Shadows House Volume 4 continues the search and rescue competition for the faces to find their shadows. Emilico’s character is not as prominent. So readers have an opportunity to connect with the other faces. Still, Emilico’s caring and kind personality influences the others. But Emilico might need more than kindness. Particularly as layers of the mystery peel back, leaving more questions. The carefree spirit and fun of the competition are in stark contrast with the danger level and secrecy in Shadows House Volume 4.
Created by Somato, translated by Taylor Engel, and lettered by Lys Blakeslee, it opens with the third-floor shadows—a cherished position—watching the competition below. In the Yen Press manga, the nobles discuss Edward’s methods for the contest. After all, they argue, having the faces or “living dolls” strategize to rescue their shadows means thinking. The implication that thinking dolls are a problem is apparent. This volume shows that obeisance to Shadows House and August Grandfather are the priority.
Shadows House Volume 4 Gives Two Pairs Center Stage
Shaun and John, and Ricky and Patrick get more focus among the pairs in the competition. They also have different distinct personalities. Though John is the shadow and Shaun the living doll that serves as John’s face, Shaun’s demeanor stands out. He’s astute and kind to his friends. Shaun dislikes Ricky—understandable—but his dislike colors his assumptions too.
Between Ricky and Patrick, again, the face, Ricky, stands out more, though he’s far from kind. But he does care for his shadow, Patrick, as the volume shows. On top of that, Emilico’s caring nature rubs off on others. So, despite Ricky’s desire to do whatever it takes for his shadow to win, an earlier kindness and the go-ahead from Patrick prompts him to pay it forward.
Powers and Control
In Shadows House Volume 4, readers learn that Kate’s attitude stems from distrust. It’s why it took some time for her to warm up to Emilico. A lot of secrets come out in this volume about Shadows House, shadows, and living dolls. Additionally, Kate’s not the only shadow able to control soot, and they prefer ones with abilities. They get additional training to test their powers. There’s still no answer regarding the shadows or how they came to be, but the world expands for the reader as it does for Emilico.
The twists are surprising, and we even glimpse the world outside Shadows House. But one thing is apparent: soot is powerful and used in various ways. There’s no room for those who challenge the status quo. As such, the danger is building because Kate questions the roles shadows and faces play. So, by default, Emilico is in danger as well.
Shadows House Volume 4 puts other characters front and center, opening up more of the mansion, its other residents, and their connection with the outside. While readers travel with Emilico in the beginning, the viewpoint shifts now. We get glimpses into Shaun, Ricky, and Kate’s inner thoughts. There is something amiss here, too, that strengthens the mystery. Shadows House Volume 4 teases that even more than the previous volumes, balancing the characters with that looming enigma.