This time around, however, while it has a name proper, the collection doesn’t really have a stand-alone storyline – quite unlike the previous ones: the first volume set up the character and world he lived in, whereas the second book took him to an island, where he got caught up in a culinary mystery.
For this collection, the impression that I get is that the authors are putting together the pieces of a puzzle that is much larger and that will connect later on in the series. Perhaps this is due to the series being a confirmed hit, so they can afford to play the long game now. But it really changes things.
In “Just Desserts”, the only truly new elements are a side-story about an illegal cock fight as well as the further development of Chu’s interpersonal relationships. It’s all fascinating stuff, seriously, but it doesn’t all gel into one big picture. In that sense, it can be frustrating.
The artwork is terrific, as per usual; Guillory’s style is exciting and pleasing at once. He isn’t as accurate in his rendering as some artists are (ex: proportions can sometimes be off) but he makes up for it in the amount of detail he puts on the page – which I’d say is a huge plus.
Although one has to read volume four to (presumably) make sense of this one, and while it appeared to tread water and/or set up its pieces for the long haul, I found “Just Desserts” to be a yummy treat. I just hope that the next collection will be more than a mere entrée, as it would ultimately prove unsatisfying.