Book Review: “Kiki’s Delivery Service” by Eiko Kadono

Cover of "Kiki's Delivery Service" by Eiko Kadono
Cover of “Kiki’s Delivery Service” by Eiko Kadono.

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope that all of you had wonderful winter holidays back in 2021 and that your past year was a good one. I also hope that this year, 2022, will be filled with literary delights for you as well! To open up the new year, I am reviewing “Kiki’s Delivery Service” by Eiko Kadono! I have not watched the Studio Ghilbli film adaptation of the book, but I’ve always wanted to read the book regardless. I am glad that I had the chance to read and review this book.

Here’s a quick summary so we know what it’s about:

“Half-witch Kiki never runs from a challenge. So when her thirteenth birthday arrives, she’s eager to follow a witch’s tradition: choose a new town to call home for one year.

Brimming with confidence, Kiki flies to the seaside village of Koriko and expects that her powers will easily bring happiness to the townspeople. But gaining the trust of the locals is trickier than she expected. With her faithful, wise-cracking black cat, Jiji, by her side, Kiki forges new friendships and builds her inner strength, ultimately realizing that magic can be found in even the most ordinary places.”

Worldbuilding Development: 4 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading about the coming-of-age tradition of every witch needing to move out to a different town for a year in order to give them magical services. Of course, not all people believe in witches and those that do often fear them or think bad things will happen because of them. It was fun to see how this impacted Kiki’s main situation of trying to accomplish her coming-of-age traditions while gaining the local townspeople’s trust in various ways. It was also fun to see how Kiki used her magic (which was mainly flying on a broom) to solve so many problems in creative and hilarious ways.

However, I wished I could know more about the magic involved in the world of this book. The magic involving how the broom flies is well-explained, for example. However, I wished I could know more about the background lore of witches once knowing other types of magic until it was reduced to the main two that were mentioned in this book.

Plot Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This is a book meant for children, and so there are not many side plots except with a few people that Kiki helps. One person has a crush on another person in the same neighborhood, others have sentimental deliveries such as birthday gifts and other useful devices, and Kiki getting involved also made a lot of hilarity ensue. I enjoyed reading Kiki slowly building confidence in herself while her delivery service business grew.

Because the plot is fairly simple, I can see that it would appeal to readers of all ages. The story also has a slice-of-life feeling to it which is nice to read but can also feel a bit repetitive, especially with a lack of development in the various side characters.

Character Development: 3 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed how Kiki had to deal with the townspeople being initially suspicious of witches since I saw how much it impacted her, and I just wanted her to succeed. As she tried to make her delivery service succeed, I felt more inclined to root for her and I was glad when she did. The side characters that she met and helped out along the way with her service were fun to read as well. Some are fairly flat and just are ultimately there because of the overall main story, but a few others have more development.

Overall, I’m rating this book 3.5 out of 5 stars!

This was an enjoyable book to read overall. I can see why this would appeal to children and why it’s popular, but it’s definitely not for readers who are used to more complex storylines. However, if you’re looking for a quick, easy read with a happy ending, you should definitely read this book.

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