Warning: This book review contains spoilers for “Let’s Dance A Waltz, Volume 3” by Natsumi Ando. If you want to avoid spoilers, don’t read this review!
Happy July, everyone!
I hope you all had a wonderful June, and that July is just as shining bright or better than ever! Also, I’d like to wish Happy Canada Day and Happy Fourth of July to everyone celebrating those occasions as well, given that this is the week for both of those days.
I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Let’s Dance A Waltz, Volume 3” by Natsumi Ando! This is the third and final volume in the series, and I just reviewed the second volume yesterday, so I’m glad to finally finish this up! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“Hime has finally achieved her dream and become Tango’s dance partner. Now they are dancing against Sumire and Yusei in Hime’s first real competition. Meanwhile, Hime can’t shake the feeling that she will never match up to Tango’s old partner, and she can’t help wondering who that partner was…”
Character Development: 3 out of 5 stars
Plot Development: 3 out of 5 stars
Just as I thought that the love-triangle aspect of the plot was already done and over with in the previous volume, the bulk of the plot in this specific volume ends up bringing it back up when tension rises during a dance camp between the four main characters. I felt that the plotline was overall rushed, and this also affected the character development for the main four in this trilogy.
Hime does not get tons of development in this volume due to her being pushed aside, main-plot-wise, in favour of the love triangle/quartet going on. Most of the drama happensbetween Sumire, Yusei and Tango (and more specifically on whether Sumire and Tango will get back together). I think this is unfortunate, because Hime is supposed to be the main protagonist in this series, and she should have had more time to shine and develop parts of herself, such as her self-confidence (especially when she started competitive dancing in the previous volume), as well as her developing relationship with Tango. Because she didn’t get as much time to develop as the other characters, this also doesn’t help her romance with Tango (more on that in the romance development section).
Sumire and Yusei are both more developed in their romance, but unfortunately the main tension of the romance is due to Sumire trying to choose between Tango and Yusei for the bulk of the volume, especially after the revelation that she was Tango’s previous dance partner. I also felt that both of them lacked individual development, which is a shame. The same goes for Tango in this case.
Romance Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars
As mentioned earlier, the bulk of the plot results in bringing up the love triangle/quartet repeatedly. I can definitely see the lingering chemistry that was still there between Sumire and Tango as they reminisce about their past as dance partners. I’m also glad they even reconcile their feelings and the tension shared between them with one last dance before Tango ends up getting together with Hime in the end, but I also think it’s painfully obvious that Sumire and Yusei just needed to get together a lot sooner.
As for Yusei and Sumire’s romance, I think it was decently developed, though it could be better-paced. I do think it was good of Yusei to realize that Sumire was torn between him and Tango, and he therefore gave her the time and space to choose whether she really wanted to go with him to Italy or to be back with Tango, but I also think a lot of the drama leading up to Sumire choosing Yusei could have been easily resolved if she took more time to herself beforehand to realize that she’s better off with Yusei rather than constantly pursuing the past through Tango and trying to recreate the old flame they once had through the entire dance-camp portion of the story. I think this is a result of this being the last volume and this part of the story being an attempt to bring up more relationship drama, but it was not as well-executed as possible due to the fact that this was all shoved into the last volume as is.
As also mentioned earlier, Hime doesn’t have a lot of time to develop her and Tango’s romance, and so it suffers in development as a result. I’m happy that she at least had the chance to confess her feelings to Tango and ended up getting together with him and going to Blackpool together, but I also wish the two had more time spent together within this last volume, even if it was only to add some more cute moments as a couple or for them to realize how seriously they want their relationship to go. Again, I think this relationship development suffered due to the rushed plotline in this volume, compared to how it felt more paced out in the previous two volumes.
Overall, I’m rating this volume out 3.25 of 5 stars!
This volume was not as strong as the previous one, but there is enough within said volume to have a decent ending and wrap up all of the main plot of the entire series. However, I do think this series might have benefited more from having at least another volume or two, so the plotline didn’t feel so rushed in this final volume. Despite those flaws resulting in this not being one of Ando’s best-written series, however, this is still a fun, short trilogy to read.
For those interested in reading the author’s other work, I’d recommend the “Kitchen Princess” series, which does a better job of pacing out the main plot (and it helps that “Kitchen Princess” is ten volumes long rather than the entire plot being squished into three), and it’s also about cooking, which I’m sure a lot of people are doing at home right now given current circumstances.
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