t that worried about it. There’s a lot of jokes about how introverts have been preparing for this their whole lives and in a way, that’s applicable to me. I much prefer being at home to being out and when they made the decision to close the schools where I live, I thought it’d be fine. But I found myself a lot more anxious than I thought and as a result, I didn’t pick up a book for days. I looked at all the books I had and just did not have the motivation to read any of them. They all felt like they belonged in the ‘too hard basket’ for now. I was scrolling through different apps on my iPad, looking for something that appealed and I discovered this graphic novel series from C.S. Pacat. I’ve read her Captive Prince series and loved it so I thought I’d give this a go. The format felt like something that would work.

Nicholas is a young fencer who has had limited training but exhibits a raw talent. He’s the (illegitimate) son of a former fencing champion and after he’s humiliated by a prodigy named Seiji Katayama he gains a scholarship to a school with dreams of facing Seiji again and beating him. Everyone expects Seiji to be accepted to Exton, the top school for fencing but instead Nicholas is horrified to find that Seiji is also a student at Kings Row, just like he is….and in fact, they’re room mates.

This was just what I needed to kickstart me into reading again. There are 12 volumes available, which set up the story and then work through the tournament at the school that decides the school fencing team. There’s a lot of diversity in this story – characters of different backgrounds and sexualities with gender fluidity as well, although so far we have yet to get into the real romance of the story, which I am pretty keen for (I am assuming that is where it is going). Apparently the next part of the story is coming out in May of this year and after reading through all of the available volumes so far, I can’t wait to see what happens next. The group of fencers that make up the team are eclectic and interesting and I felt like we got to know them as people very well. I have to admit, I don’t often find graphic novels satisfying because I want more – but with this one, I felt as though the story was presented very well with the limited words and the illustrations are excellent.

I know very little about fencing and this story imparts quite a bit of knowledge but without making it feel like that’s all that’s going on here – because it isn’t. There’s quite a lot of other complex storytelling as well, particularly Nicholas’ feelings about his father as well as his half brother. Then there’s his rivalry with Seiji, which resulted in Nicholas being utterly humiliated before being accepted to the school on a scholarship. His entire goal is to get better, train harder, get quality coaching so that he can beat Seiji, atone for his humiliation. And to his horror, Seiji is at the same school…which means they won’t be facing each other in the tournament. Everyone is surprised that Seiji is there…at a “third rate” high school when he’s ranked 2nd. Because of this, Nicholas and Seiji need to readjust their thoughts on each other…Nicholas is raw but he has talent and his ability surprises people at times. They need to learn to be part of a team.

I really enjoyed this – so much so that I read all of the volumes back to back and it was just nice to enjoy something, read it for no real reason other than it caught my eye and was something different to enjoy. It definitely helped me get back into reading and feel like I could become invested in a story, which is something that I was really struggling with.

8/10 (for all volumes – it was very consistent)

Book #s 50, 51 and 52 (I read this in 3x bind ups with 4 volumes in each) of 2020

One response to “Review: Fence Vol 1-12 by C.S. Pacat

  1. Marg says:

    Glad that you found something that works for you.

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