Park Sang Sun
If any of you have read my review for the first volume of the Tarot Cafe you will no doubt know it impressed me. It impressed me so much that for short while it was on my list of top manga. However, it has since descended in light of the subsequent volumes.
I'm not saying that the later volumes are bad, they simply lack the magical sparkle the first volume had. It also doesn't seem to take the overall story anywhere until the final volume. Even then it doesn't tie anything up. So, where did it lose the magic? For a start the panels are somewhat convoluted and hard to follow, there is very little fluidity to the images and it doesn't totally explain what happens between each panel, leading to great confusion and occasionally frustration. Another is that somewhere along the lines you lose track of who everyone is, and to be honest, stop caring while you're at it.
This is not to say the books are 'bad', they just aren't as good. The fantastic stories are still there (even if they get a little silly at the end), it smoothly combines gritty dark fantasy with light comedy. The art is still of a high quality, as is the attention to detail. However, there is just something not quite so enticing or gripping as the first volume.
I will still recommend these volumes to any serious fans of gothic fantasy and fans of the first volume, however those deciding whether to buy the series or not should definitely flick through the later books before deciding.