Fairy Tail can be a bit of an up-and-down series, but when it is on, it is on. And this book, this one was on - there's emotional scenes and the culminations of some long-standing plots and desires. And at the heart of it all, as is always the case in this series, is the bond between friends.
The dragons have come from where they were hiding, fighting against Face and Achnologia. With Face shut down, that leaves just the one terror in the skies - well, until Zeref saunters in with his typical give-no-craps attitude. If you've been following along with the series (and I cannot imagine this being a worthwhile read if you don't have the background of the last few volumes), you know Gray's dad asked him to destroy End, and he finally has the book in his hand. But this isn't the last volume of the series, so not everything works out tidily. Still, there's enough to put an emotional cap on the most current arc.
And then, timeskip.
Timeskips seem to be all over major manga series, but I really enjoyed this one. It makes sense - give the characters time to explore their own strengths and pick a direction for their lives not bound by the guild. I particularly love what Lucy spends her year doing. It's wonderful to see some particular dreams of hers realized, but at the same time it's even sweeter to see the close regard for her old guildmates that she holds in her heart. Lucy really is the emotional center of this story at times, and her faith is truly sweet.
This is a great book, and it's setting up a fantastic, travel-intensive next arc with plenty of new things to learn about all our favorite characters. :)