“Miracles aren’t something you wish for. You seize them using your own strength!”
Not only does volume 23 directly continue an arc started in volume 22, we are well into the third or so major shift in a series filled with layered storylines going all the way back to the beginning. Don’t start here.
Claws and Fangs of the Abyss (parts 7-8) deals with the aftermath of the fierce battles with the trio of resurrected number ones, the deepest secret of the Organization, and preparations for what’s next. It wraps up recents plot threads nicely and also features a reveal that has been foreshadowed throughout the series.
Speaking of long kept secrets, Mark of the Warrior (parts 1-4) discloses behind another one that traces back to the beginning of the series. Its resolution is reasonable enough and well presented here. The remainder of the seven and Raki head back toward Rabona to try to face the remaining Creature of the Abyss before it can unleash an even greater evil. A little slow in parts, but it’s laying foundation for the next stage of the story.
The beginning of endgame for the series can be felt here. Some potentially important side characters are introduced, we get a lot of good moments and exchanges between our main protagonists, and the dangers and intrigue continue to scale surprisingly well given everything we’ve already seen. There are some threads that are becoming overdue for development / completion, but we seem to finally be getting back to them in earnest.
It’s impressive that I can easily say even after so many volumes I’m still very much looking forward to the next.