I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
This would have been another three and a half star read if the art hadn't taken that terrible down turn.
I don't mind if it's not great, but some of these were so terrible that I reduced half a star. I've come to expect the art to range from pretty bad to decent, but some of the art in this exceeded that, and just... ugh.
On the other hand, the storylines and character relationships keep getting more interesting and complex. I still don't like many of the characters, but there seems to be some growth and I'm enjoying them a little more than I did in the first volume. Lucy has become stronger, more confident, and giggles, or talks about how cute she is, much less. Natsu and Gray can get along enough to save people, even though they still bicker and snipe at people. They also brag about how awesome they are, and how they can beat the snot out of each other, but whereas before those were their predominant features, now they show that they care about others around them. The attitude of the Fairy Tail guild - that they're the best, the strongest, that failing will bring shame on them - seems to foster the worst in Natsu and Gray, but the fact that they protect people shows them at their best.
So, I'm definitely going to continue. But this still looks like an addictive series, without being a favorite.