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The Promised Neverland - Books 12 to 14 Review

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published January 9th 2021
The search for William Minerva ends in a shocking discovery
The Promised Neverland Book Review
Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu. Viz Media

Emma and the orphans from Grace Field House have gone through a lot ever since they learnt the truth about their world and made the decision to escape from their childhood home and flee from demons that wished to harvest them for food. Using survival skills and luck, the children have avoided demon pursuers and survived a wild and untamed landscape crawling with monstrous beasts eager to taste human flesh. They have made allies along the way, found a shelter, survived Goldy Pond, battled adult humans out to kill them, found new friends and worked at unraveling the clues left behind for them by the mysterious William Minerva. After a long hard road, Emma and the children find themselves at a new home, and meet someone they never thought they would see again. This review will contain major spoilers for The Promised Neverland Books 12, 13 and 14.

One of the most defining moments in Emma's life was when her dearest friend, Norman, chose to be shipped out from Grace Field House and harvested in the hope that his siblings would be able to escape. His death emotionally broke Emma and Ray, but also helped to encourage them to go ahead with the escape plan and break out of Grace Field House with a number of their siblings. Emma never got over Norman's death. His sacrifice haunted her for years but also gave her the strength to keep on fighting.

The Promised Neverland Book Review
Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu. Viz Media

In Book 13, after fighting a battle and suffering a terrible loss, Emma and the children discover two human boys, Jin and Hayato, alone in the forest and being threatened by demons. Emma, Ray and Don kill the demons and then demand that Jin and Hayato identify themselves. They tell them that they have been sent by William Minerva to find them and bring them back to their secret Paradise Hideout. After giving it some thought, Emma and the children decide to trust them and go with them back to their hideout to meet the William Minerva.

After years of struggle, Emma is filled with anticipation about finally meeting the mysterious William Minerva. In Book 14, she finally gets to have the meeting she has dreamed about for years. To her shock, instead of meeting a new ally, she ends up reuniting with an old friend she thought she'd lost a long time ago ... Norman. Norman reveals that when he was shipped out from Grace Field he was sent to another farm and experimented on rather than be harvested. He later escaped from that farm, found allies, took on the identity of the long-deceased William Minerva, set up the Paradise Hideout and began attacking and destroying plantations to strike back at the demons.

Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu. Viz Media

Norman is able to give Emma and the children some information about the demons and why they like to eat human flesh. He explains to them that the demons are monsters without shape that need to eat other species to be able to survive and evolve. The demons have the ability to absorb the DNA of whatever they eat. When they started to eat human brains, they developed human shapes and gained advanced intellect. They also began developing their own language and culture. If the demons were to stop eating human meat, their society would collapse, and they would turn feral. Norman explains that he has a plan to destroy the plantations one by one so the demons will lose their human meat. He then plans to kill all of the demons and create a new society where humans will be free to self-govern.

All of the children react in excitement to Norman's plan, except for Emma. Unable to hide her feelings from Ray, she tells him that she doesn't want to kill all of the demons. Even though the demons are her enemies, and she has killed a lot of them in self-defence, she doesn't think it is right to destroy their entire race just to save themselves. The farming and harvesting of human children make her sick, but Emma also can't help but to wonder, are the demons that much different from them? They have families, friends and small children and need to eat to survive. Isn't there any other way to stop them other than annihilation?

I really liked the moral question that this raised. I can see both sides of the argument. I think Norman is justified in wanting to destroy the plantations and eradicate the demons. At the same time though, I think Emma is also right to have reservations about the plan. As evil as the demons are, they are only trying to eat, which doesn't make them that much different than humans who also have to eat to survive. I can understand why Emma would be reluctant to go to war with the demons. She doesn't want her hatred of the demons to consume her. She wants to keep her morality, her soul. She knows she has to seek a different path, one that will solve all of their problems, without resorting to violence. I am really interested to see how this new storyline will play out.
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Why? Emma wrestles with the question is violence an acceptable means to an end if it means that her family will be able to live in peace?
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